January 13th, 2017 by dbakevlar

I receive about 20-30 messages a week from women in the industry.  I take my role in the Oracle community as a role model for women in technology quite seriously and I’ve somehow ended up speaking up a number of times, upon request from different groups.

rosie

Although its not the first time the topics come up, I was asked last week for some recommendations on Oracle’s CEO, Safra Catz and her opportunity to be on President Elect Trump’s transition team.

I wanted to ask your opinion about Safra not taking a leave of absence to help with Trump’s transition team? I think she should take a leave and as one of the top women in IT I think it shows poor judgment. Could the WITs write her a letter? Thoughts?

After some deep thought, I decided the topic required a good, solid answer and a broader audience.  As with anything involving the topic of WIT, the name of the source who asked the question doesn’t matter and anyone who asks you to give names isn’t really interested in education, but persecution.

It took me some time to think through the complexities of the situation.  Everyone will have some natural biases when a topic bridges so many uncomfortable areas of discussion:

  • Women’s Roles
  • Politics
  • Previous Employer

After putting my own bias aside and thinking through the why and what, here’s my thoughts-

No, I don’t think Safra should take a leave of absence. We have significantly few women in c-level positions.  As of April 2016, only 4% of CEO’s for Fortune 500 companies were women, (which Safra is one.)  I have a difficult time believing we’d be asking most men to give up the opportunity to be on a presidential transition team or take a leave of absence.  Some of the most challenging and difficult times in our career are also the most rewarding and this may be one of those times in Safra’s life.  Anyone who’s friends with me, especially on Facebook, would know, I’m not a big fan of Donald Trump, but in no way should we ask Safra to not try to be part of the solution.

No, I don’t think Safra should refrain from being on the transition team.  As much as we discuss the challenges of getting more women in technology, its even a larger challenge in politics.  Women have less than 25% of the seats in Congress and even less at local government levels.  We are over 50% of the workforce and 50% of the US population.  How can we ever have our voices heard if we aren’t participating in our own government?  Having more representation is important, not less and not because my politics don’t mesh with hers.

So what should the discussion really be about if we don’t want Safra to take a leave of absence or remove herself from the transition team?

  1. We want to know that there are clear policies in place to deter from conflict of interest.  We need to know that if improprieties do occur, that accountability will result.
  2. We need to not limit Safra in opportunities or over-scrutinize her the way we do so many women who don’t fit inside the nice, neat little expectations society still has of them.
  3. We shouldn’t hold Safra accountable for what Donald Trump represents, his actions or if we don’t agree with his politics.

We also need to discuss what is really bothering many when a woman or person of color enters into the lions den, aka a situation that is clearly not very welcoming to us due to gender, race or orientation.  It can bring out feelings of betrayal, concerns that the individual is “working for the enemy.”  We want to know that Safra will stand up for our rights as the under-represented.  We want to know that she would tell Donald that she doesn’t condone his behavior or actions towards women, race and culture.

One of the biggest challenges I had to overcome when I started my career, was recognizing that every individual has their own path in this world.  Their path may be very different than mine, but through change comes growth and to expect someone to do what may not be in their capabilities can be just as limiting as not letting them do what they do best.  This wouldn’t be allowing Safra to do what she does best.

I’ve never viewed Safra as a role-model when it comes to the protection and advancement of women’s roles in technology or our world.  She’s never historically represented this, any more than those expecting it from Marissa Mayer.  It’s just not part of their unique paths, no matter how much the media likes to quote either of them, (especially Marissa, which consistently makes me cringe.)  It doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of accomplishing great feats-  just not feats in the battle for equality.  It also doesn’t mean they aren’t a source of representation.  The more women that are in the space, the better.  That’s how we overcome some of the bias we face.

Regarding those that do support women in more ways that just representing the overall count of women in technology and politics, I’d rather put my time into Sheryl Sandberg, Grace Hopper, Meg Whitman and others who have the passion to head up equality issues.  I both welcome and am thankful for the discussion surrounding writing the letter and applaud the woman who asked me about the topic-  it’s a difficult one.

For those of you who are still learning about why equality is so important, here’s a few historical references of great women who’ve advanced our rights.  We wouldn’t be where we are today without them.

Thank you to everyone for the great beginning to 2017 and thank you for continuing to trust me to lead so many of these initiatives.  I hope I can continue to educate and help the women in our technical community prosper.

 

Posted in Oracle, WIT Tagged with: , ,

January 4th, 2017 by dbakevlar

How was 2016 for me?

It was a surprisingly busy year-  blogging, speaking, working and doing.

I posted just under 100 posts to my blog this year.  After I changed jobs, the “3 per week” quickly declined to “4 per month” after I was inundated with new challenges and the Delphix learning curve.  That will change for 2017, along with some new initiatives that are in the works, so stay tuned.

