DOAG 2012 review

A few days have passed and with some distance between now and the annual DOAG conference in Nuremberg, it is time to put down some words and review past week’s events.

Let me start with the conculsion: Best DOAG ever! And that is not because there was a huge cake for the conference’s 25th anniversary but because of the small things that happen between sessions. This year was ripe with networking opportunities and nice little chats both with old friends and new ones.

We set up a solid base for nerd talk and networking with the RAC Attack workshop which was buzzing with activity from 9 in the morning until the last session concluded. A big “thank you” goes out all the volunteers who dedicated some time to help out others in exploring RAC systems on laptops. We drew quite a large crowd, at one point there have been 14 attendees in parallel which exceeded our table capacity so some of them set up laptops in a second row and just kneeled between two other seats. Amazing.

My session on VDI implementations went pretty well. Desktop virtualization is really a niche product compared to database, applications and other infrastructure topics. Many seats were left open but the 20 people who did attend this presentation asked good questions and seemed like they were able to take away some good tips and ideas. Goal reached. In addition it was a great opportunity to exchange ideas with Oracle’s Rolf-Per Thulin and discuss the direction in which the desktop virtualization products are heading. His presentation focused on the improvements made to VDI on Linux and the new features that were added since his last DOAG presentation a year ago.

The RAC Expert panel featured a lot of questions on new and upcoming features in 12c. In addition to moderating this I should also take notes on the answers next year to be able to reproduce some of the insights that were given. Just like last year, the speakers were brilliant and I have to say thank you again to Martin Berger, Robert Bialek, Markus Michalewicz and Sebastian Solbach.

The database community organized a very informal and easy get-together at a local restaurant later on Tuesday night. And while this was as far from a raging party as Nuremberg is from San Francisco, it provided a good way to interact with other DBAs and get to know some of the people who make up the german oracle community. Something I have missed from past conferences that I would describe as rather cold, official and distant when compared with this year. Job well done!

On Wednesday I got to share the things I found out when we integrated flashback archives into our software with an engaged audience. The presentation went fine and I even received some new ideas on things to try. I also attended a session and later an expert panel on Oracle VM. While most of the panel discussion revolved around whining about licensing stuff, both the session and the last question to the panel pointed out that today there is no integrated backup solution for VMs. The official “solution” is to install backup agents into all your guest operating systems and perform regular backups from there. The community workarounds are either to use the cloning feature of OVM and backup the cloned filesystems or to halt the vms for a second and create reflinks on OCFS. And while this works and there are ways to automate and script this, it still does not feel like a proper backup solution. Robbie De Meyer, product manager for OVM, acknowledged that this was on Oracle’s radar but was unable to spark much hope for a change anytime soon.

The conference ended with a nice little party, easy music and an abundance of neat finger food. I really cannot help myself around tiny snacks and I ate enough to make me feel a little sick and not wanting to ever consume food again (only lasted one day) and so it was time to head home again. The plan was to fly home, get to my car, break as many traffic rules as possible and get to a club downtown to see The Hives. Unfortunately, Lufthansa had other plans and decided it was a good idea to keep me in Bavaria for an extra hour so I was only able to catch the last two minutes of the concert…
After that it was time to get a week of “rest” and also get some work done before finishing the 2012 conference season at UKOUG in Birmingham.

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