The final day of the 2011 UKOUG conference and it was straight in at the deep end with Joel Goodman talking about automatic parallelism in 11GR2. The talk was full of information, as Joel’s talks normally are. He also had time to cover Parallel Bulk Update which groups sets of rows into chunks. Each chunk can have a success or fail independently of other chunks which removes the ‘all or nothing’ approach normally seen with PDML. He has a good blog entry on this which is well worth perusing if you are interested. http://dbatrain.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/add-bulk-to-your-parallel-updates/
My site is just going down the road with Goldengate so the talk by Pythian’s Marc Fielding on a real life Goldengate migration was very useful. This was a large financial institution where the system was crucial to business continuity and GG was to be used to provide a rapid fallback facility if things went wrong. The main thing I took away from the talk was how small-minded they must be not to provide adequate testing facilities for such a large project. Not being able to use full data sets and similar sized hardware (OK it was a 14TB database) does add a lot of risk and no small matter of frustration to the technicians involved in the migration. Some of the diagnostics that Marc talked about will be very useful to use and I was interested in the alternatives to supplementary logging which may be required if there is no primary key and it is difficult to identify a row specifically.
I did start to listen to another talk but after around 10 people had left I plucked up courage and made a hasty exit myself. It was just not for me.
The best presentation I saw at the conference was Connor Macdonald on a fresh approach to the optimizer statistics. Connor is a real showman and his easy on-stage manner belies the degree of effort he must spending preparing his numerous slides. The set of slides associated with the ITIL process deserved a round of applause by itself and indeed it received one. This was the second session I went to that mentioned the value of index key compression and the way it can be calculated by using ‘analyze index validate structure’. A very good presentation that provided food for thought.
My final session was Mike Swing talking about database tuning for packaged apps. He had way too much content and rushed through it much too fast. As several people said to me afterwards, all he really recommended was getting faster disk and more memory. I liked his presentation style and easy manner but it was a bit light on useful content.
So here endeth day 3. I think this was the conference I have enjoyed the most and got the most from. The presentations were of a top standard and even though I was only interested in the RDBMS stream I had plenty of choice for most time slots. I know that cancellations and changes are hard to avoid but there did seem to be a lot and that made planning harder than it should have been. I think my only constructive critique would be that there were a number of presentations repeated from last year (and some from other SIGs almost 2 years ago). I fully understand that a good presentation is still a good presentation a year later and not everyone has the chance to have seen it but personally I am not in favour of too much repeated material.