IOUG Live! 2004--Monday, April 19, 2004

by Stephen Andert

At the official kickoff and opening session, IOUG President, Kimberly Floss
talked about the benefits of user groups and gave an overview of the
G.R.E.A.T. strategy that IOUG is implementing to continue to make this
organization valuable for it's members. They are always improving member

The International Oracle Users Group (IOUG) is run by volunteers and so recognition is important to ensure that
some of the valuable contributors are recognized and this annual conference
is a great venue for that so that the attendees can thank them for their
diligent and hard work. This year the Chris Wooldridge Award recipient is
Stan Yellott and the winner of the SELECT Editor's Choice Award for
excellence in a technical article is Jeff Maresh. Congratulations to both
of them for their contributions to make the Oracle world a better place to
be a DBA.

As with any large gathering early in the morning, some stragglers were still
coming in as the HP keynote speaker was being introduced. Jim Milton talked
about HP's Adaptive Enterprise and how it works with Oracle for benefit of

At both the morning and afternoon keynotes, I was impressed with the large
crowd. When a large auditorium if so full that people are sitting right
next to each-other with few empty spots, you know the attendees are serious
about learning as much as they can from this conference. At the afternoon
keynote, the Oracle Contribution Award was presented to Ken Jacobs (a.k.a.
Dr. DBA). After graciously receiving the award, he discussed to vision and
promise of 10g. He discussed how the grid features address scalability and
reliability requirements of the business world. He also talked about
Automatic Storage Management, which promises more performance and less DBA
overhead with no IO tuning required to maximize performance. I like to hear
senior-level people talk about what excites them most about products and Ken
spent some time talking about some of what he feels are cool features
including html db with no middle tier needed. As far as 10g implementation
he recommended starting a conversion by using Enterprise Manager to manage
existing Oracle version 8, 8i and 9 databases as well as 10g databases as they
are deployed and upgraded.

There are many opinions about the Oracle Certification Program (OCP), and I
could write a whole article just on that. I may do that another time, but
for now, I will just say that the benefits of the OCP program are not simply
a resume builder. I attended one of the OCP EXAM CRAM sessions for the 9i
upgrade test. I was reminded that the material covered is not just for
certification! You learn about features you are not using that you could
benefit from. An example of that is the discussion I've been witnessing
lately about backup direct to tape vs. backup to disk followed by backup to
tape using OS utilities. BACKUP . . .BACKUPSET allows an RMAN backup to be
made of a disk backup. This allows RMAN to "know" where the backup is

Don Burleson is a very dynamic speaker who is always popular with the crowd.
His session on SQL Tuning attracted a large crowd. Attendees learned things
like if you are using 9i and are not using DBMS_STATS, you are not taking
full advantage of Oracle as there are many benefits over using the
traditional ANALYZE commands. Don also put forth the question that every
DBA should start their tuning effort with: "Are you first_rows or all_rows?"
Depending on that answer, a tuned SQL statement could mean different things.

Another always-popular speaker is Gaja Vaidyanatha who today presented "It's
time to do ASH". Gaja always rewards his listeners with enough information
to make their brain grow and this session was no different. He introduced
the audience to the Active Session History in 10g and discussed how it can
be beneficial for the tuning DBA.

The "Performance Tuning your 9i Database" round table late in the afternoon
was a valuable time spent discussing obstacles in using things like
DBMS_STATS and stored outlines. There were about a dozen people there that
also spent time discussing I/O problems and tools available to identifying
and troubleshooting them as well as strategies for winning cooperation from
other groups like the "storage administrators" or "system administrators".
Most of the people there had solid experience and were open and willing to
share ideas. The round tables (that are actually squares <grin>) is one of
the least formal educational opportunities here at the conference and yet, I
walked out of there with more knowledge than I walked in there with and I
know others felt the same way.

I also had the opportunity to visit with some vendors that I have meet in
the past either as a customer or through other user group events. It was a
great opportunity to see how various vendors can help to meet needs in our

Later in the evening, the oracle-l mailing list had a IRL reunion and it was
fun to meet some people in person for the first time and renew other
friendships from years past. I tried to make a list of everyone that was
there, but I missed many names because there was around 50 people from all
over the world. We put a bunch of tables together and spent at least the
next couple hours getting to know each other better. I say at least a
couple hours because by the time I said "goodnight" at about 10pm, there was
still about half the original group there with no sign of letting up.

Oracle-l is a mailing list that provides an incredible amount of knowledge
transfer and help from many of the leading experts. Do you have a favorite mailing list for technical things?


Jonathan Gennick
2004-04-21 04:45:34
Wish I were there
Thanks for posting these Stephen. You make me want to hop the next plane out. Ken Jacobs is indeed a good speaker. I always enjoy his talks.