June 29th, 2017 by dbakevlar

I know you’ve read the title and are thinking, “Great, I’m going to learn how to write better presentations!”  The truth is, it’s about how conferences do call for papers timelines, abstracts, as well as how we manage our content.

Timing Is Everything

In recent years, there’s been a scramble to get on the schedule for the best speakers.  I remember when I first started as the director for RMOUG’s annual Training Days conference.  I had to keep the opening date for Call For Papers, (CFP) secret, since the moment I opened the portal up, IOUG, ODTUG and UKOUG were sure to pounce-  all focused on getting on the limited travel agendas for top notch conference speakers.

This resulted in these events having the CFP abstract content submitted 6-10 months before the event.  Speakers would have no choice but to submit repeat, vague or incomplete abstract submissions, which invariably impacted the quality of what was presented at the event.  I know a number of speakers are sitting back and saying, “Wait a minute…”  but let me finish.  The way the quality was impacted was in various ways and not in the way many would first consider:

  1.  The subject topic may have changed drastically from the content presented due to new features and releases.
  2. The speaker may have changed roles, moved to a new product or company, impacting the ability to present at the level they would like.
  3. Time has changed the message or solution in the presentation, offering a great presentation, but the summary in the session catalog doesn’t reflect this, resulting in poor attendance.

First Isn’t Always Good

As I know RMOUG is about to open our CFP, part of me is torn on the way we always do this.  One one hand, we want adequate time for people to submit abstracts, for our reviewers to have adequate time to review the content and that our scoring system is everything to our acceptances, but….but….. if I were to ensure I have the BEST content, what are some of the enhancements I’d want in place that I know as a speaker would significantly help?

  1.  Separate speakers into three categories-
    1. Seasoned: Oak Table, ACE Directors and ACE Alumni, Product Managers from Oracle, etc.
    2. Desired:  ACE and ACE Associate, Common Local Speakers, New Speakers to RMOUG, but have previous experience speaking.
    3. New Speakers:  As the role demonstrates-  First time speakers for any time event and customer presentations.
  2. Group 1 would submit a request to speak and let us know the title and summary of their talk but could leave it very high level.  They would be scored on the presentation and speaker quality, then offered one slot with a max of two available in our schedule. They would have to have their final abstract and summary available with their slide submission. The speaker submitted MUST be the speaker at the event and we expect the abstract and content to match very closely due to the considerations that were offered.
  3. Group 2 would go through our standard scoring process and have to submit a title, abstract and summary and show previous blog posts/white paper displaying knowledge of the content.  This group would have a more lenient window on their slides, as we know the content may look a bit different than the abstract.
  4. Group 3 would be offered an opportunity to submit through the standard scoring process, but would mark themselves as new speakers.  They would be contacted to review their abstract and decide if we have an opportunity to fit them in the schedule.  The dependency would be on the quality of the abstract topic and the amount of guidance they would require to follow through to present.

The goal of this change would be to:

  1. Offer the flexibility needed by seasoned speakers and those heavily dependent upon releases/NDAs to offer the newest material to our audience.
  2. Help guide those in maturing their speaking skills to work towards the next level.
  3. Introduce more new speakers into the community and offer more interaction to them in the abstract review process than we offer in the current one. By eliminating some of the complexity for the seasoned presenters, we’re able to reallocate that time to the new speakers.
  4. Hopefully shorten our CFP and review process, which means we could push out our CFP dates to later in the year.

Fix the Software

“A good presentation is like a good whisky.  Proper aging is important.”

The first time I give a presentation, I’m rarely happy with it.  I want my messaging on fleek and it just rarely occurs where the story, the content slides and my brain has it all wrapped up tight.  It seems I can go through it a 100 times before I get up on stage, but as I start presenting the material in front of audiences, the story comes together and this often creates a need to update the abstract.

Maybe its the control freaks in us on the database side of the house.  Once our CFP is done, we lock down access for potential speakers to tweak anything.  I don’t know about any other speakers, but as I submit throughout the year, I keep a running document of my abstracts.  I tweak them as I go along and there are many times I’d like to update the ones I’ve already submitted as the talk “ages” and takes shape.  I fall into the 50% of speakers that build a lot of content each year and this means I often show up at an event and realize the title I submitted hasn’t changed in the last 9 months, but the message has mutated with my experience giving the session and the summary that should draw the folks into the session just doesn’t match any longer.

It would be AWESOME to have abstract software that allows you to tweak your abstract and submit it to the conference director for seasoned speakers.  We want to give the audience a great presentation, but I know at KSCOPE, my abstract was written 10 months before the conference, before I understood the power of what Delphix could do and if you read the summary in the catalog, no way I was reaching my real audience.


I *thought* I was really great at keeping track of all my profiles out on the internet.  I get very frustrated when I can’t update them when I move to a new role or a new company and as much as some folks might tease me about moving around, the truth is, if you want to be a mover and a shaker, we’re often left with no choice but to move to shake it up.  

