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!

OOW, Day 2 (Monday)

Turns out, I apparently had more fun than I should have last night at the ACE Dinner. So, I woke up this morning not feeling very well. That combined with the time zone adjustment left me waking up a little groggy this morning.

Starting the day today was the announcement regarding Oracle VM as described in the keynote by Charles Phillips. I missed seeing the keynote, but caught the announcement from Justin’s tweets. Popular theories is that this was done similarly to the Oracle Enterprise Linux launch in that Oracle took open source Xen and re-rolled it into binaries. We’ll see when it is released for public consumption on November 14th. Continue reading “OOW, Day 2 (Monday)”

OOW, Day 1 (Sunday)

Sunday was a great day at OOW with lots of IOUG activities for me as well as seeing a lot of old friends that I never manage to see except at these events.

My day started at breakfast with reviewing presentation materials for a co-presentation with Matt Topper. More about that in a minute.

After breakfast catching up with Matt and quickly reviewing our slides, I headed over to Moscone West where I gave my first presentation of the week titled “High Availability Options for Oracle Database”. The session was surprisingly well-attended and, as usual, I rushed through the first several options (exp/imp, data pump, RMAN, replication) and all the discussion and questions started around data guard, failover clusters, and, of course, RAC. If you attended the session, thanks for coming! Please don’t hesitate to drop me an email with your comments or suggestions (positive or negative)–I’m always looking for ways to improve the sessions!

After that session, I grabbed a quick lunch and headed to the IOUG SIG Council meeting. We had a relatively brief meeting as I think everyone had a lot on their minds and there is a lot to be done. This group is responsible for helping IOUG chart the direction of the SIG program and I can tell you that everyone is very interested in making the SIG successful. I’m excited to be involved in this great group and I know we’ll do some good things in the coming year.

After lunch, it was time for Matt and I to present our session titled “Is that really you? Prove it!” The session was all about Oracle Adaptive Access Manager (OAAM) which is the new name for the product acquired with Bharosa in early October. We had a lot of good discussion among our relatively small audience confirming that there is enough interest to kickstart this product in the community.

After that session, I dashed to the 11g Database beta testing panel session where I was a panelist with John King, Plamen Zyumbyulev, Charles Kim, and George Trujillo. We scrambled a bit to assemble the content and panelists, but I think it was a good session where attendees got to learn about some of the key 11g new features in an interactive way instead of the usual death by powerpoint.

Following the panel, I was back on stage for the RAC SIG Birds of a Feather session at 4pm. We had a short presentation describing the RAC SIG and its history as well as our usual pleas for volunteers. Following the presentation, we had a little more than an hour of Q & A that was all done by audience members. I’m not sure how the format was received by everyone, but I do think we got a lot of questions answered and we also gave good opportunity for everyone to answer questions and be involved. We have the expert panel session later this week, so if you have more questions, stop by then and lob them at the panel (I’ll be moderating that one too).

After the RAC SIG session, I wanted to see the Sunday Night Live event which I anticipated to be entertaining and funny as some Saturday Night Live cast members were on stage. Turns out I was wrong–was not entertained and endured a long monologue by Larry recounting how Oracle got started 30 years ago. There were also two deaths mentioned either by Larry or on screen in one of the videos they showed that really made for a fun mood-killer. I bailed out before the band started and headed to the final resting place for the evening.

The Oracle ACE dinner at The Fly Trap was the next and final stop on this long day. I enjoyed meeting many of the people I’ve followed through their blogs and reuniting with past acquaintances as well. Some of the ones I remember are: Matt Topper, Mark Rittman, Mogens Norgaard (I can’t type the special keys to spell his name properly), Justin Kestelyn, Jake Kuramoto, Dan Morgan, Arup Nanda, Michael Armstrong-Smith, Eric Marcoux, and I’m sure many others I forgot to mention. Good food, good conversations, and a nice way to kick off the week for sure.

OOW Personal Itinerary

I’ve pretty much taken a hiatus from technical articles while preparing for OOW. I depart tomorrow for SF and I plan to keep at least one entry per day…we’ll see if I can keep up while on-site at the conference.

I have a lot of plans to attend some of the good RAC and Identity Management sessions at OOW. I won’t bore you with my personal pick list, but if you’re looking for me (because you want to hear a good joke or I owe you money or some such thing), you’ll definitely find me at these sessions since I’m involved in them to some extent:

  • Sunday, 11-Nov
    • 10 am: High Availability Options for Oracle Database, Moscone West 2003
    • 1 pm: Is that really you? Prove it!, Moscone West 2005
    • 2:30 pm: 11g Database Beta Testing Panel, Moscone West 2004
    • 4 pm: RAC SIG Birds of a Feather session, Moscone West 2002
  • Monday, 12-Nov
    • 10 am: Piocon Booth, Moscone South
    • 12:30 pm: RAC SIG Customer Panel, Moscone South 310
    • 4:45 pm: RAC For Beginners: The Basics, Hilton Continental Ballroom 6
    • 7:30 pm: OTN Night, Westin St. Francis Hotel
  • Tuesday, 13-Nov
    • 10 am: Piocon Booth, Moscone South
    • 12:15 pm: RAC SIG Expert Panel
    • 3:15 pm: Demystifying Fusion Middleware, Hilton Yosemite Room C
  • Wednesday, 14-Nov
    • 9 am: Piocon Booth, Moscone South
    • 11:15 am: other technical sessions
    • 3 pm: Piocon Booth, Moscone South
    • 8 pm: PARTY @ Cow Palace
  • Thursday, 15-Nov
    • 10 am: Piocon Booth, Moscone South
    • 11:30 am: other technical sessions
    • 5 pm: It’s a wrap reception, Howard Street

Should be a fun week. Please stop by and meet me at one of these places or anywhere else you happen to see me. Now, back to preparing the presentations for my sessions :). See you in SF! Travel safe.

RAC SIG Events at OOW

As the events chairperson for the RAC SIG, I wanted to make everyone aware of the events we have scheduled for next week at Oracle OpenWorld SF. Anyone is welcome to attend our sessions, though you’ll probably need a conference badge of some sort to get in (I recall that the room monitors are usually pretty sticky about letting people in without proper conference badges). Anyway, here are the events we have planned. You’ll also find them on the homepage of our website.

  • Sunday, 4pm, Moscone West 2002-L2: RAC SIG Birds of a Feather Discussion Session, S292952
  • Monday, 12:30pm, Moscone South 310: RAC SIG Customer Panel, S291621
  • Tuesday, 10:45am, Moscone South 310: Panel Discussion: Deploying Siebel, SAP, Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, and Hyperion on a Grid, S291659
  • Tuesday, 12:15pm, Moscone South 310: RAC SIG Expert Panel, S291665

Besides great content at these events, you’ll find many of the RAC SIG board members attending, hosting, moderating, and participating in these events. If you’re interested in becoming more involved with the group, please seek out one of us to discuss how you can help. Also, we’re always looking for potential presenters for our live webcast series, so we may be seeking you out to solicit your participation in that as well!

Either way, attending these sessions or not, I encourage you to sign up for an account on the RAC SIG website. This will enable you to access our recorded past webcasts (on demand playback at any time) and receive email reminders about upcoming events.

See you in SF! Be sure to confirm the room assignments and session times as they sometimes change in last-minute planning by OOW staff.