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Presenting “Accelerating DevOps Using Data Virtualization” at #C16LV

Borrowing from Wikipedia, the term DevOps is defined as…

DevOps (a clipped compound of "development" and "operations") is a culture, movement or practice that emphasizes the collaboration and communication of both software developers and other information-technology (IT) professionals while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes. It aims at establishing a culture and environment where building, testing, and releasing software, can happen rapidly, frequently, and more reliably.

Now, I hate buzzwords as much as the next BTOM (a.k.a. bitter twisted old man)…eastwoodhttp://evdbt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/eastwood.jpg 634w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 85vw, 300px" />

…but the idea behind DevOps, of building, testing, and releasing software more rapidly and reliably is simply amazing and utterly necessary.

As system complexity has increased, as application functionality has ballooned, and as the cost of production downtime has skyrocketed, writing and testing code leaves one a long way from the promised land of published and deployed production code.

As explained by DevOps visionaries like Gene Kim, the biggest barrier to that promised land is data, in the form of databases cloned from production for development and testing, in the form of application stacks cloned from production systems for development and testing.

The amount of time wasted waiting for data on which to develop or test dwarfs the amount of time spent developing or testing.  Consequently, IT has learned to be satisfied with only occasional refreshes of dev/test systems from production, resulting in humorously inadequate dev/test systems, and that has been the norm.

There is a new norm in town.

Data virtualization, like server virtualization, breaks through the constraint.  Over the past 10 years, IT has learned to wallow in the freedom of server virtualization, using tools like VMware and OpenStack to provision virtual machines for any purpose.

Unfortunately, data and storage did not benefit from virtuaMatrix1http://evdbt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Matrix1-768x387.png 768w, http://evdbt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Matrix1-1024x516.png 1024w, http://evdbt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Matrix1.png 1353w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 85vw, 300px" />lization as well.  This has resulted in a white-hot nova in the storage industry, and while that is good news for the storage industry, it still means that IT has cloned from production to non-production the same way it has done the past 40 years, in other words slowly, expensively, and painfully.

Matrix2http://evdbt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Matrix2-768x389.png 768w, http://evdbt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Matrix2-1024x518.png 1024w, http://evdbt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Matrix2.png 1397w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 85vw, 300px" />And we have continued to do it the old way, slowly, expensively, and painfully, because we didn’t know any better.

The IT industry couldn’t see any better way to do clone from production to non-production.  Slow and painful was the norm.

But once one realizes the nature of making copies, and how modern file-system technology can share at the block-level, compress, anMatrix3http://evdbt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Matrix3-768x393.png 768w, http://evdbt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Matrix3-1024x524.png 1024w, http://evdbt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Matrix3.png 1390w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 85vw, 300px" />d de-duplicate, suddenly making copies of databases and file-system directories becomes easier and inexpensive.

Here is a thought-provoking question:  why doesn’t every individual developer and tester have their own private full systems stack?  Why can’t they have several of them, one or more for each task on which they’re working?

I can literally hear all of the other BTOM’s scoffing at that question:  “Nobody has that much infrastructure, you idiot!

And that is the point.  You certainly do.

You just don’t have the right infrastructure.

You can download the slidedeck here.

Playing around with JSON using the APEX_JSON package

hockey-149683_640We publish a number of XML web services from the database using the PL/SQL web toolkit, as described here. In more recent times we’ve had a number of requirements for JSON web services, so we did what most people probably do and Googled for “json pl/sql” and got a link to PL/JSON.

I know about the support for JSON in 12c, but we are not on 12c for these projects and that’s more about consuming JSON, rather than publishing it.

People seemed reasonably happy with PL/JSON, so I thought no more about it. At the weekend, kind-of by accident, I came across the APEX_JSON package that comes as part of APEX 5 and thought, how could I have missed that?

This is not a slight against PL/JSON, but given the choice of using something built and supported by Oracle, that is already in the database (we have APEX 5 in most databases already) or loading something else, I tend to pick the Oracle method. Since then I’ve been having a play with APEX_JSON and I quite like it. Here’s what I wrote while I was playing with it.