I was completely confounded when someone told me that I had a profile that said I was an ACE Director still and that they had to go in and have it updated.  I was sure they’d made a mistake and just missed the “alumni” behind it.  I’m very good about ensuring I always copy and paste my biography from my document that I keep my abstracts in.  I logged into the portal that was listed as the culprit and quickly noticed that is didn’t have my default “pasted” profile.  It also listed my title with the word, “new” in front of it.  It told me that for some reason, I’d attempted to edit instead of copy and paste over and it proved to me again that taking short cuts like this, no matter how benign they can seem just shows how easy human intervention causes human error.  I had broken my own rule of editing a profile by hand and had paid for it.

For conference speaker bios, can we PLEASE, just link to speaker’s Linkedin profiles?  We use bind variables in our code, so why would we have hard coded values for data that can change like our own information?   It seems like a petty thing, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received emails asking me to update profiles that I don’t have access to or how it’s confused folks with out of date information that I can’t pin down the owner of.

Your Part as the Speaker

So what can I offer on becoming a better speaker?  A few its of advice:

  1.  Find out who your audience is.  Ensure your session speaks to them, resonates with their problems and provides them with a solution.
  2. If the audience is on the edge of your technology, locate someone in the midst of their technical landscape and ask if they’ll co-present with you, (it’s what I should have done at KSCOPE again this year… :))
  3. Keep a running doc of your abstract titles, summaries, abstract, (400 words is standard) and at least three take-aways from each session.  Keep it updated throughout the speaking year and remove old ones as they age out.
  4. Follow the event on Twitter and find out what topics are hot buttons, (and buzzwords, yes buzzwords…)
  5. Before attending, send linked in connect invitations to each speaker, (that you aren’t already connected to) and follow other speakers on Twitter whenever possible.
  6. Reach out to the conference managing company, event coordinator, etc. and ask if there are any volunteering that is needed, (how can you help.)  Many events rely on volunteerism to survive and the help you offer can assist in the event continuing each year.  It will also foster more networking, which is so very important to career and community.
  7. Practice in front of the mirror, in front of peers who know the technology, (advice I need to take more often, sucks to be remote, so don’t be too hard on yourself… :))

OK, time to fly home and face the music.  Esme wants to know why I was cuddling another puppy at the KSCOPE puppy therapy circle in the exhibitor area two days ago.  Look how happy the puppy was though! 🙂


Posted in DBA Life Tagged with: , , , ,

March 21st, 2017 by dbakevlar

I ended up speaking at two events this last week.  Now if timezones and flights weren’t enough to confuse someone, I was speaking at both an Oracle AND a SQL Server event- yeah, that’s how I roll these days.

Utah Oracle User Group, (UTOUG)

I arrived last Sunday in Salt Lake, which is just a slightly milder weather and more conservative version of Colorado, to speak at UTOUG’s Spring Training Days Conference.  I love this location and the weather was remarkable, but even with the warm temps, skiing was still only a 1/2 hour drive from the city.  Many of the speakers and attendees took advantage of this opportunity by doing just that while visiting.  I chose to hang out with Michelle Kolbe and Lori Lorusso.  I had a great time at the event and although I was only onsite for 48hrs, I really like this event so close to my home state.

I presented on Virtualization 101 for DBAs and it was a well attended session.  I really loved how many questions I received and how curious the database community has become about how this is the key to moving to the cloud seamlessly.

There are significant take-aways from UTOUG.  The user group, although small, is well cared for and the event is using some of the best tools to ensure that they get the best bang for the buck.  It’s well organized and I applaud all that Michelle does to keep everyone engaged.  It’s not an easy endeavor, yet she takes this challenge on with gusto and with much success.

SQL Saturday Iceland

After spending Wednesday at home, I was back at the airport to head to Reykjavik, Iceland for their SQL Saturday.  I’ve visited Iceland a couple times now and if you aren’t aware of this, IcelandAir offers up to 7 day layovers to visit Iceland and then you can continue on to your final destination.  Tim and I have taken advantage of this perk on one of our trips to OUGN, (Norway) and it was a great way to visit some of this incredible country.  When the notification arrived for SQL Saturday Iceland, I promptly submitted my abstracts and crossed my fingers.  Lucky for me,  accepted my abstract and I was offered the chance to speak with this great SQL Server user group.

After arriving before 7am on Friday morning at Keflavik airport, I realized that I wouldn’t have a hotel room ready for me, no matter how much I wanted to sleep.  Luckily there is a great article on the “I Love Reykjavik” site offering inside info on what to do if you do show up early.  I was able to use the FlyBus to get a shuttle directly to and from my hotel, (all you have to do is ask the front desk to call them the night before you’re leaving and they’ll pick you back up in front of your hotel 3 hrs before your flight.)  Once I arrived, I was able to check in my bags with their front desk and headed out into town.

I stayed at Hlemmur Square, which was central to the town and the event and next to almost all of the buses throughout the city.  The main street in front of it, Laugavegur, is one of the main streets that runs East-West and is very walkable.  Right across this street from the hotel was a very “memorable” museum, the Phallilogical Museum.  I’m not going to link to it or post any pictures, but if you’re curious, I’ll warn you, it’s NSFW, even if it’s very, uhm…educational.  It was recommended by a few folks on Twitter and it did ensure I stayed awake after only 2 hours of sleep in 24 hours!

