Oracle Open World is over for me now, but what a great event it was. I met so many people and actually was able to spend a little time getting to know a few of them. I attended parties, dinners and meetups. I networked myself, my company and RMOUG. It was a phenomenal turn out, even with a few folks missing that I knew we’d miss terribly
Arriving- California Zephyr
If you hadn’t heard, we decided to take a train from Denver, CO to San Francisco, CA. via Amtrak, called the California Zephyr. This was a 33 hour train ride, slowly trekking at times, racing traffic at others, through beautiful scenery, all from a second floor sleeper car. We had lovely meals with folks in the dinner lounge car and visited with others on the observation deck, (specialized car with a glass, domed ceiling.
Upon our arrival in San Fran, we quickly rented a car and headed up to a lovely party at Oracle’s one and only, Graham Woods. I quickly found Gwen Shapira, (we’ve been trying to meet for awhile now, so was glad to FINALLY have the opportunity met…) caught up with Alex Gorbachev and teased by Cary Millsap about our challenges with understanding that we needed to PAY for our bottle of wine on the train and that it was not included in the price of the meal, (glad they couldn’t figure out how to pronounce my name over the intercom, but quickly figured out that it was me and my wonderful companion they were looking for- his name is not so difficult to pronounce!)
Debra Lilley arrived soon into the party and many found fun as she brought me from room to room in search of those she wanted to introduce me to. I’m to ensure she has a great birthday at February’s RMOUG, so it’s important she and I bond, ya know… 🙂
I ended up with a lovely embarassing situation upon being introduced to “Greg Brown” who I had to ask repeatedly where I knew him from, which he found quite hilarious, considering our emails until it hit me I was speaking to “Greg Rahn”. He was a good sport about my lack of IQ after the long trip and I appreciate his patience.
The first day consisted of me attending a few of Tim Gorman’s sessions that I, as a VLDB DBA, had lived, but had never really sat through before. I still picked up a few things from my first DBA God and yes, the Gods are good to me. At his second session, Tim pointed out Andy Klock and I to each other, knowing we’d been tweeting back and forth about meeting up, so we sat together and it gave me an opportunity to physically meet one of the major clients I supported while at Pythian. It was a pleasure to speak to her in person and glad to see someone not as indepth in the database world revel in the festivities and presentations of Oracle Open World.
Sunday evening was the ACE dinner and attendance was fantastic, (along with the food!) It was easy to see why no one sat at any one table for very long and I did get to spend a good amount of time speaking with Mark Bobak, Kent Graziano, Doug Burns, James Morle, along with many others.
I didn’t do to well on my schedule builder for Monday or Tuesday and if I go back over the actual schedule of sessions, I’m sure I’ll find a few that I should have gone to. Monday night was the Oak Table dinner which was great fun. We started out meeting up with Mike Swing and Craig Shalahammer for drinks before heading to the dinner. Craig showed me some of his mathamatica graphics for buffers and latch visuals, (yes, his is one of those sessions I obviously missed adding to my schedule!) We spoke about databases a bit, but the conversations regarding life were much more interesting.
Upon heading over to the Oak table dinner, there was a huge line of people waiting for taxis, but Mike Swing, Tim Gorman and I went up to the bellhop instead. I’m not sure if it was Mike or Tim, but one of them asked if there was a better option and we had a personal SUV taking us to our dinner in just a few minutes for a few dollars more than a taxi would have cost, (note to future OOW attenders…screw the lines! :))
As soon as we entered for the dinner, the gracious Carol Dacko ensured us our places and Mogens Norrsgard was busy entertaining everyone. He and I quickly attained a quirky regard for each other and the jokes about Tim, “I saw him first!” as the game of us challenging each other for Tim’s affections commenced.
I was seated next to Jeremy Schneider, who I thoroughly enjoyed conversing with. He’s a brilliant young DBA, so his company, along with Gwen Shapira, Robyn Sands, Tim Gorman, Andy Klock, Rihaj Shamsudeen and Alex Gorbachev guaranteed a lively conversation. This was also my first opportunity to meet up with Yury Velikanov from Pythian. I’ve only worked with him virtually, so this was a great chance considering he resides in Austrailia. He is technically skilled, easy-going and quick to make friends- a great representative for the Pythian name, like Gwen and Andy.
Tuesday was the start for most of us feeling the heat from staying up to late and eliminating sleep from our diets. My voice was starting to sound a bit horse at this point, so I’m sure folks were starting to wonder how well I had fought off my cold, (not very well in the colder, wetter weather of San Francisco…) We met up with Ben Boise from Quest Software and spent a bit of time at the Enkitec booth. The Enkitec booth was hands-down, the winner for me. Kerry Osbourne had told me at Graham’s party, after I had finished teasing Frits Hoogland that he’d been given my copy of the Exadata book via Tanel, that if I came by, he’d have a copy for me. Yeah, wasn’t turning that down… 🙂 So while there, spoke to Kerry about what a great DBA and all around good guy Karl Arao was. He’s succeeding there and post the converation, asked Kerry and Randy Johnson to sign my copy of the book. I went back a bit later to talk with Karl a bit more and for the fun of it, forced him to sign my copy, too. Tanel had tweeted that he was going to have a secret Exadata hacking session that day, so I headed out with my book and was able to get Tanel’s signature, too… No, none of you can have it… 🙂
On our way out of Moscone for the night, spent about 20 minutes speaking with Jonathan Lewis. Dr. Steve Dorsey and a guest joined Tim Gorman, Jonathan and I to complete the conversation about the evenings plans.
