Oracle (Thor) stays near the front of User Provisioning Magic Quadrant

For those that pay attention to the Gartner Magic Quadrant reports, you might be interested to see that Oracle made a good choice with their acquisition of Thor. The acquired product, now known as Oracle Identity Manager, has placed Oracle in the leaders area of the latest User Provisioning report from Gartner. Nishant’s Talking Identity blog summarized the report last week. Read the full report.

IOUG Forum at Oracle Users Forum Day at OpenWorld

The IOUG Forum is shaping up to be a great program of sessions at Oracle OpenWorld on Sunday, November 10th. The Sunday program consists of more than 35 SIG meetings and technical sessions starting at 8:30am and running through 5:30pm. So, for those of you that are using Sunday as a travel day, you may arrive in time to attend the last session of the day starting at 4pm. Please check out our sessions using the online OOW Schedule Builder tool and add us to your personal itinerary. You can search the itinerary using the keyword IOUG and choose Sunday from the search criteria to see all the IOUG Forum sessions and meetings on Sunday.

In addition to the Sunday program, the IOUG was also given more than 20 session slots in the regular conference program. Those sessions are listed in a spreadsheet at IOUG’s announcement on OpenWorld events.

The RAC SIG is sponsoring several of the sessions as well as holding a Birds of a Feather session at 4pm on Sunday as well. Keep watching this site and the RAC SIG website for more details as the conference gets closer.

Bharosa software now available for download

Oracle finally closed the deal with Bharosa that I wrote about several weeks ago. They haven’t posted it yet on OTN, but it’s on under the name “Oracle Adaptive Access Manager”. The documentation isn’t quite up to normal Oracle documentation standards, but it’s enough to get the install up and running. I’m getting my own VM installed with this stuff configured and tested, I’ll post some results here.

To find this new stuff, go to, fill out the form, search for “Oracle Application Server Products” and choose your platform (I chose Linux x86). The first search result returned will likely be “Oracle Adaptive Access Manager 10g (”. That’s Oracle’s name for the Bharosa software. The downloads are tiny–only about 45Mb total. Happy downloading!

I’m one of those guys

It’s official, I’m one of these guys. I’m excited an honored to join the ranks and look forward to meeting the other Oracle ACE Directors at OpenWorld in November. I’m also looking forward to interfacing with Oracle more closely and continuing my blogging and writing habits as well. There are some truly amazing technologists in the Oracle ACE Director program–I’m lucky to be among them.

To the other Oracle ACE Directors and 39,000+ other of you, see you in SF in November! πŸ™‚

BTW, for those that are interested, check out my ACE profile.

It’s all in the bag

I recently changed jobs and found myself in need of a new computer bag. I originally went for the same bag that I had a few years ago from Dell. Unfortunately, they didn’t change the name, but they changed the bag completely–and for the worse. So, I went on a hunt for a solid, nice computer bag that I could use to run my life. After all, a computer bag to a computer consultant is sort of like a purse to a mother of four children (I only have two, so this is based on stories I’ve heard): it holds your entire life and finding things in it quickly is key to your daily happiness.

I hunted high and low, bought at least 4 bags from the typical computer stores locally and, one by one, took them all back. Finally, I asked my good friend Matt Topper, who generally knows lots of useless things, for a recommendation. As usual, he came through with what may be my last computer bag ever: The Empire Builder from Tom Bihn. The only negative thing I can say about this critical piece of equipment is that it is fairly expensive. Once you get beyond that and realize that it’s worth it because it’ll last you forever, you won’t be sorry. It’s a great piece of equipment and I actually paid them to write this testimonial. In fact, I may buy another bag from them at some point if I need something else (smaller or backpack style or something else).

So, if anyone wants to ask me for a shoulder-style computer bag, you now know what I’ll recommend.

Oracle Identity Manager Advanced Workshop

I spent the past three days at Oracle’s office in downtown Chicago working on the Oracle Identity Manager Advanced Workshop. Ananth Kini and Sid Choudhury from Oracle did a fine job explaining the product and it’s various use cases to us. Most of the time was allocated to working though extensive and applicable lab exercises where we were guided through tasks like putting new logos on the login page, customizing look and feel, configure prepopulate adapters, configuring and customizing notifications, extending an existing connector (provisioning), and developing, implementing, and testing a complete connector from scratch.

The class was offered to Oracle Partners for free and is the second workshop in the series. The basic workshop happened several months before (I wasn’t able to attend). Unfortunately, I won’t be able to post the contents of the workshop (you have to be a partner to get access to the content). If you’re an Oracle employee, you can download the lab exercises and virtual machines from an internal Oracle website (you’ll have to contact the IdM PM team to find out the site if you don’t already know it).

