Category Archives: Development

Hey JAVA-developer, why don’t you love your database


Why this post?

Partly, this blogpost is a result of a promise to Lukas Eder. Basically my vision adheres quite nicely to the “Thick Database” driven by Bryn Llewellyn and Toon Koppelaars who, understandibly, drive this from an Oracle perspective.
It –more than of course- also nicely fits EnterpriseDB or even vanilla PostgreSQL database landscapes.

There is apparently still so much confusion in the world on the how, why and what of good application development and architecture that I decided to chip in my bit. I think I have a bit of an idea on how this aught to work and I also think it is not a half bad idea, plus a couple of people whom I highly regard, seem to agree with it. So here goes…

Traditionally

Traditionally there is no big love between application developers and their persistence-store. I don’t really know why because I never found the opportunity to do a real inquiry, but I think I have a reasonable understanding.

Basically there is constantly the enormous pressure of delivering new features and functionality. So much even that the basic development work, the more “boring” and “time consuming” things -why pay now, if you can also pay later- get postponed. Things like peer-reviews, (integration) testing, technical design… Basically, more people means more features.
If even these things get too little attention, why would something like an overpriced library-box get more attention? Not to mention these DBA’s you need to pass to even get close(r) to this library-box…

Here are my four reasons why I think
it should deserve a chance!

1. Easier

Plain and simple. It is easier. If you take a structured query language like PL/(pg)SQL, it is basically easy. Founded on the programming language ADA, it is easy to understand and one can quite easily build a number of routines, procedures, packages, functions to let the database chop and glue data and just deliver the results for your application to consume.
It saves you the time of having to (re)write some of this more complex stuff in your application or perhaps even over a several applications.

2. Quicker

As said under the first point: build once, use many times. By creating mechanisms in the database, you get the opportunity to think about the separating data manipulation mechanisms from data representation mechanisms and where you want to put which specific function. Of course, this decision process takes a little extra time in the beginning, but will repay many times over as your projects grows and gains meaningful complexity (is there something like “meaningful complexity”, well, yes…).

Quicker also is in operational response times. Querying a stored procedure will bring agility to your application in a sense that this stored procedure will be much quicker in getting you the answer than if you do this in a distributed (middle-ware) environment. These stored procedures can be accessed through REST-endpoints, giving flexibility and the possibile desired disconnect between the database and the application layer.

3. Cheaper

Powerful, because you are and you remain close to the data. No data transportation overhead, no latency. These kinds of slimming down, mean less requirements to infrastructure and distributed capacities (either hardware or (virtual) “cloud infrastructure”. This slimming down frees up budget which can then be spend on the more meaningful bits and pieces of your application.

4. More consistent

Finally, I think this approach brings more consistency. As you do things near the data it lives on, near the processing power you depend on, you also get single access paths to specific bits of your data, to specific constructs that drive the value of the application you are building. Through this, it does not matter from where you call this service, REST-endpoint, stored procedure, or whatever you call it, you always get the same answer, driving a consistent decision process based on that application.

And if ever something changes, there is also just one place for you to ensure these new requirements are added. Voila, consistency throughout your application landscape, as all that depends on this data-set gets this uniquely updated information.

The magic of working together

There is a lot of misunderstanding between DBA’s and Developers. I have been in both roles at some point and I have seen this happen first hand. One of the things, though, in that force field, I have learned, is the power, the joy and, through this, the magic of working together.
In the end, we all have the same goal, which is furthering our business by being the best at what we do. This means, for a developer, meeting feature request, short development cycles, quick delivery and as much as possible, get it right in one go. For a DBA this means making sure the database stays consistent, performant and available. And, in extension of that, for operations it means that the final product must be easily and quickly deployable to enter into an uneventful and dependable life-cycle.

Bringing together these seemingly conflicting disciplines is fun! By investing a little time in exploring the other disciplines, you will find common drivers, in a sense that everyone want the same thing. By getting over nearly religious initial differences, you will find magic in the combination. You will reach your goals earlier with the bonus that your co-workers will also reach their goals earlier and have a better end result than you dreamt possible.

