UKOUG – Running the Gauntlet

I didn’t "do" much on Tuesday regarding the attending of sessions. I saw Alex Gorbachevs’s presentation regarding "RAC connection management". I was a little bit "afraid" of the "RAC" part in the title and was not sure if I could learn from it. As once an OAKTable member said to me: "RAC, or you love it or you hate it. If you hate it, your off for a good start". In total it was a very interesting presentation about  SQL*Net / Listener behavior / internals in a RAC environment. I couldn’t help myself regarding how to apply this information in a simple single instance situation (of course in combination with the XMLDB Protocol Server Listener functionality), solving an APEX in a multi tier environment problem… Anyway If I have time to setup a test environment then I will come back on this…

Afterwards I got to Christian Antognini’s presentation about "Scalability with Oracle RAC for DWH Applications". Trying to do the impossible? DWH in RAC? Apparently it is doable if conditions are met with causing latency (or skew – yeah, I followed todays great presentation from James Morle 😉 ) on the query servers or the interconnect.

I should say here that I am grateful for Doug for almost demolishing his new VAIO (!) laptop, due to trying to get the pictures off from my SD card (trying to use a teaspoon and paper-clip).  And also especially merited here Mr. Dan Fink, who borrowed me his USB lead, which was in the end the more practical solution to get the pictures across.

That was about it regarding the sessions of Tuesday.

UKOUG - Running the Gauntlet ukoug01 

Running the Gauntlet 

I went to McDonald’s for a quick ("chippy") meal and some candy bars and head off to my Hotel room in the Jury’s Inn.

There I tried to relax a little bit before I started working on my presentation for Wednesday. At the end it took me until 01.00 am for finishing up (mainly on testing some examples, cross referencing my sheets). At 05.00 am my alarm clock (and wake-up call) brought me back to live. I am not an early morning person so knowing this I started of this early (and only 4 hours sleep), but this way I was wide awake and aware what was happening in the outside in the world ;-). Quick scan again through my fresh (presentation) sheets, of course altering them again, reading up on Doug’s borrowed sheets, and then (at last) putting the final presentation on  2 USB memory sticks. Because I forgot some references, altered my presentation again and had to save them again. Sometimes I am a little bit too much a perfectionist. But anyway, I succeeded. Because I had the discipline to get up that early, which is absolutely not me, I had also the time for a good shower and breakfast. 

Doing all this, I felt fairly relaxed and prepped for the presentation. I was way to early at the ICC Center (08.00 am), so I took a look on the podium to get a feeling for the room and the environment I would be in from of an hours time. Wasn’t that scary it all, but I guess I owed all this to the audience (and to myself) to be fully prepared. Even if this would be the last presentation ever abroad, the audience paid for their entrance ticket. To be honest, UKOUG is also one of the biggest Oracle events Worldwide so I wanted to do my utmost, so I would at least give a good show before dying 😉

With my microphone buttoned up, slides in order, tested all that I should, I started waiting in the front row.

08.45 am one guy came in and then nothing

UKOUG - Running the Gauntlet ukoug02

I thought: "OH dear, I completely forgot, I am that strange guy who is interested in that strange subject XMLDB, and even worse, from a DBA perpective". Would that be the only one? So my mind started wondering around and I though things like: "Ah, If that is the only guy than I will demonstrate everything he wants to know about it, if possible solve his problem (probably the reason why he showed up anyway)". I was lucky and/or the guy was unlucky, more people came in at around 08.55 am. In total, I guess there were 40 people (alas only 3 DBA’s).

Nial Litchfield was chairing my presentation (thx Nial) and I asked him if he could announce that questions could be asked after the presentation, because normally I am always short on time. Nial thought that was a good idea, because he had to rush immediately afterwards to do his own presentation.

Even after my always rusty start, I didn’t notice my error in timing. Because I always have problems to finish in time, I really tried to do this time with less sheets. I had forgotten though that I am not a native English speaker, so I had trouble building fluent sentences plus, because of this, I sticked to the essentials, trying to get the message across. So when I finished up after 35 slides, I had still 15 min. left (of the 45 minutes). Afterwards, I thought, if I also had powered up my laptop than I could have done a small demo… Maybe next time. As an extra, to show that there is more to it than the essential, but vital, first beginnings, I added a test script, I run the night before, testing a nested table / outline storage method scenario.

UKOUG - Running the Gauntlet ukoug03

So I did it. Again a small milestone. While I left I noticed that the evaluation forms were next to the door. So I had a look. Some of them said (in general) "excellent", some of them "average", but most (to my surprise) of them said "good". I was greatly surprised, because I know that I do better normally (so I didn’t agree with the majority or am I to nerdy again). Anyway, as Doug said, with a critical crowd, the same as the Europeans would react, I didn’t do so bad (plus it was the first session track in the morning). In all I am happy about it and I wasn’t that nervous at all (as I would have expected).

I did it and that’s what counts.

As said before, I just attended James Morle’s session, but more on that tomorrow. I hope I can keep awake until tonight.


PS.: My presentation can be downloaded here:

M. Gralike, UKOUG 2007 – "XMLDB, Building Blocks and Best Practices" or on the UKOUG Site via the abstract page.



  1. Marco Gralike December 5, 2007
  2. Niall Litchfield December 5, 2007