Tuesday, October 18, 2011

AIOUG Webcast: Methodical Performance Tuning

A big thank you to all those you attended my session today. I sincerely hope you got something out of it. Here are the scripts I used in the demo. And, here is the slide deck, if you are interested.

Remember, this was just the beginner's session. We will have intermediate and advanced ones in near future. Stay tuned through the AIOUG site.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Migration to Exadata Session at #OOW11

Considering it was the last session of #OOW11 I was surprised to see a sizable number of folks showing up for my 3rd and final session slated for 3 to 4 PM on Thursday. Thank you for attending and for your questions.

Here is the slide deck. Note: please do not click on the link. Instead, right click on it, save the file and open it. It's a Powerpoint show; not a PPT. You can download free Powerpoint player to watch it, if you don't have Powerpoint installed.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Rise of the Machines

This is the penultimate day of #OOW11 and I am here at the hotel lobby trying to put some order around the myriads of nuggets of information I have had over the last several days.

The announcements this year have been centered around introduction of various new products from Oracle - Oracle Database Cloud, Cloud Control, Database Appliance, Big Data Appliance, Exalytics, T4 Super cluster and so on. One interesting pattern that emerges from the announcements that is different  from all the previous years is the introduction of several engineered and assembled systems that perform some type of task - specialized or generic. In the past Oracle announced machines too; but not so many at the same time, leading to an observation by April Sims (Executive Editor, Select Journal) that this year can be summed up in one phrase - Rise of the Machines.

But many of the folks I met in person or online were struggling to put their head around the whole lineup. It's quite clear that they were very unclear (no pun intended) how these are different and what situation each one would fit in. It's perfectly normal to be little confused about the sweet spots of each product considering the glut of information on them and seemingly overlapping functionalities. In the Select Journal Editorial Board meeting we had earlier this morning, I committed to writing about the differences between the different systems announced at #OOW11 and their usages in Select Journal 2012 Q1 edition. I didn't realize at that time what a tall order that is. I need to reach out to several product managers and executives inside Oracle to understand the functionality differences in these machines. Well, now that I have firmly put my feet in mouth, I will have to do just that. [Update on 4/29/2012: I have done that. Please see below]

In the demogrounds I learned about Oracle Data Loader for Hadoop and Enterprise-R, two exciting technologies that will change the way we collect and analyze large data sets, especially unstructured ones. Another new technology, centered around Cloud Control, was the Data Subsetting. It allows you to pull a subset of data from the source system to create test data, mask it if necessary and even find sensitive data based on some format. The tool was due for quite some time.

Again, I really need to collect my thoughts and sort through all that information overload I was subjected to at OOW. This was the best OOW ever.

Update on April 29th, 2011

I knew I had to wrap my head around these announcements and sort through the features available in the engineered machines. And I did exactly that. I presented a paper in the same name - Rise of the Machines - in Collaborate 2012, the annual conference of the Independent Oracle Users Group. Here is the presentation. In that session I explained the various features of 6 machines - Oracle Database Appliance, Exadata, Exalogic, Sparc Super Cluster, Exalytics and Big Data Appliance, the differences between them and where each one should be used. Please download the session if you want to know more about the topic.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Unicode Migration Assistant for Oracle

When you want to convert a database created in the default characterset to a multibyte characterset, there were two basic approaches - the safe export/import and the not-for-the-faint-of-the-heart alter database convert internal. In either case you had to follow a string of activities - checking the presence of incompatible values by running csscan, etc.

There is a new tool from Oracle to make the process infinitesimally simpler - Migration Assistant for Unicode. It's a GUI tool that you can install on the client. A server side API (installed via a patch)  does all the heavy lifting with the client GUI providing a great intuitive interface. You have the steps pretty much laid out for you. But the main strength of the tool is not that. There are two primary differentiators for the tool.

  1. When you do have a bad character, what can you really do? You can truncate the part of the data. But how do you know how much to truncate? If you truncate aggressively, you may shave off a chunk and lose valuable data; but be miserly and you risk having the bad data in place. This tool will show the data in a separate window allowing you to correct only the affected data; nothing less, nothing more.
  2. When users copy and paste data from some unicode compliant system to Oracle, e.g. from MS Word to a VARCHAR2 field in the database, the characters may look garbled; but given proper characterset they become meaningful. This tool allows you to see the data in many charactersets to identify which one was used to create it in the first place. After that it's a simple matter to reproduce that characters in the proper characterset.

With these two differentiators in place, the tool has great future. Check out everything on this tool at http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/globalization/dmu/overview/index-330958.html or just visit the booth at #OOW Demogrounds in Moscone South.

Oh, did I mention that the tool is free?

OOW11 Session #2 Exadata Management

Thank you all for attending my second session in #OOW11 - Exadata Management. You can download the slide deck here. Important: DO NOT CLICK on this link; instead, right click on this link, save the file and then open it.

Here is the slide deck.

Here are the resources I referred to in the presentation. Please note: URLs could change without my knowledge.

My Papers
5-part Linux Commands article series http://bit.ly/k4mKQS
4-part Exadata Command Reference article series http://bit.ly/lljFl0
OTN Page on Exadata
OTN Exadata Forum

Thanks for attending. As always, your feedback will be highly appreciated.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

OOW11 Presentation: Exadata for Oracle DBAs

Thank you very much for attending my session "Exadata for Oracle DBAs" at #OOW11 (Oracle Open World), 2011. Here are the links to I mentioned in the presentation:

5-part Linux Commands article series http://bit.ly/k4mKQS
4-part Exadata Command Reference article series http://bit.ly/lljFl0

You can download the Powerpoint show here http://bit.ly/nH0rpK (please don't click. Right click and download it to watch)

Update: If you have downloaded the slides earlier, please redownload. I corrected a small inaccuracy - the compression is handled by compute nodes; decompression can be offloaded to the cells. Thanks to Greg Rahn for pointing it out.

Of course, please remember that your feedback - good or bad - is always valued.