True JAVA-Champion

Coming from another world, I do not know the requirements for becoming a JAVA-Champion. I imagine it to be not too much different from other recognition programs out there… But…
If you create more features and functions and you are able to run your application with greater concurrency on (way) less platform-power. Thus increasing the RIO on your application, this makes you a true Champion of JAVA and your business!! If you are able to combine this with some magic in your cooperation’s…
Believe me, it is more fun in the end too!


Containerization, do we need container-carriers?

In maritime logistics containers and container carriers are not really new.

Sitting in the plane, the following thoughts occurred to me…

In fact, containers in IT are a concept which is 1-on-1 derived from these physical containers.
We have seen and read many good and informative blog-posts and presentations about this. Obviously there is a lot of confusion about this as well. In my opinion you should be careful to mix and match too intensively. I think containerization and micro services, for instance have a lot less in common that some would lead you to believe.
This though is not what I wanted to discuss.

I would want to argue that one can containerize a stack too deep (or too high, depending on your viewpoint).

A container, typically, is an isolatable element which can be stacked upon another isolatable element. For instance, a Webserver is stacked upon an instance of bash, stacked upon it’s dependencies, creating an container stack which is capable of serving http-requests at port 80 of the up-address inherited from the IP-stack underneath the bash-instance.

Well, logical. Repeatable, but in a sense also complex, complexity by the sheer number of layers that compromise the stack.

Wouldn’t it be an idea to extend this train of thought and also introduce container carriers?

Just like in the analogy with container carriers in maritime logistics, these would be larger founding blocks on which various containers can be stacked.

  1. How would this differ from a setup with a regular VM? You would still have the lightweight, easily transportable qualities of containers.
  2. How would this differ from just stacking containers to create this? It would enable further development of seamless integration of the founding layers of what this container carrier is made up of, improving stability and specialization.

It eliminates the feeling of wheel-reinvention that for me, somehow still remains lingering around software containers. With the ever growing adoption of container technology, as the foundation for cloud-infrastructure, it can for a quick cost-saver.

My thought-train put to paper. Hope it helps someone, somewhere, somewhat…

Riga Dev Days 2017, new experiences in many ways.

Riga Dev Days 2017

General

It has been a while since my last blog-post.
One of the reasons is my shift from closed to open source software, databases more specifically. More on that in a later blog-post.

The reason for already mentioning this is this strange hybrid (what a popular word, these days) situation that I am in at the moment.
Thanks to the super enthusiastic, flexible and tenacious organization-team of the Riga Dev Days, I was able to participate.
Happily boarded the Air Baltic flight, I went on my way to Riga!!

Being new at the broader conference scene, I enjoyed being at a mixed source developer conference. Besides the usual suspects – some of which are my best friends – I got to meet many interesting new people.
One of the key phrases of the day is: “the more you learn, the more you realize you know nothing – John Snow…” and it’s true! You never stand to think about it, but the wealth of subjects is just tremendous and the combined knowledge at events like these is down right “Yuge, it’s awesome, tremendous!”

Day one

With a day like this, time flies. Between session (and during sessions) there are discussions, a bit of work and catching up to do.
Still I managed to catch a few sessions, like the one from Michael Hüttermann who made a clear and well rounded case regarding CI/CD in a DevOps world. A nice insight into the effort that goes into what’s behind the proverbial “push of a button”.
Another example was that by Marcos Placona about the many (and very basic) things that you have to keep in mind wen building apps. There is no silver bullet and the best you can achieve is to discourage the hacker so much, they move on. Much like securing your house, do to speak.

The day ended in the medieval basements of Riga, where we had some really good medieval food. Life is good…, well…, it has it’s moments!

Day two

The keynote address by Edson Yanaga, which kicked off day two of the Riga Dev Days, was quite interesting.
Shortening development and deployment cycles and shrinking feature release sets actually helps improving software and deployment quality by creating faster and more accurate feedback loops. By looking at these concept in this way, buzzez like DevOps and Agile actually get some hands and feet. One of the lessons, though, is that doing things this way do not eliminate work or automagically solve various issues for you! It will help in getting predictability and continuity into your software development processes.
A nice eye-opening remark finally, was… “no, I don’t pay you to make something work on your computer, I pay you to make something work on my computer(s)!!”