For 2016, the most popular posts and pages for my website followed a similar trend from the last year.  My emulator for RPI is still a popular item and I have almost as many questions on RPI as I do WIT-  Raspberry Pi is everywhere and you’ll see a regained momentum from me with some smart home upgrades.

My readers for 2016 came from just about every country.  There were only a few that weren’t represented, but the largest numbers were from the expected:

I also write from time to time on Linked in.  Linked in has become the home for my Women in Technology posts and its lead me to receive around 30 messages a week from women looking for guidance, sharing their stories or just reaching out.  I appreciate the support and the value its provided to those in the industry.

RMOUG Conference Director- No Escape!

The 2016 conference was a great success for RMOUG, but much of it was due to budget cuts and changes that were made as we went along and addressed trends.  I’ve been collecting the data from evaluations and it really does show why companies are so interested in the value their data can provide them.  I use what I gather each year to make intelligent decisions about where RMOUG should take the conference direction each year-  what works, what doesn’t and when someone throws an idea out there, you can either decide to look into it or have the data to prove that you shouldn’t allocate resources to an endeavor.

A New Job

I wasn’t into the Oracle cloud like a lot of other folks.  It just wasn’t that interesting to me and felt that Oracle, as much as they were putting into their cloud investment, deserved someone who was behind it.  I’d come to Oracle to learn everything I could about Oracle and Enterprise Manager and an on-premise solution as it was, it wasn’t in the company focus.  When Kyle and I spoke about an opportunity to step into a revamped version of his position at Delphix, a company that I knew a great deal about and admired, it was a no-brainer.  I started with this great, little company in June and there are some invigorating initiatives that I look forward to becoming part of for 2017!

2 Awards

In February, I was awarded RMOUG’s Lifetime achievement award.  I kind of thought this would mean I could ride off in the sunset as the conference director, but as my position ended at Oracle, which had been a significant fight to keep me managing the conference as an Oracle employee, (transitioning me to a non-voting member to keep within the by-laws) not many were surprised to see me take on a sixth year of managing the conference.

In April I was humbly awarded the Ken Jacobs award from IOUG.  This is an award I’m very proud of, as Oracle employee’s are the only ones eligible and I was awarded it in just the two years I was employed at the red O.

3 Makers Events

I haven’t had much time for my Raspberry Pi projects the last number of months, but it doesn’t mean I don’t still love them.  I gained some recognition as 2nd ranking in the world for RPI klout score back in July, which took me by surprise.  I love adding a lot of IOT stories into my content and it had caught the attention of social media engines.  Reading and content is one thing, but it was even more important to do- I had a blast being part of the impressive Colorado’s Maker Faire at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science earlier in 2016.  I also was part of two smaller makers faires in Colorado, allowing me to discuss inexpensive opportunities for STEM education for schools using Raspberry Pis, Python coding and 4M kits.

Speaking Engagements

Even though I took a number of months off to focus on Delphix initiatives, I still spoke at 12 events and organized two, (Training Days and RMOUG’s QEW.)

February:  RMOUG– Denver, CO, (Director and speaker)

March: HotSos– Dallas, CO, (Keynote)

April: IOUG Collaborate– Las Vegas, NV

May: GLOC– Cleveland, OH, NoCOUG– San Jose, CA

June: KSCOPE– Chicago, IL

July: RMOUG Quarterly Education Workshop– Denver, CO, (Organizer)

September: Oracle Open World/Oak Table World– San Francisco, CA

October: UNYOUG– Buffalo, NY, Rocky Mountain DataCon & Denver Testing Summit–  Denver, CO

November: MOUS– Detroit, MI, (Keynote) ECO– Raleigh, NC

New Meetup Initiatives and Growth

I took over the Denver/Boulder Girl Geek Dinners meetup last April.  The community had almost 650 members at the time and although it wasn’t as big as the Girls Develop It or Women Who Code, I was adamant about keeping it alive.  Come the new year and thanks to some fantastic co-organizers assisting me, (along with community events in the technical arena) we’re now on our way to 1100 members for the Denver/Boulder area.

The Coming Year

I’m pretty much bursting with anticipation due to all that is on my plate for the coming year.  I know the right hand side bar is a clear indication that I’ll be speaking more, meaning more travel and a lot of new content.  With some awesome new opportunities from Delphix and the organizations I’m part of, I look forward to a great 2017!

 

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

December 27th, 2016 by dbakevlar

The only thing that remains constant is change.   ~Heralitus

chameleon

This often is more apparent in technology than anywhere else.  Even with a group of Oracle evangelists and enthusiasts like the ACE program, which offers the opportunity for peers to recognize those that contribute to the community and help make it a better place.

