UKOUG RAC & HA Meeting

Well thankfully there was no falling off the stage when I gave my “Adventures in Dataguard” talk to the UKOUG RAC & HA Sig last week. Personally, I felt my talk went ok, with some positive feedback at the end and in the lunch break. Joel Goodman gave me some helpful comments regarding one or two points where I was slightly ambiguous in what I was saying, in particular with respect to the performance impact of the different protection modes on the primary databases – I must blog about protection modes soon. I did not feel I gave a great performance (I think presenting is always about giving a “performance”), but it was probably good enough. There were one or two other talks I found interesting, but for me it was not the best RAC & HA event I’ve been to, though it was the first RAC SIG to be branded as such.

I found a talk from British Airways, regarding the mechanism/procedures they have used in migrating some of the near 700 databases on to a stretched RAC cluster architecture. This is an enormous set of projects and it has taken them nearly two years just to have the architecture in place and are still in the process of migrating databases, this was not a technical talk more looking at this from the project management perpspective. This was the first time I’d heard lean methodologies mentioned in a DBA context. Though taking two years seems less than lean to me, but then at nominet we do like to work fast.

Perhaps, in some ways the most disappointing talk was the “ASM 11g new features” by Joel Goodman. As I’ve said previously, Joel knows Oracle inside out and is an Oracle Master. The disappointment came perhaps from the lack of snazzy new features. I like ASM and it has proved extremely reliable for us, (we use external redundancy, by the way). The obvious feature ASM lacks is the fact it is not a proper filesystem and ASMCMD only can do a fraction of the things you would want to do in a filesystem (e.g. copying things to it with a simple cp command). This has not changed in 11g, even though it is the obvious next step for ASM (maybe 12?)

Of the other talks, Piet de Visser’s was very agreeable (apart from his dislike of ASM – in our 2 node RAC cluster shop, ASM simplifies things as opposed to Veritas, rather than complicates), but his point about simplicity is one I can completely agree with, in fact I did like his Albert Einstein quote: “as simple as it needs to be, but no simpler”. The other talk was pure marketing from the HP “adaptive enterprise”.

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