As I wandered about town, there are a few things you’ll note about Iceland-  the murals of graffiti is really awesome and Icelandic folks like good quality products-  the stores housed local and international goods often made from wool, wood, quality metal and such. The city parliment building is easily accessible and it’s right across from the main shopping area and new city development.

On Saturday, I was quick to arrive at Iceland’s SQL Saturday, as I had a full list of sessions I wanted to attend.  I was starting to feel the effects of Iceland weather on my joints, but I was going to make sure I got the most out of the event.  I had connected with a couple of the speakers at the dinner the night before, but with jet lag, you hope you’ll make a better impression on the day of the event.

I had the opportunity to learn about the most common challenges with SQL Server 2016 and that Dynamic Data Masking isn’t an enterprise solution.  Due to lacking discovery tools, the ability to join to non-masked objects and common values, (i.e. 80% of data is local and the most common location value would easily be identified, etc.) the confidential data of masked objects could be identified.

I also enjoyed an introduction to containers with SQL Server and security challenges.  The opening slide from Andy says it all:

Makes you proud to be an American, doesn’t it? 🙂

My session was in the afternoon and we not only had excellent discussions on how to empower database environments with virtualization, but I even did a few quick demonstrations of ease of cloud management with AWS and Oracle…yes, to SQL Server DBAs.  It was interesting to see the ease of management, but how easy it was for me to manage Oracle with the interface.  I performed all validations of data refreshes from the command line, so there was no doubt that I was working in Oracle, yet the refreshes and such were done in AWS and with the Delphix Admin console.

I made it through the last session on the introduction to containers with SQL Server, which included a really interesting demonstration of a SQL Server container sans an OS installation, allowing it to run with very limited resource requirements on a Mac.  After this session was over, I was thankful that two of my fellow presenters were willing to drop me off at my hotel and I promptly collapsed in slumber, ready to return home.  I was sorry to miss out on the after event dinner and drinks, but learned that although I love Iceland, a few days and some extra recovery time may be required.

Thank you to everyone at Utah Oracle User Group and Iceland’s SQL Server User Group for having me as a guest at your wonderful events.  If you need me, I’ll be taking a nap… 🙂


Posted in DBA Life, Oracle, SQLServer Tagged with: , ,

October 4th, 2016 by dbakevlar

My sabbatical from speaking is about to end in another week and it will return with quite the big bang.


Oct. 14th

First up is Upper NY Oracle User Group, (UNYOUG) for a day of sessions in Buffalo, NY.  I’ll be doing three talks:

  1.  Virtualization 101
  2.  The Limitless DBA
  3.  AWR and ASH with Database 12c



Oct 25th-28th

I’ll be at Pass Summit!  I’ve been wanting to attend this conference since I was managing MSSQL 7 databases!  I finally get to go, but as I’m newly back in the MSSQL saddle, no speaking sessions for me.  I do have a number of peers on the MSSQL side of the house, so hoping to have folks show me around and if you have the time to introduce yourself or introduce me to events and people at this fantastic event, please do!

Nov. 2nd

Next, I head into October with quite the number of talks.  I’ll start out on Nov. 2nd in Detroit, Mi at the Michigan Oracle User Summit, (MOUS) doing a keynote, “The Power in the Simple Act of Doing” and then a technical session, “Virtualization 101”.

Nov. 3rd

I’ll fly out right after I finish my second talk so I can make my way down to Raleigh, NC for the East Coast Oracle conference, (ECO), where I’ll also be doing a couple presentations on Nov. 3rd.

Nov. 9th

The next week I get to stay close to home for the Agile Test and Test Automation Summit.  This is a brand new event in the Denver area.  I’ll be doing a new talk here on Test Data Management, a hot buzzword, but one that people rarely understand the complexities and automation around.

Nov. 10th

The next day, I’m back downtown in Denver, where I can present at Rocky Mountain DataCon, (RMDC) event in Denver.


The RMDC is a newer event and it’s really been picking up traction in the Denver area.  I’ll be speaking on “The Limitless DBA”, focusing on the power of virtualization.  Kent Graziano, the Data Warrior and evangelist for Snowflake will be there, too.  I’m glad to see this new local event taking off in the Denver area, as the Denver/Boulder area consistently ranks high as one of best places to be if you’re in the tech industry.

I’m working to take it easy during the month of December, as I’ll have enough to do just catching up at work at Delphix and then with RMOUG duties with the upcoming Training Days 2017 conference in February 2017!


Posted in DBA Life, Delphix Tagged with: ,

July 14th, 2016 by dbakevlar

So some unknowing fool gave me full access to a fridge of Starbucks caffeinated beverages, which should be against the law in this fine country.  Needless to say, my ability to type approximately 180wpm has offered me the opportunity to catch up and blog about what it’s like almost a month in employed with Delphix.

typing fast 1

In just the last two weeks, a number of conference sessions have come about and events that I plan on being part of.  Some of them are well known, some aren’t and some require a bit of promotion to make them even greater than they already are, (you don’t want to be that person that wonders why they missed out, now do you?)

