Wednesday, September 09, 2009

RAC Attack!

Jeremy Schneider graced us with RAC Attack last week - it was quite awesome! Jeremy brings such a wealth of knowledge and passion for the technology that often times I found myself hard pressed to keep the workshop going. As I was the "organizer" person, I felt some responsibilities in those directions.

It also opened my eyes on several fronts. This is the first time I have helped to facilitate such a workshop, and there were a number of interesting obstacles, logistical and technological. Jeremy handled it all with his usual easy manner and we got it all worked out quite well. For instance, the harddrives of the individual computers were just a tad too small to accomodate all the jumpstart VM images that Jeremy likes to deploy; as a result, we ended up hosting files on various computers and mapping network drives. Not the quickest thing in the world, but hey, it worked. Also, again from the perspective of a facilitator, I found it challenging to address the numerous questions that folks had from time to time, which gave me a greater respect for those who do this kind of thing on a regular basis. Not only did Jeremy answer questions, but took advantage of several opportunities to delve into the deeper details of "how things work".

In retrospect, we are faced with the ubiquitous puzzle of how to address different styles of learning. For those, like me, who crave the hands-on aspect, this workshop is excellent! For those who need more lecture, this lab was a bit of a wake-up call. *grin* Actually, if only we had more time, we could certainly have entertained more dialogue; RAC is rich with controversy. =)

Jeremy was also able to spill the beans a little on Oracle 11gR2, since someone decided to release the Linux version the Tuesday before the workshop began. So we were treated to a few sneak peeks and tidbits. Good stuff.

Personally, I was challenged to discover new ways to do these kind of labs/workshops. I heard a lot of positive feedback about the wide variety of skill sets and job roles in the class, but as a result of that, the various backgrounds required different levels of "background information". Going forward, I would try to break the labs into more modular components (opposed to a totally open lab time) and preceed each lab with some solid instruction. What Jeremy did was great for DBAs, but we had some folks who needed a bit more hand-holding. That is just the nature of the beast. The good news is that Jeremy equipped us to do exactly that - we can now hold our own lab and choose any pace we want. I am hoping to pursue this a little and get others involved, especially in terms of disucssing how we as an organization want to tackle overlapping job roles in regards to cluster and storage management.

The virtualization aspect was also very nice. I think it gave us a glimpse into what we can do with virtualized resources, something we can definitely utilize more fully for future labs and group sessions.

Thanks, Jeremy,

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