UKOUG Tech17: Chocolate and Knowhow Sharing

For the first time, I had the chance to attend and speak at the UKOUG Technology Conference. In these three days at UKOUG Tech17 in Birmingham, I attended some very good sessions, had many interesting discussions about Oracle databases, data warehousing and performance tuning, met nice people and tasted a lot of chocolate.

Inmemory dwh
My session about Oracle Database In-Memory (Photo: Twitter @Boneist)

In my presentation Oracle Database In-Memory & Data Warehouse: The Perfect Combination? I made a little joke about Swiss chocolate (“the compression ratio of Toblerone in UK is lower than in the rest of the world”). That was not the only part about chocolate at the UKOUG Tech17. Chocolate and other food and drinks seem to be an important part of this conference. Neil Chandler presented a session about histograms and chocolate, Richard Foote talked about the response time of buying milk, and I heard some rumours that Kamil Stawiarski mentioned beer in his session about tablespaces (unfortunately I missed this presentation).

Richardfoote Neilchandler
Richard Foote talks about milk, Neil Chandler about chocolate

Despite allusions to food and drinks, the UKOUG Tech17 was not a gourmet conference. Fortunately I was prepared to the quality of food and coffee from Martin Widlake’s blog post UKOUG Conference Survival Guide. But the quality of coffee should not be the reason to go to a technical conference. The content of the sessions is much more important, and here the quality was much better. Unlike some of my colleagues, I used most of the time to attend as many sessions as possible. Sometimes it was hard to decide, because there were so many interesting subjects to listen to at the same time. Up to 11 sessions were presented in parallel (even more, if you count the Apps17 and JDE17 sessions that were available, too). Fortunately, a good mobile app is available for the conference. This allowed me to plan my schedule and find the most interesting sessions for me. I mainly attended sessions of the Database and the Business Analytics stream, 5 to 6 sessions on each day. Most of them were good or even excellent from my point of view. In a very few cases, I expected something else from the title and abstract of a session. But switching to another session was almost impossible, because the rooms in the ICC Birmingham are spread all over the building, and it takes a long time to walk to another session (and to find the right room).

Although I was listening to many presentations, there was still time for chats and discussions with colleagues, other speakers and attendees. Thanks to my Trivadis colleague Christian Antognini, I had the opportunity to talk to Nigel Bayliss, product manager of the Oracle optimizer. Because we had some performance problems with incremental statistics a few days ago in a customer project, I was interested to talk to him about the changes in Oracle 12.2 in this area. Details will follow in my next blog post – hopefully soon.

A complete description of all the sessions I attended would go too far in this blog post. I limit the summary on three highlights, one on each of the conference days:

  • On Monday, I attended Richard Foote’s presentation Real World Examples on how to use AWR Reports to Solve Performance Issues. In this very entertaining session, Richard Foote explained several examples of AWR reports to show different kinds of performance issues that may happen in real projects. Of course, he changed the reports slightly (all databases were called BOWIE and the servers usually ZIGGY), but the examples showed impressively how you can proceed to find the source of a performance problem as fast as possible.
  • On Tuesday, before the session Five Things you Might not Have Known About the Oracle Database of Maria Colgan and Dominic Giles, I was quite sure I will know all the “five things”. But during the session I wrote down several interesting details (even more than five) that I did not know. The session inspired me to read more in the Oracle documentation. There is always something “new” to discover and features to investigate.
  • On Wednesday, the session Histograms are Evil Like Chocolate is Evil of Neil Chandler was not only very entertaining, but informative too. Neil introduced the different types of histograms and the extensions in Oracle 12c, but also explained in detail how they can be efficiently used and configured and in which cases histograms may cause problems. A very good presentation about a subject I thought do be familiar with, but learned some more details about it.

Currently, not all presentations are available (yet) in the UKOUG download area. I hope that this will change, because it’s worth for me to browse through some of the slides again.

The title of Neil’s presentation brings us back to the chocolate: A few days before the UKOUG Tech17 conference, I became an Oracle ACE. Therefore, I was invited to the Oracle ACE Dinner on Monday evening and to a chocolate tasting on Tuesday. As far as I knew before from Twitter, this chocolate tasting seems to be traditional on many conferences, so I hope that I don’t eat too much chocolate in the next few years. Anyway – it was not only a pleasure to taste and compare chocolate from all parts of the world, but mainly to meet other Oracle ACEs and talk to them about Oracle stuff, but also about chocolate, beer and other important topics.

Chocolate tasting
Chocolate tasting, organized by Oracle ACE Program

Ace dinner
Oracle ACE Dinner (Photo: Twitter @connor_mc_d)

Chocolate tasting2
Chocolate tasting (Photo: Twitter @lleturgez)

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