I’ve [often quietly] assisted many around me to find their path into the ACE program, even when I was an employee at Oracle and even now that I have ACE alumni status.  It was once a rare thing to have this status, but I was also considered an oddity, after spending a couple years learning all that I could about Enterprise Manager, moved on to Delphix to undergo my next opportunity for growth.  I departed Oracle at a time the ACE program was going through a major overhaul, with new requirements and rules to being part of the program.

For some in the Oracle community, it simply doesn’t make sense for them to be part of the program any longer, but it can also make it easy for those of the “reality TV” generation to try to find drama and gossip in it all.  Being nominated to the ACE program is something to be proud of-  you’re peers have reached out to recognize your contributions.  As rules were changed and re-evaluated while I was traversing the questions about how I would re-enter the ACE Program.  I received a large amount of emails of support, but at the same time, recommendations that it would be best to just stay the course and do what I do best, so I’ve made the decision, like many others, not to pursue re-activating my ACE Director.  At this time, 155 out of almost 700 members in the directory are listed as having alumnus status, so I’m suddenly far from alone.

There are many reasons individuals in the Oracle community would wish to still pursue the ACE program and I will continue to support anyone who wishes assistance with this goal.  I also recognized how difficult the decision was for those that left the program and believe the earned recognition should continue.  Just as The ACE program recognizes them as ACE Alumni in the ACE Program registry, RMOUG Training Days has updated the speaker biography with an option to be listed as an ACE Alumni.

If you are a speaker with our conference and an ACE Alumni, you have the option to update your profile and be recognized for your earned and continued contributions to the Oracle community.

I look forward to seeing everyone in February and Happy Holidays!

Posted in DBA Life Tagged with: , ,

November 14th, 2016 by dbakevlar

OK, so I’m all over the map, (technology wise) right now.  One day I’m working with data masking on Oracle, the next it’s SQL Server or MySQL, and the next its DB2.  After almost six months of this, the chaos of feeling like a fast food drive thru with 20 lanes open at all times is starting to make sense and my brain is starting to find efficient ways to siphon all this information into the correct “lanes”.  No longer is the lane that asked for a hamburger getting fries with hot sauce… 🙂

thesemakeme

One of the areas that I’ve been spending some time on is the optimizer and differences in Microsoft SQL Server 2016.  I’m quite adept on the Oracle side of the house, but for MSSQL, the cost based optimizer was *formally* introduced in SQL Server 2000 and filtered statistics weren’t even introduced until 2008.  While I was digging into the deep challenges of the optimizer during this time on the Oracle side, with MSSQL, I spent considerable time looking at execution plans via dynamic management views, (DMVs) to optimize for efficiency.  It simply wasn’t at the same depth as Oracle until the subsequent releases and has grown tremendously in the SQL Server community.

Compatibility Mode

As SQL Server 2016 takes hold, the community is starting to embrace an option that Oracle folks have done historically-  When a new release comes out, if you’re on the receiving end of significant performance degradation, you have the choice to set the compatibility mode to the previous version.

I know there are a ton of Oracle folks out there that just read that and cringed.

Compatibility in MSSQL is now very similar to Oracle.  We allocate the optimizer features by release version value, so for each platform it corresponds to the following:

Database Version Value
Oracle 11.2.0.4 11.2.0.x
Oracle 12.1 12.1.0.0.x
Oracle 12c release 2 12.1.0.2.0
MSSQL 2012 110
MSSQL 2014 120
MSSQL 2016 130

 

SQL Server has had this for some time, as you can see by the following table:

Product Database Engine Version Compatibility Level Designation Supported Compatibility Level Values
SQL Server 2016 13 130 130, 120, 110, 100
SQL Database 12 120 130, 120, 110, 100
SQL Server 2014 12 120 120, 110, 100
SQL Server 2012 11 110 110, 100, 90
SQL Server 2008 R2 10.5 105 100, 90, 80
SQL Server 2008 10 100 100, 90, 80
SQL Server 2005 9 90 90, 80
SQL Server 2000 8 80 80

These values can be viewed in each database using queries for the corresponding command line tool.

For Oracle:

SELECT name, value, description from v$parameter where name='compatible';

Now if you’re in database 12c and multi-tenant, then you need to ensure you’re correct database first:

ALTER SESSION SET CONTAINER = <pdb_name>;
ALTER SYSTEM SET COMPATIBLE = '12.1.0.0.0';

For MSSQL:

SELECT databases.name, databases.compatibility_level from sys.databases 
GO
ALTER DATABASE <dbname> SET COMPATIBILITY_LEVEL = 120
GO

Features

How many of us have heard, “You can call it a bug or you can call it a feature”?  Microsoft has taken a page from Oracle’s book and refer to the need to set the database to the previous compatibility level as Compatibility Level Guarantee.  It’s a very positive sounding “feature” and for those that have upgraded and are suddenly faced with a business meltdown due to a surprise impact once they do upgrade or simply from a lack of testing are going to find this to be a feature.