Another talk I was able to attend was around Blockchains. Something I knew nothing of and was actually quite interested in. Nick Zeeb took us through a very lively and very animated tour of what actually a Blockchain is and what the awesome potential of this technology can be. I was impressed.

With this, the second day draw to and end and therewith also my turn “in the pit”. As this event is held in a movie-theater, every room had a sloped tribune, which was often packed with enthusiastic participants. I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on the comparison between PostgreSQL and Oracle.
The session was very well attended with a lot of questions regarding the possibilities of using these other technologies in scales that were not really considered before. You can find a recording of the actual presentation here as soon as it comes available.

Riga Dev Days was a good conference. I would recommend everyone to either attend or submit an abstract for their event in 2018!!

#Oracle cutting in inspiration and new business?

Over the many years Oracle has been leading the database world, I guess they are now taking something of a wrong turn.
Let me briefly fill you in on my thoughts.

Basically I see two “minor” shifts that are significantly indicative of this:

  1. Oracle Standard Edition 2
  2. Oracle ACE Program

Okay, so you might think I am crazy, but let me try to explain.

Oracle Standard Edition 2

Sometime last year, the long expected, anticipated…, dreaded perhaps even, change to the Oracle database licensing strategy was there.

Oracle Standard Edition (SE) and Oracle Standard Edition One (SE1) licenses were addressed.
There was A LOT of debate on this, I mean, A LOT. Discussions which ran all the way back to HQ, and were driven by passionate people inside and outside of Oracle, inside and outside of the Oracle community… To no avail.

It had been very clear for quite a long time that the SE / SE1 strategy was nothing short of unsustainable inside the Oracle licensing realm. Even though, Oracle SE and SE1 enabled many projects and customers to adopt the phenomenal Oracle technology for their projects. It has some limitations, but with smart thinking and smart planning, a lot of projects could be run with Oracle SE(1). “I am such a good DBA, I can even do it with Oracle Standard Edition!”
Alas, we now have Oracle Standard Edition 2 (SE2) with a new and upgraded price of US 17k (!!) making this solution rather out of the question for many of the projects meant in the above. Please note that SE1 already was a significant investment for some of the projects I have learned to know over the years in regions as the Baltics and Africa.
Yes, of course, I know you can do all of this “In the cloud”. But with the limitation that there are hardly any CSPs (Cloud Service Providers 😉 that enable you to make use of the “cheaper” Oracle license. If you want to leverage your local cloud vendor (mind my word-choice here) it’s BYOL (Bring Your Own License) and, voila, you’re done in for anyway.

Hence, the first significant “shift” in Oracle’s span of attention for new business, creativity and growth…

Oracle ACE Program

More recently there was also a change in the Oracle ACE Program. Which has also led to much debate. But… that bit of the change I am not referring too, I am referring to the bit that does not affect me directly…

Oracle has a small number of very highly appreciated and “industry leading” community advocates called “Oracle ACE Directors”. These people not only have a deep knowledge of everything that is happening in this corner “of the industry”, but are also very passionate about sharing this knowledge. Sharing with Oracle Users, sharing with stakeholders within the Oracle organization, basically, with everyone with a hunger for knowledge around the technology.

For this, these Directors had a few privileges. When the invested their time and their energy in traveling this globe to share, Oracle would support them in some of their travel expenses. This always had the air of “wow, they are paid”. Believe me, it was bare minimal support, just a flying ticket and a hotel-bed to a previously approved conference, when they actually were accepted to do a talk. Nothing shiny, nothing business-classy…

Until now. With the changes to the system, also these modest privileges for the Directors have seized to be.

There was my second significant “shift” in Oracle’s span of attention for new business, creativity and growth…

It has me worried… I should not worry, as it does not affect my day-to-day business… yet.

Albeit we have this cool tech, with PL/SQL, with APEX, with all the features, options and what not, to create solutions that could really better the word (I also firmly believe this).

Oracle is just closing this door, and my toes were still in the doorway, so that hurts.

This was my rant, hope it helps.

