Tag Archives: innovation

kscope12 is less than one month away

June is just around the corner and the Kscope12 conference is coming up fast.

Check out the agenda, presentations and presenters for the 250 sessions.

For those of you unsure whether it’s worthwhile, how you can convince your manager and what attending can give you, the great folks at ODTUG have prepared some justification letters for different participants:

Get your request in today, the Advance rate ends on June 9th!  Hope to see some of you there!

The BI/EPM letter is as follows:

Memo: Request for Approval to Attend ODTUG Kscope12, June 24-28, 2012,San Antonio,TX

To: (Manager’s Name)

Submitted By: (Your Name)


It’s hard to find a conference that’s big enough to attract world renowned speakers and small enough to get the chance to share knowledge. ODTUG Kscope12 is that conference.

This is my opportunity to learn from the best technical minds in the business and bring back knowledge that will enhance our organization. No other conference in the Oracle world features this kind of development-specific training and content including lessons learned by other companies facing similar challenges and hundreds of opportunities to learn money-saving techniques.

Below are the reasons why my attendance at this conference is of value to our organization:

  • 100+ technical sessions focused on BI/EPM
  • 3 days of Hands-on Training – No extra charge
  • An all day BI/EPM symposium – No extra charge
  • Great networking opportunities including: Lunch-and-learn sessions with Oracle ACE Directors, meet the Oracle experts, Vendor showcase, and special events

The technical sessions are based on tools and techniques we utilize in our work on a daily basis.

  • Business Intelligence
  • Essbase
  • Hyperion Applications
  • EPM Business Content
  • Essbase Beginner

ODTUG Kscope12 is very reasonably priced compared to other conferences in our industry, and it is the most specific one for developers—with its wealth of learning and networking opportunities, it’s definitely worth the investment.

The Full Conference Registration, Advance rate is $1,800 for ODTUG members and $1,950 for non-members. In order to take advantage of the Advance registration discount, I would greatly appreciate a response by
June 1, 2012.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Visit www.kscope12.com to find out more.



another step forward in computing mobility

Last year I participated in an Oracle internal project to look at the future of computing in 2020 now it seems that has taken a step forward with the Sun Labs demo of a virtual client running on an iPad.

Although this is not an actual product today, nor does it mean there will be one according to the disclaimer, it does show how devices can connect to a users desktop remotely.  This is an extension of the current SunRay software, which allows virtual user desktops which are centrally managed and served to clients.

Not really sure why they show all those pinches and zooms in the demo, seems rather distracting to me 😉

technology strategies for 2020

One of the hardest things to do is to predict the future, forecasting is fraught with dangers (especially of being incorrect):

  • “I think there is a market for about five computers.”
  • “X-rays are a hoax.”
  • “Atomic energy might be as good as our present day explosives, but it is unlikely to produce anything more dangerous.”

So given the dangers should we even try?

The answer is a resounding yes as the effort in determining different scenarios and options for the future allows technology planners to understand business drivers and outlying technology (assuming that a cross-functional team is involved, if it’s just one person the outlook isn’t so good).

This forward planning also allow business to react quickly once a technological change has occurred.

What does this have to do with life at Oracle??  Recently a request went out to employees asking what their vision of technology would be like in 2020.  The effort was headed by Frank Buytendijk, who is the face of Oracles Thought Leadership and is a great speaker – he’s spoken at several UKOUG Hyperion events and is well worth it, very interesting and entertaining.

The responses came in from all around the globe and a paragraph of mine was chosen as the first quote:

The washing machine finished its washing cycle at the same time the bagels popped from the toaster. Both sent data to the house hub. The toaster, being a newer model, registered the actual energy consumption and the fact that the bagel setting was used.

While many of the collaborators mentioned RFID tags and the ubiquitousness of computing, we failed to see what this recent WiFi Alliance poll suggested: that 75% of respondents would be grumpy without wifi for a week (more than would be grumpy without coffee for a week).

I can only assume it’s american coffee and not fresh roasted like my friend and supplier.

The responses were collated and presented at Oracle Open World last month, you can get the full output here (caution PDF). Another blogger also wrote about his submission.  There weren’t any forecasts of hover boards

PS: the three leading quotes were from: Thomas J Watson, President of IBM, 1948; Lord Kelvin, 1900 and Winston Churchill, 1939.

solaris podcasts are like london buses

You wait and wait, then all of a sudden three show up.  Well that’s not exactly true as I highlighted the first Solaris podcast in early August and had just noticed a new one this week and then lo and behold a third quickly followed on Friday.

Although there does seem to be some gremlins as the last two don’t show up on main podcast page, you have to point to the feedburner site to see them:  http://feeds.feedburner.com/OracleSolaris.   Oracle also seems to have consolidated Solaris into a “Servers, Storage, and Solaris” Podcasts category too.  Nothing like making it hard for folks 😉

In the second podcast, SPARC Integration and Optimizations, Dan Roberts is again joined by Bill Nesheim and Chris Armes to give a high level update on Sparc and highlight some key items:

  • By building the Sparc chip, Oracle has been able to design items into the chip
  • Reliability, redundancy, availability and scalability are a combination of chip, system and application level design and integration
  • Sun Sparc Enterprise M9000 server, with SPARC64 VII processors scale to 512 threads and 2TB of memory

In the third podcast, Dan is joined by Bill, Chris (as above) and Robert Barrios and give an update on the Solaris testing and integration over the last 6 months:

  • Patch testing:  now added Oracle Certification Environment and Oracle Applications Test Suite, which means 55,000 test cases are being run per week on patches
  • Systems testing: Stress and fault injection tests on a variety of configurations are now being performed on Solaris and Solaris updates
  • Global IT:  A lot of work has been done migrating and moving servers and applications to Oracle data centres, utilising the best practices. The consolidation means systems are moving to the Utah compute facility, which contains 25,000 square foot at 8kW per rack.  IT are also migrating the backup media servers to Solaris and using the Sun Unified Storage 7000 series.

