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December 2011

Oracle Core

As Martin I had a pleasure to “unofficially” review Jonathan’s latest book, Oracle Core. It was my first experience in the area of printed content. If you want to know little bit more how the process went, my opinion on the book and what to expect from it – I’ll try to cover these points here.

The cause for and against the Exadata simulator

I am on my way back from the best UKOUG conference I ever attended, unfortunately a lot earlier than planned. Before I start forgetting all these great moments it is time to write them up. To make use of James Morle’s words: if you weren’t there, you lose. I couldn’t agree more!

The Oak Table Network organised “Oak Table Sunday”, a hugely successful event on Sunday afternoon. This event featured some of the brightest Oracle minds, and thanks to a very relaxed atmosphere made it all a truly exceptional experience. I have to say that the audience was quite illustrious too-I didn’t recognise Paul Vallee from Pythian with his Movember moustache at first and to my great joy I finally met Piet de Visser again. After exchanging a few words with them I ran into so many people it was just great!

Will the Single Box System make a Comeback?

For about 12 months now I’ve been saying to people(*) that I think the single box server is going to make a comeback and nearly all businesses won’t need the awful complexity that comes with the current clustered/exadata/RAC/SAN solutions.

Now, this blog post is more a line-in-the-sand and not a well researched or even thought out white paper – so forgive me the obvious mistakes that everyone makes when they make a first draft of their argument and before they check their basic facts, it’s the principle that I want to lay down.

UltraEdit 2.3 For Linux…

UltraEdit 2.3 has just been released for Linux. It now has a Fedora 16 build, which is nice. :)



Table Functions And Join Cardinality Estimates

If you consider the usage of Table Functions then you should be aware of some limitations to the optimizer calculations, in particular when considering a join between a Table Function and other row sources.

As outlined in one of my previous posts you can and should help the optimizer to arrive at a reasonable cardinality estimate when dealing with table functions, however doing so doesn't provide all necessary inputs to the join cardinality calculation that are useful and available from the statistics when dealing with regular tables.

Therefore even when following the recommended practice regarding the cardinality estimates it is possible to end up with some inaccuracies. This post will explain why.

Join Cardinality Basics

Recent SPARC T4-4 TPC-H Results Prove Oracle Can Do Better Than…Oracle!

I made a blog entry yesterday entitled Recent SPARC T4-4 TPC-H Benchmark Results. Proving Bandwidth! But What Storage? wherein I discussed some recent Oracle SPARC T4 TPC-H benchmark results. I pointed out in the post that the T4-4 is an extreme high-bandwidth server as is evidenced by how closely it performs the same benchmark with only half the processors (sockets) as a recent HP Proliant DL980 result.  I then glued in some screen shots of the disclosure reports to elaborate on the point of bandwidth versus latency. You can push a lot of work through a SPARC T4-4, but that doesn’t mean each individual unit of work is all that fast—relatively speaking.  This was even more so the case with the T3 platform before it.


Having the right mental model of how window functions operate goes a long
way toward recognizing when and how to apply these functions that can seem
almost magical in the expressive power.

Read the full post at


Having the right mental model of how window functions operate goes a long
way toward recognizing when and how to apply these functions that can seem
almost magical in the expressive power.

Read the full post at

Internal Server Error – Contact Your System Administrator

December 6, 2011 The Oracle OTN forums changed a bit a year or two ago, and in the process I stopped receiving email notifications when new entries were added to discussion threads.  The absence of email notifications was not a significant loss, although at times it is a bit interesting to see how a post in some of [...]

Was the Oracle UK logo Blue back in 1991?

I think I might be going mad. I was sure that when I joined Oracle UK back in 1991 that the massive “Oracle” sign above the main office on “The Ring” in Bracknell was blue. It was the building that looked like a load of cubes balanced on each other.

As I remember it, the office stationary had “Oracle UK” on it in blue and my business cards were similarly coloured. I can’t find any 20 year old stationary to prove it and I owe Bryn Llewellyn a bottle of wine if I turn out to be wrong.

I’m sure I also remember fellow consultants joking in around 1993, when the annual bonus was particularly poor, that it was due to all the money spent going from blue to red stationary and signs when our UK identity was absorbed into the parent beast…