Sunday and Monday at Oracle Open World

Dave Welch, CTO and Chief Evangelist

As I find my social media chops, no doubt I’ll post more frequently with less content per post. But meanwhile…

I’m told that Oracle’s Larry Ellison also began contributing to the Twitterverse this summer.

House of Brick’s Oracle VBCA Boot Camp Sunday 9/30 came off better than I expected, and I had high expectations. I think the attendees feel good about it, too, based on their end-of-session group chorus calling for more. I’m inclined to put extra weight on this particular group’s feedback. They were more interactive than most groups and therefore challenged me in helpful ways. I’ll be channeling the feedback into House of Brick’s SQL Server boot camp Tuesday November 6th in Seattle in conjunction with the SQL Pass conference.

I’m declaring Colin Bieberstein of Husky Energy – Calgary as my boot camp guest of honor. I got the impression that Colin may have made significant personal sacrifices to attend on just two weeks’ notice.

As for Database 12c, I’m pleased that the announcement made before Larry Ellison took the stage aligned with what I’ve been already telling everyone. A few months ago Larry predicted the 12c GA release this December or January. That was never going to happen, minimally due to the increasing complexity of the release. Add to that the coding and QA challenges Oracle faces with what has always given the appearance of involving an Exa code branch.

The announcer said sometime in calendar year 2013. I’ve been telling everyone not a minute before June but more probable toward December 2013. I’ve also been saying don’t look for release stability worthy of production systems anytime before the middle of 2014. That’s not a hit on Oracle. It is just the nature of the beast with code this complex underpinning business-critical systems. I continue to be in love with their red stack software, and sincerely hope that the love affair continues.

As for Database 12c’s multitenancy (pluggable databases on top of a consolidated instance), I firmly believe it is tooling the wrong way at the wrong stack layer. That was my immediate reaction on December 19th, 2011 when I first got wind of the release’s architectural direction. On the contrary, I have been preaching for three years an architectural direction that I have dubbed “atomicity.” That is, in vSphere environments, move toward an alignment of one database instance, middle tier component, or utility per guest OS.

Atomicity accomplishes two major objectives. It makes architecture with tinker toy components much easier for those building initial stack prototypes and with less technical administrator involvement. Think vCloud Director. That accelerates time to market. Smaller memory/CPU workload alignments also dramatically facilitate live migration. That facilitates dramatically better utilization of an Oracle processor-based license, which in many cases can be a stack’s most expensive component.

I am constantly challenged in my travels by hardware-centric DBAs and System Administrators justly concerned about the prospect of managing four to ten times as many Oracle executable and OS instances. I tell them that 100% of their vSphere-experienced peers that I interact with in shops that know what they’re doing with vSphere say they would never go back. The model is to allocate a fraction of the savings that vSphere provides to patch automation tooling.

Database 12c is attempting virtualization not one but two layers higher in the stack than the vSphere platform that accomplishes virtualization in spades. When architecting system stacks, always assume to begin the discussion by tooling at the lowest layer of the stack possible, unless there are very compelling business and/or technical justifications to do otherwise.

Oracle VBCA is predictable when you know what you’re doing. I tell people that the one-time replatform from big iron to x86 is the hard part, minimally because, unlike us, enterprises don’t do it every day. I’m convinced the RISC UNIX->x86 hop is the single most important thing organizations can plan for in their move toward the world’s premier platform vSphere. Accordingly, Jeff Browning’s replatforming preso will get my nod for OOW best of show. He sleuthed out the fact that RMAN CONVERT’s sys.dbms_backup_restore endian translation used to work just fine into any x86 platform. That is until three years in October 2008, when patch 13340675 “fixed” it to only work with Exadata. You can also pick up Jeff’s preso recording at VMworld 2012.

Jeff invited me to lunch yesterday. The more time I spend with Jeff, the more humbled I am by how big his heart is. Thanks, Jeff. I continue to benefit from our professional and personal friendship.

The VMware 2012 Pavilion is appropriately themed with vFabric at every turn. Charles Fan is a humble, self-effacing man who would never bring up the incredible things he’s done for Joe Tucci. Charles’ vision for what is now called vFabric is really finding its voice, and that’s clear as you stroll around the VMware pavilion.

Yesterday vFabric’s Bill Bonin shared perspective with me–a month after VMware’s Chief Performance Officer Richard McDougall did the same thing–on how big the in-memory Hadoop market is projected to be in just a few short years. Guys, thanks to both of you for your one-on-one attention to make sure I keep Hadoop in my periscope.

VMware, I need you to align vFabric Data Director with vCloud Director strategically if not integrate them technically. Yet they are being marketed independently and have segregated internal organizations. I’m at a loss to explain the lack of product alignment as I now add the vFabric Data Director message to what I have always felt was VMware’s best tooling: was Lab Manager is vCloud Director. There’s an apparent massive operational deployment intersection here. This is no different than my incessant internal harping to you years ago that Lab Manager and Stage Manager were the same thing, despite the fact that they were separate code bases. You eventually merged Stage Manager into Lab Manager. C’mon, vFabric Data Director was announced a year ago. As one who provided architectural guidance into what was code-named “Aurora” and as a lightning rod evangelist for VBCA, I’m struggling to articulate the cogent unified vision for these separate products. It’s got to be even harder for your prospects to capture that vision. It’s going to get even worse now with your phenomenally shrewd acquisition of DynamicOps.

I ran into a former Oracle RAC employee yesterday who confirmed what we always knew. The statement that got deleted from the published My Oracle Support note (off the top of my head) “There are technical restrictions that prohibit the certification of RAC in a VMware environment” had to do with clock drift. (Clock drift went away with vSphere 4 in 2009).

Ron Zellars from the world’s largest ice cream factory – Wells Dairy – stopped by the VMware pavilion to say hi. We are proud to have helped them over a year ago with their EBS R12 upgrade and replatform of RAC to vSphere.

Brian and Richard from the U.S.’s largest appliance manufacturer – G.E. Appliances and Lighting – also stopped by to say hi. Brian’s business card now sports “Chief Evangelist” because CTO Lance Weaver thought it was cool on my card when GE and HoB got introduced here last year. I may have to declare Brian’s business card title as my biggest professional accomplishment for 2011!

Having said that, my most enjoyable encounter of the day was with Wize Commerce’s DBA Selina Lin out of San Mateo, CA. Selina took in my “Oracle RAC and VMware HA Tooling – A Decision Tree” VMware theater preso but couldn’t return Tuesday for the replay of my “Business Critical Applications Performance – VM vs. Native” preso. So we found a couple chairs just outside exhibit hall doors and took our time with that preso one-on-one. Selina, our ½ hour working session made my day. All the best to you.

My esteemed colleague Cisco’s Tushar Patel invited me to lunch today. Tushar was the VMware-side engineering force behind HoB’s groundbreaking VMware Oracle Solutions Lab at OOW 2007.

My only VMware 2012 pavilion complaint: inadequate white board space. Thank goodness for the iPad Paper app!

And speaking of apps, Uber is the coolest most practical iPhone/iPad app I’ve seen lately! Map all the available drivers in your geo and summon up the nearest one with a click without placing a call to a cab dispatcher.

Run Uber on the iPad 3 you’re going to win when you physically present Tuesday and Wednesday in the VMware Pavilion at 5:30. Your odds are pretty good as I’m thinking there just weren’t that many bodies present given the size of the daily prize.

To close out this mega-post: I was asked yesterday for feedback on a partner strategy event earlier this year. I answered with a concept that I’ve introduced into my professional activities from my volunteer teaching experience: “Never let planned content interfere with a productive discussion.”

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