So what knowledge, due to many years of experience with this kind of feature, can the Oracle side of the house offer to the MSSQL community on this?

I think anyone deep into database optimization knows that “duct taping” around a performance problem like this- by moving the compatibility back to the previous version is wrought with long term issues.  This is not addressing a unique query or even a few transactional processes being addressed with this fix.  Although this should be a short term fix before you launch to production, [we hope] experience has taught us on the Oracle side, that you have databases that exist for years in a different compatibility version than the release version.  Many DBAs have databases that they are creating work arounds and applying one off patch fixes for because the compatibility either can’t or won’t be raised to the release version.  This is a database level way of holding the optimizer at the previous version.  The WHOLE database.

You’re literally saying, “OK kid, [database], we know you’re growing, so we upgraded you to latest set of pants, but now we’re going to hem and cinch them back to the previous size.”  Afterwards we say, “Why aren’t they performing well? After all, we did buy them new pants!”

So by “cinching” the database compatibility mode back down, what are we missing in SQL Server 2016?

  • No 10,000 foreign key or referential constraints for you, no, you’re back to 253.
  • Parallel update of statistic samples
  • New Cardinality Estimator, (CE)
  • Sublinear threshold for statistics updates
  • A slew of miscellaneous enhancements that I won’t list here.

Statistics Collection

Now there is a change I don’t like, but I do prefer how Microsoft has addressed it in the architecture.  There is a trace flag 2371 that controls, via on or off, if statistics are updated at about 20% change in row count values.  This is now on by default with MSSQL 2016 compatibility 130.  If it’s set to off, then statistics at the object level aren’t automatically updated.  There are a number of ways to do this in Oracle, but getting more difficult with dynamic sampling enhancements that put the power of statistics internal to Oracle and less in the hands of the Database Administrator.  This requires about 6 parameter changes in Oracle and as a DBA who’s attempted to lock down stats collection, its a lot easier than said.  There were still ways that Oracle was able to override my instructions at times.

Optimizer Changes and Hot Fixes

There is also a flag to apply hot fixes which I think is a solid feature in MSSQL that Oracle could benefit from, (instead of us DBAs scrambling to find out what feature was implemented, locating the parameter and updating the value for it…)  Using trace flag 4199 granted the power to the DBA to enable any new optimizer features, but, just like Oracle, with the introduction of SQL Server 2016, this is now controlled with the compatibility mode.  I’m sorry MSSQL DBAs, it looks like this is one of those features from Oracle that, (in my opinion) I wish would have infected cross platform in reverse.

As stated, the Compatibility Level Guarantee sounds pretty sweet, but the bigger challenge is the impact that Oracle DBAs have experienced for multiple releases that optimizer compatibility control has been part of our database world.  We have databases living in the past.  Databases that are continually growing, but can’t take advantage of the “new clothes” they’ve been offered.  Fixes that we can’t take advantage of because we’d need to update the compatibility to do so and the pain of doing so is too risky.  Nothing like being a tailor that can only hem and cinch.  As the tailors responsible for the future of our charges, there is a point where we need to ensure our voices are heard, to ensure that we are not one of the complacent bystanders, offering stability at the cost of watching the world change around us.

Posted in Oracle, SQLServer Tagged with: , ,

August 19th, 2016 by dbakevlar

This is a living document that I will continue to update and will add new database platforms to as I go along in my career.  I spend a lot of time translating database platforms I’ve worked in for all tiers of the technical business.  It just seems natural that we might need a location on the web where that information is kept.

alive

I’ll add some diagrams at a later date, but we’ll start with a simple spreadsheet of common terms and questions and how each of the terms or tasks in Oracle, (the current #1 RDBMS) translates in other platforms.  If there isn’t a similar term or task, I’ve marked not applicable, (N/A).  If you have any additions or suggestions on how to improve the list, please feel free to comment or email me at DBAKevlar at Gmail.

As I’m still working on the best viewable format, keep in mind, you can export the table into a number of formats or even print it!

Thanks!

The Rosetta Stone for Database Platforms

Generated by wpDataTables

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

November 24th, 2015 by dbakevlar

After my AWR Warehouse session at DOAG in Nuremberg, Germany last week, an attendee asked me if he really needed to use trace files anymore with the value provided by AWR, (Automatic Workload Repository) and ASH, (Active Session History.)  I responded that trace files were incredibly valuable and should never be discounted.

To use an analogy, when I was 22 years old, and entered a doctor’s office missing a small percentage of my visual field after an apparent migraine, doctors used a number of different “tools” at their disposal in an attempt to diagnose what had happened.  They first started with an Ophthalmoscope to determine the health of my retinas.  They assumed that I was simply experiencing visual disturbances due to a migraine and sent me home with a prescription strength case of Tylenol after verifying that my eyes were healthy.

