The Value of Certification Exams (to me)

I’ve taken many certification exams over the course of my career. Digital UNIX, HPUX, Red Hat, Sun and, of course, Oracle. One might look at the list of certifications I’ve obtained and conclude that I just take all the tests I can to get all the certifications possible because it makes for better marketing. Well, I can tell you that certifications haven’t helped me get much additional business (that my other charms didn’t already have in the bag). Instead, the reason I take certification exams is because I talk to a lot of people in the course of my work and volunteerism. Many of the people I meet have taken these exams and obtained certifications and I like to know whether or not those certifications really mean anything. I’m sure many of you have taken an exam and thought to yourself that passing the exam was quite an achievement. When you meet someone that has also lived through and passed the same exam, you have a respect for them that you might not have appreciated without your experiences. So, I take the exams because Continue reading “The Value of Certification Exams (to me)”

ODTUG, Day 3

Today was the end of the ODTUG conference. I presented my last session of the conference in the smallest session room ever imagined. Regardless, we had a good group of about 15 people for the session and answered a lot of questions during the session. Following the session, I attended a session on APEX that was way over my head.

After lunch with Matt Topper, we headed to a session on the new features in Web Center Suite. It looks like a great tool that has potential change a lot in the Oracle development landscape. Time will tell.

After the session, I had to head to the airport to start my journey home. I’m not sure how I got so lucky, but I managed to score exit row seats on both of my flights home and my bags came out on the carousel pretty quickly too. Overall, it was one of the smoothest trips home I’ve had in a while–and it included both ATL and ORD airports which almost always introduces at least a little delay.

Tomorrow, I’m off to take the Oracle beta certification exam for Oracle RAC expert. We’ll see how that goes…

ODTUG, Day 2

Today started with some customer meetings until Matt Topper’s Identity Management session at 11am. Matt gave a great review of the past Oracle IdM options as well as a survey of the new (acquired) products including typical deployment scenarios for both. He had about 15 people attend–not bad for a topic that is just getting started.

After lunch, I was the ODTUG Ambassador for another Identity Management session by Eric Marcoux from Fujitsu. His session was more like a set of case studies for several implementations he has conducted. He focused completely on the “new” IdM products from Oblix and OctetString.

Following that, I was the ambassador for Lewis Cunningham’s Streams session. He detailed some past work he did to set up some streams for change data capture (CDC) between 9i and 10g for a customer.

At 4pm, I had to retreat to my room for a couple of meetings to wrap up the day. Working in EDT for a company that’s got a large presence in PDT is hard–time zones aren’t always your friend.

By 5:30pm, I was ready to go to Daytona USA for the evening. I met up with Matt Topper and had some dinner at the conference buffet before heading over to the event. We almost fixed the broken car in the amusement ride. It’s controller software was written on top of DOS, so we had fun playing with it (though we probably shouldn’t have been doing so). I got completely beat on the race simulator, though I think I would have done better if someone hadn’t hit me right near the start.

Matt Topper, Matt Vranicar, and I teamed up to try the pit crew challenge where you change a tire NASCAR pit crew style. We had a terrible first run of 25 seconds, but our second run was about 13 seconds–not bad.

We retired back to the hotel and enjoyed the usual overeating by topping off the night with a stop at the local Cold Stone.

ODTUG, Day 1

ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2007 logoLooks like this day is going to be no different than most days at conferences–start early and end late.

This morning started at 7am (!) with an ODTUG SIG Leaders breakfast meeting. The meeting was a great opportunity to provide ideas to Mike Riley, the ODTUG SIG VP, as well as other leaders in the group. We have lots of great ideas and will be working to make the SIGs serve their members’ needs better in the coming months. If you have ideas for the SIGs, particularly the Development DBA SIG, please contact me so that we can improve the group.

One significant note–I finally got a chance to meet Mark Rittman in person. He’s relatively famous, especially in the Oracle BIEE space, and has one of the oldest (and currently very active) Oracle-related blogs.

As this is the first day of the conference for most people, the first session of the day is the main general session and keynote for the week. The keynote speaker, Ted Farrel, is a VP in the Fusion Middleware division, Continue reading “ODTUG, Day 1”

Daytona, here I am

A little too much time in the airports yesterday, as usual. Oddly enough, I managed to make it out of Chicago on time, my connecting flight in Atlanta was on time and I landed in Daytona Beach early. I’m sure that if I had checked my baggage, it would have been lost πŸ™‚ .

