Oracle DBA Symposium organized by Planboard

Last Tuesday (27th of May) I was present at the Oracle DBA Symposium as a presenter and attendee. The DBA Symposium was organized by Planboard. After all attendees and presenters had coffee together, Nienke Gijsen (Planboard) opened the Oracle DBA Symposium with some key remarks of what was expected from the symposium. The biggest key of the symposium should be the networking between all the attendees and speakers. Further to build up a nice community of technical people to share knowledge and experience. The way Planboard wants to accomplish this is by having pretty long pauses (30 minutes) between the different presentations.


At 10:00 in the morning I attended the first presentation. From the two to be chosen tracks, I followed the presentation from Bernhard de Cock Buning, which was titled “Inside Oracle Clusterware”. This presentation showed a lot of background information regarding Oracle Clusterware, and the places to check when something goes wrong inside this product. Bernhard showed with confidence his knowledge of all the background processes which are part of Oracle Clusterware. His presentation and live examples in his vmware environment on his laptop showed that there are a lot of differences between Oracle versions in the way Oracle Clusterware is logging in the log files for the different background processes.


At 11:30 I attended the presentation of Toon Koppelaars, titled “Data Integrity: How it could be”. As usual I was really impressed by the way Toon is able to change “business” rules into plain SQL. Toon presented different integrity issues, and how they could be translated into reliable and performing pieces of code. In the presentation Toon showed also some complex synchronization issues and how they could be solved. For example a department should always have one manager and at least two admins. When in this example a department has a manager and two admins, and the two admins are deleted by two different sessions, the business rules could be violated. I personal think that it would be very well for everybody maintaining and developing in high end systems to have knowledge about this. Toon referred in his presentation to his book, which he wrote together with Lex de Haan called “Applied Mathematics for Database Professionals”.


After the midday break (13:30) I gave my presentation called “Jumping The GAPP”. In this presentation I showed the new method “GAPP” (introduced at HOTSOS 2008), and how it can be used to find performance bottlenecks in complex architectures without code change or tracing. In practice a lot of customers don’t allow you to start tracing in production system to find bottlenecks in a system. Under normal circumstances you would use a test environment, but in a lot of cases this test environment is not representing the production situation. With GAPP you can jump this problem. The basic principle what is used with GAPP is data mining which is already used for a long time in business. The input for GAPP can be any available data (System metrics, ASH, Statspack, Network data, SAN data, etc), which can compared with each other via the same time stamp. The method can show where in a complex architecture certain wait time has gone and where tunings effort should be focused. Also can GAPP do predictions of how certain changes will impact the performance. Currently I am busy to create a whitepaper, for now you can read more in a previous blog post.


Jumping the GAPP


At 15:00 I attended the presentation from Lonneke Dikmans, titled “OAS and SOA Suite: Work for DBA’s ?”. Lonneke presented how the Service Oriented Architecture would influence the work of a DBA. In her presentation it became very obvious that the SOA architecture will make the work of a dba more broad and different than it is from a traditional point of view. For the DBA it will be more and more important to know how the different components are connected and how they work together as one application. Although Lonneke was referring to Toon Koppelaars, with his vision of putting business rules into the database, it was from the SOA perspective, that the database is just storage of data. Lonneke successful showed that SOA can be used in such a way that this picture can be combined. I personal think that this is a real future challenge for all of us.


At 16:30 I attended the last presentation of the DBA Symposium, from Jacco Landlust, titled “Oracle Application Server; No Magic, but structured analysis”. In this presentation Jacco showed how a lot of trouble at Application Server level can be solved by a very flowchart a like error trapping method. He showed where log files can be found and how they should be read. It was impressive to see how easy Jacco was navigating in the different log files and what could be found by his drilldown method.


Overall I have to say that the DBA Symposium was a big success, and I think starting this new symposium was a very good idea.


Thanks and keeps jumping GAPP’s,


Gerwin Hendriksen