Overall, what I took away from the class are these thoughts:

  • Almost no one really uses OIM in the “standard” or “out-of-the-box” configuration. Every implementation will require extensive configuration and very likely, some customizations for look and feel.
  • A background in Java development or at least a strong understanding of programming and OO principles will be very helpful when navigating and using the OIM Design Console.
  • The hot deploy feature in OC4J is completely underrated. Our test environment used JBoss (which doesn’t have a hot deployment option), so we frequently had to restart it. Restarting took anywhere from 30-60 seconds to handle initialization.
  • There are plenty of people interested in OIM. Our class was about 13 people. This workshop is being held 3 times in the US (based on the last schedule I saw) and many people came from near and far to attend this session.
  • The OIM product has impressive capabilities, but it takes more work than expected to take advantage of those capabilities. For a non-programmer-type like me, understanding why 3 properties files all contain the same or similar information still doesn’t make sense, but apparently that’s the way many Java deployments are handled when deployed with i18n.
  • Connectors include not just provisioning parts (add, modify,Β  delete), but also reconciliation parts.

If you’re a partner and have a chance to attend this event, I’d recommend it. There’s another one happening in November in Reston, VA. Ask your friendly sales rep about it and they should be able to get you the invitation information. Make sure you and your system meet the prerequisites. The workshop uses VMWare images, so having 2Gb of RAM available will be important.

Another Oracle Certification Exam

Tonight I took another Oracle certification beta exam, Oracle Application Server 10g: Administration II (1Z1-312). Since it was a beta, the fee was only $50 and I knew some of the topics to be covered, so I figured I’d wing it and see how I did. I doubt I passed as I wasn’t well-prepared–especially for the questions related to Application Server Guard and some of the questions on Cold Failover Clusters. We’ll see in a few months if I managed to squeak by it or not (they don’t announce scores for the beta exams for about 10 weeks after the beta period ends). The good part about beta exams is the price, but the bad part is that they have you answer all the questions in the test pool. For this exam, there were over 215 questions in 180 minutes (3 hours). I should know better than to schedule such a span through dinner time, but that was all I could fit in to my schedule this time!

Another reason it was challenging for me was due to a thought that occurred to me as I got about half way through the exam. That is, why are Oracle ACE Directors (for Middleware, Database, or otherwise) not required to have completed some certification. I’ll be the first to agree that having a certification doesn’t necessarily mean you know what you’re talking about. I also know from friends that have already been given the ACE Director honor, the process can be a long one and, at least for them, there were several technical interviews that were required as well. I guess if I were in Oracle’s Certification Program Office, I’d sure like the ACE Directors to take and pass my exams as a sign that the exams were worth taking and that they actually stood for something meaningful. After all, if the ACE Directors are required to take them, it would add at least a little legitimacy to the certification program, wouldn’t it?

I’m not looking to start a flame war or drag the ACE Director program over the coals. I am wondering what others may think of certifications. Note that I’ve already posted my thoughts on certifications, so you’ll see I’m not proposing that certifications be the sole measure of anything. However, they are an interesting tool and provide at least one relatively objective metric as a starting point for evaluating a candidate (for a job or for an elite honorary title like ACE Director).

Let’s see if anyone’s reading…comment away! πŸ™‚

I’m a diver

In a departure from the usual technical grind, I spent this past weekend scuba diving in a local quarry (Haigh Quarry, to be precise) and obtained my PADI Open Water certification! It was a great weekend to be in the water (though the water was murky…about 5-10 ft vis in most places). My classmates were great too and we had fun playing catch with the bowling balls scattered around the bottom. Eunice is an awesome instructor–be sure to request her when you sign up at Below H2O.

I logged 6 dives (two as a full-fledged OW diver) and did the first of my 5 required dives for PADI Advanced Open Water certification. I’m hoping to finish the others either next month or next spring if next month gets too cold.

So, since I’m the only diver in my family, if anyone in Chicagoland is looking for a dive buddy, let me know as I’ll be looking on a regular basis.

Monday (on a Tuesday) morning finds

I was catching up on my reading this fine Chicagoland morning and found some interesting articles that are definitely worth a short post.

First, there’s a strong endorsement for Rich Niemiec’s new book Oracle 10g Performance Tuning Tips and Techniques. I’m still waiting for my copy, but Mary Ann Davidson doesn’t dish out endorsements every day, so now I’m getting anxious to dig in.

Next in my “interesting reading” list is the aritcle on integrating reCAPTCHA with Oracle SSO by Paul Gallagher. This posting provides the code necessary to perform all the steps necessary to put a captcha on your Oracle SSO login page. Very cool stuff indeed. Bex Huff indicated in one of the comments that he wouldn’t recommend reCAPTCHA right now because while it is free, it seems to be filling his inbox with a lot of spam. Of course, it’s probably hard to determine if this is due to Bex’s general fame or reCAPTCHA! πŸ™‚

Tanel Poder posted an article about a nice feature in Windows to allow you to color sections in the Windows Command Prompt.Β  It isn’t that hard to implement and could be a great help for those that teach classes or even doing a presentation. It also makes screenshots more meaningful by highlighting the interesting parts of your screen. I’m definitely keeping this posting handy!

Now if I can just keep the days of the week straight this week, I’ll be doing well. I’m working on building the RAC VMs for and also some other installs for some of the Oracle Identity Management products inside of VMs too. So, watch for more articles about what I’ve learned here over the next week or two.