Oracle OpenWorld Day 3

Day 3 of OpenWorld was probably the best day of the conference for me so far.  The sessions were great but the networking was really the highlight of my day.

I spent most of day 3 on the DEMOgrounds, fielding questions to vendors from Quest, EMC, NetApp, Oracle and a few others.  I also had an interesting discussion with the EMC representative regarding their Symmetrix storage and its use in ASM.  He shed some light on the reasons why storage admins create LUNs the way they do for ASM, and what they really need to do for each implementation.  Likewise with NetApp, I got a demo of their SnapManager for Oracle tool for doing backups and recovery in a virtualized environment.  I currently use RMAN for all production backup and recovery related tasks but with more organizations moving towards virtualization of their infrastructure - including databases, it was worth exploring how this will be handled by the different products. SMO seemed to do a good job - backup of a 200GB database took less than 2 minutes and restores were less than 5 minutes.  This uses the underlying snapshot technology of the NetApp storage and since no blocks are being copied, it becomes a very fast operation.  This opens many of possibilities too, like cloning environments for testing, but I'll have to get it set up in the work environment and do some hands on before making a final judgement.

Since this was Oracle OpenWorld, I decided to take a look at some of the other new features for the database that were being demoed - Smart Flash Cache, Edition Based Re-defintion and the Upgrade Advisor on My Oracle Support portal.  Smart Flash Cache enables faster query processing by reserving a section of solid-state storage for a level-2 type cache.  It's less expensive than main memory and faster than spindled disks, so it has some benefits in performance.  I think it is only supported on Linux and Solaris platforms right now.

Edition Based Redefinition is used to provide high availability of applications during upgrades. Edition views and triggers are used to create and synchronize multiple versions of an application object, which allow applications to be upgraded without users even knowing what was done.  However, this requires a one-time downtime for setup.  A cool feature to be explored some more.  Tom Kyte has a few articles on the topic in Oracle Magazine.

The Upgrade Advisor was another new tool that I got to look at.  It's actually a wizard driven advisor for upgrading Oracle products.  I particularly took interest in this since it eliminated the need to be a search guru if you wanted information on performing database upgrades.  This will guide you through the steps, provides checklists and a list of tasks to be performed at each stage of the upgrade process.  There is an Oracle Database 10g to 11g advisor as well as a few others but sadly no Enterprise Manager advisor yet.  They are planning on expanding the offering to as many Oracle products as possible in the future.

Like I mentioned before, the highlight of my day was the networking opportunities with peers.  I attended a My Oracle Support Community Meet-up at the Metreon Tilt Arcade for some food, games and drinks and met some cool geeks from Chicago, LA and Ghana and the process!  I wouldn't exactly call myself a beer drinker but the occasion called for throwing back a couple. The beers must have sunken in because I actually walked back to my hotel a half mile away for the first time.
Looking forward to day 4... appreciation night with Black Eyed Peas!


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