RMOUG Quarterly Education Workshop

At the end of this month, on July 29th, RMOUG is having their summer QEW at the Denver Aquarium.  The summer event is our second largest event of the year, (behind February’s Training Days conference) and the planning is starting to come together, (which is good considering it’s in a couple weeks!)  The speakers are two great ones in the community, Solarwinds’ Janis Griffin and OnX’s Jim Czuprynski.  We’ll have a Women in Technology lunch and learn, (Jim’s wife, Ruth, who had a long career in technology) will be part of the round table conversation with the women in our community to discuss some great topics!  If you have family you’d like to invite, check out the opportunity for discount tickets to enjoy the aquarium post the event!  You can read the details of the event and register at RMOUG’s website.

The Bay Bridge Run

The first will be a promotion for Oracle Open World.  Every year there is a run across the bridge on September 18th and it’s a great way to get to know some of the best people in the Oracle community before we get lost amidst the Moscone mayhem.  The view is fantastic and if you’re like me and age has impacted your ability to keep up with some of those in our community that like to run 100+ miles in a single outing, you can walk the bridge as well.  If you’re interested, check out the following Facebook link and come be a part of this great event!


During Oracle Open World, I’ll be busy Tuesday and Wednesday, (Sept. 20th and 21st) at the Children’s Museum, heading up the Oak Table World.  It’s one of those tasks that I took over for Kyle so he can focus on what he does best.  The event will be at the Children’s museum by the Moscone again and we’re close to signing on Pythian and one other vendor to sponsor the event with Delphix.  Tim will be designing the great t-shirts that are coveted each year and I’m considering scheduling a hackathon if there’s enough interest.  I’ll get the schedule posted soon and thanks for everyone’s patience!



OK, time for another Starbucks, pray for my office mates… 🙂


Posted in DBA Life Tagged with: , ,

May 11th, 2016 by dbakevlar

I fly out tomorrow for NoCOUG’s Spring Conference, which will be held on Friday, the 13th in San Jose, California. If you were thinking of attending and needed an added incentive to attend, I’ll be putting on a FOUR hour Enterprise Manager 13c hands on lab, so admit it, you’re intrigued… 🙂


I want to thank Iggy Fernandez, who is the heart of NoCOUG, for contacting me and asking me to do the HOL, along with the folks from Oracle ensuring that I have the environment to offer the attendees to enjoy this great event!

I’ll fly back out of San Jose on Saturday morning and then will be flying to Cleveland on Monday morning for the Great Lakes Oracle Conference, (GLOC).  I’ll have a couple presentations on Enterprise Manager 13c and will be hosting the Women in Technology lunch area with Maria Colgan and Elke Phelps!

It should be a great event-  lots of Oracle peeps, ACE and ACE Directors, along with some Oakies.. 🙂

The conference has been growing over the last few years with the great effort of the NEOOUG and their conference support team, headed up by Linda Hoover.  I know from my work on RMOUG’s Training Days, how much goes into a conference, so when we discuss user groups like NoCOUG and NEOOUG, it’s important to support your Oracle community.  It’s the only way these communities survive is with the membership and community support.  These are two groups that are well worth the effort to ensure we continue to do so.

For those that will be at these two great events in the upcoming two weeks, see you soon!




Posted in DBA Life, EM13c Tagged with: , ,

June 22nd, 2015 by dbakevlar

I’m glad to be home after a couple weeks in Europe, speaking at both the Harmony 15 conference in beautiful Tallinn, Estonia and then as a keynote speaker at AOUG in lovely Vienna, Austria the week after.  I get to pretty much stay close to home for the next two months, traveling only a bit, but I want to go over the upcoming conferences that I’ll be speaking at the next couple months.

July 23rd, 2015, Georgia Oracle User Group’s Quarterly Tech Symposium

I’ll be speaking, along with my peer, Loc Nhan at the event.  I’m looking forward to seeing the Atlanta folks, like Bobby Curtis, Danny Bryant and Stewart Bryson.  You can find specifics here.

August 7th, 2015, Rocky Mtn. Oracle User Group’s Quarterly Education Workshop

August has a number of local events, along with all my work that I need to perform for RMOUG, so I’m sticking close to home!  I’ll be the main speaker and assisting to coordinate a new challenge for the RMOUG Quarterly Education Workshop-  A Family Coding day!  We’ll start out the day at Elitches, before it opens, with a hands on demos from DeVoxx4Kids, Lady Coders and I’ll do a lab with the kids using Raspberry Pi.  After the park opens and the kids go wild on the rides, we’ll continue with an EM12c day, introducing Hybrid Cloud and a hands on lab with the AWR Warehouse!  All this will be on August 7th and should be up on the rmoug.org site soon, so keep an eye out for it!

September 22nd-23rd, 2015, East Coast Oracle Conference, (ECO)

I’ll be doing a few tech sessions, along with a joint keynote with Jeff Smith, from SQL Developer fame.  We’ll be educating the tech masses on the value of social media to their careers and details can be found here.