So, I made it in one piece. Aside from getting to visit and hang out with my friends Matt Topper and Shaun O’Brien, I also took a ride on the awesome bungee-like thing next to the hotel that launches you up in the air about 120 feet. Definitely worth the $25 and highly recommended…before dinner πŸ™‚ .

I ended the day with performing some scheduled maintenance for a customer (that, as usual, took longer than expected due to some unexpected issues).

I’ll be posting my daily updates as I can. Tuesday should be a busy day of sessions and SIG meetings plus my first presentation.

ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2007 notable events

I’m in final preparation for next week’s conference and I think I’ve got my schedule nailed down…mostly. I’m very excited about the ODTUG Development DBA SIG (which I chair) meeting where we’ll be holding an expert panel discussion. Despite my last-minute planning, I managed to snag some great panelists:

  • Lewis Cunningham, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Eric Evans, Hotsos
  • Sue Harper, Oracle
  • Cary Millsap, Hotsos

I’ll be attempting to moderate the panel and make sure we get through as many audience questions as possible. This session will be on Tuesday at 5:30pm in Coquina A. This is definitely a rare opportunity to pitch your questions at this great collection of talented DBA-type people.

Additionally, ODTUG got my two sessions scheduled as well. I’m giving these two sessions during the week:

  • Tues, 4:15pm: High Availability Options for Oracle Database
  • Thurs, 9:45am: RAC for Beginners: The Basics

These are both sessions I’ve given previously, but repeat customers will get them at 50% off! πŸ™‚ Please come by and stick around to introduce yourself if you can make time in your conference schedule. I’ll also be trying to attend some of the sessions my friends Matt Topper and Shaun O’Brien are giving.

I love the ODTUG conference because it is small enough that you see the same people several times during the week. If you see me during the week, please say something so I know that someone reads my ramblings :).

See you next week–hopefully, I’ll get time to post a few times from the bar that is, conference.

Apache HTTP server redirects

I’ve had the privilege (or substitute your own word) of working on quite a bit of Oracle Application Server configuration lately. The configuration I reviewed today brought to light another common configuration that I just don’t understand. The site is essentially an ASP that hosts their custom application for external customers. Each customer has registered their own domain name. So, when you hit, it accesses the ASP’s website and redirects you to The mechanism that has been set up for this is to make each of the customer’s custom domains into a name-based virtualhost with its own DocumentRoot, like this: Continue reading “Apache HTTP server redirects”

Oracle HTTP Server (Apache) rotatelogs configuration

Is it just me, or does Oracle pick useless defaults? The latest case I encountered (just one of several) is the default Oracle Application Server configuration for logging. Both the HTTP Server ErrorLog and CustomLog use rotatelogs, but if they go so far as to configure rotatelogs, why not make some sensible defaults?

Here are the defaults I found at a recent OAS installation: Continue reading “Oracle HTTP Server (Apache) rotatelogs configuration”

Portal Virtual Host Configuration

Today I configured Portal on a test system to handle multiple virtual hosts. This was done as a proof-of-concept to support some work for a customer. We had a standard installation on a server named with infrastructure on port 7780 and the middle tier using 7779 (HTTP server listen port) and 7778 (webcache listen port). The desired result of this configuration is to have two additional (virtual) hostnames be available on the middle tier. For our testing, we created fictional aliases named and Continue reading “Portal Virtual Host Configuration”

ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2007 coming up

I’m spending a significant portion of my time lately on preparing for the ODTUG Kaleidoscope conference coming up on June 18th. I managed to get my presentations submitted early (for a change) and have been trolling for Development DBA SIG panelists for the panel discussion we’ll have on Tuesday, June 19th from 5:30-7pm.

I have two sessions to present at the conference. The first is “High Availability Options for Oracle Database” on Tuesday at 4:15pm and the other session is “RAC For Beginners: The Basics” on Thursday at 9:45am. You can find the abstracts on the conference website. When I’m not presenting, I’ll be attending other sessions or meeting with friends or customers that I haven’t seen except when we rendezvous at conferences. You should also check out the Kaleidoscope sessions given by Matt Topper and Shaun O’Brien, a couple of good friends that know a thing or two about Oracle as well.

If you can’t make it to Daytona Beach for ODTUG Kaleidoscope (definitely your loss), then maybe we can meet at Oracle OpenWorld San Francisco in November!