We traveled down to The Stinking Rose for a wonderful dinner of wonderful dishes with way too much garlic in them. I truly feared anyone who would come near us post the meal, but it was well worth it, (and apologies to anyone near us afterwards…)
The day went quickly and the evening was the blogger meetup, there was a break between networking, dropping off postcards promoting RMOUG 2012, where we were able to head over to Mogen’s office, (i.e. back of Chevy’s restaurant this year…) where everyone had been hanging out throughout each day when needing a break from the chaos. Throughout the day, there was some conversation via Twitter on who was going to get my wristband, as we were bowing out of the concert/chaos that night. First it appeared that Greg Rahn would need it, but I had already pointed him towards Mike Swing who was offering him up one, so Doug Burns was the lucky winner and new owner of my band. The group at Chevy’s, as always was fun to simply observe, let alone partake in conversation with and how can you say no to Mogens?
The meetup was a quick hop and a jump over to Jillian’s where there were a number of private parties going on, but the bloggers meetup by Pythian was the top deal. We were all given a bandana and sharpies to get each other’s signature, which I was a happy blogger to just go around and meet as many as I could. I enjoyed writing “Kellyn was here” and pointing arrows to the Pythian logo on the bandana or as everyone was wearing them on their heads, it had humor all in itself, (note to self, another reason I’m glad no one decided to wear the bandana as a bustier…)
Paul Vallee did a lovely tribute to Steve Jobs in the beginning of the meet up at the high time, Pythian first gave away an Apple TV to the blogger picked who had posts from the dates randomly chosen, (happened to be RMOUG Training Days week, so I didn’t even have to check, I KNEW I had posts out there.. LOL) Yury won the TV and then they gave away an IPod Touch to the person who had received the most signatures. I was sure I was no where near the top, but then got a look at the leader, Tim Hall’s bandana. Upon counting mine up, I was two short of his number and he won, but Tim, the gracious guy he is, handed me the prize. I, confused easily as I am, asked why I was getting it, I came in second and he replied, “I [worked] around to get my signatures and you just got them while meeting everyone, I’m disqualifying myself!” Thank you, Tim Hall, from me and my children, who one in particular has been jonesing for one of these! 🙂
Post the meetup, Tim Gorman and I were going to head out for some dinner and Alex Gorbachev joined us at a wonderful Indian restaurant called Amber. Wine and conversation flowed, while the fun and chaos of the Petty/Sting concert went on at Treasure Island. When we did finally finish, it was just in time to meet everyone back over at the night’s bar of choice, “W”. I sat and spoke most of the evening with Martin Paul Nash, Alex G. and Dan Norris, (Mogen’s slept in the corner, those Danes and their catnaps to catch up on jetlag really impresses me!) Folks came in from the concert, Lisa Dobson, Connor McDonald, Andy Klock, Doug Burns and others, little by little. We stayed and talked until my voice had become so hoarse that I was starting to sound a bit like Barry White.
Gotta say, another brilliant, easy-going and friendly DBA, Martin Paul Nash. Between Martin, Andy, Jeremy, Connor and Dan, I’m feeling good about the future of our database administration world.
Surprise came the next morning when we found out many of the people we left the night before had never actually slept that night. They continued to enjoy the opportunity to see folks that many may only see once a year and had simply stayed up! A few of them were presenting on Thursday, so a lot of attendees may have wondered about that, too… 😛
I attended only one session on Thursday, had slept in too late for the one I’d wanted to attend on optimal performance, (and had to answer to Gwen and others as to why I wasn’t there… :)) Maria Colgan was great, (as usual) and she was one of the last folks I really wanted to meet, but had reserved the fact by the group that crowded her immediately after the presentation, that it just wasn’t going to happen. Tim and I went over to Chevy’s to have a last OOW11 lunch with Mogens’ group before heading to the airport and who shows up to have lunch there, too? Yes, Maria Colgan, so I did get to meet her…AND have lunch with her, (along with DBA Gods, Demi-Gods, you know the drill… :))
During all of this, I did a lot of RMOUG networking to ensure that I added as much to the great plans for the 2012 conference that I could. I was thrilled to have so many folks dedicated to coming out to Denver in February to talk, (because the conference is second to Debra Lilley’s birthday, I swear the marketing is there!) Had a lovely conversation about bringing RAC Attack out for training days this year, which I think will be well received. Jeremy Schneider is in Africa the week of the conference, but we are working on others who can really take on this great opportunity for DBA’s to take advantage of.
I wish I could say the plane ride back was relaxing and a wonderful time to reflect on a great Oracle Open World, but as usual, the airlines were busy trying to ruin travel for all of us. I am thrilled with everyone I met while in San Francisco and although I should have attended more sessions, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Thank you Oracle, Pythian and all that I met this last week for such a wonderful experience!