#DOAG2016, definitely a crazy week.

#DOAG2016, the largest Oracle Community gathering in Europe. Taking place in Nuremberg, at the Nuremberg Convention Center NCC, one of the more impressive places to hold such a conference, towering 4 stories high, with a big central atrium!!
It is a huge effort to get all of this together!

In this blog-post I want to highlight some of the crazy things I experienced this week… And… I did try to follow my own schedule, but I wasn’t overly successful.

Young talent

One of the things that was somehow quite clear this week, is that we have a lot of young talent out there, eager to learn and share experiences. It is not just the #NextGen “movement” of DOAG, of which Carolin Hagemann made me aware, but just young people on the conference itself.

Discussing “Young PL/SQL” at the unconference session made us all aware that our part of the IT trade is no very sexy and popular with the youngsters. This all despite what was mentioned above. In universities we train SQL, but we don’t train to create real-life business applications, leveraging the power of the one language that keeps SQL close to the data it feasts on, PL/SQL. But, more on that below (Thick Database Paradigm).
To promote PL/SQL, basically two ground requirements were defined:

  1. Create a free ‘PDB as a Service’ for schools;
  2. Inspire teachers to talk about data centric computing

By finding somebody to be regionally or globally owner of this quest, it should be possible to get young professionals as familiar using PL/SQL for creating performant and business-ready applications as they were familiar using Microsoft Excel to do their accounting “back in the days”

ACE program

“There is a disturbance in the force!”

For everybody not acquainted with the Oracle ACE Program by the Oracle Technology Network… You should be!! Please read up, as it is an incredible cool initiative.

The disturbance, you ask?
Well, to retain your “status”, Oracle expects you to do “stuff” and this “stuff” is then evaluated on a yearly basis. Basically the initiative, the disturbance, is to get some transparency in “the stuff”. And, as always, everybody wants change, but few actually are good at “change”. There are rimples and things that change, but in the end; everything will be fine, unless, obviously, when it will not be fine.

Talks

I was honored to (co)host to talks at #DOAG2016:

Bad Boys of Replication – Changing everything…
With Oracle ACED and good friend Björn Rost, about an intense migration project we did some time ago. We were even offered to host our talk in Tokio, the biggest hall at DOAG!

Saving lives at sea at an industrial scale using Oracle Cloud Technology
An insightful (at least I like to think so) talk with my colleague Oliver Limberg. The talk is about the rapid development of a global portal for the maritime logistics branch.

I had a blast, and I hope you did too!

Community spirit

Oracle User Group conferences are about sharing and are about fun. Mr. Martin Widlake wrote a good post about that.

Apart from all the “more formal” things that happened, there were quite a few extracurricular activities, mostly involving an Irish Pub or a restaurant.

This all may sound quite funny and exciting, and, yes, it is alto talk with your co-workers: “Oh, hey, you are going to have fun and party all week!” Of course it is not a drag and a bore, but it has very profound function!
Whenever you run into trouble, these are the exact same people that are not only able, but probably also inclined to help you out, as you would help them out, as friends do among each other. In the end, they, you, your boss and your clients benefit. This is not to be underestimated too much.

The extra, special bit, that DOAG offers are the so called “unconference sessions”.
Not scheduled, no slides, nothing official, just getting together and discussing subjects of interest. Our “Young PL/SQL” was one of these “unconference session”, which turned out to be a great (and valuable) success!

Meeting people

Just to name a few, heroes of long and of yet to come for #DOAG2016:

Dietmar Neugebauer
Frank Dernoncourt
Joel Kallman
Johannes Ahrends
Kamil Stawiarski
Laurent Leturgez
Maja Veselica
Marcel Hofstetter
Piet de Visser
Sabine Heimsath
Stefan Kinnen
Stew Ashton
Uwe Hesse
Zoran Pavlovic
And alle the ones I forget to mention here!!

Thick Database Paradigm

Noting new in IT…

Well, no.

