As one of the organizers of the IOUG RAC Attack! event, I may have a slightly partial viewpoint, but I think the event overall went very well. The hands-on lab was especially popular and I think participants in the hands-on lab all got to learn at least a few new things. If you’ve been to Oracle Education training classes like I have, you know how it seems like you sometimes have to spend 5 days in training to get 1.5 days’ worth of material. With the hands-on lab at RAC Attack!, we provided guided exercises to demonstrate certain features and/or processes, but the whole day was more like “structured playtime” than particular labs that had to be completed.
Jeremy Schneider was the brilliant mastermind behind organizing the lab materials and did the majority of the work to build the lab exercises. Since we used VMWare virtual machines, it was relatively easy to “reset” a system back to a known working configuration after a participant tries something that didn’t work. Jeremy also created several “jumpstart” points that allowed participants to start their lab experience from several starting points. For example, they could start just after the Linux installation so they could immediately start installing Oracle software or they could choose to start after all installations were finished and with a RAC database already created so that they could immediately jump in to the backup and recovery or load balancing lab exercises. This method also allowed people to try anything they like and within 20 minutes (to reset the VMWare files), they had a complete refresh and were back where they started (or at any other jumpstart point). There were a total of 5 jumpstart points (including options for using ASM or OCFS2 for the database files) which made for extreme flexibility. I think the only criticism I heard was that we only allowed participants to be in the hands-on lab for one day–most wanted two days or more.
The technical sessions led by Ed Whalen (Performance Tuning Corporation), Alex Gorbachev (Pythian), Krishnadev Telikicherla (Oracle RAC Pack), Jeremy Schneider (recently acquired by UBS Bank), and me all seemed to go very well. I wasn’t able to attend many of them as I spent most of my time helping hands-on lab participants, but the participants that attended the sessions indicated that they went very well and were very applicable to their learning process. Thanks again to all the speakers that helped make the event a huge success!
For those that participated in the event, I’m eager to get your feedback. Please drop a comment on this post or send me an email with any feedback (positive or suggestions for next time) as soon as possible–before you forget! Oh, and thanks for attending the first-ever RAC Attack! event. The first group to experience an event always has a special place in making the future events that much better! For those that couldn’t make it to this event, be sure to join the Oracle RAC SIG so that you will get notices of future events of this nature. We’re working now to plan for holding the hands-on lab at the Collaborate 09 conference in Orlando in May, 2009 (watch this site and/or the RAC SIG site for details).