October 25th-29th, 2015, Oracle Open World

It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time again, but yes, the biggest Oracle event in the world will be happening at the end of October this year and I’ll be ready, will you? 🙂

November 2nd-5th, 2015, CMG Performance and Capacity Conference

This is a new one for me and I can’t wait!  The event will have me talking about why performance is important with Oracle and how to achieve it as a feature!  This is being held in the great city of San Antonio, Tx and it should be a lovely time to be on the river walk in November!  Details about this conference can be found here.

I am booked up through next year this time, but we’ll just stop at this event and I’ll update you more as the time gets closer!  Thanks to everyone who’s granted me these great opportunities and look forward to seeing everyone at these incredible events!

Posted in DBA Life Tagged with: , ,

March 3rd, 2015 by dbakevlar

I’m at HotSos Symposium 2015 speaking this week, so thought I would blog about the results of the conference I’m the director of and that finished up just two weeks ago.  I’m not admitting to being overwhelmed by OEM questions here, as I’m rather enjoying it.  I love seeing folks so into Enterprise Manager and look forward to more!  Keep the ideas for more blog posts coming!  I’ll write on all these great topics in upcoming posts.

Rocky Mountain Oracle User Group, (RMOUG) Training Days 2015 is over for another year, but the conference is a task that encompasses approximately 10-11 months of planning and anywhere from 120-200 hrs per year of volunteer work from my as the Training Days Director.  This in no way includes the countless hours that are contributed by Team YCC, our conference connection who helps us manage the conference or the invaluable volunteers from our membership that assist us with registration, driving speakers to and from the airport, as well as being ambassadors for our 120+  technical sessions.

Post each conference I am director for, I compile a ton of data that assists me in planning for the next year’s conference.  This starts immediately after the current year’s conference and comprises not only the feedback that is offered to me in the conference evaluations, but spoken and email feedback that attendees and speakers are kind enough to share with me.  I find this data crucial to my planning in the next year, but there is an important set of rules that are utilized to ensure I get the most from the data.  I manage the conference very similar to the way I manage database environments and data is king.  I’m going to share just a small bit of this data with you today, but it will give you an idea of the detail I get into when identifying the wins, the opportunities and the challenges for next year’s conference.

One of the major changes I had implemented to the evaluations was based off a conversation with many of the Oak Table members on values offered.  When given the opportunity to grade a venue, speaker or event on the following:

  • Very Satisfied
  • Satisfied
  • Unsatisfied

Reviewers were more inclined to choose “Satisfied” of the three options.  It was easy, didn’t demand a lot of thought into their choice and a choice of 1-10 values would result in more valuable data in my evaluations.  Being the glutton for punishment I am and finding logic in the conversation, I chose to update our evaluations to the 1-10 vs. the above choices or 1-5.

It’s been a very “interesting” and positive change.  Not only did it bring up our scoring from “Satisfied”, which was an average rating, to higher marks overall, but we received more constructive feedback that can be used to make the conference even better next year.

Colorado Convention Center

Although we are continually searching for the best venue for the conference, we receive positive feedback on the Colorado Convention Center.  Our attendees appreciate the central location, the opportunities to enjoy all the restaurants, entertainment and such in the downtown area.  The Colorado Convention Center offers us the world-class venue that a conference of our size deserves.  Our speakers find little challenge to gaining funding to travel and speak because of the location, too.


Notice that we don’t have any scores from 1-10 that are under 8!.  Our average score was 9.57, so pretty impressive.  That was also the overall average with how often they let us down on coffee/tea and other refreshments between sessions,(yeah, I’ll be talking to them about this, as I feel it’s very important to have during those breaks.)

Project O.W.L.

This was part of the new marketing initiative I put together this year for RMOUG.  New additions at conferences are always unnerving.  We had RAC Attack last year, but to create a new exhibitor area, new sponsorships and attendee participation opportunities, you hope every group will get what they need out of the initiative.  We added Rep Attack, (Replication from DBVisit), Clone Attack,(From Delphix) a hardware display from Oracle and a Stump the Expert panel from OTN, who also sponsored our RAC Attack area.

We did pretty well with Project O.W.L., (which stands for Oracle Without Limits) but we learned from our evaluations that our attendees really wanted all those “attack” opportunities on the first ½ day, during our deep dives and hands on labs.


The reviewers didn’t complain about any of the “Attack” sessions or hardware displays, but gave lower scores, (down to 6, on a scale of 1-10) due to scheduling changes they really wanted to see for this new event offering.

Length of Conference

We have offered a 2 ½ day conference for the last couple years, after having a 2 day conference and an additional hands on lab ½ day previously.  Last year we started offering a single day pass for those few that were unable to join us for the entire event. This offered us additional flexibility for our attendees and we noticed that only about 35 people take advantage of this, but it removed the challenge we had for those sharing badges, which impacted our “true attendance count” when working with the Colorado Convention Center on our next year’s contract and it also increased the amount of folks that asked for a longer conference:


Currently, 65% of our attendees who’ve filled out their evaluations, would like to extend the conference to a full three days.  I’ve also seen some benefits of separating the Hands on Labs/deep dive sessions by development vs. Database focused to get the most out of the three days.  This would mean that during the DBA sessions, we would have the development centric deep dives and HOL and vice-versa for the DBA deep dives/HOL.   This scheduling would allow us to add another track, which our current comments list an interest in DevOPS and VMWare or Hardware.

