Archive Page 2

I’m definitely the type of person that gets excited by new opportunities and always loves a new challenge. Without challenge, I get bored quickly and boredom makes me a little crazy.

So, this new opportunity came along a little while ago and I thought it sounded just perfect for me. Many of you that know me will recall that I’ve had trouble finding the right company that fits with all aspects of my personality, goals, and philosophy which has led me to “try” a few of them in the past several years. I don’t regret the choices I’ve made and I’ve learned an awful lot from each of my employers. Most importantly, I’ve created new relationships at each of my past companies that I still maintain today.

In looking at all the past experiences, I’ve concluded that I am ready for a change in direction. Things I enjoy:
Oracle products
People (customers and Oracle employees) that work with Oracle software
High Availability
Large, complex environments
Servers, OS, and storage infrastructures
Working with lots of new people, especially creating, managing, and growing new relationships
Presenting my knowledge to others, both one-on-one and to groups (and conference events that surround such gatherings)
A little bit of travel (which helps support my love of…)
Scuba diving

So, when an opportunity came along to get paid to do something that combines almost all of the things I enjoy (except scuba), I couldn’t pass it up. Starting on May 18, 2009, I will be the newest member of the new group at Oracle that’s known as the “X-Team”. This team is responsible for working with customers and prospective customers of the Oracle Exadata and HP Oracle Database Machine products to help them adopt these new technologies. The group is a part of the Maximum Availability Architecture group at Oracle that authors many of the best practices whitepapers and presentations you have likely seen online. For those at Oracle that know what this means, the group is a part of the Server Technology development organization under Juan Loaiza.

For those of you that have been my past consulting customers, first of all, Thank You. I’m no longer consulting and while I won’t be able to provide an “Oracle-sanctioned” recommendation to other consultants that may be able to help, I do have a large network of friends and one of them can likely help you. Please never hesitate to keep in touch!

On a logistical note, I’m not moving and will hopefully continue to be involved with local events in Chicagoland. However, I will be traveling part of the time to visit customers and other Oracle facilities, so keep an eye on my twitter feed, Britekite location, and Tripit plans and let me know if there’s a chance to have a meeting IRL.

Finally, this decision to join Oracle means that I’ll be sacrificing several things. First and probably most near and dear to me is the RAC SIG. In September 2008, I took over as the RAC SIG President. The RAC SIG is as strong as ever and there are a good group of volunteers involved in leading the group as it continues to grow and evolve. I’ll always be a member of the RAC SIG and will continue to watch it closely and volunteer when and where I can. The RAC SIG is associated with the IOUG, the Independent Oracle User Group, and Oracle employees shouldn’t be too involved in “independent” groups. So, this year, the RAC SIG will once again elect a new president. I will remain president until Oracle Open World in October 2009 in order to provide continuity to the group’s leadership and ensure a smooth transition. You can nominate yourself for a RAC SIG office soon via our website nomination form (nominations will be open soon and stay open until July 31, 2009).

I’m also going to relinquish my appointment as an Oracle ACE Director. While I think I’ll still be considered an Oracle Employee ACE, I’ll remember fondly the fame that Oracle Technology Network affords the Oracle ACE program and the individuals that are given the honor. Thanks to Justin, Vikki, Lillian, Todd, and the others at Oracle for allowing me to be a part of that program. I’ll certainly miss the perks!

That’s about it for now, I’m off to the new job and will once again begin learning. Luckily, I’m apparently the only person named Dan Norris at Oracle (last someone checked for me), so you can contact me at in a couple weeks.

Collaborate 09 starts on Sunday, May 3 (a few days from now!) in Orlando. I’ve been offline for several weeks (more on that later), but will be returning to the world of computers and technology in full force in Orlando. I’ve had a few inquiries about whether or not I’ll be at Collaborate, so I thought I’d resurrect my blog with a post about where I’ll be and some of the highlights I see at Collaborate 09.

First, where I’ll be presenting:

  • Monday, 10:45-11:45am, #301, “Avoiding Common RAC Problems”
  • Tuesday, 9:45am-12pm, #332, “Installing RAC From The Ground Up”
  • Wednesday, 9:45-10:45am, #121, “Troubleshooting Oracle Clusterware”

I’m also currently the President of the Oracle RAC Special Interest Group (RAC SIG). The RAC SIG is hosting several great sessions (I’m moderating a couple of these panels) at Collaborate 09 as well:

  • Sunday, 6-7:30pm, IOUG/SIG Welcome Reception (each SIG will have representatives there–this is open to all IOUG attendees)
  • Monday, 8-9am, RAC SIG Orientation
  • Tuesday, 12:15-1:15pm, RAC SIG Birds of a Feather
  • Tuesday, 4:30-5:30pm, RAC SIG Expert Panel
  • Wednesday, 4:30-5:30pm, RAC SIG Customer Panel (not in online scheduler at the moment, check again later)
  • Thursday, 8:30am-12pm, RAC Attack (University Session – Additional fee required)

The RAC SIG has also assembled this list of RAC-related sessions at Collaborate 09 to help you plan your conference agenda.