If you have done anything with XML in PL/SQL, you should find it pretty simple.

I’m guessing this post will result in a few people saying, “What about ORDS?” Yes I know. Because of history we are still mostly using mod_plsql and OHS, but ORDS is on the horizon. Even so, we will probably continue to use APEX_JSON to do the donkey-work, and just use ORDS to front it.

Cheers

Tim…


Playing around with JSON using the APEX_JSON package was first posted on April 8, 2016 at 7:26 pm.
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Presenting “UNIX/Linux Tools For The Oracle DBA” at #C16LV

Going back to the invention of the graphical user interface (GUI) in the 1970s, there has been tension between the advocates of the magical pointy-clickety GUI and the clickety-clackety command-line interface (CLI).

Part of it is stylistic… GUI’s are easier, faster, more productive.

Part of it is ego… CLI’s require more expertise and are endlessly customizable.

Given the evolutionary pressures on technology, the CLI should have gone extinct decades ago, as more and more expertise is packed into better and better GUI’s.  And in fact, that has largely happened, but the persistence of the CLI can be explained by four persistent justifications…

  1. not yet supported in the GUI
  2. need to reproduce in the native OS
  3. automation and scripting
  4. I still drive stick-shift in my car, too

This is the prime motivation for the presentation entitled “UNIX/Linux Tools For The Oracle DBA” which I’m giving at the Collaborate 2016 conference in Las Vegas (#c16lv) on Monday 11-April.

When your monitoring tool gets to the end of the information it can provide, it can be life-saving to be able to go to the UNIX/Linux command-line and get more information.  Knowing how to interpret the output from CLI tools like “top”, “vmtstat”, and “netstat” can be the difference between waiting helplessly for deus ex machina or a flat-out miracle, and obtaining more information to connect the dots to a resolution.

Oftentimes, you have a ticket open with vendor support, and they can’t use screenshots from the GUI tool or report you’re using.  Instead, they need information straight from the horse’s mouth, recognizable, trustworthy, and uninterpreted.  In that case, knowing how to obtain OS information from tools like “ps”, “pmap”, and “ifconfig” can keep a support case moving smoothly toward resolution.

Likewise, the continued survival of CLI’s has a lot to do with custom scripting and automation.  Sure, there are all kinds of formal APIs, but a significant portion of the IT world runs on impromptu and quickly-developed scripts based on shell scripts and other CLI’s.

Last, my car still has a manual transmission, and both my kids drive stick as well.  There is no rational reason for this.  We don’t believe we go faster or do anything better than automatic transmission.  After almost 40 years behind the wheel, it can be argued that I’m too old to change, but that’s certainly not true of my kids.  We just like being a part of the car.

Hopefully all of those reasons help explain why it is useful for Oracle DBAs to learn more about the UNIX/Linux command-line.  You’re not always going to need it, but when you do, you’ll be glad you did.

You can download the slidedeck here.

Technology debates

As always happens from time to time, we had the following request on AskTom today:

Could you list down 2 reasons why sql server is better than oracle?

Then 2 counter reasons as to why why oracle is better than sql server

 

And I thought I’d reproduce my response here

 

I’ll answer it slightly differently…

Q: When is SQL Server better then Oracle ?
A: When you have good, intelligent, knowledgeable SQL Server people on your workforce.

Q: When is Oracle better then SQL Server ?
A: When you have good, intelligent, knowledgeable Oracle people on your workforce.

I don’t really buy into all that “my Dad’s better than your Dad” stuff in the IT landscape.  Because the best product in the world will always fail if you have the wrong people building systems with it.  And conversely, good people will have the skill and confidence to say “Product X is not suited to task Y”, if that is indeed the case.

When I think back to the first Oracle system I worked on, I chuckle at how bad a job I did at it (something I know now, not then).  Conversely, I think of some recent projects and I’m incredibly proud of some of the stuff I’ve built. 

Technology doesn’t drive success…quality people do.

