So the annual UKOUG technology conference has come and gone for yet another year. This time it was in a new location, having moved away from its regular berth in Birmingham. Manchester is not a city I’m that familiar with, the only previous time I had been there was a trip with my wife, and she drove me to a near death experience with an oncoming tram.
Thankfully this time the only near death experiences for me this year was laptop failure during a demo, though I did hear of some folks getting into a scrape or two. ;-)
Yes, there were less people about than previous years, but that can be explained by the Apps folks having split off to their own conference. The venue was I thought pretty reasonable, while some rooms were pretty small, as lots of people commented, better presenting in a full small room than a fairly empty large room. So for me, the venue worked fine. Manchester is likely to be harder for more people to get to than Birmingham though, and I will be very interested which city the conference will be in next year, I understand it will be moving again.
So onto my experience at the conference. Certainly, my conference experience has changed a lot over the past few years, and the meeting people aspect has come more to the fore. I had a strange conference in terms of sessions I attended: I barely attended a database session! It was all storage/IO or operating systems. In some ways, you could look at this as a bit alarming, as I’m not sure the value add is necessarily at that level of the stack, however for me it’s really where my career has been for most of the time.
The quality of the presentations I did see was outstanding, and that for me is a critical thing of the UKOUG Annual Conference: the quality of the presentations. I don’t think I saw a bad one. The highlights for me where the following three though:
Luca Canali: Storage Latency for Oracle DBAs:
Luca’s work is just awesome, and he has developed some latency visualisations tools, which were very interesting to see.
RAC and GI Round Table:
Round tables can either be really eye-opening or fairly uninteresting. It all depends on who is contributing what. This roundtable was in the eye-opening camp. Joel Goodman chaired this excellently and it was great to see the only 12c Grid Infrastructure implementation in the room was one done by e-dba and my colleague Svetoslav Gyurov.
Alex Gorbachev: Hadoop for Oracle DBAs:
This was actually given at Oak Table World running alongside the UKOUG conference. This was an excellent, eye-opening presentation on hadoop.
The other thing that is important to me at conferences, compared to say 6-7 years ago is presenting. I’m not sure I’d like to go to UKOUG and not present. Sadly, this year due to other commitments from colleagues, I ended up picking up 4 presentations. This is too much for me to focus on at once. Thankfully though, 3 of them were on Exadata, and one of those a panel discussion. But 4 is quite a stressful amount.
So, some thoughts on my presentations.
Exadata Consolidations and Migrations: Getting it Right Up Front
This is a presentation I have delivered quite a few times and am very familiar with the content, thankfully this went well and I was reasonably happy with it in the delivery, and I was able to add some stuff on the (now) newly available Exadata X4’s to keep it fresh! You can grab this presentation if you are interested. Be aware there is lots of text to read in the notes field, even if the slide is fairly minimal.
Next was 2 on Tuesday:
Turbo-Charged Analytics from Exalytics with Exadata – The Reality Behind The Hype
I stepped in at the last minute for this one, and did 20 minutes on Exadata. I did not like this presentation – it was too much of a cut ‘n’ shut job. One attendee complained afterwards that there was not any content on actually using Exalytics with Exadata.
I couldn’t fail to agree.
So, I had not heard of Linux Containers until about 2 weeks prior to this presentation, but it turned out this was the one I had most been looking forward to. I’d done the most work leading up to UKOUG on this presentation as I had to learn it from scratch in the 2 weeks (as well as the other presentations, and the day-to-day job!). This was meant to show what Containers were, why you might use them and then demo them in action. I really thought the slides looked cracking (someone please take me aside and have a word if I’m out to lunch on this), and though I was hesitant about the content at times, I thought I’d almost pulled it off.
Then the demos, which at first were going fine, started to kill my laptop. and I mean kill. Not just the demos not working, but the laptop being totally utterly unresponsive, so I could not even get back to powerpoint from my VM. It was horrible. The presentation, though about 80% done, just came to an abrupt car crash of an ending. It took about 15 minutes after this to even power of my laptop!
As Tom Kyte put it the next day:
Image courtesy of Marc Fielding.
My final “presentation” was on Wednesday, but this time it was a panel discussion with Andy Colvin and Frits Hoogland.
Real World Exadata Configuration Tips
Both Andy and Frits are awesome and it was a privilege and a pleasure to share the stage with them. We had an excellent discussion and lots of interaction with the audience which I think made it a really worthwhile hour.
I’d love to do something like that again!
Again, image courtesy of Marc Fielding.
It was a great conference, I really had a great time, and I feel lucky and indeed proud to be part of a great Oracle community and to know so many outstanding individuals.