Be sure to set up your personal agenda using the agenda builder and add these sessions to your agenda. I think that if you have these in your agenda and details (like date or room assignments) change, you’ll be notified via email (not sure, but I think that’s how it works).

Also, you can follow @IOUG on Twitter (follow me too if you’d like) and that will help you find where the action is during the event next week. It’s going to be a great event and I look forward to seeing you there!

The RAC SIG, Oracle and IOUG are thrilled to present the hands-on event dubbed “RAC Attack!” at Collaborate09 in Orlando, FL. It is a half-day University Session in the IOUG Forum scheduled for the morning of Thursday, May 7th.

Each participant will have their own private RAC cluster to use. You’ll be able to install a new cluster, test session failover, perform backup and recovery and just about anything else you’d like to try (time permitting). The session will have lab outlines with very specific instructions that cater to beginners. Advanced users are welcome to test anything they like. If you try something that doesn’t work, we have mechanisms in place to help “reset” your cluster in 15 minutes and let you continue working and testing.

Here’s the official conference abstract for the session:

“Whether you’re new to or familiar with Real Application Clusters (RAC), you do not want to miss the IOUG RAC Attack! hands-on lab. The hands-on lab will cover: cluster installation prerequisites on Linux, installing Oracle clusterware, installing Oracle RDBMS, creating RAC database, failure testing and backup/recovery testing.

Also, you’ll have a chance to interact with some RAC experts from IOUG, Oracle and the RAC SIG, as they’ll be available to help you as you navigate the hands-on exercises. These volunteers are sharing their knowledge to help you be successful with your learning experience. This opportunity doesn’t come along often, so don’t miss a chance to pick the brains of our experts!”

There are still seats available for this event, but there is a limit, so don’t delay. It is an additional cost above the Collaborate09 conference registration, but I think you’ll find it to be packed with knowledge and experts to help you get the hands-on experience you need to grow and succeed with Oracle RAC. The session will be staffed with Oracle, IOUG and RAC SIG experts ready to help you and answer questions about RAC and clustering. Don’t miss out!

If you’ve already registered, you can add on the University Session by contacting IOUG. If you haven’t registered yet, there is still time left–sign up now!

Just in case you were like me and did not tune in for Oracle’s quarterly earnings concall, there were some interesting highlights. As many of you (well, there aren’t that many of you that read this, but…) know, I’ve been very interested in Exadata since its announcement at Oracle OpenWorld 2008 in October. While some observed that Larry’s introduction keynote was rather brief, I didn’t take it as a sign of disinterest at all. According to the concall earlier this week, quite the opposite.

Here are some choice excerpts from the transcript that I find telling about the future of Exadata:

Larry Ellison:

“So, that’s looking back. Now looking forward, I think the most exciting product we’ve had in many, many years is our Exadata Database Server.”

“Exadata is 100% innovation on top of our very large and very strong database business. And the early results have been remarkable. Charles Phillips will go into a lot of detail but I’ll just throw a couple of numbers out there.

One of our customers, and Charles will describe this customer, one of our customers saw a 28x performance improvement over an existing Oracle database. Another customer saw a monthly aggregation drop from 4.5 hours just to 3 minutes.

When compared to Teradata, a competitive database machine that’s been in the market for a very, very long time, another customer saw that we were 6x faster than their existing Teradata application, when using Exadata versus Teradata.

Another customer saw a batch process fall from 8 hours to 30 minutes. Charles will go into more detail on all this, he will repeat those numbers, because I think they’re worth mentioning twice.”

Charles Phillips:

“So now just a few comments by area. On databases, Larry mentioned, we’re very excited about how the HP Oracle database machine is performing. The increases have just been stunning and so we are getting great feedback from our customers and the pipeline is the largest build I’ve ever seen in terms of a new product.

And as he mentioned, the numbers are just stunning. The major European retailer who reduced the batch processing time from 8 hours to 30 minutes did not believe the process had completed. We had to convince him that’s actually how it’s done.

And so, as Larry mentioned, this is the reminder that this is an internally developed technology in the midst of all the discussion of acquisitions. People forget that we’re actually spending $3.0 billion a year on research and development and this is why we do it.”

From these snippets, you can see that the top executives at Oracle are excited about Exadata. If you’re a techie (if you’re not, how’d you get to this blog?), you’ll probably already know about Kevin Closson’s popular blog on all things related to Oracle and storage. Kevin is giving a webcast next week on Exadata where we expect he’ll discuss some of the technical workings of the product–deeper than the overview information many of us have heard before. If you’re interested, I strongly encourage you to sign up for the event and attend. There is no better authority on Exadata than Kevin and this is a great opportunity!

I’ll be the first to offer a large congratulations to Jeremy Schneider on being the most recent appointment to the Oracle ACE program. He certainly deserves it (I nominated him, so I suppose I would think so) and I continue to look for great things to come.