Friday Philosophy – You Lot are Weird

I mean this in the nicest way, but some of you lot are weird. I’m not aiming this at individuals (though there of plenty of “personalities” amongst you) but at whole damned countries.

One thing about social media is that when you tweet, blog, facebook or whatever – you are potentially communicating beyond your own culture. This is especially true when you are doing so to a community that is spread across the globe in the way I.T. is. Maybe most of you think this is blindingly obvious {perhaps as it is} but although I think of myself as intelligent and aware – for the first 2 or 3 years of blogging I hardly considered that some of my audience would not be from the UK and thus not understand any cultural references I made about television, books, sport, the importance of a cup of tea and a biscuit. After all, why would people in the US or Australia or India care what some guy in the UK had to say?

I think I avoid that particular error more these days but I still have to occasionally remind myself that the majority of my audience “ain’t from these parts”. The largest portion of my audience is in the US – which makes sense as there are quite a few people over the other side of the Atlantic pond and a heck of a lot of IT companies. India and my home crowd come second (swapping places from month to month), and after that come several European countries, Australia, Russia and, for reasons I am not sure of, Brazil.

We have some variations across our little nation and of course individuals often do not match their cultural stereotypes but, all the same, people in Britain tend to be pretty British. When I started presenting abroad, I was conscious that I was going Over There and so I tried to use less colloquial language and make allowances for the audience not using English as their first language. But I think I remained oddly culturally unaware for a while – and it still catches me out.

What I mean about this is, sometimes, on occasion – you lot get on my nerves. You annoy me. A whole nation’s worth of you. Because you are jolly well not being British! A recent blog post by Dan Kim about not being an XXXX Ninja reminded me of this. I really have no time for people saying they are “Road Warriors” (thankfully almost a dead phrase now) or “SQL Ninjas”, “Java Master”, “Database Gods” or similar “Huh! Look AT ME, I damned well ROCK!!!” self-labelled self-grandioseing twaddle. Americans are terrible for this, the uncouth lot that they are {though Dan is from the US and does not seem very fond of it – as I said earlier, individuals always vary}.

Of course, the issue is not so much with our American cousins as it is with me. British culture, at least the bits I hang about in, is currently still rather against blatant self promotion or even making a fuss (well, not a loud fuss – we are brilliant as a nation at passive-aggressive fuss). Whereas many people in the US hold the view that you should be proud of what you can do, the things you have achieved and you should stand straight and tell the world. It’s simply a different way of being. They probably think a lot of UK people are stuffy, repressed and have sticks up their backsides. Which is pretty accurate for some of us:-)

Apparently, in Japan (I have to say apparently as I have never been there), when you are listening to someone you show respect by remaining quiet – and this extends to concerts & gigs, which can cause bands not used to it to have some issues. A crowd that does not go nuts at the end of a song (let alone during it) is just… wrong. But they go nuts at the end of the concert. {If I’ve fallen into quoting a national stereotype that does not exist, please let me know}.

Something I have encountered personally is people in Northern Europe being very direct, ie people will simply say “you are wrong about that”. To me that used to come across as rude. You are supposed to tell me I am wrong in words that don’t actually say I am wrong! “I think you might not quite understand” or “well, that is another way of looking at it”. That to them seems bizarre and, when you think about it, it is bizarre. You should just be able to state your opinion, no offence taken.

Personally I find it is not the cultural differences in language or references to shard experiences that are hardest to acclimatise to, it is these cultural changes in behavior. I have to constantly remind myself that if someone is being rude or impolite or over reacting I should first consider if that is only true when compared to my culture, and not theirs. Of course, I can only do that if I have a clue about what is normal for their culture, which is why travelling Over There to do presentations or bits of work is so helpful.

Sometimes they are being rude. Culture is not the issue.

Of course, the single, largest area of cultural difference that bothers me is beer. Lager is fine cold, cider is jolly nice cold. Real ale should be a few degrees below room temperature and not cold.

Or, as my US friends would see it – “Barman, 3 pints of beer please, and a slightly larger glass of warm piss for our UK friend”.

