Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tanel Poder Miracle Seminar Birmingham

Miracle Seminar with Tanel Poder Click through for details


I just twisted the arm of my boss and my project manager (they dont really mind - as long as I leave my phone on) and I am attending the Miracle Seminar by Tanel Poder in Birmingham on 3 and 4 December.

Anyone else going ?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

OEM Oracle Enterprise manager graphs are great

The title says it all.

I am really coming round to Oracle Enterprise Manager, OEM, for use in monitoring and troubleshooting performance. I'm with Doug Burns here, who once did a presentation on how he learned to love pictures.

OEM is maturing
into a
and indispensible

I cannot express my appreciation for OEM enough.

OEM is the best improvement in performance monitoring in the last decade. The link goes to a jubilant pressrelease by Oracle. And I really hope the search engines will pick this up. I also need to be seen to praise oracle to keep my status in the sponsored community...

the blog-aggregator

*PdV peeks over the edge, then looks over shoulder - twice*

This will not get me credit with Vendors...

Oracle-OEM, Quest, and Symantec all have competing commercial products,
but today, I am plugging ... :

And to a lesser extent, Lab128 (which is effectively free as well).

(If those two are old news to you, I apologize, just close the tab and go click elsewhere)

I will admit that the commercially licensed products are much better.
They are richer in functionality (feature bloat!) then any open-source, free-to-give Tool could hope to be (or are they?). I should also mention that the commercial products often will offer all the goodies, gizmos, spotlights and the key-hangers that my kids like so much. I would never pass up on the free parties, eh, salesevents Seminars with food and refreshments. In that area, commercially licensed product are unbeatable.

But for Sheer Simplicity, for Acutal "Value" I have used TORA for nearly 10 (ten!) years now. My trusty 1.3.8 version dates back to 2001. I always used the free version worked fine on oracle 8, 9 and 10. It still works on 11, and I'm sure that when an 11.2 "problem" pops up at one of our customers, that even the old 1.3.8 version will show my the wait-stats.

Since Quest (bless them, they are the makers of Toad), claimed to have bought TORA in eh... 2003, I had not checked for TORA updates.

But now Timo Raitalaakso (Rafu on OTN, blog can be found Here) from Finland told me TORA is still around.
Version 2.0.0 is available.

Go and check it out at sourceforge, and go find a few references on google...

Then download it and Test It (it is totally for free - Wayhey!). If TORA is right for you, you will become addicted quite easily.

My main reason for having TORA is the server-tuning screen called "wait-events". It offers a free, and quick-to-use alternative to the OEM waitevent graphic.

I can run TORA without need for permissions on OEM (acutally, without the OEM period), and it gives me roughly the same screen. All I need is "PERFSTAT" or any user with sufficient privs (the "advisor" role is fine). If I can run spreport or awrrpt, I can generally also run TORA.

It just takes a tns-entry, and Oracle-Net connection, and then TORA is up and running. Mine runs from my company-windhoze. But there are Linux and Mac builds too.

I combine TORA with some servertool sar, vmstat (unix), lparstat (AIX) or taskmgr (windhoze) and with statspack (AWR for the licensed-lucky).
With those tools, I have solved just about every performance-problem I was given.
(admittedly, my problems tend to be simple - but I'm waiting for the first SOA/SOAP system to overload).

Inside TORA, I run the "server tuning" screen at 10 sec interval (I only use the 3rd tab with the graph and the pie-chart of the wait-events). I tend to disable the other screens, not just to save on sqlnet traffic, but also to keep my windows-lappy running happy.

Click to get larger pic of my favorite screen...

And Voila, that screen (which predates and resembles the OEM graph...) tells me what is happening right now, and in the last hour. In using it, I have a few dislikes and a wishlist too, but I'll keep that for another time.

Tip: I often configure 12 gridlines and 360 datapoints to have a 5 min grid on 1 hr of data.

I am still of the opinion that real DBA's use SQL*Plus, common sense, and not much more. But if you are into troubleshooting databases, you could do worse then look into these tools.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Catch the Wave

Got the invite, and I jumped in. I have actively tried to surf some googlewaves with a few friends, but I do get the feeling this is a case of Emperors Clothes sometime.

How many of you have actually stood on a surf-board or even windsurfed? Both are not easy - well not to clumsy impatient geeks like me. But once you "get it", the experience is Excellent!

How many realize that the perfect wave is something very ethereal. To be catched when it happens, and to never return. We all have our "perfect wave" moments, but I'm not sure if gee-wave is one of mine

The good thing of this new wave is to link up, again, with ppl I appreciate, and some I had nearly forgotten.
And the gadgets look mint to: cool voting widgets, maps, all sort of embedded content. And we havnt even seen the "wave" of applications that can be built with the API. If Facebook is anything to go by, wave has a huge Gee-Wizz potential.

But the down-side is that it seems to take much more time then plain email, skype-chat, yahoomessenger, msn, googlechat, whatever. And that live typing is relatively slow from most connections I have used so far. Any way I can turn that off?

Does anyone remember IRC or ICQ chat ?
Anyone used the the VMS and unix "phone" utility ?

And now we have facebook (mafia wars!), hyves, skyrocks (my 13yo has about 7 hompages there, for various purposes), LinkedIn, google-talk and twatter. And with Google Lattitude, several ppl (+ all of google) keep track of my whereabouts already.

Tomorrow we will be on gwave and lattitude (and a few more that only my kids know of).

A UKOUG Conference-promotional wave anyone ?

I'm only a Simple Oracle Dba, and I'll try not to be a Luddite.

