I walked in with time to grab a cup of tea and walk up to the first session. I chose Alex Peattie talking about an introduction to SOA for application integration to see where Oracle are pitching these days for their grand world of SOA. It was fairly entry level, but a thorough overview - a nice way to warm up.
It certainly would have been tough to warm up with Shan Nawaz talking about the top ten 11g features that aren't your usual top ten. It was a good idea for a presentation as one does get bored with hearing about the same glossy features all the time. For those curious, here are my interpretations of my quick scratches on the day
- Reproduce SQL test case (DBMS_SQL_DIAG)
- Advanced compression (costed option)
- Diagnose/Resolve failure with DRA
- Multi-section backups
- Database resident connection pool
- Server consolidation
- SQL*Plus error logging (sperrorlog)
And yes, some of those are very cool.
The post-morning tea slot saw me torn again between Francisco Munoz on Oracle security tips and Marcelle Kratochvil convincing us to store unstructured data in the database. I ended up in Marcelle's, and while I can't compare to Francisco's session (Barbara thought it was excellent), I think Marcelle's was up there for the most engaging and thought provoking of the conference. It reminded me of Guy Harrison in Perth last year - his was less Oracle and more commentary on the direction of the computing world, but Marcelle really hit the nail on the head for the issues of tomorrow. Our technology isn't there yet for searching videos/images, protecting copyright etc, but Marcelle certainly convinced me by not putting this information into our database, we aren't exactly heading in the right direction!
Before lunch, again two slots I wanted to see. I ended up with Connor McDonald talking statistics, which I will say is my favourite from his catalogue. I saw it previously in Perth, but was more than happy to be entertained once again. If you've never seen one of his presentations - it doesn't matter what the topic - you must see him at least once.
After lunch, torn again - sense a trend? I almost went to see an Australia Post case study on SOA, which apparently was packed - but I thought I'd learn a thing or two about Exadata from Tony Jambu, and get myself a mintie. Tony assessed the facts and myths to see if Oracle was pulling the wool over our eyes or if they really have the beez neez of hardware/software integration - turns out Oracle really does have the right stuff.
And we all saw some magic that involved Guy Harrison wondering if he was going to walk out of that session with a cup of water drained over his head. Great work, Tony.
After three sessions of indecision, I found myself struggling to pick something in the penultimate session. I ended up seeing Clancy Bufton introduce flashback queries and total recall. Not a new topic, but one I'm not completely familiar with.
Now for the biggest scheduling issue of the conference - we had Mark Lancaster talking advanced Apex 4 UI; Tim Hall on edition-based redefiition; and Tom Kyte on SQL techniques.
I went the big name, which is a shame because it turns out I had seen this one before, and was very happy with my use of his suggested better practice. I was however glad to see and hear the younger generation (did I really say that?) talk about some of his suggestions and seek clarification with Tom afterwards. To me that indicates some success and progress within a conference.
Tom certainly drew the crowd as Marc and Tim suggested afterwards some smaller than expected numbers. But that's ok, those who were there got an up close & personal, interactive discussion with them both.
So that concluded the conference proper - however I still had the evening and an extra day to survive. The evening made it easy. After a quick revival back at my room, 14 of us headed out for dinner. We tried once place only to find we wouldn't fit, but plan B was superb. We headed to South Styne - a floating restaurant in Darling Harbour. I enjoyed perfectly cooked kangaroo fillet with lovely spices and mash, chased down with a few king browns and good company. Thanks people, and I remember someone taking a group photo so no doubt I'll stumble across that in the near future - hopefully I can post it up.
Stay tuned, I have some more thoughts on this week to come.