After no change with another two days passed, the doctors then proceeded with a Computed Tomography Scan, aka CAT/CT scan.  This is a standard first line inspection of the brain and again, it resulted with no information as to what was causing the visual disturbance.  If it hadn’t been for a neurologist that was on duty at the hospital, I may very well have been sent home again.  He asked me about the severe migraine, the actual specifics of the experience and suddenly realized he was hearing someone describe to him the symptoms of a stroke.  No one had considered to ask what had happened and since I was in my early twenties, hadn’t considered this.  At this point, the doctor asked for me to have an MRI, (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) with contract.  An injection of gadolinium contrast resulted in certain tissues and abnormalities more clearly visible and for me, it showed that I had experienced a break in the blood vessels in the back right of my brain, issuing a small aneurysm, but suffering only a little blood loss.  The main damage was to the brain tissue in the back area of my brain which “translates” the information being sent from my optic nerve and this was the cause of my left side visual field loss.  Due to this new information, he was able to start the research that in the coming years saved my life.

image_brn

This doctor, like a database administrator or developer, knew to use the right tool for the job once he knew what he was up against and this is how we succeed when others fail in the technical industry.  To be told that you no longer need a tool such as tracing because valuable data is provided from AWR or ASH limits the ability to see real culprits that the secondary tools discussed weren’t really designed to capture.

To know when to use one tool over the other is often the biggest challenge.  A number of years back, a customer was experiencing terrible, overall performance issues in an ETL process that no one had been able to pinpoint.  I always love a good challenge and began to look at it via AWR reports.  I noticed that there were waits that were unaccounted for in the SQL processing.

Execution Plan

| Id  | Operation                       | Name                       | Rows  | Bytes | Cost  | Pstart| Pstop |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | DELETE STATEMENT                |                            |       |       |   688 |       |       |
|   1 |  DELETE                         | _ITEM_MONTH_ROLLUP         |       |       |       |       |       |
|   2 |   NESTED LOOPS                  |                            |  1490 | 86420 |   688 |       |       |<--This one doesn't add up to time/value consumed.
|   3 |    VIEW                         | VW_NSO_1                   |     1 |    26 |    20 |       |       |
|   4 |     SORT UNIQUE                 |                            |     1 |    40 |    20 |       |       |
|   5 |      TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| PROCESS_LOG_MASTER         |     1 |    40 |     4 |       |       |
|   6 |       INDEX RANGE SCAN          | PROCESS_LOG_MASTER_I7      |   132 |       |     1 |       |       |
|   7 |    PARTITION RANGE ITERATOR     |                            |  1490 | 47680 |   386 |   KEY |   KEY |
|   8 |     INDEX RANGE SCAN            | ITEM_MONTH_ROLLUP_I2       |  1490 | 47680 |   386 |   KEY |   KEY |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note
—–

– dynamic sampling used for this statement (level=8)

– SQL profile “SYS_SQLPROF_013dad8465770005” used for this statement


CPU Costing is off and there is a profile on this statement. Stats are up to date, why am I seeing dynamic sampling level 8??

I proceeded to capture a trace and that’s when I was able to demonstrate that due to auto-DOP in 11.2, a choice was made to perform dynamic sampling that was adding over 80% to the execution time, impacting performance significantly.

SELECT /* DS_SVC */ /*+ dynamic_sampling(0) no_sql_tune no_monitoring blah, blah, blah, blah... :)

 

call     count       cpu    elapsed       disk      query    current rows
------- ------  -------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
Parse        1      0.00       0.00          0          0          0          0
Execute      1     28.60      48.52     322895      43776     489123        189
Fetch        0      0.00       0.00          0          0          0          0
------- ------  -------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
total        2     28.60      48.52     322895      43776     489123        189

Limiting your tools, no matter if you limit yourself to just using tracing or AWR/ASH, SLOB, Snapper or any other tool is a poor choice.  Use the right tool for the situation that provides answer to the questions the business relies on you for.  You wouldn’t trust a doctor that used a CAT scan to check a broken bone vs. an X-ray, so why would you trust an optimization specialist that limits themselves to one set of tools?

Posted in Database Tagged with: , ,

October 8th, 2015 by dbakevlar

I’ve been a bit busy traveling and speaking, but I wanted to discuss the great events I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the last couple weeks.

Indianapolis Oracle User Group

I spoke at the INOUG back on September 17th.  The user group in Indiana is incredibly welcoming and I had a great time with the wonderful attendees for my three back-to-back sessions.  We discussed AWR Warehouse, ASH and AWR Mining and a new session on Optimization for EM12c and the Hybrid Cloud.