Amount of Sessions

We consistently have comments saying, “Not enough DB12c” and the next might say, “Too much DB12c”.  Below that is a comment asking for more development sessions, followed by someone asking for less development.  This is expected and actually tells me when I’m in my “sweet spot” of session scheduling.  Our tracks closely match our attendance designated roles, so we know we are doing well with our schedule.

Percentage of Sessions for Each Track


Roles that Attendees Hold


If you mix and match the session percentages that are in our conference vs. the roles that our attendees hold, you will see that we have an excellent balance of sessions that match the amount of those that will be interested in it.

Women Attending Training Days

The reason I started Women in Tech at RMOUG was that I did a count, (we don’t collect information on the gender of our attendees, but I can either tell by name or by knowing the person, which allows me to count about 97% of our attendees.) and was aware that we only had 7% attendance by women.  With the introduction of the WIT sessions, we have now increased our attendance to over 22%.


New Attendance

We do ask our attendees how many Training Days folks have attended.   I noted a number of folks that felt the people they’d always seen at the conference were no longer attending and we’d noticed that, as with many Oracle User Group conferences, the attendees are “aging out”.  Gaining new attendees through new Oracle customers, startups and new technologies is essential.  Knowing if you are successful is important, too.


Currently, 40% of our attendance have attended four or less Training Days, which tells us we are making head way in introducing our conference and RMOUG to the area.  We still are retaining 59% of our long-term attendees, (we do have some who have attended most of our 26 conferences, too!)  Keeping both groups satisfied are also a big challenge, so again, this data shows us that we are doing a very good job.


We had an average of 8.85 rating on session quality on a scale of 1-10 and most of the complaints were when anyone and I do mean anyone thought they could get away with marketing in their sessions.  No matter how often we let people know that marketing is very frowned upon by our attendees,  abstract reviewers offering low scores for any abstract that appears to have any marketing in their session, someone still tries to push the marketing card.  The session level evaluations won’t be out for a little while, but I already fear for those that were called out at the conference level for marketing or sales in their technical session and those were the ones that created a majority of the percentage of 7 scores.

Session Quality

We couldn’t  have the great speakers, topics and quality of sessions without our great abstract reviewers and committee.  We have around 50 reviewers, made up of local attendees,  ACEs and Oak Table Members.  This provides us with the best over all scoring.  We ask people to only review those tracks that they are knowledgeable in and to never review their own abstracts or those that may be considered a conflict of interest.  Even my own abstracts are submitted for review and then I pull all mine, knowing that I’ll be onsite and if I need a last minute replacement, it comes in handy to slip one of mine or Tim Gorman’s in, as we have a few that have been approved.  I’m commonly quite busy and prefer to give as many speakers an opportunity to speak, so I have no problem pulling mine from the schedule unless absolutely required.


We achieved an average scored of 9.57 on session quality out of a score 1-10, so this tells you just how effective our abstract review and selection process is.  I applaud and recognize our abstract reviewers and thank them for making my job so easy when it comes to, not only choosing our abstracts for our conference, but if someone asks why they weren’t selected, the scores and comments, (sans the reviewer names, those remain between the committee and myself) offer feedback to assist the speaker in how they might change their abstract submission in the future for a better chance of getting accepted.  We do receive over 300 abstracts per year and can only accept around 100, so we are forced to say no to 2/3 of our abstracts submitted.

Overall, our registration count was up for paying attendees, which is a rare thing for user group conferences.  Our number of volunteers also increased, (which is crucial to our conference success.) RMOUG is a non-profit that relies on the power of our great volunteer base.  These volunteers drive many of our speakers from and to the airport, register attendees and serve as ambassadors to each and every session.  Our exhibitor area was 40% larger than its been in previous years, which brings additional revenue that RMOUG depends on for Quarterly Education Workshops, Special interest Groups, the RMOUG Newsletter, SQL>Update and other yearly expenditures.  RMOUG  couldn’t survive without the contributions of so many different groups, community participation and sponsorship.  This user group is powerful because of its community and the support  deserves a round of applause for making another Training Days conference a success!

Posted in DBA Life, Oracle Tagged with: , ,

February 26th, 2015 by dbakevlar

Collaborate 2015 at the Mandalay in Las Vegas is just around the corner and the sheer amount of Enterprise Manager focused content is phenomenal!  Oracle partners and power users around the world come together each year to provide the lucky attendees the best in use cases, tips and technical know -how regarding the best infrastructure management tool in the industry.

If you are one of the lucky masses who attend this incredible conference from IOUG, Quest and OAUG, you’ll be searching the massive schedule of sessions for the presenters that will get you to the level of expertise you desire in Enterprise Manager features and products.  So let’s save you a lot of time and just tell you about all the incredible sessions and offer you some links!