IOUG Collaborate 2016! #C16LV

It’s that time of year again and the massive undertaking of the Collaborate conference is upon us.  This yearly conference, a collaboration between Quest, Oracle Applications User Group, (OAUG) and Independent Oracle User Group, (IOUG) is one of the largest conferences in the world for those that specialize in all areas of the Oracle database.

The conferene is held in different cities, but recently its been sticking to the great destination of Las Vegas, NV.  We’ll be at the Mandalay, which like many casinos, is like it’s own little self-contained city within a city.

vegasbaby

The week will be crazy and I’ll start right out, quite busy with my partners in crime, Courtney Llamas and Werner De Gruyter with Sunday’s pre-conference hands on lab. “Everything I Ever Wanted to Know About Enterprise Manager I Learned at Collaborate” was a huge hit last year, so we’re repeating it this year, but we’ve updated it to the newest release, EM13c.  For those that are able to gain a coveted spot in this HOL, it will be a choice event.  We’re going to not just cover the new user interface, but some of the coolest need-to-know features of the new release.

Sunday evening is the Welcome Reception and Awards Ceremony.  This year I’m receiving the Ken Jacobs award for my contributions to the user community as an Oracle employee.  I’m very honored to be receiving this and thank everyone at IOUG for recognizing the importance that even as an Oracle employee, you can do a lot to help make the community great!

Throughout the week, I’ll have a number of technical sessions:

Monday

Now my Database as a Service Session is up first for the week on Monday, 9:15am in Palm B, but I’m going to warn you, since this abstract was submitted very early on, the abstract isn’t as descriptive as I wanted.  Know that this is a DBaaS session and I’ll be covering on-premise, private cloud and even Oracle Public Cloud!  Come learn how easy it can be and forget all those datapump, transportable tablespace and other silly commands people are telling you have to do to provision… ☺

Right  after my DBaaS session, 10:15, same room, (Palm B) we’ll have a special session covering the new product that so many of us have put so much energy, time and vision into-  The Oracle Management Cloud, (OMC)!  Read more about this session here.

The Welcome Reception in the Exhibit Hall is from 5:30-8pm.  Don’t miss out on getting there first and see all the cool exhibitors.  I’ll be at the EM13c booth, so come say hi!

Tuesday

So Tuesday morning, the 12th, I’m back in Palm B at noon for the first of my certification sessions, covering 30 minutes of Enterprise Manager 13c New Features.

Wednesday

Wednesday, at noon, I’m back in my favorite room, Palm B to finish the second part of the certification sessions on new features with Enterprise Manager 13c.

I’ll be presenting at Oak Table World at Collaborate at 2pm in the Mandalay Bay Ballroom.  I’ll be doing my newest session on Enterprise Manager 13c and DB12c.  It’s always a great venue when we have Oakies at conferences and I almost squeaked out of it this year, but dragged back in at the last minute!

The Enterprise Manager SIG is right afterwards at 3-4  in the South Seas Ballroom E.  This is where we meet and geek out over everything Enterprise Manager, so don’t miss out on that!

Thursday

For the last day, Thursday at 9:45am, I’ll be in- wait for it….  Palm B!  Yes, I know it’s a surprise for both of us, but I’ll be using my experience helping customers Upgrade to Enterprise Manager 13c and sharing it with everyone at Collaborate.  This is another certification session, so collect those certificates and get the most out of your conference!

I’ve made a lot of updates with new material to my slides recently, so I promise to upload my slides to SlideShare after the conference, too!

See you next week in Las Vegas!

