IOUG-A Live! 2002 - Day 2 (Monday)

by Stephen Andert

The day started off with Rich Niemiec presenting some awards followed by a few guests sharing some inside stories. Bruce Scott (Oracle versions 1-3) let us in on the much guessed at story of scott/tiger. The tiger in question was his daughters cat. Kuassi Mensah (Oracle version 4-6) and Andrew Mendelsohn (Oracle version 7-9) were also there and shared some interesting stories.

The opening general session was presented by Vince Gayman from Compaq. The scheduled speaker, Don Jenkins, was unable to make it due to HP merger-related activities.

Vince stated that Compaq strengths include storage systems, fault-tolerance and their global reach. Also, he listed their strengths as an Oracle database server environment. Some of these strengths are:

-clustering from ProLiant (Linux & Windows) to ES40 (Tru64 unix)

-simplification of new node istallation

-call either hotline for support (Compaq or Oracle)

The next speaker at the opening general session was Dr Roger von Oech with a presentation called "A Whack on the Side of the Head" where he talked about how to stimulate creative thinking.

If a picture is worth 1000 words, then I hope the IOUG web site gets a picture from this session posted. Four of the board members were pulled from the audience and given a special piece of headwear to illustrate the four different "hats" that people can put on to maximize their creativity.





Later, at the Oracle booth, I watched the 9i database overview. I think there are many enhancements that have the potential to be very beneficial. Some of the key ones that I thought were promising are:

- sql apply to standby - allows standby to be available while in recovery mode

- switchover/switchback - makes is easier to switch back to the primary database after failing over

- reduced PL/SQL recompilation time

- Oracle streams - information transfer even from other RDBMS

- RMAN enhancements - controls the amount of archived logs restored during recovery

- enhanced tuning- Estimated cost AND actual cost are kept

- security - increased sys & system accountability

In the afternoon, Andrew Mendelsohn from Oracle added to the information I received from the booth. Oracle is using 9i (including release 2) in production situations, so they are "eating their own cooking", which should be a comforting factor when considering your own rollout.

Some key high availability features are:

-RAC (lets you scale efficiently even w/o modifying the application)

-Data Guard (standby db w/sql apply can add indexes, materialized views, etc.)

-Flashback Query

-Dynamic Reconfiguration

-Online Redefinition

Andy also participated in a couple demos:

-converting from RBS to Automatic Undo Management

-flashback query

-resumable sessions.

-converting to locally managed tablespaces ONLINE

I think these demos gave a good feel for how some of the new features work and they made me think of some things to start to play with as my company starts to investigate 9i.

Session 512 was Craig A Shallahamer's presentation on "Oracle's Touch Count Data Block Buffer Algorithm"
This is a new buffer cache algorithm that replaces the multiple buffer pools which were developed to enhance the MLRU algorithm (Modified Least Recently Used). The MLRU was an enhancement to the LRU algorithm (Least Recently Used).

Craig has done a lot of digging around to get a better understanding of how this new algorithm works. From how Craig explained it, it looks like this algorithm could be a more efficient way of keeping the "popular" data blocks in the buffer cache even when large table scans or large index range scans are performed.

This is a fairly new feature in Oracle and the associated init parameters are still officially undocumented. As such, great care should be taken to understand how they work before you start modifying them.

This was an interesting session and future research combined with some documentation from Oracle should allow more opportunities for buffer cache tuning.

Throughout the day, I ran into people I met last year, people I know through my local user group (AZORA) as well as meeting some new people.

Overall, today was an information-filled day with a lot of opportunities for networking with other Oracle professionals. Tomorrow promises to be more of the same and I can't wait.