RAC SIG Officer/Board Member Elections

All RAC SIG members should have received an announcement regarding the voting that’s now in progress for new RAC SIG board members/officers. There were several nominations received in July and early August and voting is open now to all RAC SIG members. Just login to the site and use the Elections tab to cast your votes. Make sure you vote for each office (nominations for each office are on separate pages).

I’m giving up my spot as the Events Chair and am running for the President position along with several other fine candidates. Please vote today!

In related news, I just posted the RAC SIG Events taking place at Oracle Open World 2008 on the front page of the site, so check those out (and add them to your schedule in the OOW Schedule Builder) if you’re planning to attend OOW this year!

OOW Mix Session Selections Announced

I just saw this blog posting indicating that one of my session suggestions for OOW (So, you want to be an Oracle ACE?) was selected for presentation at the conference. Thanks to everyone that voted (for any session, but especially this one)–I look forward to seeing you there at the session too (especially the ACEs and ACE Directors)! Once I learn the time and date for the session, I’ll be sure to post it here.

Of course, thanks to the OracleAppsLab gang for Mix and working with the OOW team to take a cool idea (not sure who gets credit for the idea) and make it reality (quickly)! It’s only 61 days, 22 hours, 37 minutes and 27 seconds until OOW starts (the User Group Forum Day on Sunday, September 21)!

You want to be an Oracle ACE?

The Oracle ACE program is one way that Oracle recognizes community members that make significant contributions to the Oracle community through blogging, forum participation, user group presentations, and other similar volunteering activities. As one of the Oracle ACE Directors, I have tried to promote the program by raising awareness of its existence and the importance of spreading your knowledge for the good of all Oracle technologists. With help from Google, almost everyone consumes the knowledge posted by the good deeds of others, but a relative few (but growing) contribute to the body of knowledge available online.

There are a lot of smart people working in technology communities these days. Oracle’s community has been growing steadily and I think relatively rapidly in the last few years. Other non-Oracle communities have deep roots and dedicated individuals volunteering lots of their time to help build and maintain networks of technologists too. This afternoon, I read a blog post written by Sheeri Cabral who is a bona fide MySQL community leader and has the awards to prove it. Her post offers a bullet-list of tasks that, if followed, will put you on the road to being a community leader as well.

I think it’s a good time to note that community involvement is becoming a bigger factor in the job market. As a consulting practice manager that regularly interviews and occasionally hires talented individuals, I look at community involvement as a significant factor in my evaluation process. Those that are engaged in the community are more likely to get my attention and those that lead parts of the community receive and deserve a special place near the front of the line in my book. Right or wrong, those involved with the community have typically been more resourceful, harder working, and easier to work with in my experiences. Of course, you also have to “know your stuff”, but that’s becoming the easy part with such an active community producing tons of valuable technical content daily.

So, consider the blueprint Sheeri offers as the motivation to get you more involved. I know I will be working to check off the items on that list for my own community involvement in the coming months! For example, the ODTUG Kaleidoscope and Oracle OpenWorld events are going to be here before you know it and presenting at these events is a great way to give back some knowledge to the rest of the community.

If you want to present at Oracle OpenWorld, you’ve got an opportunity to do so (yes, YOU!). Oracle has made a few session slots available to those that have good ideas. To get started, see the blog postings about the submission process and then go to Oracle Mix and submit your idea! Once submitted, start blogging about it yourself and get others to vote for your idea so you can present at OOW08. If your idea doesn’t get picked, you can always choose to present at one of the OTN Unconference slots at OOW08 too. If timing doesn’t work out for you to attend OOW this year, we’re only a few months away from the start of the call for speakers for the Collaborate 09 conference (in Orlando, May, 2009). IOUG starts their call for papers in the fall, probably sometime in August or September. Watch the IOUG home page for your chance to submit a session proposal there too.

Finally, congratulations, Sheeri, on your well-deserved award and thanks for offering sage advice on community involvement!

Who wants to SCUBA pre-OOW08?

I’m thinking of organizing a 2-tank (or more) scuba dive down in Monterrey, California, a little ways south of SF for the weekend prior to OOW 08. You can’t really scuba in San Francisco Bay–not much there, murky, ships, etc. In Monterrey, it’s a whole different story and there are many dive operators and charters servicing the area. I’m proposing that we dive on Saturday, September 20 (my birthday!)–2 or maybe 3 tanks. For those like me that live in landlocked areas, getting to dive with the sea lions and wildlife of northern California is a rare opportunity.

