Collaborate 09: Don’t miss these sessions

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!

ADV: RAC Attack Hands-on Event at Collaborate09

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!

IOUG SELECT Journal articles on RAC

Here’s a good reason to become an IOUG member or, if you already are a member, a good reason to dig out that username/password to the IOUG website. The most recent issue of the IOUG publication SELECT Journal contains several great articles (if I do say so myself) about Oracle RAC.

I contributed one article titled “RAC For Beginners: The Basics” and also helped identify the other contributors to help give the issue a significant focus on RAC. It was a great coincidence that the issue came out just before the RAC Attack! event we held in early August. Each attendee at that event received a copy of the issue as part of their event registration.

You’ll need your IOUG login in order to read the articles, but you can at least browse the article titles on the SELECT Journal website without logging in. If you aren’t an IOUG member, you should consider joining–SELECT Journal is just one of many member benefits.

For potential authors reading this entry, SELECT Journal contributing authors do receive some nice gifts like an exclusive embroidered shirt and other goodies in addition to the 15 minutes of fame (actually 3 months since it’s a quarterly publication!). Hope you enjoy the article and if you have suggestions for improving it, please let me know directly via email.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Oracle RAC SIG website and sign up for membership there to access our document library of more great articles like the ones featured in SELECT.

COLLABORATE 09 IOUG Call For Speakers now open

While we’re still busy preparing for Oracle Open World, the IOUG, OAUG, and Quest groups have been busily assembling plans for COLLABORATE 09 happening May 3-7 in Orlando. Today, the IOUG opened their call for speakers on their website. Start thinking now about the topic(s) you’d like to present at the conference. The call for speakers will remain open through the end of October, so you’ve got 6 weeks to think, prepare, revise, and submit your ideas.

You can be sure the RAC SIG will maintain our conference presence with events at the Collaborate 09 conference as well.

To help identify yourself as an attendee, be sure to join the COLLABORATE 09 Attendees group on Mix and/or add yourself to the event on Upcoming. I’ll hope to see you there!

Now back to the regularly scheduled OOW preparation action!

UPDATE (11-Sep-2008): The speaker submission page has a login box, just like previous years. However, if you have had a speaker account in past years you need to know that this year IOUG is using a new system and everyone has to create new accounts in the system this year. Hope you saved that bio somewhere else instead of execting to reuse it again! 🙂

IOUG RAC Attack!, Event Summary

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. Continue reading “IOUG RAC Attack!, Event Summary”

IOUG RAC Attack!, Day 1 complete

Many of you have (hopefully) heard of the IOUG RAC Attack! event taking place yesterday and today in Chicago. We had a great first day yesterday with many great technical sessions and the first-day lab guinea pigs didn’t find many bugs or issues in completing the lab exercises and tests. Overall, the format is working out pretty well, though I think many people had a tough time choosing what technical sessions they were willing to miss in order to attend the hands on lab.

For any of the RAC Attack! attendees, please (really, please–like right now before you forget) drop me a line with your feedback and/or leave it here in comments. I am growing more and more confident that we’ll repeat this event at some point in the future. Plus, it’s highly likely that the hands on lab portion will be repeated at the Collaborate09 conference in Orlando in May, 2009 as well (sorry, no website up for it yet). Stay tuned for more details! So, if you didn’t get enough hands on lab time or have coworkers, peers or buddies that couldn’t make it to Chicago, there will be more opportunities for them to participate in the future. I hope Tuesday goes as well as Monday or better and I think it will!

My train is about to arrive in Chicago, so I’ll look forward to seeing today’s lab victims participants shortly!

IOUG RAC Attack! Register Now!

The Oracle RAC SIG and the IOUG are co-sponsoring the IOUG “RAC Attack” event and if you haven’t yet heard about it, you might want to check it out. The event runs for 2 days, August 4-5, in downtown Chicago and will bring together some excellent presenters as well as the opportunity for hands-on experiences via the hands-on labs that run throughout the event. See the RAC Attack web page for more details on the event.

As one of the RAC SIG board members, I’ve been involved with the planning and development of this event over the last 9 months and I think it’s going to be one of the best opportunities to get focused, high-quality education on RAC available today. Plus, you’ll get the chance to network with a group of people that are focused on RAC and it’s uses.

Of course, I’ll be there, so if you do make it to the event, please be sure to say hello. I’ll likely spend much of my time in the hands-on lab (when I’m not presenting my technical session) helping those that need it to build their cluster, test backup and recovery or exercise some new features.

Hope to see you there!

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!

Collaborate 08 thoughts

I took a few extra days to decompress from last week’s events at Collaborate 08 before writing up a summary of my thoughts. I didn’t think it was really possible to be more busy than I have been in previous years, but I think I matched my previous year’s schedule pretty easily. This year, instead of spending a lot of time in the Piocon exhibit hall booth (we had an excellent location this time), I replaced much of the time I usually spend carrying out the corporate duties with volunteer activities for the IOUG Collaborate 08 Conference Committee.

