HOTSOS 2K8 – What Does Inspire Us…?

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I can tell you about the next day. But I won’t. Most of it is (for people with the same interest) a known fact anyway. There was Tapio’s presentation, two of them actually, and if his method hasn’t been picked up yet, it is time to read some stuff about those Tapio’s indexes. If you’re not convinced then maybe you misted out on a review here. Stuff not only for Oracle people, but for everyone that has a serious interest in database performance; DB2, SQL Server alike – DBA, architect or developer. With presentations from Toon, Tapio or Gerwin, it proves it doesn’t really matter if it is Oracle or another database brand. Those theories and methods are applicable to a lot of architecture or database performance issues.

Tapio Indexes

At least for Oracle, Hotsos is the current testing ground to find out if a new idea is inspiring or maybe needs some extra tweaking or is just flawed; although I wonder if a flawed theory will pass the current initial selection phase. Those enthusiasts that attend are a tough crowd that is not easily convinced or swept from their feet.

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For example, although Alex Gorbachev’s presentation was running short in time by limitations of his hardware (a single laptop – maybe Windows Vista should have been used ;-) ), he managed to demonstrate a new approach on how to make failover in a RAC environment more flexible. Earnest hard work done, showed off in what he was able to demonstrate and why he earned a presentation seat.

One thing is sure. What inspires us is the need for finding solutions which works for the customer despite, and / or even better yet, within the boundaries that limit us. Sometimes those same boundaries drive us towards new ideas and, yeah, sometimes this extra step forward, seen in hind side, looks very easy.

I saw a presentation of Dominic Delmolino, about database change management, that inspired me because of its simplicity, making use of given boundaries, which sparked some new ideas. Only for that fact, I am already grateful.

The inspirational step forward that brought the solution is often forgotten or diminished in its intention. Someone has to make that first step and realizing that there could be another next step, is all what this is all about, at least, if you dare to see it and then also willing to get inspired by it. But getting your self beyond created boundaries and then afterwards re-focus; Allowing your self to be unbalanced for a while, open for ideas or letting go of old habits; until you re-center to a new equilibrium and apply new ways for a while, and if they works, add it to your "toolset", is not something easy to do. Like all others we like this equilibrium of old habits, all the other stuff will cost energy we don’t want to spend.

Cary Millsap refocused on bringing a new agile approach in his Oracle "woodcraft" abilities. This presentation really got me some new ideas on regarding how to explain (for myself and) to others what the problem is while handling XML. I was glad that Cary presented the pointers of his presentation in the first slides (in contra dictionary to his normal way of handling presentation). If had not then I would have missed all the essential points he wanted to make.

Scribing

During one off his analogies about "scribing", I got a "Eureka!" event, that caused me to not pay attention anymore at all, because this analogy triggered a whole set of new ideas within my grey matter (aka: I lost track). Funny enough, while Cary went on explaining, via pictures, the idea of "scribing" within the woodcraft analogy, my mind picked it up and turned the visual ideology 180% around and applied it to an XML matter that bugged me already for a long time. During the rest of the day I worked on the idea and the how this new idea also could be / had to be used (mandatory: otherwise I wouldn’t have a "bridge" towards the rest of the presentation I want to use it in) while handling relational data.

The problem now is to find an analogy that I am comfortable with and people in the audience will understand. The rest of the day I was busy with combining the lessons learned, from among others Neil Gunther, Gerwin and how to predict the correct XMLType storage for a given XML Schema.

Bringing Latency and Skew into the Equation 

The Hotsos event ended with James Morle’s presentation, showing us that you can teach an old dog new tricks and brought skew (aka brewery stuff) and latency into the equation (aka R=W+S).

For us, Gerwin, Patrick and me, the Hotsos symposium is now almost over. The weather is again dramatically changed from 18 degrees Celsius, yesterday, to very bad chilly and wet weather and 1 degree Celsius (also with an upcoming predicted snow storm in the next 6 hours – we will see).

I really enjoyed Hotsos, if not only for the new discovered insight. At current state it is very cool that Hotsos is not so big an event, which still allows to discuss a lot of material and ideas with others, presenters included, over a longer period of time (2, 3 days). More or less in 2007 the theme for me was "best practices suck". This year for me the theme would be innovation and advances in (conceptual) (Oracle) thinking. I hope that some day I am able enough to return the favour and bring new ideas to others here at Hotsos.

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About Author

Marco Gralike, working for AMIS Services BV as a Principal Oracle Database Consultant in the Netherlands, has experience as a DBA since 1994 (Oracle 6). Marco is also eager and skillful in other fields, like Operating System Administration and Application Servers, mainly to find working, performing solutions. Marco has been specializing in Oracle XMLDB, since 2003, focusing on his old love, database administration and performance. He is an Oracle XMLDB enthusiast ever since. He is also a dedicated contributor of the Oracle User Group community, helping people with their steep XMLDB learning curve. To this purpose, Marco also devoted his personal blog site to XMLDB and other Oracle issues. Marco is a member of the OakTable network and an Oracle ACE Director (specialization Oracle XMLDB).

4 Comments

  1. Marco Gralike on

    I defninetly will, because thanks to the analogy used by Cary Millsap, I can now use this information, to decribe my gut feeling regarding the “Why you should not transform relational to XML storage and vice versa”. For your reference Lucas, this was mainly the discussion during my pre UKOUG tryout, started up by you, so now (at last) I can embed this again in my presentation for upcoming conferences. I made a smal drawing, transfering Cary’s analogy into a “XML world” example. Without saying the intent of this, showed it to Cary with the remark: “This is the problem with XML” and he immediately “got it”. So for him, although still based on his woodcraft example, the drawing was “strong” enough that “he got it”.

  2. Marco,

    Thanks for your energetic report on Hotsos 2008. It is clear that you will bring home a lot of ideas that will help you propel you in several ways. I must confess, you make me very curious about all this inspiration and these ideas. You mention several presentations that brought you new insights and ideas and inspiration and triggers. And now my big question is, of course: what are these insights? what did those excellent speakers present that got you so carried away? Could you tell us all a little bit more about them? That would be most interesting! Have safe journey home.

    Lucas