If there’s enough interest, I’ll coordinate a group and find a charter that will take us out and a shop that will rent all the gear (if you don’t want to lug your own). If there are enough of us, I’ll even figure out a way to transport us from the SF area down to Monterrey and back. At this point, I haven’t made plans, just seeing how much interest there might be. I’ll figure out costs once I figure out how big the group may be.

If you’re interested, comment on this posting and/or email me directly (dannorris@dannorris.com) and I’ll keep a little list of who’s interested. If you’re not attending OOW, but can make it to Monterrey for a dive, you’re welcome too–I just need a dive buddy and I don’t particularly care if they know anything about Oracle :). See you underwater (hopefully)!

Future Oracle events

This is a quick note about upcoming major events on my Oracle event calendar.

In between these events (hopefully, I’ll get to attend and/or participate in all of them), I’ll also be planning to present at some regional user group events in Charlotte (CLTOUG), Chicago (COUG), Northern California (NoCOUG) and others as time allows.

If you’re going to be at any of these events, please get in touch so we can meet up there. I’m hoping to make more time this year for attending these events and be a little less involved in them so that I can make more time for talking with individuals and/or customers. Hope to see you in the next year at one or more of these venues!

Reflections on OOW 2007

As I think back to last week, there are a few (okay, maybe more than a few) specific things that come to mind, but not in any particular order.

  • Larry‘s laugh during his hour-long monologue on Sunday night
  • Meeting Jake from oracleappslab.com
  • Meeting Eddie Awad
  • Seeing Mark Rittman again
  • Meeting Michael Armstrong-Smith
  • Chance meeting of Morgens Norgaard and Anjo Kolk
  • Seeing Michael Mesaros from Oracle’s IdM Product Management team again
  • Seeing Mike Schrock from F5 again
  • Spending lots of time with Matt Topper
  • Doing a co-presentation with Matt Topper
  • Playing the “Oracle Conclave” sketch from Saturday Night Live on the big screen in one of the session rooms before a presentation
  • Talking with the product manager for Oracle Adaptive Access Manager (OAAM) in the Demogrounds
  • Meeting Rey Ong…twice!
  • Meeting David Kemp in person
  • Seeing friends from IT Convergence, some that are still working there, some that have moved on
  • Chatting with Dan Morgan about his upcoming training offerings
  • Having a lot of people show up at my HA Options For Oracle DB session on Sunday
  • Seeing quite a few people at my RAC For Beginners session on Monday afternoon despite attempts by Oracle to hide me in the last room at the end of the last hallway at the Hilton
  • Having great attendance at the RAC SIG events on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday
  • Seeing the RAC SIG board again
  • Meeting with the IOUG team for dinner and for business
  • Seeing En Vogue (they still look good!), Billy Joel (for a little while), and Lenny Kravitz on Wednesday night
  • Learning how Twitter works and why I should care
  • Meeting with Debbie M again to talk about future opportunities
  • Chatting with my buddies at good ol’ TUSC
  • Meeting Andrew Clarke, Tim Hall, skirt 2.0 wearing Billy Cripe, Rich from oracleappslab.com, Justin Kestelyn, Emily Yip, Vikki Lira, Laurent Schneider, Kutsal Berberoglu, and Chris Muir, to name a few
  • Chatting with Arup Nanda, Jeremy Simmons, Eric Broughton, Matt Vranicar, Eric Camplin, Eric Noelke, Bill Callahan, Jake Van der Vort, Lisa Cowles, Stephanie Trailer, Frank Ryan, Christine Scano
  • Seeing Shaun O’Brien in his new job and uniform
  • Cheering on Piocon as they win their first Titan award (look for another next year :).

These are just some of the things I remember. I have to say that I also attended more sessions this year than I have for the last 2 years combined and learned quite a few interesting things. However, I found the people much more interesting than anything I learned and made some connections that I expect to last far into the future. This was definitely the “people” year for me and the coming year should be very exciting!

