Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I have been overwhelmed, impressed and even frustrated and disappointed with my first experiences at the annual IOUG event.

I will go into more detail when I can. But let me paint as picture of IOUG so far.

The convention is being held at Mandalay Bay Resort in Vegas. Mandalay Bay is HUGE! Not to mention that one can live, work and play without even stepping outside for a fresh of breathe air. Being Vegas, there is the obligatory casino 24x7, but outside that, there are a slew of high-end restaurants, vast open areas, classy shops and casinos. The convention itself is massive; we occupy roughly 3 floors, each with impressive 20 foot ceilings (or more in some cases). There are over 1000 sessions total, spanning IOUG, OAUG and Quest. IOUG has a mere 241 sessions. I have been trying to focus on RAC (including the RAC SIG, which I have somehow been able to avoid *grin*).

The first General Session is good. We heard from Ken Jacobs (Dr. DBA), Andrew Mendelhson and Mark Zuckman; they spoke about several things, and shared a few tidbits from 11g which look really good. Here are some of the highlights I took note of:
Audit Vault: Kinda like an audit repository
Database Vault: A protected region of database data that can be cordoned off from standard roles and privs, even "select any table" and such ilk.
Flashback Transactions: This sounded crazy, but interesting. You can conceivably flashback to any point in time spanning many YEARS. I have at least one outstanding question for that feature; "Where do you store all that data?"
Information Lifecycle Management (ILM): automates the migration of time-lapsed data (that which becomes less and less critical) to lower-end storage solutions (ie, DMX -> SATA -> Tape -> long term offline archive)
DML Compression: The same technology used to compressed RMAN backups now being leveraged against live update, delete and insert statements
Partitioning enhancements: Reference (foreign keys), interval (automatic range partitions), and complete composite partitions.
SecureFiles: The next step of evolution for LOB data. Makes me wondering what will happen to LOBs. Or what about those LONG datatypes still used in the 10g dictionary? =)
More automatic self-management: basically, all the automatic features become more automatic. *grin* I'll try to track down the diagram that depicts this really well.
SQL Plan Change Control: This sounded cool, but I did not catch all the details. More direct control over sql plans. Not sure if this will allow us to explicitly flush out a particular plan or not.

Another feature which I believed was mentioned in the context of ILM was the ability to capture a workload (even on 10g) and completely replay it (on 11g). I kinda thought 10g offered that out of the box with AWR, but never fully realized. Maybe it works now. *grin*

I happen to be sitting in front near the board of directors (I like sitting in front because my eyes are not the best and I hate glasses/contacts). When the session was over, several of the speakers and board memebers congregrated right in front of me, so I stuck around to enjoy their off-hand conversation. Wow, was I surprised. I would love to mention names, but in the sake of not being a weasel and especially not perpetuating rumors, I will just be vague. You can choose to ignore this if you like, or discredit it, or anything else.

To the point. In talking about the 11g features they just demo'd live with Enterprise Manager, the opinion was expressed that it would be nice if the GUI was a little more user-friendly, more graphical, nicer looking. I bring this up because I totally agree, and it seemed as if the folks were not merely venting to blow off steam, but making suggestions to another person who was present; call it constructive criticism. For some reason, I thought of the 10g Express Administrator (or was it MySql?); very simplistic and basic, but looks pretty. The Oracle Enterprise Manager is vast, huge, feature-rich, but also klunky and not always easy to navigate (my opinions, not those expressed, btw). Anyway, I thought it was really cool to catch a inside glimpse of "upper level" ruminations.

To that extent, I am now sitting in a ASM hands-on lab (before it begins, of course). I was going to attend Dan Norris's and Matt Topper's RAC class (down the hall), but I cannot pass up a lab class (well, I did yesterday, but .... that was yesterday). Anyway, the guys in the ASM lab were having trouble setting it up. Problem was VMWare. Dan Norris and Matt Topper just gave a presentation on VMWare, so I run down and get Matt. He comes in, and within 5 minutes has everything figured out. Wow, that was so cool. I played a small part in a larger play. And it felt good to network.

More later, that session is about to start.

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