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News from UKOUG 2010 Conference

Right now I’m sitting in the speaker lounge with Jeremy Schneider after hacking some RAC ASM stuff as a follow up to my last presentation. We were testing some failure scenarios but that’s a topic for another blog post.

Dan Fink cheated with his tiny blog post which was more like a twitt-long (and so did Christo.) so I thought to write something properly.

Monday started early for me — 6am. Quick run through my demos again and early breakfast. Registered before 8am while it was still empty and then joined Tom Kyte in the speaker lounge. We both had our sessions starting at 9am but Tom is a Pro when it comes to presenting — while I was taking the last minutes to go through my slides and do minor adjustments, Tom was calmly replying AskTom questions. Oh well, such is life.

My 2 hours presentation was a little slow and I wish the audience was a little more engaging but maybe it was just because all the locals hit the hibernate mode following “extreme” cold weather and didn’t quite wake up after the weekend (of course, there is not chance that it was bad presentation material or speaker…. no, no!). This was the same presentation as I’ve done at the OpenWorld but I included demonstrations of 11gR2 Grid Infrastructure and that was the tricky bit. In the end, everything pretty much worked with one small surprise. My last demo was troubleshooting of startup and I decided that I will screw up 3 things and troubleshoot online *first* time. I.e. I decided deliberately not to practice it. The latter wasn’t very smart as I had less then 10 minutes left. After few minutes of shame I had to move this demo in the list of homework. :) The good news, that I did go through my last slides briefly and I wanted to be brief there as Frits Hoogland was covering this area in more details later that day in his own session.

Exhausted after my session (and slightly disappointed by inactivity of the audience), I was very hungry but decided to wait until the official lunch time so ended up in Graham Wood’s session on some hidden free gems along with Christo and Jeremy. We did have a plan to switch to the Exadata round table and did just that. I’ve got a little disappointed with the round-table format (as I’m writing this — discussed it with round-table moderator, Joel Goodman, here in the speaker lounge and we agreed on this) – it was more like a presentation without slides with introduction to Exadata for folks who don’t have any background knowledge. It should have been a presentation while the round-table should have been left for the folks with experience or knowledge of Exadata technology.

Having been late from Exadata round-table I was late to lunch. This means I was late to the next session and managed to sneak in the last 10 minutes for Frits Hoogland‘s Oracle Clusterware 11gR2 In-depth. It looked like the audience wasn’t very active during his session either. When I spoke to Cary Millsap later, he also mentioned that it was somewhat a struggle to get the audience to laugh so he had to leverage his special jokes from the reserve list. I might borrow some of them in the future. :)

Next I went to the Tanel Poder‘s presentation on Exadata migrations and related performance tuning. Very insightful as you can expect from Tanel. He also confirms that Exadata performance rocks but it can be tricky to run stable. I think our experience was somewhat better with stability except early months when lots of issues were not fixed.

Afterward, I went to Cary Millsap‘s presentation on reading 10046 trace files. My intention was not to learn the subject that I was already familiar with but to learn how Cary can present this topic in his new style (with very few words on the slides). Turned out that he did put trace content on the slide but it was interesting to see how he emphasizes what he really wants to talk about in the 20 lines of code on the page. I will borrow this for my future presentations.

The final session of the day was Julian Dyke’s replication internals. It’s been a while I wanted to dig into replication deeper so it was a good move to go there. However, after such an active day (and night), I was struggling to stay awake even though my brain was desperately trying to keep up. The good news is that Julian have very well illustrated slides so I can always get back to it.

That evening, we had OakTable dinner. It was, of course, at the Indian restaurant. I admit I abused that place and barely was able to walk after dinner and struggled to consume anything more that evening. Still, nothing stopped us from hanging in Tap & Spile until almost 2am and even catch the last order of scotch at Jury’s. That was another abuse of the night especially that I had a presentation to deliver next day. Fortunately, the next day consequences were very mild but that evening brought me the idea of a demo for my presentation (thanks Christo) and most of Tuesday I spent getting this demo ready. It worked very well but I will need to improve few items to run it faster.

It’s already Wednesday as I’m finishing this post now. The night was lots of fun and it was long and… very late. I recall that the most bizarre idea of that evening was robbing a bank (don’t ask how we got there… it was not my fault). I didn’t really pay attention when I was back in my room and crashed but I see my last email from the phone was sent at 4:25am (Hi Doug!).

I missed the presentation on marrying Grid Control and Nagios — very interesting topic for me as some of our customers happen to use both. I struggle to understand why one would want to integrate these tools but that’s why I really wanted to see it. Oh well, I have to review the slides offline and I’ve met the author the evening before so I could always contact directly (thanks Eter!).

Half more day to go. Still struggling to decide whether I should go to Julian Dyke‘s presentation on memory (I know Christo did his this morning but it was way too early for me) or to the session on RAC Server Pools by Bob Mycroft (somehow, his name is associated with Windows – is it just me?).

Oh… I completely forgot to mention that the highlight of Monday night was Doug Burns shaving ceremony and finalizing it at Tap & Spile. I have captured some videos but they need some post-processing before I can publish them. Another highlight was watching photos of previous UKOUG conferences I attended and I specifically liked one photo that was not supposed to be there! It won’t make sense to you my dear reader but please forgive me and ignore it — it’s meant only for one of you. ;-)