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October 2011

OOW11: Wednesday…

Wednesday: This was actually my last proper day at Open World. I fly home Thursday morning, effectively missing the last day of the conference. It’s a shame, but it’s the way things worked out and I’m totally burnt out now. :)

Wednesday was definitely “the day after the night before”. I was a little bit under the weather the previous day, so I didn’t feel great on Wednesday morning. Once I got out of the hotel and moving things got a little better. Bagels with cream-cheese in the OCP Lounge helped also. I went to see Cary Millsap speaking about instrumentation, a subject close to my heart. Everyone knows Cary is a great presenter, so I will not big him up any more or his head will pop. :) After that I hung around the RAC Attack in the OTN Lounge, then it was the big keynote. @brost sent Gwen Shapira and I up to the Hilton to watch a stream of the keynote. They didn’t have it there so we had to walk back to Moscone North and sit on the floor to watch it.

Keynote: The keynote was more-or-less what I expected from the ACE Director briefing. There were a few inconsistencies from what we were told, but nothing to write home about. It was all engineered-cloud-exa-grid, with a bit of “everyone else is rubbish” thrown in for good measure. Larry was on good form, but the “live”-ish demo went on a bit too long and I lost interest.

Steve Jobs: I was sorry to hear about the death of Steve Jobs. It’s always sad when people die young. I wish the press would stop making him out to be some sort of Messiah or Saint. He was just a very clever man. Let’s not turn his death into a farce.

Blogger’s Party: After that is was off to the Blogger’s Party, sponsored by Pythian. As with previous years, there were prizes for a number of things, including an iPod Touch for the person who got the most signatures on a Pythian bandana. I made a conscious decision to go for it this year and managed to get a signature from everyone at the event. When it came to the judging I had won, but then felt a little guilty because everybody else hadn’t taken it quite so seriously as me, so I gave the prize to the lady (DBA Kevlar) who came in second place. The sweet smell of victory was easily more important than the prize. :) Thanks to Pythian for another great event.

Once the Blogger’s Party was starting to wind down, most people moved on to the Appreciation Event. I was not really feeling up for it, so I gave my wristband away. I would have only stayed an hour or so, which would have been a bit of a waste. I hope the person who got my wristband ate loads, drank loads and enjoyed Tom Petty and Sting. :) Instead, I went for some food with Chris Muir and Bex Huff, then crashed in my room.

OOW11 Take Home Messages:

  • “Exa” means an engineered solution from Oracle that includes a bit of “magic sauce” software that you can’t run on anyone else’s hardware.
  • Appliance means an engineered solution with stock software running on it. You could build it yourself, but why would you want to?
  • Oracle now do NoSQL (based on the Berkeley DB Storage Engine) as a product. You can get this wrapped up with Hadoop on an engineered system called the Oracle Big Data Applicance. Not sure I will ever touch one of those, but it sounds kinda cool.
  • If BI is your thing, Oracle now provide an Exalytics product that has loads of memory allowing you to do much of your BI workload directly from memory. Once again, sounds cool, but not sure I’ll ever get to touch one.
  • There’s a new version of Grid Control called Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c. I guess we now know the next version of the database will be called 12c. :)
  • The movement in the Linux and VM space has got Oracle to the point where they can finally acknowledge that cloud exists and they can build one for themselves. See If Oracle do this well it could be great for them. If they stuff it up there will be plenty of vendors waiting in the wings to point the finger.
  • Fusion Apps actually exists! Nuff said!
  • Lots of people know about my website, but very few people have got a clue about who I am. That’s the way it should be I guess. :)



OOW 2011 – Oracle XML DB and Big Data

Last day of Oracle Open World and I am currently attending the last presentations. The first presentation, “Oracle XMLDB: A noSQL Approach to Managing all your Unstructured Data”, deals with the no-SQL approach and using Oracle XML DB in the context of using it with “Big Data”, that is unstructured data. The title of the …

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Why Is My Index Not Being Used No. 2 Solution (The Narrow Way)

As many have identified, the first thing to point out is that the two queries are not exactly equivalent. The BETWEEN clause is equivalent to a ‘>= and <=’ predicate, whereas the original query only had a ‘> and <’ predicate. The additional equal conditions at each end is significant. The selectivity of the original query is basically costed [...]

Adding another node for RAC on Oracle Linux 6.1 with kernel-UEK

As I have hinted at during my last post about installing Oracle on Oracle Linux 6.1 with Kernel UEK, I have planned another article about adding a node to a cluster.

I deliberately started the installation of my RAC system with only one node to allow my moderately spec’d hardware to deal with a second cluster node. In previous versions of Oracle there was a problem with node additions: the $GRID_HOME/oui/bin/ script did pre-requisite checks that used to fail when you had used ASMLib. Unfortuntely, due to my setup I couldn’t test if that was solved (I didn’t use ASMLib).