The Thick Database Paradigm (opposed to the “No PL/SQL Paradigm”) is nothing new. We have actually all been doing this since the eighties. Program your business rules, your constraints, everything that makes sure that your data is all that you want it to be, close to that data.
There are so many reasons that speak in favor of this approach that it is nearly overwhelming and deserves at least a book in itself. But, let me make a small attempt to highlighting a few here:

  • spare yourself network bandwidth, by not sending data all over your network to be processed
  • safeguard your data inside the (Oracle) database, so it can be protected by all that has been invented to do so
  • Transact data where it lives and combine and aggregate it there, you will be amazed by the efficiency
  • Remind yourself why you used to think “business logic in middle teer” was a good idea

If you leave possibile religious believes aside, there is no other conclusion possible then that the reinvention of “Thick Database” is the (re)discovery of 2016, right from the time when IT still made sense.

Yes, there are cases where an “Enterprise Service Bus” makes sense, but, as with every technology withing IT, it has a very specific area where it actually adds value or even makes sense. At best, a lot less than all the places where it is used currently!
Not to get carried away in this joyful blog-post, I will leave this topic at this.

The end

I hope to see you at the next Oracle User Group conference, somewhere… Please watch for the asterisk at his page for the conferences that I will attend.

#DBADev (Ops), who knows what is going on…

I have been considering writing this article for quite some time now.
APEX Connect 2016 in Germany’s capital Berlin and the DOAG Database days have finally persuaded me to talk more about #DBADev, let me explain why…

Whenever in the stone age…

During my career as DBA, I was always working closely together with Oracle Forms & Reports developers. In retrospect, the cooperation in that time was remarkable.
These Forms & Reports developers had always been used to working on a host-based platform.

For those of you who actually remember Oracle Forms & Reports and wonder…
Was there ever Forms & Reports host based?
Yes there was, but it is creepily long ago!!

Because of the nature of Forms & Reports, there always was a lot of consideration about where to place application code. This especially became true when PL/SQL was introduced and the migration to Oracle Forms & Reports 6.5 came about.
This brought the transition to client/server based computing and introduced physical distance between the database and the “front-end”.
Front-end between quotation marks, as in today’s world we don’t actually know “front-end” anymore in this same qualification. The “Frond-end” was always more elegantly and fittingly described as a “fat-client”, because of the sheer size of the software and utilities that were required on the end-users workstation.

The physical separation and distance between the presentation entity and the data manipulation engine required and inspired a lot of thought and debate on where the bulk of data processing had to be done.
You can imagine the impact of having a specific data manipulation done inside an Oracle Form that lived on a desktop on the other end of the network. Especially when the required data set is large. Having 1,000 records being fetched, where 2 where manipulated and then send back in bulk, repeated 100 times, 4 times a minute on a 10 Mbps network. OK, clear, that needs to be done smarter.
The solution: work with small data sets and do database side manipulation to limit client/server communication. And actually, that worked quite well!!

All good and fine… But how does this tie in to #DBADev? This already sounds so harmonious. And how could APEX Connect 2016 have inspired this article?

Well… Let’s see

Later on, I found that this cooperation appeared to be not so normal.
If you step out of the world of client-server computing and move on to “todays world”, that started more or less in the nineties with web based computing – or cloud-computing “avant la lettre“ or “my stuff on your computer” or however you describe it – you find a world that consists of “strange things”.
I find these things “strange things” because I believe they are suboptimal, and luckily I find myself not alone in this corner.
Suboptimal in a way that data manipulation solutions (lets call them applications for now) should be considered to be database agnostic. This independence dictates that you use the database as just a data store or even more accurately, as a persistency store. Blane Carter 2 minute TechTip

In another scenario these applications are designed and build by developers who are very good at creating intuitive and sharp looking user interfaces. Unfortunately often with a lesser developed understanding of the mechanics involved in dishing up and serving data to this newly established middle tier.

With the continuing professionalization of IT over the past 20 years, we have seen the creation of a wide variety of disciplines. These range from those who think about IT (architects, managers, designers) to those who build IT (programmers, engineers) to those who run IT (system administrators, operators) and the majority of these disciplines today are self-contained groups of professionals and specialists who excel at their own game. Basically that is good as the profession is wide and complex enough to support this.
The problem is that there is no longer anyone who has the whole picture.

