What a shame to be spending a warm, sunny summer day in a hotel’s conference center. Even though it was a really nice hotel and a very interesting conference. About 300 attendees mostly from Western Australia found their way and I was happy to see some fimiliar faces in Tariq, Pete and Connor McDonald who is local to Perth. After having been spoiled with really good espresso in Auckland, the coffee in Australia was a bit of a letdown but that should remain the only thing to complain about.
After a quick introduction to and chat with Martin Power and John Bushell from the national AUSUG committee they opened the conference with a little unconventional keynote. Instead of showing off a firework of the latest and greatest, they reported on their own personal experience from the trip to OpenWorld in San Francisco just a few weeks back. About booking hotel rooms, finding your way around the city, picking the right sessions from a vast number of concurrent streams and most importantly networking with fellow users and experts at the various events, parties and functions.
My session on dealing with datetime types was in the first slot of breakout sessions and had a really good audience. I was happy with the delivery and received a number of questions, a few of which I still have to do some research on.
The next slot had a session on new optimizer features in 12c and I was a bit hesitant to go since I am already planning to see Maria Colgan on the same topic at the DOAG conference next week. In the end, I was very glad I did attend the session by Penny Cookson. It became obvious very quickly that she knows very well what she talks about and she threw in a great number of Star Wars references and jokes. She used pictures of Lego figurines that she set up to help underline the points she was making. Excellent idea and execution and while this was definitely entertaining it did not overshadow the delivery of the content.
The afternoon had 3 hour blocks of hands on workshops in addition to sessions. I did not sit down but popped briefly to those. As expected, there was a good turnout and people were busy trying out new tech stuff. I think these half-day workshops are a great compromise between spending all your day doing just one thing and getting your hands dirty with some software. Well done.
Gavin Soorma collected information and slides from a number of OOW presentations and compiled a list of 12c new features for high availability. He gave a good overview of flex asm, global database services, dataguard far sync, app continuity and many more exciting new features.
The day was ended with a casual reception of very light beer, very mediocre champagne and a never-ending supply of fingerfood. The jetlag began to kick in and I was happy to call it an early night. As expected, I only managed to sleep a few hours but did not mind since I had very early morning plans anyway. Connor is training for a swim of the english channel (yes, that is very long, potentiallt pretty rough and definitely very cold) almost every morning and I asked if I could join their group for an early morning (5:30 to 7:00) swim to kick off my own training for an iron distance triathlon next summer. I was glad I could almost hang on to Connor and did not look like a complete idiot to those aussie megaswimmers born with gills.
The second day of INSYNC went much like the first one, keynotes, sessions and workshops. The highlight of the day was propably in the timeslot where I had my presentation, but it happened in another room. Connor gave a new presentation about the clonedb feature and added 7 live demos “to get the adrenaline flowing”. I was almost hoping for noone to show up to my session so I could sneak out of my room and into his but several people showed up to my presentation and were eager to learn about the unique features that solaris and oracle linux have to offer for database deployments.
For the next block, I took a leap of faith and left my comfort zone to listen to David Craggs and learn about maven. I had a very rough idea of what it was and what it was for but so for it was “that thing our developers use”. He still lost me at some points but that was a good experience aswell. I want to encourage everybody to just go and learn about a topic way outside of their natural skillset or area of interest. It will put other things in perspective.
I sat on a hands on workshop about Oracle Linux for two hours before heading to the final presentation. Scott Wesley and Penny Cookson repeated a talk given by someone else and explored that way our brain works and how to use that information to become more efficient in the way we work, learn and live. Very well done.
And after just two pints at the local pub it was already time for me to say goodbye to everyone, head to the airport and start the journey back home to where I would trade the OTN sunscreen for my ACE Director umbrella. I took away a number of new experiences, was able to see two beautiful new countries and meet up with many friends from the oracle community and put some new faces to twitter handles. I thank OTN and the ACE program for providing this opportunity and I hope to be able to contribute to more tours and conferences in the future.