East Coast Oracle Conference

September 21st-23rd was my first visit to the great city of Raleigh, NC and ECO!  I’ve always wanted to visit the location and had a great time not just because I got to hang out with friends like Jeff Smith, Ric Van Dyke, Kent Graziano, Scott Spendolini and Tim St. Hilaire, but I also received an incredibly warm welcome from the ECO attendees!  Linda Hoover and her team put on a great conference and the interaction from those in the sessions were phenomenal, both during and afterwards.

20150922_115657

I had a great joint keynote with Jeff Smith on “Empowering Your Technical Career with Social Media”.  It was incredibly well received and even though the room felt like it was -50F, everyone stayed for the entire keynote.  Some of the best feedback was when a woman who was working in the hotel serving food came up afterwards to tell me how much she enjoyed it and asked me some questions about what I did for a living and how to get into the tech industry.

eco_jsmith_kpotvin

An attendee also came up to me in the restaurant to let me know she’d only stayed for two keynotes her entire career and that ours was one of them!  These kind words from these two women and the other attendees who approached us meant a lot to Jeff and I.  We really appreciate the support!  I also have to thank Monty Latiolais and Ray Smith for letting Jeff and I rework their social media profiles and personal branding.  It was great to see it all come together.  For those that attended my technical session which was a deep dive in AWR and ASH, thank you for offering me a standing room only in the largest room they had at the conference and for all the interaction.

 IOUG Master Class at Sports Authority Stadium

I raced home at midnight on the 23rd to ensure I was available to do the keynote on the 24th for the IOUG Master class at….OK, let’s just say it, I’m a Denverite, it will always be Mile-High Stadium.  🙂

20150924_092558

The event included a good amount of RMOUG folks, along with some new folks and I got to speak with Graham Thornton from EMC, too!  It was a great day to be at the stadium and a great time was had by all as I spoke on Oracle Hybrid Cloud.

Oracle Education Foundation

Everyone knows I’ve been all about educating with small computers like the Raspberry Pi.  Thanks to Jake Kuramoto, I was offered the opportunity to come be part of the coaching team with the Oracle Education Foundation, specializing in teaching Raspberry Pi with Python.  I helped to build some of the content and it was an awesome experience to work with the high school kids.

20151007_143703

I only got to spend a week out of the two week project, because if I didn’t get home at least one week in October, Tim was going to come and get me!  It was a dream come true for me and I look forward to volunteering with the Oracle Education Foundation in the future.

On Thursday, Jake and his team, including the impressive Mark Vilrokx, came in to demonstrate a great nerf gun powered by an Adruino micro-computer and a sensor connected to the internet.  It used voice activated commands to shoot nerf ammo, even to know how many nerf bullets to shoot.

 

I’ll return home next week and enjoy some time with my family, my home and my dog before returning for Oracle Open World and Oak Table World for the end of October, so until then, check out the Arduino controlled nerf gun Twitter account, IOT Nerf and a shot of the great class I worked with for the week!

oef1

 

 

Posted in DBA Life, Oracle, Raspberry Pi Tagged with: , ,

July 8th, 2015 by dbakevlar

Happy Birthday to me!  So for my birthday, I give a present to you…  As I want all DBAs to sleep better at night, here are the top ten features you can use in Enterprise Manager Cloud Control to offer a good night’s rest instead of during the day at your desk… 🙂

sleeping_pc

1.  Disable the Default Rule Sets Shipped with Cloud Control.

Yes, you heard me.  I believe you should use them as a starting point or an example, but don’t put them into production.  These were examples set by development to see all that you could be notified on, but what you need to be woke up for should be anything mission critical that will SUFFER an outage if you DON’T respond.  Anything that can wait till the morning SHOULD wait till the morning.

rulesets

Make copies of the default rules and disable the originals.  Plan on making as many copies and edits as necessary to ensure that you are only being notified on the appropriate targets, life cycle status and line of business that YOU are responsible for ensuring is up and available to the business.

2.  Implement Monitoring Templates and Default for Important Target Types.

Monitoring templates ensure that you are monitoring each target in the same way and for the same metric thresholds.  This ensures you start with metric thresholds that make sense for the target and should be applied to all targets of that target type.  Creating monitoring templates are easy when you create one target as an example and use it for the source of your template.

3.  Use Metric Thresholds for Individual Targets and Set Them to Not Be Overridden by Monitoring Templates

Now this might sound like a complete 180 from #2 on this list, but it’s not.  This is just like #1, break down and specialize for unique targets that have unique challenges.  This means, if you have a target backup drive that fills up to 97% each night, you shouldn’t be woke up for it.  This is expected behavior and you can either set a static threshold specific to this target or an adaptive threshold that won’t be overridden by the monitoring template for this target ONLY.