Bring it on / together!

apex-logoAPEX Connect 2016, to me personally, was the first time I really saw #DBADev in practice. With the following two examples I want to illustrate my inspiration.

The first talk of this genre was @alexnuijten with his confessions, and subsequent smart tips and best practices in “Structuring an APEX application”.
As a pure database developer like Alex, you are automatically more prone to thinking about “DBA-stuff”. A lot of these best practices, although they are very database centric, like using a view for each application screen, are obviously primarily there to help the developer. And, don’t get me wrong, that is a very good thing! Alex inspires to try and combine the best of both worlds, which helps getting the most out of your application, your database, and therewith frankly, out of your total investment.

The second example was the information-packed presentation by Dietmar Aust @daust_de, called “Oracle APEX Scripting – die Kommandozeile ist Dein Freund“ (the command line is your friend).
Much more than “just about developing”, this presentation bridged gaps in more than one way. Perhaps it is even #DBADevOps if you think about it.

The recent DOAG Database days held a few additional surprises with the presence of @cczarski and @nielsdb. A very will pitched presentation by Bruno Cirone really sparked the growing interest in the topic!!

It is funny how an idea that was initiated some 18 months ago, conceived together with Sabine Heimsath @flederbine has grown and evolved out of natural demand. For me, this is one other aspect of the industry, where APEX is setting new frontiers.
With a growing awareness and more people recognizing the gap, the deficits it is bringing and the benefits cooperation brings, I have good hopes.

APEX is not only the technology that enables you to create web-based apps super quickly, it is also the technology that brings developers and DBA’s truly closer to each other, ensuring a maximum bang for the buck when it comes to utilizing your database infrastructure investments!
I am not saying we are there, but this is definitely a first step in the right direction!

My picks, no, Agenda… for UKOUG_Tech15

I went over the agenda for UKOUG_Tech15 and took my picks & suggestions.
Then I thought, why not share these…

MONDAY

The Oracle Database In-Memory Option: Challenges & Possibilities
Christian Antognini – Trivadis AG

Standard Edition Something for the Enterprise or the Cloud?
Ann Sjökvist – SE – JUST LOVE IT

All about Table Locks: DML, DDL, Foreign Key, Online Operations,…
Franck Pachot – DBi Services

Silent but Deadly : SE Deserves Your Attention
Philippe Fierens – FCP
Co-presenter(s): Jan Karremans – JK-Consult (Having a link here would be silly, right)

Oracle SE – RAC, HA and Standby are Still Available. Even Cloud!
Chris Lawless – Dbvisit

SE DBA’s Life a Bed of Roses?
Ann Sjökvist – SE – JUST LOVE IT

Oracle Standard Edition Round Table
Joel Goodman – Oracle
Co-presenter(s): Ann Sjokvist, Philippe Fierens, Jan Karremans

TUESDAY

Watch out for #RepAttack… all day long!!
And earn your RepAttack badge-ribbon…

Advanced ASH Analytics: ASHmasters
Kyle Hailey – Delphix

Community Keynote – Dominic Giles

Oracle BI Cloud Service – Moving Your Complete BI Platform to the Cloud
Mark Rittman – Rittman Mead

Infiniband for Engineerd Systems
Klaas-Jan Jongsma – VX Company

Oracle Database In-Memory Option – Under the Hood
Maria Colgan – Oracle

Do an Oracle Data Guard Switchover without Your Applications Even Knowing
Marc Fielding – Pythian

Using Oracle NoSQL to Prioritise High Value Customers
James Anthony – RedStack tech

WEDNESDAY

HA for Single Instance Databases without Breaking the Bank
Niall Litchfield – Markit

Database Password Security
Pete Finnigan – PeteFinnigan.com

Connecting Oracle & Hadoop
Tanel Poder – PoderC LLC

Enterprise Use Cases for Internet of Things
Lonneke Dikmans – eProseed
Co-presenter(s): Luc Bors – eProseed

Bad Boys of On-line Replication – Changing Everything
Bjoern Rost – portrix Systems GmbH
Co-presenter(s): Jan Karremans – JK-Consult

RMAN 12c Live : It’s All About Recovery,Recovery,Recovery
René Antúnez – Pythian

Hopefully it will attend you to some interesting session for you!