Sunday, April 12th

Our adventure starts out on Sunday with the IOUG Pre-Conference Workshops.  Join Werner De Gruyter, Courtney Llamas and me for a great hands on lab titled, “Everything I Ever Needed to Know About OEM, I Learned at Collaborate!”  from 9am-noon.   After you’ve refreshed with some lunch and networked with some of the other speakers and attendees, you can then head over to Brent Sloterbeek, from Gentex Corporation to sit in on his user experience session where he speaks on his great success expanding the use of EM12c from just the DBA staff to the entire IT department.

Monday, April 13th

Monday begins the impressive list of presenters on Enterprise Manager topics, beginning with my peer, the ever impressive Courtney Llamas explaining how you can take EM12c from “Zero to Manageability”.  The schedule has Werner and I as her co-presenters, but she knows this topic like the back of her hand, so if she does have us speak, it will mostly be both of us saying, “What she said!” 🙂

The first session choosing challenge of the conference starts right here, folks!  The wonderful Rene Antunez, from Pythian is also presenting at the same time on Database as a Service in the Cloud. I pity those who have to choose between these two sessions and please don’t ask me to choose between coworkers and Rene, who I mentored.  It’s just too difficult for me to make one!

After Courtney and Rene, you can head over and see Rich Niemiec speak on the Best in Database 12c Tuning Features, followed by another person I’ve mentored for years and am proud to be the mentor of, Golden Gate expert, Bobby Curtis, who’ll take some time off from GG to tell you about how to best implement Exachk for Exadata with EM12c.

At 3:15pm, we have another competition of sessions on EM12c that you need to choose between and I’m in the middle of it, too!  Ravi Madabhushanam, from App Associates will be discussing how Easy E-Business Suite patching can be with Enterprise Manager while I discuss one of the newest symbiotic product launches from the EM12c performance team, the Power of the AWR Warehouse.  I’m not finished yet-  3:15 is a popular session time!  Erik Benner, Steve Lemme,  Seth Miller, Rene Antunez, Charles Kim and Michael Timpanaro-Perrotta, (OK, so someone has a longer name than me! 🙂 ) will be on a panel discussing how IT can benefit and should consider Database as a Service! But wait-  that’s still not all at 3:15pm, (yeah, it’s going to be a tough decision…)  Michael Nelson from Northrop Grumman  will be talking about the importance and how to implement the Automatic Diagnostic Repository.

Monday finishes up with three great sessions at 4:15, (sorry folks, you have to make another difficult decision again…:) )  One of my fantastic co-authors from the Expert Enterprise Manager 12c book is up to bat, Leighton Nelson,  Introducing Enterprise Manager .  It’s an excellent complement to Courtney’s session earlier in the day, so if you are new to the product, please consider this session.  For those of you who are looking for an advanced topics, we then have Kant Mrityunjay from AST Corporation discussing  Top Automation of Weblogic Tasks and for the database performance folks, we have Alfredo Krieg Villa from Sherwin Williams, discussing how to Stabilize Performance with SQL Plan Management in DB12c.

Monday evening offers you the chance to relax and network with fellow Enterprise Manager experts  at 5:30pm in the Exhibit Hall at the Oracle Demogrounds where you can view demos on Total Cloud Control and Applications Management, both powered by Oracle Enterprise Manager! It’s a great chance to speak with product managers, some of the Strategic Customer Program team members and Oracle community power users.

Tuesday, April 14th

Tuesday kicks off EM12c sessions at 9:45am with Ken Ramey from Centroid Systems focusing on security with Protect Your Identities, but will offer some bonus tuning tips, too!  At this same time, if you are looking for the best answers on how to upgrade to EM12c High Availability, head on over and see Bill Petro from American Express who will go over a real user experience on how it’s done right!

Bobby Curtis is back up to bat, (he’ll appreciate the baseball reference… 🙂 )  speaking on his topic of specialty, GoldenGate monitoring with EM12c.   Erick Mader and Jon Gilmore from Zirous, Inc. will be up at 11am to tell you all about Oracle WebLogic Performance Tuning.   You also have the chance to learn about the power of Oracle Real User Experience, (aka RUEI) from Frank Jordan of ERP Suites during this time on Tuesday.  Rich Niemiec will be speaking at 11am, too, mostly on Database 12c features, but he does promise, since it is a session on the BEST Database 12c features, he will be covering a few Enterprise Manager features, too!

Alfredo Krieg Villa is back on Tuesday at 2pm, to discuss how to save your day with Enterprise Manager 12c Administration.  You lucky devils get to learn more about the glories of Automated Patching with EM12c from Fernando de Souza from General Dynamics IT at 4:30 to finish out your Tuesday OEM sessions.

Tuesday concludes with the Exhibitor Showcase Happy Hour in the Exhibit Hall at the Oracle Demogrounds where you get another chance at Cloud Control and Applications Management demos, along with great Las Vegas Mandalay venue drinks and food!

Wednesday, Aprile 15th

We start out Wednesday at 8am with Gleb Otochin from Pythian, (ask me about my first interaction with Gleb when we worked across from each other when I trained at the Ottawa office-  great story! 🙂 ) He’s a brilliant guy and he’s going to tell you all about how to build Your Own Private Cloud.  Also at 8am, Collaborate has Shawn Ruff from Mythics discussing how to Manage and Monitor Fusion Middleware while one of my co-authors on the Enterprise Manager Command Line Interface book, Ray Smith, is going to show you how to Flaunt it if You’ve Got it with EM12c Extensibility.  You also have Frank Pound from the Bank of Canada who’s going to show you how easy it is Comply with Audits using EM12c.