I was one of the three IOUG DBA Track Managers (along with Bonnie Bizzaro and Nick Marcovecchio) whose responsibilities were to select the DBA sessions for the conference, review the whitepapers and presentations for each speaker (with the help of our excellent reviewers), ensure that the speakers made it to their sessions, and provide feedback to speakers after their sessions (especially first-time speakers). These duties, along with coordinating 3 RAC SIG events, giving 2 expert technical sessions, one technical session, and assembling and moderating a panel discussion made for a busy week. I can say, though, that being on the conference committee is a rewarding experience and something that volunteers should aspire to as they become more involved with the IOUG. Anyone can apply for the Collaborate 09 conference committee when the application becomes available later this summer.

As mentioned, I had some extra duties this year that made it almost impossible for me to sit still through an entire session. However, I did get to sit in on parts of many sessions. We had about 400 total sessions in the IOUG Forum this year, up from about 250 last year. So, as expected, we had over 80 first-time IOUG speakers. I was delighted to see parts of many new speaker sessions and found most of them to be very informative, clear, and concise. Some of the speakers were a little nervous and a few finished a little early (due to speeding through their material a little too fast), but that’s about the worst I saw (which isn’t bad at all!).

My own sessions went well and other than the 8:30am session (on Oracle Adaptive Access Manager), they were attended pretty well too. I think my favorite session was the panel discussion I moderated on Thursday morning titled “To RAC or Not To RAC: What’s Best For HA?” The panelists were great and we had a lively discussion and dispelled several myths about RAC. I only wish we had more time to take questions from the audience, but several attendees still commented that they enjoyed the session and the panelists. Everyone seemed to enjoy the Saturday Night Live skits I played prior to the start of my presentations. My whitepapers and presentations are now available here.

There was a great RAC hands-on session put together at the last minute by Jeremy Schneider. Jeremy heard about an opening in the hands-on lab during our new speaker briefing on Sunday and by Wednesday, he had built several complete recipe procedures for installation and configuration as well as 3 sets of RAC virtual machines. Attendees could choose from different options for starting points to make it easier for each skill level to do something productive in the relatively short 90-minute hands-on session. The only unfortunate part of the RAC hands-on session was that it was scheduled concurrently with the RAC Birds of a Feather session and another RAC technical session as well. With 400+ sessions, scheduling two sessions from the same topic area such that they don’t overlap is next to impossible. Even with the scheduling conflict, there were about 15 RAC hands-on attendees and about 15 people attending the RAC Birds of a Feather session.

The RAC Birds of a Feather session was a lively discussion where I was able to gather some good ideas for future RAC SIG events and topics for possible hands-on sessions as well as webcasts. If you have more ideas, please send them to me.
My non-conference highlight of the week was when a group of 16 Pioteam members and friends of Piocon attended a playoff game in the quest for the Stanley Cup (that’s NHL for those that don’t know hockey). The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Minnesota Wild 5-1 with lots of action to make the match entertaining as well as victorious for the home team. It was a good time for all and allowed for some good discussions with our partners and customers that attended. Other than that, we also had a good time at the customer appreciation event on Wednesday night. They had some rock climbing, DJ music, pool tables, and (fake) gambling tables. I played fake Texas Hold ‘Em Poker for about an hour or so.

Of course, probably the most important and rewarding part of the Collaborate conferences for me is the mini-reunion of all the individuals that I generally only see once a year at these events (aside from “seeing” them online). From what I remember, I saw and/or hung out with Jake K, Matt, Jeremy, Bex, Michelle, Vinod, Venkat, Jake V, Paul, Tony, Vikki, George, Alex, Logan, and that doesn’t include all the IOUG volunteers that I worked so closely with since October. To all those that I forgot to mention, I enjoyed seeing you too! And especially to those I met for the first time, I hope to see you again online as well as at future conference events. Thanks to everyone that took the time to say hello and/or introduce yourself.

See you next year in Orlando, May 3-7, 2009 for Collaborate 09!

The User Group Conferences Are Coming!

Okay, not for a while, but for those that are presenters at the conference, the US winter is a time of solemn writing. Whitepaper deadlines are approaching for the IOUG program at the Collaborate 08 (April 14-18 in Denver) conference quickly. Soon after, the presentations for those sessions will be due. No rest for the wicked after that since ODTUG‘s Kaleidoscope 08 conference will come soon after, in June in New Orleans (note to self: bring extra sweat rags).

As has been the case for several years, the IOUG and ODTUG have graciously selected some of my submissions for presentation at their respective conferences. While ODTUG has announced that they’ve selected their sessions, they haven’t yet posted them or notified many of the speakers.

For the 5 or so people that probably read this blog :), here are the sessions where you’ll find me at Collaborate 08 this year: Continue reading “The User Group Conferences Are Coming!”