There’s a first time for everything

As even long-term parking at O’Hare is expensive, I elected to arrange a car from/to home for OpenWorld last week. I’ve used the same service several times and they’ve always been professional and on time–except this time.

The ride from home to the airport was boring enough–they were only 5 minutes late to my door, but that’s excusable. The ride home from O’Hare was the more interesting story. As usual at O’Hare, the cars have to wait about 20 minutes from the terminal in a lot. I got off the plane, called to let them know I’m ready and he told me 20 minutes–no surprise. I didn’t time them, but it was about 20 minutes, so that was okay. The negatives began when I sat behind the driver (who was shorter than I am) and got kneecapped as I sat down because his seat was so far back. Turns out, apparently his vehicle (which I presume is exclusively used for chauffeuring people around) has no trunk release, so in order to stow my bag, he had to turn the car off and remove the key from the ignition (how could he not have a spare key?) which in many luxury cars will cause the seat to move all the way back. Now, you’d think that a professional driver would be smart enough to disable this kneecapping feature so that the passenger behind the driver wouldn’t be inconvenienced–I know I would, but then again I guess I am a detail-oriented person.

We finally left the airport with me and one other passenger and headed into rush-hour traffic on Friday evening. It was evident that I was in for a rough ride as the driver had more of a “cab driver” style of flooring the car for every 5-foot advancement and then slamming on the brakes just before ramming into the car ahead. No collisions on this ride, though there were at least two times I had to brace myself on the back of the seat to keep from injuring myself.

The punchline of this joke is that about 3 miles after we left the airport, he pulls off at the O’Hare oasis and mumbled something about gasoline. He drives into the gas station and stops in front of a pump. Turns off the car (which kneecaps me again), hops out of the car and jogs inside the building. I commented to the passenger next to me that this is a first. Seems to me that a professional driver wouldn’t inconvenience his patrons with a stop for gas when he clearly could have done the stop before picking us up. Also, it was rush hour, so the ride was already longer than normal due to traffic. He finally emerges from the station with a cup of coffee in hand and *then* starts to pump the gas. I think the car (a Lincoln Continental) only took about 10 gallons which means it was still about 1/2 full and he just wanted coffee. The rest of the ride home was a jostling ride in traffic where we went 50 mph for 100 feet and then slammed on the brakes again.

I just looked at my receipt and see that I had a little trouble writing my first number, so I will have to confirm that they didn’t interpret that as an 8 instead of a 5 (I intended to give $0 tip). I’m not interested in publicly blackballing this company, but I surely won’t use them again as there are plenty of others ready to take my $$ and I’m not sure it is possible to provide worse service.

It’s all over: OOW, Day 5 (Thursday)

After a late night, I was slow to join the world on Thursday morning. When I finally rose, it was mid-morning and I was lucky enough to meet up with Debbie Migliore from Oracle for breakfast (well, it was breakfast at least for me). Debbie is part of the beta programs office and we met during 11g database beta testing. We had a nice time catching up: my job change, her latest reorganization internally at Oracle. As usual, Debbie overstayed and was off from breakfast to sprint to the airport to begin her way home.

I then headed to a session about Oracle Adaptive Access Manager by product manager Eric Leach. Eric and I had been in touch prior to OOW, so it was good to meet him in person and his session was enlightening as well.

Following that session, I headed to the exhibit hall to help with teardown. First, I had a little spare time and finally got a chance to tour the whole hall and meet up with Mike Schrock from F5. Mike and I had been in touch over the past year about forming some new type of partnership where we can work with F5 closely, but not join their traditional partnership program (as we have little interest in reselling the product line). We’re still working on that (hopefully, there will be some news in the coming months), so it was great to catch up and see him again.

After meeting with Mike, we tore down the Piocon booth in about 30 minutes and boxed it up for shipping back home. With that done, I headed to two more sessions to wrap up the day. The first was a session about how Oracle Enterprise Manager has been extended to manage the Oracle CoreID components and the Oracle Web Services Manager product. Those features are in the 11g Grid Control product–live demo looked very promising, so hopefully we’ll see the 11g Grid Control early next year, though they weren’t willing to even hint at a date except to say “soon”.

