“Automate Amazon S3 Storage with Alexandria”

In Perth this morning, at a breakfast courtesy of the local AUSOUG, I spoke about using the Alexandria PL/SQL Library to automate various tasks with Amazon’s Simple Storage (S3) service. If you haven’t used Amazon Web Services before, or haven’t looked at Alexandria yet, and you enjoy discovering new capabilities with PL/SQL I think you’ll find this interesting.

The powerpoint slides and demo script are now available on my Presentations page.

In late October I’ll be speaking at the 20:20 Foresight Perth Conference – more details later.

AUSOUG Perth Conference 2011 Day Two

The final day at Burswood was just as enjoyable as day one. Well done to all the AUSOUG committee!

I started with two Apex talks – first, Scott Wesley on Apex 4.1 Security. Personally I very much enjoyed the unique presentation style. You can experience it for yourself here. After that, Mark Lancaster from Queensland gave his analysis of the changes from Apex 4.0 to 4.1, and commented on a number of new features that have been added or improved.

Just before lunch I caught “Tips and Best Practices for DBAs” by Francisco Munoz Alvarez, who spoke less about actual DBA tasks (as I was expecting) but more about the “soft” skills – attitude, professionalism, working in a team, delegating tasks, and automating everything.

After lunch Vinod Patel moderated a discussion panel comprising Debra Lilley, Tim Hall, Connor McDonald, Penny Cookson, Chris Muir, and a guy from Oracle (whose name escapes me for the moment) – and they were plied with many questions about the art of presenting. It was encouraging to hear what they had to say, both about their success and their failure stories. I think I got away with taking this photo without them noticing :)

I took in Graham Wood‘s final presentation, a live demo of Exadata. He demonstrated how blazingly fast it is for loading huge amounts of data in a very short time (e.g. 500GB in about 10 minutes IIRC) and running horrible queries even faster (e.g. multiple full table scans with self joins, running in mere seconds). It was very impressive, although it did highlight that to get the full benefit of Exadata, some queries may need to be rewritten. For example, a big report you’re running now might get a modest x10 or x20 speed improvement on Exadata, but after rewriting you could get on the order of x100 to x200 speed improvements! If you don’t believe me, go ask Graham yourself :)

The day ended with Connor McDonald‘s talk, A Year in Purgatory – Diary of an 11.2 RAC Upgrade. It held a lot of promise, but unfortunately I was called away to an emergency at work so I missed most of it. I was quite disappointed to miss that one. By the way, Connor is now blogging – at connormcdonald.wordpress.com. Finally!

I’ve enjoyed each AUSOUG conference since 2000, and this year was one of the best in my opinion. It was great to catch up with colleagues, network with Oracle nerds and professionals, and get inspired by a variety of talks on topics I’m interested in.

In addition, the last few years I’ve also presented. This has been a good experience which I intend to continue. I hope that with practice I’ll get much better at it.

AUSOUG Perth Conference 2011 Day One

I had a most enjoyable* day today at the Oracle conference at Burswood, Perth.

* This is significant in light of the fact that the start of the day was quite hectic, having had to drop the car off to get a new alternator (the electrics died on the way home from work yesterday, so this morning I called RAC out to get the car started and charge the battery up a bit. I managed to drive the car within 100m of Ultratune, then it died completely. So I left the car in the traffic and walked the rest of the way, borrowed some kind of block box that was like a CPR machine for cars.), thereafter going with Rosalie to drop the eldest at her school, so she could then gift me a lift to Burswood.

I got to the conference in time to hear Graham Wood from Oracle talk about DB Time-based Oracle Performance Tuning, which was excellent, then Tim Hall on Edition-Based Redefinition which led to some excellent discussions with both Tim and colleagues from my current client.

My talk on a simple ETL method using just SQL seemed to go well and there were some good questions, comments and suggestions. If you missed something it was probably because I talk too fast – if you want to look something up from the talk you can look at the slides here, or have a play with a full SQL*Plus demo [ETL-by-SQL-sqlplus-demo.zip]. I also blogged about this technique back in February.

I finished the day with Graham Wood’s second talk, on Oracle Hidden Features – which indeed included info on some Oracle features that I’d either not yet come across, or had forgotten about. Doug Burns blogged about this presentation earlier. The bit about external tables, especially the new 11g feature for running the source file through a preprocessor, was particularly interesting.

I’m looking forward to the second day tomorrow.

Are You Ready? Upcoming Conference in Perth

Just a quick note to draw attention to the lineup for AUSOUG National Conference – 3-4 November at the luxurious Burswood Resort here in Perth. The usual suspects will be there, for example:

Signs of the coming Apocalypse? Who knows….

Plan your trip (and arrange your accommodation early, if you need it) and your conference schedule today!

AUSOUG Perth 2010 – Day 2

First off the mark this morning was Mark Lancaster on “Building Advanced APEX 4.0 UIs with Ext JS”, which was an eye-popping demo of some wonderful things you can do when you combine the power of Ext JS with Apex.

Tom Kyte presented via Webinar his “The Best Way – Things You Know” presentation, which I had already enjoyed in Melbourne but it’s always worth revisiting these things – helps to counter the constant wave of opposite sentiment from the other side of the spectrum.

Some years ago I had a quick look at REST, as an alternative to SOAP – but never really got the hang of it. So I was interested in being introduced properly by Chris Muir in his talk “A Change is as Good as a REST – JDeveloper 11g’s REST Web Services”. This double-length presentation was worth attending, he started with an excellent definition of web services, their history and REST’s heritage; explained the power and simplicity of REST, compared and contrasted it with its complex and comprehensive cousin, SOAP; and demonstrated how easy it is to create and expose simple REST web services using JDeveloper.

After lunch, we were entertained by Guy Harrison‘s keynote address, “Technology Trends that have the potential to make big impacts both in our everyday life and as Oracle professionals”. They had to close down all the other conference rooms just to make room for the presentation title in the programme :) But it was a fun talk speculating about the kinds of technology our kids and our kids’ kids will probably be all blasé about.

Connor McDonald fired us all up with “A Better Way of Managing Optimizer Statistics”. He claims that we should stop collecting statistics and stop creating histograms :) – I suspect a number of DBAs are now wondering why they wasted so much of their time (and so much server time) for so long…

I finished the day with Frank Bommarito‘s “Outlines, Profiles, and SQL Plan Baselines” which was a good introduction to the subject and for me was a good overview of some new features I haven’t used.