 

 



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Oracle Management Cloud at #IOUG Collaborate 2016

While at Collaborate on Monday, Oracle has been offered a spot to highlight The Oracle Management Cloud.  OMC is a suite of next-generation monitoring and management cloud services designed for heterogeneous environments, all empowered by Oracle’s own cloud!  The first three OMC services (Application Performance Monitoring, Log Analytics and IT Analytics) were launched at OpenWorld 2015.  Both Log Analytics and IT Analytics contain must-have capabilities for DBAs.  This is the only OMC session that will be available at Collaborate and it’s a not to miss session with an all-star cast to present on it.  Manning the slides will be Brian Hengen and Yuri Grinshteyn, while Courtney Llamas and I will be sharing our expertise during the demonstrations.

omc1http://i2.wp.com/dbakevlar.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/omc1.jpg?resiz... 300w, http://i2.wp.com/dbakevlar.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/omc1.jpg?resiz... 768w, http://i2.wp.com/dbakevlar.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/omc1.jpg?w=1173 1173w" sizes="(max-width: 568px) 100vw, 568px" data-recalc-dims="1" />

 

We’ll be covering how to grapple with large environment resource usage, identifying what really needs your time allocated to it (versus what you can just let go!) and how you can help your manager manage your infrastructure better.  We all know how much damage false assumptions can cause to your ability to respond to priorities and demands.  IT Analytics has the intelligence  you need built in, so no more guesswork based on capacity planning scripts, Excel spreadsheets and graphing to prove to the business that you have a handle on where your energy is most needed.

We’ll also discuss how to extract valuable insight from mountains of logs.  We DBAs know how valuable log data is but we also know how voluminous it is.  Having it reduced to human-scale and correlate seamlessly with  the analytics discussed above is an impressive feat and you’ll see how powerful log data can be when displayed this way for the business.  No more “going down rabbit holes” trying to digest log data on one server, matching it to output from a user interface from a tool on another server and finally verifying that it actually had anything to do with the actual problem you were investigating in the first place.

So ensure you’ve added this session to your Collaborate schedule on Monday, at 10:15 in room Palm B. An impressive group of folks from Oracle have made sure it’s going to be an interesting, informative and empowering session on  the Oracle Management Cloud. I have a feeling the room may be packed, so make sure to register beforehand!



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Gluent New World #02: SQL-on-Hadoop with Mark Rittman

Update: The video recording of this session is here:

Slides are here.

Other videos are available at Gluent video collection.


It’s time to announce the 2nd episode of the Gluent New World webinar series!

The Gluent New World webinar series is about modern data management: architectural trends in enterprise IT and technical fundamentals behind them.

GNW02: SQL-on-Hadoop : A bit of History, Current State-of-the-Art, and Looking towards the Future

Speaker:

  • This GNW episode is presented by no other than Mark Rittman, the co-founder & CTO of Rittman Mead and an all-around guru of enterprise BI!

Time:

  • Tue, Apr 19, 2016 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM CDT

Abstract:

Hadoop and NoSQL platforms initially focused on Java developers and slow but massively-scalable MapReduce jobs as an alternative to high-end but limited-scale analytics RDBMS engines. Apache Hive opened-up Hadoop to non-programmers by adding a SQL query engine and relational-style metadata layered over raw HDFS storage, and since then open-source initiatives such as Hive Stinger, Cloudera Impala and Apache Drill along with proprietary solutions from closed-source vendors have extended SQL-on-Hadoop’s capabilities into areas such as low-latency ad-hoc queries, ACID-compliant transactions and schema-less data discovery – at massive scale and with compelling economics.

In this session we’ll focus on technical foundations around SQL-on-Hadoop, first reviewing the basic platform Apache Hive provides and then looking in more detail at how ad-hoc querying, ACID-compliant transactions and data discovery engines work along with more specialised underlying storage that each now work best with – and we’ll take a look to the future to see how SQL querying, data integration and analytics are likely to come together in the next five years to make Hadoop the default platform running mixed old-world/new-world analytics workloads.

Register:

 

If you missed the last GNW01: In-Memory Processing for Databases session, here are the video recordings and slides!

See you soon!

 

 

NB! If you want to move to the "New World" - offload your data and workloads to Hadoop, without having to re-write your existing applications - check out Gluent. We are making history! ;-)

Oracle Management Cloud – IT Analytics

In this post I will give you a first glance of a demo environment of…

Oracle Management Cloud – Application Performance Monitoring

A while ago I created a first post about the Oracle Management Cloud ( #OMC