Book Review: Oracle Database 11g Performance Tuning Recipes (Part 2)

October 6, 2011 Hammering a Square Peg into a Round Hole: Fine Edges are Lost, Gaps in Detail (Back to the Previous Post in the Series) In an effort for my review to be fair, I have completed the review for the second half of the “Oracle Database 11g Performance Tuning Recipes” book (omitting the pages for chapters [...]

Rise of the Machines

This is the penultimate day of #OOW11 and I am here at the hotel lobby trying to put some order around the myriads of nuggets of information I have had over the last several days.

The announcements this year have been centered around introduction of various new products from Oracle - Oracle Database Cloud, Cloud Control, Database Appliance, Big Data Appliance, Exalytics, T4 Super cluster and so on. One interesting pattern that emerges from the announcements that is different  from all the previous years is the introduction of several engineered and assembled systems that perform some type of task - specialized or generic. In the past Oracle announced machines too; but not so many at the same time, leading to an observation by April Sims (Executive Editor, Select Journal) that this year can be summed up in one phrase - Rise of the Machines.

Runstats utility

A variation on Tom Kyte's invaluable RUNSTATS utility that compares the resource consumption of two alternative units of work. Designed to work under constrained developer environments and builds on the original with enhancements such as "pause and resume" functionality, time model statistics and the option to report on specific statistics. ***Update*** Now available in two formats: 1) as a PL/SQL package and 2) as a free-standing SQL*Plus script (i.e. no installation/database objects needed). January 2007 (updated October 2011)

Mystats utility

A variation on Jonathan Lewis's SNAP_MY_STATS package to report the resource consumption of a unit of work between two snapshots. Designed to work under constrained developer environments, this version has enhancements such as time model statistics and the option to report on specific statistics. ***Update*** Now available in two formats: 1) as a PL/SQL package and 2) as a free-standing SQL*Plus script (i.e. no installation/database objects needed). June 2007 (updated October 2011)

OOW11: Monday and Tuesday…

Monday: I went to some presentations, hung around in the OTN lounge and ate at every possible opportunity. Tanel Poder‘s presentation on “Large-Scale Consolidation onto Oracle Exadata: Planning, Execution, and Validation” was pretty cool.

In the evening I planned to meet a former colleague at the OTN party. I decided they best way to find him was to visit every food station at the party, which of course meant sampling the goods. Unfortunately I spent too much time eating and not enough time looking for him. Sorry Ian! The cool thing about Open World is you can enter a giant tent full of thousands of people and pretty much guarantee you will bump into loads of people you know. :)

Tuesday: I spent most of Tuesday helping out at RAC Attack in the OTN Lounge. I did manage to get to see Greg Rahn‘s presentation called “Real-World Performance: How Oracle Does It”, which focussed on Real-Time SQL Monitoring. Greg’s presentation style is really easy to listen to and you know this isn’t just theoretical knowledge. He’s in the trenches doing this stuff as part of the Real-World Performance Group.

As the afternoon progressed I felt a little tired, so I went back to the hotel, puked and fell asleep. I think this was more to do with being over-tired than anything else. That meant I missed some of the later sessions and didn’t hook up with anyone in the evening.

This morning I feel a little ropey, but I’m going to head on down to RAC Attack again and see if I can make myself useful. Tonight is the appreciation event, but I’m not sure if I will be able to “appreciate it” unless I get a major energy injection at some point today. :)



Oracle Database 11gR2 on OL6 / RHEL6: Certified or Not?

There seems to be a little confusion out there about the certification status of Oracle Database 11gR2, especially with the release of the patchset which fixes all the issues associated with RAC installs on OL/RHEL 6.1.

Currently, 11gR2 is *NOT* certified on OL6 or RHEL6. How do I know? My Oracle Support says so! Check for yourself like this:

  • Log on the My Oracle Support (
  • Click the “Certifications” link.
  • Type in the product name, like “Oracle Database”
  • Select the product version number, like “″.
  • Select the platform, like “Linux x86_64″ or a specific distro beneath this.
  • Click the “Search” button.

From the results you will see that Oracle Database is certified on OL and RHEL 5.x. Oracle do not differentiate between different respins of the major version. You will also notice that it is not currently supported on OL6 or RHEL6.

Having said that, we can expect this certification really soon. Why? Because Red Hat has submitted all the certification information to Oracle and (based on previous certifications) expects it to happen some time in Q4 this year, which is any time between now and the end of the year.

With a bit of luck, by the time I submit this post MOS certification will get updated and I will happily be out of date… :)