Kscope15, a celebration of tech…

Kscope15 promised to be a brand new experience in more than one way.

Kscope15LogoAs I start to write this report, I am flying from Düsseldorf airport to Atlanta. It will be the first time flying to the United States with a stopover, and because of Erik van Roon, I came prepared. With just carry-on luggage, I should end up at my final destination, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, together with my ‘stuff’. I am flying Delta Airlines this time, and for an airline that promises just a ‘lunch’ during the 9 hours flight, they do come up with a lot of food…

My colleagues of FOEX have already arrived at the event-venue and are setting up our booth.

On arrival at Fort Lauderdale airport, I am scheduled to meet-up with distinguished product manager for PL/SQL and EBR, Bryn Llewellyn. From there, we would travel to Hallandale Beach to check into our hotels. This plan was only hindered by sheer force of wind shear at Atlanta International, which delayed my flight.

The first day, the Sunday, started off with a boiling walk to the Diplomat hotel. Upon registration I was pleasantly surprised that FOEX had graciously upgraded my conference pass to a full pass, which is cool as I get to attend sessions! And the kind ladies of ODTUG had even attached an ACE Associate ribbon to my name-tag, of which I am kind of proud.

I had so many cool meet-ups and run-ins at Kscope. Just to name a few new friends in no particular order:

Of course I spent most of my time in the APEX and database development tracks. If you look at the momentum that APEX is generating, I think we can safely say that we are making a difference… We can say with confidence: #LetsWreckThisTogether!

The “together” bit was beautifully expressed by Joel Kallman as you could hear a pin drop when Carl Backstrom and Scott Spadafore of the APEX team were remembered…

But still there is a lot of work that has to be done to further spread the word on APEX. I guess I have had at least 4 conversations where I had the opportunity to talk about and explain APEX to people who were still oblivious. That is one of the most rewarding this to do.

Nikki beachThe week passed so quickly and most experiences are becoming great memories very quickly now. The countless meet ups with friend and heroes from the Oracle world, the white party at Nikki Beach and the after party at The Mansion and of course the Oracle content which was dished out with great quality.

Just on more thing… Travelling Über is the best! I have been doing this in San Francisco and used the service here to get back to the airport. Why would you take a taxi with this service around? Because of the way it works, the drivers I have met, have been much more friendly than regular ‘cabbies’. I would recommend this any day.

So, now I am heading home, hanging in the sky somewhere between Fort Lauderdale and Atlanta. Thinking back on Roel’s blog post on his first Kscope… will this have changed my life? Quite possibly, but on the other hand things could not get much more crazy than they have been over the last 6 to 12 months!!

If you are looking to read up on the business side of things, please check out the FOEX blog!

Please also don’t forget to check out the #Kscope15 hash tag on Twitter and remember, when you are at an Oracle conference, also use the #orclconf as additional hash tag. This will help to make it even easier to follow your favorite tech-community on-line!

Register redo-log manually with Divisit Replicate

For those of you who haven’t been working with on-line data replication; in short, it is a way to copy data from a source database to a target database and do this on-line (both databases are active) and do it near-real-time.
This means that when you enter data in you source database, you can immediately query it from your target database. This makes on-line data replication ideal for numerous tasks, like moving and / or upgrading your database while it is being used, with almost no downtime at all.

This tale is of an actual project that I conducted. I used Dbvisit Replicate as my tool of choice.

dbvisit-replicate-logical-replication-made-easy-18-638Dbvisit Replicate can use a so-called FETCHER process to act as the “long-arm” for the MINE process. Mining extracts the information from the redo-log files, but, in specific situations, this can be too much of an overhead for the source database server. By moving the MINE to a proxy server, this overhead can be significantly reduced.