The last session of the day and the conference for me was a great session that looked at securing an application end-to-end. This session first talked about the new capability in 11g Fusion Middleware to handle SSL setup for all components in the entire stack. Truly a good tool that serves a big need. After reviewing that new feature, the presenters proceeded to review how many other products fit together to provide application and database security end-to-end. They briefly mentioned EUS, VPD, OAM, OAAM, OIM, and just about all the IdM Suite products and what particular need they meet. Definitely a good way to end the conference. (I was downing a Red Bull for each of the last two sessions in order to survive!)

The evening wrapped up with visiting about the week’s activities with my coworker and friend Jeremy Simmons before turning in early in preparation for flying home Friday morning.

OOW, Day 4 (Wednesday)

I tried to sleep a little later this morning after being up a little bit later than usual last night. Didn’t really work–still up too early, but I guess I’ll sleep next week instead.

I met up with Jake from oracleappslab.com fame for a late breakfast. After that, I parked myself in the Piocon booth for a while and caught up with my guys on what sessions they’ve been attending and how the booth has been working out.

I didn’t get to any sessions before lunch today. Grabbed lunch quickly before heading to the Dell/Ellison keynotes. The Dell keynote was a lot about products coming up. I’m not sure quite what I was expecting, but I guess I felt like it was a little too much of a pitch to really enjoy it. After Michael Dell finished, there was a pause while they did set changes.
Continue reading “OOW, Day 4 (Wednesday)”

OOW, Day 3 (Tuesday)

I started today in the exhibit hall to check in on our booth and clean our Oracle Partner Network Titan Award. Sounds easy, but if you’ve ever tried to find glass cleaner and paper towels in an exhibition hall, you’d know it isn’t as easy at it seems at first. Anyway, it’s a beautiful glass vase engraved with the award information and it’s much prettier when you clean off all the fingerprints ;).

After doing my booth chore for the day and seeing the booth fully staffed, I headed to a session titled “Combining Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database with Oracle RAC: Run Your Applications at Warp Speed”. I arrived late and apparently someone didn’t see the pre-enrollement numbers because it was in a room for 50 and was standing room only. I listened to about the middle half of the presentation and ducked out a bit early to attend the RAC SIG Expert Panel session back in Moscone South. The RAC SIG Expert Panel was good as always. Thanks to Rich doing a good job moderating and Saar, Barb, Nitin, Phil, and Roland for answering solidly as usual. I have to say that it takes some bravery to allow anyone to submit questions without any preparation–these panelists are obviously dedicated to serving the interests of RAC users and customers and they do a fine job.

Following the RAC SIG panel session, I headed to a meeting with the IOUG folks about starting up a RAC bootcamp of some kind. We’re thinking it may be a traveling roadshow that could also be shortened up for conference presentation at Collaborate and possibly OOW as well. If you have any thoughts on this, let me know.

With that meeting over, it was back to Moscone West for a quick stop at the IOUG booth to say hi and pick up my ribbon for my badge’s ribbon train (up to 5 now!). Then stopped in the OTN lounge…they were out of any food or drink, but I did manage to snag my very own OTN tshirt 2.0.

The mid-afternoon session slot took me to the “Architecting an Enterprise Identity & Access Management Solution” session. It was a panel session with Darren Calman, Oracle, Pankaj Jain, Sena Systems, Jonathan Cavner, eFunds Corporation, and Stephen Hendrie, The Hershey Company as panelists. They decided to spend 45 minutes discussing their environments/projects and only allow 15 minutes for questions, so I bailed out and headed to the exhibition hall.

In the exhibit hall, I chatted with Mark Karlstrad who is the Oracle PM for Oracle Adaptive Access Manager (OAAM). Hopefully, that meeting will result in getting access to a full copy of the OAAM software that works better than the current external copy available for download.

For the last session slot of the day, I attended “Enterprise Role Management and Identity Management in Practice” about the Bridgestream technology Oracle acquired a few months ago. Good session–lots of good tips. Note that the biggest “theme” I saw was that you have to handle project management and plan the implementation very well. Implementation is relatively easy compared to engineering the roles you implement.

After the session, I had a brief meeting with the IOUG DBA Track Managers to review some abstracts for Collaborate 08 before heading over to the Thirsty Bear for Mark Rittman’s blogger meetup. The meetup was a good time to catch up and meet “famous” people that I’ve read a lot about, but haven’t gotten a chance to meet. Thanks Mark for getting everyone together!