4.  Utilize Administration Groups

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Administration Groups offer you advanced features and scalability to your Cloud Control environment that standard groups, and to a lesser extent, Dynamic groups, do not.  Line of business and life cycle management features that ensure you can break down notification groups, rule sets and other features, along with more advanced features with Database as a Service and other features to allow you to do more with less.  The natural life of a database environment is one of growth, so thinking ahead one, five and ten years is a great way to add value to the business as a database administrator.

5.  Create Metric Extensions for Unique Monitoring Scenarios

Enterprise Manager 12c is a self-service product.  So often there are unique situations that the business needs monitored for or the DBA notes creates a situation or outage, but isn’t, by default, a metric that comes with EM12c.  It’s easy enough to create a metric extension and take the concern and worry out of the situation, creating more value to the business.

6.  Add Corrective Actions, (Jobs)

Often when, a problem occurs, a DBA has a simple shell script or SQL they run and it corrects the problem.  If this is the case, why not have Cloud Control monitor for the issue, create an incident in the Incident Manager, send an email, then run the SQL or script as a Corrective Action?  The DBA will still know the problem occurred the next morning, but no one needs to be woke up to do what can be automated in the system.

corr_act

7.  Use Patch Plans and Automate Patching

I understand, really.  Something could somehow, somewhere, some rare time go wrong, but the patch plans you can create in Enterprise Manager are surprisingly robust and full featured. If you’re still doing patching the old fashioned way and not patching environments in the more automated and global patch plan way, you’re wasting time and let’s face it-  DBAs rarely have time to waste.  You are a resource that could be utilized for more important tasks and quarterly PSU patching is just not one of those.

8.  Centralize Database Jobs to EM Jobs

The common environment is structured with multiple DBAs, often with one DBA as primary to a database environment and the others playing catch up to figure out how the primary has the database set up.  My favorite DBA to work with once told me, “Kellyn, love your shell scripts.  They make the world go ‘round.  I just don’t want to try to figure out how you write shell at 3am in the morning or what kind of scheduler is used on all the OS’s you support!”  I realized that I owed him to centralize all my environments with an interface that made it easy for ANYONE to manage it.  No one had to look at cron, the task scheduler or a third party scheduling tool anymore.  Everything was in Enterprise Manager and no matter what operating system, it all looked very similar with the logs in the same place, found in the same tab of the UI.  Think about it- this is one you do for the team, move those jobs to inside Enterprise Manager, too…

9.  Put Compliance Framework into Place

Compliance is one of those things that seem a mystery to most.  I’m often asked why environments really need it and does it make sense.  It can seem overwhelming at first, but the idea that you know what database environments, hosts and such are out of compliance helps to distinguish how to get your database environment all set up to ensure that business best practices are in place-  You have a baseline of compliance standards for configuration settings, installation and real-time monitoring to view globally via EM12c.

10.  Plug-ins to Offer a Single Pane of Glass View

A database is a database or that’s how the business sees it.  I have almost as many years in SQL Server as I do in Oracle.  I’ve worked in Sybase, Informix, Postgres and MySQL.  After being hired for my Oracle DBA skills in every job I’ve held, it never failed-  within 6 weeks, a mission critical database environment on a secondary database platform was discovered that a group, often outside of IT had implemented and now needed critical support of.  Enterprise Manager offers plug-ins to support all of the above database platforms and more.  It offers plug-ins for engineered systems, storage arrays and other hardware that the DBA is now expected to manage, too.  Why manage all of this from multiple systems when you can easily create a single pane to ensure you’re covered?

So there you have it, my top ten list.  There are, of course, 100’s of other great features in EM12c, but make sure you are taking advantage of these in the list!

morning

Posted in Enterprise Manager, Oracle 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.

rmoug1

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.

rmoug2

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:

rmoug3

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

rmoug4

Roles that Attendees Hold

rmoug5

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%.

rmoug6

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.

rmoug7

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.

rmoug8

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.

rmoug9

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: , ,

December 31st, 2014 by dbakevlar

As many bloggers and sites do this time of the year, here is my review of 2014. It was a great year and it was a lot of fun, as well as educational reviewing all the data.

DBAKevlar Blog

Busiest Day on my Blog:

posts5

Posts this year:

Posts1

Most popular post of 2014:  Easy EM12c Agent Deployment on Windows

posts6

Windows installations are still a huge mystery and Cygwin still frustrates a lot of people, sometimes, me included.  This post describing the easiest deployment method has continued to be my most popular post.  I admit that I’m not too thrilled that it is attained via a search engine after typing in “DBAKevlar + Easy” though… 🙂

Pingbacks

If you aren’t familiar with the term, it is when someone links to one site to another.  Right now, I believe Pete Sharman owes me a beer, (or a few) for the 100’s of redirects to his site my blog generates… 🙂

posts8

Most individual blogger pingback: Brian Pardy. In the last 90 days, he’s referred others to my site 146 times, second is Jeff Smith with 51 times and Bobby Curtis with 46. Nice going Brian-  Could you give Pete some lessons? 😀

Searches

Obviously I’ve missed my calling to be a reviewer of tech products, which can be seen by search engine overload:

posts7

I’ve known for some time that there isn’t enough data to market smartwatches to women, which is proven by the searches that bring people to my blog.  Figure it out, tech wearables… 🙂

Speaking

This year I spoke at 11 conferences.

