Wow! Elton John was fantastic but now I got "Rocketman" running through my head even the next morning...Urgh! Tuesday was a very productive day as I found the sessions to be extremely informative and to top it off with the Blogger Meetup followed by seeing Elton John perform is just the icing on the cake.
The day started off with Thomas Kurian's keynote and it was very informative although unfortunately the in-house TV where I was watching from (OTN Lounge) cut off just as he was beginning to talk about WebCentre. One tip that Thomas advised folks is to build new web services or web service-enabled their legacy applications. This is actually one tip that I hope the Application Group at my work will take to heart as one of the manager there is pretty set against it. Workflow Manager (as you probably heard already) is obsolete to be replaced by BPEL Process Manager but Oracle has no intention of converting the Workflow Manager lists over to BPEL. Thomas also spoke about the Enterprise Service Bus which will tie services together and there is a new set of Business Intelligence tools (10gR3).
The next session that I attended was on High Availability for the upcoming "11g" by Juan Loaiza. I doubt if the final name for the next release will be 11g but that's what was being referenced for a lack of a better name. Juan did an excellent presentation highlighting the direction that was taken which was to focus on maturity and stability of the HA components of the Oracle Server. ASM has been enhanced to be able to repair corrupted blocks utilizing data from the mirrored copy and ability to freeze I/O to unavailable SAN and replay those writes later when the SAN becomes available.
Secured Backup (which I still think is not ready for primetime yet) will skip UNDO and thus speed up the backup time and reduces the size of the backup. The selling feature is that it only cost $3000/tape drive and no charge if you back up to drive (via virtual tape drive). There is a "new" Data Repair Advisor which will provide analysis and recommend recovery solutions. Data corruptions can be detected and prevented via Ultra-Safe mode but uses more hardware resources (CPU cycles increases by 10 to 20%). There is also buffer integrity and block contents checking.
Improvements to Dataguard includes the ability to do real-time query on a Physical standby and will support RAC on Primary and Standby databases and the ability to handle all data types. A new standby type (Snapshot) will be available and can be leverage for use in testing which will allow the customer to discard the writes/changes done during testing and applying the redo logs generated by the Primary during the testing period. This will be done via one command, "Alter database conver to Physical Standby;" The HA team has also optimize failover so that it happens as fast as can be done. SYS is no longer required for redo shipping. If you recall, current DataGuard setup requires that the Primary and Standby database MUST have the same SYS password in order for the Redo Apply to work.
Other features includes Proactive Patching, Online Patching, Rolling DB upgrades using Physical Standby. The Online Patching provides the ability to apply one-off patches while the instance is running and is currently only available on Linux and Solaris. A key Fusion Application initiative is to provide online Applications upgrade which would be a huge plus for Oracle Applications customers. There is also Edition-based redefinition (versioning of db objects other than tables), easier and faster to add columns with default values, "invisible indexes" where new indexes can be created but not available for use right away. Lastly, there is no need to recompile dependent objects when the base object was modified.
The next session that I attended was on MAA for E-Business suite. The MAA team has managed to identified and documented the process and procedures to move from a single EBS instance to a highly available and robust infrastructure consisting of RAC and standby databases. It is still a work-in-progress and the paper should be available on the Oracle website (do a search for MAA with E-Business). We are looking at doing something similar with our EBS implementation and I will be in touch with the MAA folks on further details.
The final session that I attended was on Tuning the E-Business suite and it was a long presentation but a very useful one as it provided a lot of suggestions on areas to look and tune. The only problem was that I couldn't stay for the end as it went way over the allocated time. For those who wishes more details on what was suggested, please let me as there are a lot of suggestions. Thankfully it was the last presentation of the day as everyone was getting ready to head out to the Cow Palace for the Conference Gala Appreciation event. I on the other hand, have to head out to the Bloggers Meetup at the Thirsty Bear but needed to head back to hotel to change and pick up my pass for the Gala event. Talk about a series of unfortunate events, when I got back to the hotel, I was told that the buses would not be running back to the Conference centre and I will have to make my own arrangements. It was suggested that the cable car would be the quickest and I headed over to the stop only to be told that the system has broken down and a shuttle bus is on its way. 20 minutes later, it was suggested that I should go up a block and catch the #30 bus and 20 minutes, the shuttle bus showed and I had ran the block in order to catch it. Needless to say, I was about 35 minutes late for the Meetup and thankfully most folks are still around. It was great finally to meet the folks who I have been reading but Tom Kyte did not managed to show and Sue Harper had left. Mark Rittman was very gracious as the host and I got to meet and chat with Lewis Cunningham, Eddie Awad, Mike Siebert, Tim Hall, Dimitri Gellis, Lucas Jellema, Andrew Clarke, Henry Collingwood, Laurent Schneider just to name a few. We had folks from New Zealand, Belgium, Holland, Canada, US and the UK.
The evening was topped off with some of us heading to the Cow Palace to listen to Elton John and we chatted more during the ride to the venue. Overall, a great evening. Oh, for pictures, please check Eddie's blog and Mark's blog.