Jeremy is the main creator of the IOUG RAC Attack! event that was held for the first time back in August 2008. He (with help from others) will also be putting it on as a half-day session at Collaborate 09. It’s a University Seminar on Thursday morning. All hands-on, all RAC, all the time. I’m looking forward to the event (I’m volunteering as a staffer). You should sign up now before it’s full! I can almost guarantee you’ll learn something.

Besides his work on this hands on lab/class for RAC, Jeremy has many other community contributions. His blog is full of excellent technical bits that always seem to come from a significant amount of research. He contributes occasionally to the Oracle-L mailing list. He also contributed some code to OCFS (v1) several years ago, so you can guess he understands a thing or two about programming and Linux, too.

His ACE Profile isn’t posted yet, but look for it to arrive soon. In the meantime, read some of the good stuff he wrote on his blog and look for him (and me too) at Collaborate in early May!

Congratulations, Jeremy!

Those of us that have dealt with RAC environments for a while are familiar with the behavior of Oracle Services in an Oracle Cluster. Services are an essential component for managing workload in a RAC environment. If you’re not defining any non-default services in your RAC database, you’re making a mistake. To learn more about services, I strongly recommend reading the definitive whitepaper by Jeremy Schneider on the topic.

In an Oracle RAC cluster, services can be started, stopped, and relocated from one instance to another. However, if you have multiple services for your database, then it becomes difficult to start them at a cold start. Due to dependencies in Oracle Clusterware, Continue reading ‘Start Database Services automatically after instance startup’

This has been an interesting week, but not really that surprising.

I was called back to a previous client site where I had previously helped with some Oracle Application Server ( post-install configuration. In that previous visit, I got oriented to the environment they use and the packaged application they were deploying. The packaged application uses JSP, Oracle Forms, and Oracle Reports (possibly also Discoverer). The deployment environment is all Microsoft Windows servers with two Oracle Application Server homes per application server since the vendor’s deployment requires that JSPs be deployed in a separate O_H from the Oracle Forms and Oracle Reports environment (that’s the first eyebrow-raise I did, but whatever). Continue reading ‘Install to go-live, 3 days’

Diving in Iceland, June 2009

It seems to everyone that I travel a lot. I guess I do compared to most people, but I enjoy traveling, seeing new places, new people, and old friends about as much as I enjoy anything. It’s usually part of my job anyway. So, with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit a place I’ve never been and may not have much reason or opportunity to visit again plus do some scuba diving, I couldn’t pass it up.

That’s right, in June 2009, I will visit Iceland and willfully plunge into the +2 C water that is the clearest body of water in the world. The reasons it is so clear have something to do with the fact that the water is the runoff from melting glaciers, filtered by volcanic rocks, and is very, very cold. It supports no wildlife (another reason it’s so clear/clean). Rumor has it that visibility is over 300 feet–that is something I really do have to see to believe.

The trip is being arranged by my friend Mogens Nørgaard who may very well be completely crazy. If you ever get a chance to meet and engage in conversation with him (a.k.a. “Moans Nogood”), do it. You won’t regret it, guaranteed.

The trip is highlighted on, Iceland’s (probably only) dive shop website. Oh, I forgot to mention that the lake bottom is where two tectonic plates (the North American and Eurasian plates, to be precise) meet up (!), so you’re essentially diving on or in one of the continental divides.

Of course, I’m very excited about this trip and hope that Ice, land can continue to function as their economic issues seem to be a little worse than everyone else’s. In the small world department, I have made contact with an Iceland native that I worked with back at Tandem (acquired by Compaq -> HP) in the late 90s. Hopefully, I can meet up with Leifur while I’m in the country. There are only about 300,000 people in the whole country, so he shouldn’t be *that* hard to find. On the other hand, it is possible that Leifur is like “John” is in the US. We’ll see.

RMOUG, Day 2, ++1

The second day of the RMOUG Training Days event was just as good if not better than the first. I took some notes for some sessions, so before my head explodes from all the information overload, here’s my brain dump of the day’s events. Continue reading ‘RMOUG, Day 2, ++1’

RMOUG, Day 1, +1

RMOUG Day 2 has started, but there was so much great content yesterday, I don’t know if I’ll remember it all unless I write a few notes here on my learning.

My first session of the day was Graham Wood’s session on adaptive thresholds for monitoring in 11g. I didn’t know very much about these new methods for setting alerts, but they are certain to be useful. Some of the methods for adaptive thresholds were available in 10g, but many enhancements were made in 11g. Most importantly, the cyclic nature of workload has periods that can be automatically determined in 11g whereas in 10g, they had to be specified manually. Graham talked briefly about using DB Time and Average Active Sessions as important metrics for tuning, but for alerting, adaptive thresholds make the most sense. Setting a hard limit means that you will likely miss many issues. If your system is normally 10% utilized overnight, but spends all night at 60% utilization, you would like to know about it. However, during the daytime, if the system normally operates at 75% utilization, a hard alert limit at 80% would have miss the 6x utilization increase from the overnight hours. Adaptive thresholds wouldn’t miss the aberration and would alert you of the 60% utilization in the overnight period. That would allow you time to attempt to resolve the problem before daytime hours start.

Continue reading ‘RMOUG, Day 1, +1’