I did 4 joint-keynotes with my husband, Tim Gorman and an Empowerment keynote for NWOUG, for a total of FIVE keynotes in 2014.

I lead 5 Women in Technology Panels and picked up 12 new individuals to mentor from those events.  I am very impressed with all their contributions to technology and their growth in the industry!

Two Social Media sessions-  teaching folks how to use Social Media instead of the same old discussion of “you should be using”.  Looking forward to the RMOUG 2015 session with Jeff Smith coming up in February!

An IOUG Master Class at Coors Field!  This was a great event and I thoroughly enjoyed this!  Great group, great co-speakers.  It was well planned and well attended, not to mention enjoying the game after the event!

Webinar with ODTUG on the AWR Warehouse.

Slides

I’ve uploaded 19 slide decks to Slideshare.  Enterprise Manager, ASH/AWR and Women in Technology is the topic in focus and although a slide deck is a poor excuse vs. seeing a presentation, there is still a good amount of valuable data in each of the uploaded presentations.

Publications

Books

The Enterprise Manager 12c Command Line Interface book from Apress was released!

Articles

Oracle Magazine: Making a Change

NoCOUG: Women in Tech

Oracle Scene: Database as a Service in a DBA’s World

IOUG Member Spotlight

IOUG Ask an Oracle ACE

RMOUG:  Social Media for the Techie

IOUG Select Magazine: New Features in EM12c Release 4, (with Pete Sharman)

Denver Business Journal: Not Playing it Safe

UKOUG Women in Tech Initiative

Denver Post:  TechKnowsByte

O’Reilly Press, Thanks to Steven Feuerstein:  Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day

Awards

There were a few awards through out the year-

2014 Volunteer of the Year award for RMOUG.

November 2014 Oracle Pro from Dell/Toad

The big one of course was being recognized by the Colorado Technical Association as their Women in Technology APEX Award winner for 2014.  I was in no way prepared for this, as I was sure another finalist was the definitely the one they would call on stage.  I’m told I gave a great acceptance speech, so if anyone does have it on tape, I’d love to know what I said up there.  All I remember was trying to keep my legs from shaking up at the podium… 🙂

Personal

Its been a pretty big year personally, too.  My oldest son, Sam moved out of the house and is on his own.  He just turned 20 and it’s difficult to believe that my oldest child was born two decades ago.  His sister Cait has recently dyed her hair a lovely shade of purple and is finishing up her senior year in high school.  My baby, Josh is now a freshman in high school and just found out that those baby blues of his will need glasses.

The biggest news of the year is that my best friend and partner in this world, Tim Gorman and I got married October 5th.  After happily traveling around the world together, working on conferences, user groups and in similar technical arenas, we are now recognized by the government as partnered, too… 🙂

2015 Goals

Oracle Enterprise Manager Webinars–  This has been on hold way too long and I need to get them started.  Monthly webinars on EM12c topics and interviews!

RMOUG Training Days 2015-  Yeah, I’m the Conference Director again this year and it’s shaping up to be an AMAZING conference.  I took some time to talk about some of the new items on the 2015 agenda in this post, but keep an eye out, there’s more to come!

Speaking-  I’m currently set to speak at HotSos Sym 2015, OUGN, RMOUG, IOUG Collaborate, GLOC and?  Is your conference on my list?  Let me know if I need to submit an abstract and I would love to visit a few new locations this year to spread the word about Enterprise Manager, Women in Technology and other great Oracle topics!

Another Book?  I think I owe Leighton Nelson an apology, as I still haven’t started to collect myself on a book topic he wants us to start working on….sigh…

STEM and Women Empowerment Initiatives–  I will be working with CTA and powerful women in the industry to empower and inspire those around us to build their future in technology.

Articles-  I’m in the midst of writing an article on the AWR Warehouse now and will be writing a lot of articles for 2015.  I look forward to showing folks how much the Enterprise Manager 12c product can do and how much they have to look forward to in upcoming releases!

 

 

posts9

                                                fireworks-3

Well, it’s been a blast of a year and to close, I wish everyone a Happy New Year and a great 2015!

 

Posted in Enterprise Manager, Oracle Tagged with: ,

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