Sorry it’s taken a couple of days to finish off this series of blog posts on UKOUG Tech 14. I had expected to get some time on the trip back to write this, but as you’ll see if you keep reading, that really didn’t happen. So let’s go back to Day 3 of the conference.
I started the day by attending Patrick Hurley’s “Adventures in Database Administration” session. This was quite different to the normal sorts of sessions you get at a conference. In fact, it was more like a roundtable session. For a start, Patrick did the whole presentation without a single slide, quite a refreshing difference! Basically he covered his career from the days when he became a DBA (with a brief nod to his development days prior to that). He also made the session much more interactive, getting feedback from attendees on when they had similar experiences. So while I didn’t learn anything new about the latest and greatest product, or deep technical details about something I probably will never be able to apply in my working life, I found this to be quite an enjoyable session overall.
Just before lunch, there was a session on “Rapid Database Cloning using SMU (Snap Management Utility) and ZFSSA”, by Jacco Landlust from Oracle. I think this session was a late add-on, as it wasn’t in the printed agenda, just the agenda boards and mobile app. Unfortunately for Jacco, I was the only attendee for that session, but I was quite interested to see how SMU worked and where it stands relative to Snap Clone (part of the EM product suite that also does rapid database cloning). SMU is specific for ZFS, whereas Snap Clone is storage agnostic (it provides both hardware and software options, including CloneDB – see my earlier posts here and here for more details on Snap Clone). SMU is also a much more standalone product, resulting in differences in clustering, security, auditing and logging. However, SMU does provide its much more limited functionality at a lower price, so for smaller sites it may be a viable alternative for cloning. I found Jacco’s session quite interesting as well, since I hadn’t been aware of SMU before. As I mentioned in my earlier post on Day 2 of the conference, there is also cloning functionality in ODA, so Oracle has quite a range of products to perform cloning, dependant on your hardware and other requirements, so it’s great to see the full range of capabilities in the different Oracle products.
The last session of the day is always a hard slot for a presenter to end up with, even more so when it’s the last day of the conference! This time, there were quite a few sessions I would have liked to get to, ranging from “Oracle Multitenant: Oracle’s Current and Future Architecure” by Dominic Giles, “Deep Dive into ASH and AWR in EM12c and Beyond”, by Kellyn Pot’Vin-Gorman, “Database as a Service on the Oracle Database Appliance Platform” by Marc Fielding and Maris Elsins, “Optimizing and Simplifying Complex SQL with Advanced Grouping” by Jared Still, and the “Women in IT” roundtable. I’d seen Kellyn’s presentation before, so that made it easy to cross that one off the list (sorry, Kellyn!). I would have liked to get to the Women in IT session as they are always interesting (though it did surprise me that it was on at the same time as Kellyn’s presentation as she is very passionate about Women in IT), but in the end went to Marc and Maris’s presentation. I had already seen the slides as Marc and Maris had sent them to me earlier in the week to validate some of their comments about EM12c, but you get so much more out of a presentation than just what’s on the slides if you attend the presentation. Of course, that’s if you have at least half decent presenters, and in this case both Marc and Maris are far more than half decent presenters! Again, it was a very interesting presentation to me personally, so that was a good way to round out the official part of the conference.
From there I went down to the Smuggler’s Cove bar and restaurant for a few drinks with some of the other attendees. The restaurant part was booked out for dinner, so we had dinner at another restaurant on Albert Dock, and that was the end of UKOUG Tech 14 for me! All in all, I found the conference to be very enjoyable. It has quite a number of presentations I wanted to get to (more than I could physically attend, unfortunately, as is often the case!) but of course, the best part of any conference for me is the networking you do with other attendees. It was great to meet up with quite a few people that I had interacted with before but hadn’t had the chance to physically meet, and of course it’s always enjoyable to catch up with old friends as well. Faye Wood and the other conference organizers did a great job, with most things working fairly smoothly. The only advice I would offer the organizers would be to not use that conference venue again, though. For that, there are three reasons:
- The presentation rooms off the exhibition hall itself were awful, from a sound perspective. It was impossible to NOT get sound bleed from the other presentation rooms, which made it physically quite difficult to hear at times. That was probably worse for me than most attendees, as I already have a hearing loss that makes it difficult for me to hear in noisy environments.
- The sessions in the main part of the venue were fine – unless it happened to rain hard or hail, which it did quite a few times over the course of the conference. Whatever the material was that the roof was made of, it was incredibly noisy when that happened and again I had a lot of difficulty hearing.
- A number of presenters I spoke to had difficulty getting their slides to present on the screens for attendees to see. My experience was (I think) unfortunately the worst, but others also had issues.
On Thursday, I went to Barclays to cover some of the material I had presented at the conference, as well as having a discussion about some of their specific issues with EM. This session was organized by Ian Carney, a good friend of mine from my days with Oracle in the USA. He had organized for quite a few of the Oracle speakers at the conference to visit Barclays at different times during the week, including Larry Carpenter, Uwe Hesse, Joel Goodman, Maria Colgan, and Graham Wood, so I felt quite honoured to also be asked to present with such an illustrious group.
From there I headed off to Manchester Airport, and the long trip home. This time I flew to Heathrow, then on to Dubai, Sydney and Canberra. Thankfully, I missed the issues they had at Heathrow because of problems in their computer systems. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to use the British Airways at Manchester lounge with my Qantas Club membership. As is often the case, if you are flying domestically and NOT flying business class, there is no reciprocity between the lounges, which has never impressed me much! 🙁 As I had quite a distance to get around at Heathrow (and again at Sydney), the airline staff organized wheelchairs to get me from the gate to my next point of departure which did make life MUCH easier! Thankfully, I could use the BA lounge at Heathrow, but they were having issues with their wifi which meant I couldn’t get this blog posted there. The changes at both Dubai and Sydney were pretty tight, so I went direct to the gates both times, but at least this time my luggage made it with me! 🙂
I must say it’s great to be back home again, and to sleep in my own bed. To the conference organizers, a job well done. Apart from the sound issues, I really enjoyed my time at UKOUG Tech 14, and hopefully, I’ll be able to make it back again in the not too distant future!