In some cases it can be useful to manually transfer redo-log files to the mining stage directory of Dbvisit.
I came across this requirement when catching up a lot of redo from a RAC database. In this case, the RAC cluster creates two streams of redo. When starting the replication processes, the first thread is transferred by FETCHER from the source server to the proxy, before the second thread is transferred. This means mining will pause until the second thread successful delivers the first redo-log file of the second thread. The redo-log information from the second stream is necessary to create consistent and chronologically ordered SQL-statements for the target database. In effect, the SCN’s from first redo-log information of the first stream need to line up with the SCN’s of the second redo-log information.

In this case, this meant having to wait a day or more before mining can start. This is why I decided to copy a number of redo-log files from the source server to the proxy server, where the MINE process is running, manually.
After the copy, the files need to be registered with in the dbvrep-repository. Without this information, the MINE process has no knowledge of the files that are present and about what their contents are.

The update is an easy insert statement, but it should be handled with care, as this needs to be quite precise and it needs a bit of specific information about the redo-log files being added.
You can use the following insert statement to register the files:

insert into dbvrp.dbrsmine_redo_log_history
       (
       ddc_id
     , mine_process_name
     , sequence
     , thread
     , resetlogs_id
     , first_scn
     , next_scn
     , online_name
     , arch_name
     , read_count
     , from_fetcher
     , last_mine_start
     , last_mine_end
     , create_date
     , last_change_date
       )
values
       (
       1
     , ‘MINE’
     , 128779 -- sequence number of the copied file;
     , 2 -- assuming you are updating this thread.
     , 804864915 -- the reset-logs id from the redo-log file
     , 199910296688 -- the first scn from the redo-log file
     , 199911476897 -- the next scn from the redo-log file
     , null
     , ‘/u01/app/oracle/some-big-storage/dbvrep-mine/mine-stage/thread_2_seq_128719.1485.804864915’
       -- full path and name of the file
     , 0
     , ‘Y'
     , null
     , null
     , sysdate
     , sysdate
       )
;

And you can get the information you need about the files here:

select lh.sequence#
     , di.resetlogs_id
     , lh.first_change#
     , lh.next_change#
  from v$log_history lh
 inner join v$database_incarnation di
 using (resetlogs_change#)
 where sequence# = 128779
;

After registering the first file for the second thread, in the Replicate-console, you can watch the MINE process kick off. This process will then again halt after the first file of the second stream is processed in parallel with the first file of the first stream.

Schermafbeelding 2015-05-31 om 21.23.11

I kept adding files until the FETCHER process was able to take over, or you could do this until you test-case or PoC is over.

Complex UI’s versus Simple UI’s

A few days ago I attended the AMIS UX & UI event.

During this interesting event, Niels Mansveld from AMIS presented about UX Frameworks. And he started off his presentation with an illustration about how user interfaces can create an “experience”, so to say. This illustration was a movie clip by Pixar, taken from the movie “Lifted”. It was so funny and, if you would watch it, you immediately know what Niels meant!

lifted uiThe day after I thought to show this movie at home and I found the YouTube link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY1_HrhwaXU). When I watched the clip, I realized that there was a second part to the preview, which Niels had left out, probably because of time concerns.
What struck me is actually the following…

I have seen quite a few views on user interfaces lately… Most of them talk about having clean and intuitive layouts and that it is important to think thoroughly about this. Shakeeb Rahman and Ultan O’broin are names that pop into my mind when thinking about this, and these gentleman are very clear about this!
Clean, intuitive UI’s make the Enterprise thrive!

Okay, but, as said, the clip went on for a little bit!TOAD saves

The second half tells the story of the Toad saving the situation, by using this same ultra intricate interface! By knowing what knob did which function, he was super-quick in saving the day!
Now, what would that mean?

Having a clean and intuitive layout may not be the ultimate solution in any situation, regardless! Having an application with a learning curve (not immediately judging the steepness of this learning curve is not always bad. If this interface helps the professional do his/her job in just a fraction of the time, because he/she knows what button to push, I think it’s a good thing.
I have to admit, there were one or two remarks about this in the flashing demo by Paco van der Linden… Bit I guess it is too little emphasized.

cockpitThere are several applications where these, more complicated interfaces do a superb job in helping the task at hand. And, as with anything, don’t blindly follow “best practices”, also in designing user interfaces!
Step back and think what would work best in your situation!

Hope this helps!