You get a small break from EM12c content, so take a breath, network or if you want, you can attend other sessions not on our EM12c list.  I’ll forgive you, really… 🙂  At 10:45, Krishna Kapa from UBS is going to explain Oracle Database 12c Multitenant with Enterprise Manager 12c.

At 12:30, we then have the great IOUG Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c SIG.  If you are passionate about EM12c and want to get involved in the community, this is the place to be!  We are planning out this event, even as I write this and I can tell you, it’s going to be great!

At 2:45pm, the always wonderful, Kai Yu, from Dell, will show you how to Design and Implement Your Own Private Cloud.  During this same time, Claudia Naciff and Vladimir Lugo, of Loyola Marymount University, will be making my day by promoting  Migrating Your Cron Jobs to Oracle EM12c.  I love seeing folks simplifying management of their environments with Enterprise Manager and it’s great to see Claudia and Vladimir presenting on this topic.  Last, but not least in this time slot is  Raj Garrepally from Emory University, presenting how to use Oracle Enterprise Manager, along with other tools to ease the management of Peoplesoft Environments.

Erik Benner is up at 4pm to talk about  Servers and Systems and Storage, Oh My!  Don’t miss out learning about infrastructure management with EM12c.  It’s going to be another tough decision on sessions again at this 4pm time slot-  Leighton Nelson is also speaking with Sean Brown from World Wide Technology on Database as a Server with RAC using DB12c, along with a panel from Keith Baxter on Oracle Best Practices for Managing Oracle Applications.

Thursday, April 16th

The last day of Collaborate 2015 is made sunnier by starting the morning with Krishna Kapa from UBS as he gives another great session, this time on how to successfully combine Database 12c Multitenant Architecture with EM12c.   If Las Vegas isn’t sunny enough with the addition of that first session on the list, you also have Angelo Rosado from Oracle giving another session of great content on Managing Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2 with EM12c.

At 9:45, James Lui and Erik Benner are going to host the OAUG Oracle Enterprise Manager Applications SIG.  This is a great way to get involved with Fusion Middleware passionate folks in our community, provide feedback and be part of the best in the middleware world, (not to be confused with Tolkien’s middle earth, but we’ll know who’s who if anyone shows up dressed as an elf or hobbit, right? 🙂 )  Another great session on DBaaS is up during this time for all you EM12c fans from someone I’ve enjoyed presenting with at Oracle, GP Gongloor.  He’ll show you how the future is now with Advanced Database Management with Database as a Service and EM12c.

Mark Saltsman and Kumar Anthireyan from Bias are presenting at 11am, explaining the 12 Things to Consider for Migrating EBS onto Exadata, which will include some great tips with EM12c.  Mark Scardina from Oracle is going to present on Database Clouds with Oracle RAC 12c and as we know, cloud is the almighty world we live in now!  My previous boss and always mentor, Alex Gorbachev is on at this time, too, presenting on Anomaly Detection for Database  Monitoring.  His summary description describes it as a novel approach, but with Alex, should we expect anything less? 🙂 All of these great presenters are up against one of my favorite peers at Oracle, Pete Sharman, who is the master of masters when it comes to Database as a Service.  He will discuss Data Cloning and Refreshes Made Easy with EM12c Snap Clone.  If you want to learn from the master on DBaaS, this is the guy!  To make things even more difficult, my team members from SCP, Courtney Llamas and Werner De Gruyter are presenting in this same time slot to take you Under the Hood of the Enterprise Manager.  This session covers a lot of what we do as part of the SCP team and I know how much I learned from both of these wonderful teammates when I joined Oracle.  If you are considering implementing EM12c, this is an invaluable session.

To close out the conference on EM12c sessions, Courtney Llamas will easily convince everyone the power of Smarter Monitoring with Adaptive Thresholds and Time Based Metrics.  For anyone who is looking to “silence the white noise” in their environment, this is a not-to-be-missed session.  Anthony Noriega will also be presenting at during this time slot on a great case study revolving around Moving ASM Files that includes EM12c, so let’s give these great presenters on the last day our support  and don’t miss out on all the great content that is going on till the very end!


For those of you who are interested in Social Media, I’ll also be on the Social Media panel on Monday at 4pm, (as soon as I finish my AWR Warehouse session, so if you see me running down the hall, you know where I’m headed!) and if you are a WIT, (Women in Technology), you’ll soon see the announcement that I’m your speaker for the Monday luncheon.  I won’t ruin all the surprise and I’ll leave it to IOUG to let you in on the special topic I’ll be presenting on!

If you want a “just the facts” list of all the EM12c sessions for the conference, go to the following link, which will provide everything you need to make it easy to add your choices to My Show Planner.  See you at IOUG Collaborate 2015 in April at the Mandalay!

Posted in Enterprise Manager, Oracle Tagged with: , ,

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