Oracle DBA – A lifelong learning experience

UKOUG 2011 – Day 1

Posted by John Hallas on December 6, 2011

The first day of UKOUG conference at the ICC in Birmingham and there were a lot of familiar faces are around. Due to a lot of traffic I missed the first presentation I wanted to see which was from Kyle Hailey on SQL tuning. I will have to download the presentation later. I did make it to Greg Rahn on the SQL Monitoring report and that was well worth the time spent. Whilst I am familiar with the functionality, he opened my eyes by providing  a number of examples of what he would look at first to try and determine a better resolution. His presentation style was comfortable and he had a small number of examples which covered quite a lot of scenarios. He did point out it was only to be used if you had paid for the Tuning and Diagnostic pack but as it is turned on by default I did wonder how many use it without any further consideration.


Mariusz Piorkowsk talked about Real Application Testing and in particular using it for upgrades from 10.2 to 11.2. I don’t want to be too critical of the presentation but having tested RAT for a similar purpose (11GR1) I thought it was a bit light on facts and figures. How many plans changed, how many had to be tuned, what were the big gotchas in his upgrades etc. However if I knew nothing of RAT beforehand I would have been eager to test it out after listening to Mariusz.


Onto my presentation which was straight after lunch. I was slightly stressed beforehand as my eldest daughter had gone into labour overnight with our first grandchild and I was on tenterhooks waiting for news. Having to turn my phone off did not help!!. The presentation was well-attended and I got through my material without any major hitches, albeit rather quickly. I had given the presentation twice before. Once at work and once at a SIG and it had taken an hour each time. Having fifteen minutes less this time I removed a couple of slides and moved through in a speedy manner. It was good to see many of the audience scribbling notes, unless they were all busy marking me down on the feedback form. I answered plenty of questions afterwards and the feeling I got was that the content was new to many.


I came out the presentation to see that I had three missed calls. After ringing home I was ecstatic to discover I now have a granddaughter, 8lb 14 ounces who was born just before I started talking.  Needless to say that I was that drained that I missed the next lecture on my agenda.


I did make it to Alex Gorbachev talking about measuring I/O. I am sure the first half was a fantastic talk but I am ashamed to say I had a bit of the nodding dog syndrome, (OK, I fell asleep). Nothing to do with Alex  but I had been awake most of the night followed by a long drive and then the pressure of doing a presentation. The second half was quite interesting. The output (graphs) were very good but I would like to have seen more on how to get the data into them. The key takeaway for me was that visualisation is everything and that there is no point in posting reams of data when a single well presented chart can explain so much more in an easy to assimilate manner.


The final talk of the day for me was Doug Burns on SQL plan management. Having never met Doug but having been in an email conversation with him recently it was good to put a face to the name. It was an interesting talk put across in a lively manner. The main  aspect for me was to use plan management to capture the hints from an existing database (maybe 10g) and then copy them across to the new database (11g) and retain the current plan without making wholesale database changes. Then you can fix the code to be more efficient in the 11G database in your own timescales.


The UKOUG conference produces a real wealth of talent and just within the RDBMS stream, which is all I really look at, there are several alternatives for every time slot, most of which I could attend and be interested in. Having been involved in the background with some of the work in both selecting speakers and the putting them into a schedule to suit everyone I am aware of how much effort goes in, both by the UKOUG staff and volunteers. If you add the additional complexity of late changes due to speaker unavailability it is a massive piece of organisation which appears to be so seamless to the majority of attendees.


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