Okokok, just got a txt msg asking if I could check a certain wave that mentions an email of about an hour ago...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ukoug promo

Hello There :

Advert for the UK Oracle Usergroup Conference in Birmingham

Have a laugh at this promo!
(with thanks to Alex for pointing it out on twitter)

See you in Birmingham.

But first, I have to play with my new wave account. And finish one migration and one installation, and reply to some questions.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Oracle Usergroup meetings - Tips

Oracle Usergroups are the next best thing to a working-holiday, just dont tell your bossLast week was Perfect: I could escape the project-managers for all but Monday and spent the rest of the week "working" remotely, while visiting two usergroup-events.

I had the pleasure to attend the DBA-Day from Oracle Usergroup Holland (OGH), and the Autumn Seminar from Oracle Usergroup finland (OUGF). Both events were Very Well organized and had excellent content.

Being lazy, I do hope some other enthusiastic bloggers will do a writeup of the interesting items from each event. Today, I have another priority on this blog.

I hope all of the the attendees had an interesting and productive time. And I would encourage them to tell their managers how useful these meetings are.

If anyone has to justify their Usergroup-Fees or cost, I always like to make the point that these groups are the only way to get information that is not totally-tainted by pre-sales. At a usergroup, you can hear how it really works, rather then how it is supposed to work. The unbiased (ok: less biased) information combined with the staff-motivational aspect, are probably the best business-case.

Evaluation forms

I know most usergroups are trying very hard to please their audience, their members and their sponsors with ever-present "Evaluation Forms", and I do fill in my share of forms.

I would like a quiet word with that one person at UKOUG events who always fills in 100% minimal scores on my presentations. I can only presume he is linked some some vendor that lost business because of my "simple" crusade.

I know for a fact that at least some of my comments to UKOUG have been read, and considered. Thanks Aimee, Rachel and all the other members of staff.
Those forms are useful, and I forward all the good comments to my boss.


As a regular visitor and presentor at Usergroups in various countries, I have compiled my own list of preferences and what I consider best-practices.

Mind, this is not criticism, but rather praise and encouragement. I full well realize that it is much easier to criticize then to construct. And I do applaud the volunteers and staff who organize it all.

So, at the risk of ridicule, here goes...

- Handcuff speakers to the table.
Do not allow speakers to run in, rush-ppt, and run away from the event. No matter how "celebrity" they are, they should allow time to discuss and mix with the (paying) audience. Find some incentive to keep the speaker after his talk. Allow approachability and discussion.

- Clean out the speakerlounge regularly.
Discourage speakers from hiding in speakerlounges. See above. Usergroups are for users. The mixing and hobnobbing with higher celebrities can be done elsewhere.
And for speakers: the information you pick up from listening to in-the-field users is often invaluable. Get out there.

- Provide a safe cloakroom.
Especially for those who travel with luggage-trolleys, it is very convenient to have a safe spot. It is one less worry, and ppl dont lug around the additional coats and other items (also a firehazard).

- Use simple timings.
Plan the start/stop of sessions on whole-hour, half-hour or quarter-hour, please.
Simple timing is easier to keep. When a speaker is sweating in front of an audience he doesnt want to permanently do time-math. And users wandering around or smoking outside will easier remember simple timings as well.

I sometimes had to fit a 45min ppt (+/-22 slides + some demos) into a slot between 14:25 to 15:10. Running it from 14:30 to 15:15 is just easier (me - I like simplicity). I know that staggered breaks are better for services, staff, crowd-control and exhibition-sponsors. I understand that, but it doenst mean I like the funny timings.

- A visible clock.
A nice big clock on the wall, visible to both speaker and public is a great help. See above.

- Breaks between sessions.
Breaks should be 15-20 minutes, please. In between all sessions. Breaks are meant for discussing the topics, for networking, for coffee/ciggies and for phone-calls/mails. A whole morning sessions with no break (because the speakers want to run away?) is tiring, and doesnt allow to digest and discuss the material presented.

- Simple Refreshments at Every Break.
Preferably Coffee (strong), Tea(ditto), water (still) and biccies (optional) at all breaks. IT ppl like we are run on coffee (and some also run on ciggies [link to Doug?]). And a cup facilitates mixing and networking.

- Provide some (walking) space during breaks.
The venue should provide sufficient space to walk around and mix (with cup of coffee in hand). Networking and listening to peers is such a very important aspect! Additionally, some of the attendees will want to return phone-calls and will appreciate some space to hide and speak.

- Provide Free wifi - Please.
Possibly negociate vouchers with venue if the wifi is payable. A lot of us want to stay in touch, or even verify what the speakers say on tinternet.

- Practical Food.
The Quality of the lunch needs to be Acceptable, but the food should mainly be practical, and easy to consume while networking. Sandwiches are perfect, hot soup is a big risk. The sit-down lunch in "Slough" is very Good (a much appreciated classic at UKOUG). But if such quality is not on offer, then make sure the food can easily be consumed standing/walking. Balancing a hot plate plus a glass in a crowded space can be awkward.

- Facilitate shared transport after the event.
Ask publicly, around lunchtime, if anyone wants to share taxi to trainstation or airport. The RMOUG has set the golden standard for this, AFAIK.
But it is plain funny to command 5 taxis separately and form a convoy to the trainstation. And sometimes a gentle soul even offers a ride from Solihul all the way to London (Thanks Dave!).

That concludes my pedantic advice
(I'm a consultant after all - I always want to impose some unsolicited opinion).

If it helps anyone, then fine. If you think all of the above is totally obvious or ridiculous, then I apologize for wasting your time (you should have stopped reading earlier - consultants are there to be ignored, remember).

See you at some Usergroup maybe!


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