All of this means that best practices are fully developed, tested and integrated giving real world use cases – which will be documented once completed so customers can get the benefits too.  This means that customers can spend their time on business issues, rather than getting their components and IT infrastructure working together.

For more info check out the Oracle Solaris White Papers page or the main www.oracle.com/solaris.

If you have any feedback on the Solaris podcasts or suggestions for guests, please send an email to solaris_podcast-at-oracle-dot-com.

Also mark your calendars for September 8, to watch the Webcast of John Fowler, Oracle Executive Vice President of Systems, discuss Oracle Solaris.  I haven’t seen a link to sign up yet, stay posted for further details.

For those in San Francisco, there is the upcoming Oracle OpenWorld & Oracle Develop, September 19-23.  Register here, detailed Oracle Solaris sessions here (pdf).  I look forward to seeing the output and I’m hoping for some video of the events 😉

focusing on the strengths

One thing I’ve noticed from the Oracle acquisition is the re-focusing on Sun strengths around the engineering talent that Sun had:  Solaris, Sparc, servers and technology integration and innovation.  This talent also developed such cool things as zfs, dtrace, F5100 storage array, hybrid storage pools and unified storage.

As my MBA tutor tells me, one way to harness and move a company forward is to focus on the key strengths or core capabilities that an organization has.  There can be a problem if you rely on the core capabilities too much they become core rigidities – which can be evidenced in Suns past, focusing too much on Sparc and proprietary servers, and at one point even dropping Solaris on x86.

It’s taken a while for some information to flow out but in the last week 2 items have come out which shows the ongoing work and strategies are there:
Oracle Solaris Podcasts
This is a new monthly podcast series hosted by Dan Roberts, giving a general update on Oracle Solaris including industry news, events and technology highlights.  This episode features Bill Nesheim and Chris Armes, and provides an update of what’s been happening over the last few months and details on why Oracle Solaris is the best OS for x86-based servers: scalability, reliability and security.  It also includes a brief overview of the new support offering for Oracle Solaris on third party x86 hardware.

Strategy for Oracle’s Sun Servers, Storage and Complete Systems: 9AM Tuesday, August 10, 2010 Join John Fowler, Executive Vice President, Systems, for a live update on the strategy and roadmap for Oracle’s Sun servers, storage and complete systems including Oracle Solaris.

Sign up here.

With some of these developments and others, the technology future certainly looks bright at Oracle.

Great site for finance info and content

An email came across my screen last week about the CFO Central site from Oracle, which I had looked at a long time ago, but forgotten about.  The site has lots of resources and articles about how to work smarter especially targeted at finance folks and you don’t have to be a CFO to understand what’s going on.

Some examples are:

  • best practice for financial reporting
  • industry and analyst reports discussing current market influences
  • case studies showing how other organisations have improved process or driven down times spent or increased ROI
  • highlights from the 2010 CFO summit held in April
  • top 12 questions CFOs can ask their CIOs today to accelerate technology-driven business transformation

Check it out today and bookmark for future use.

(Note:  free, registration is required to download content).

last Sun entry

This is my last Sun post, as the Sun Oracle integration takes another step forward tomorrow with the Legal Entity Combination of the UK entities.  In the coming weeks there’s new systems to learn and integrate with as well as finding out what the longer term goals are and how I fit in.

This road has been long, with the initial Sun-IBM rumours breaking a year ago and the eventual Oracle offer in April.  Having seen other Oracle acquisitions I know that it takes 12 to 18 months for real change and development to occur, so expect that to be the same in this case – although I hope that the last 9 months of planning were used very productively 😉

I’m excited that Oracle has a large marketing presence and hope that the Sun technology, innovation and engineers get more than their fair share of deserved exposure.

I also hope that Sun Ray technology is shown to more users and business buyers.  Others think so too.  Just image what Oracle could do with this internally for the 85,000 employees (pre Sun) in terms of power savings – as units use just 5% of what a normal desktop computer uses.

Although you don’t have to run just Oracle Solaris on them, as these success stories from ResMed, Screwfix and Microsoft demonstrate.  In the ResMed example, they had a return on investment within 12 months and saved an estimated $270,000 all while providing a variety of users with a highly flexible, highly secure virtual desktop environment.  There are many more Sun Ray stories here.

Even better still if the Oracle users were migrated off Windows imagine the savings in licence fees!

I’m proud to have been part of the blogs.sun.com community and grow what has undoubtedly been one of the foremost blogging sites.  I’m also both excited and a little nervous about the future.  Not sure if I’ll continue to blog here or move elsewhere as others have done.

To misquote The Bard:  “Alas poor Sun Microsystems! I knew him “.

OpenSolaris Dedup details

So ZFS dedup made it into build 128, which is now available from the /dev repository and will therefore be in the 2010.03 release of OpenSolaris.

So how to setup and test, it’s very easy from a terminal window.  I’ve got compression set on the pools, so lets get some baseline numbers: (see Thierry’s PartnerTech blog for a very good write up/debug for the use of compression)

# zfs get compressratio
NAME                       PROPERTY       VALUE  SOURCE
rootpool                   compressratio  1.37x  -
rootpool/ROOT              compressratio  1.50x  -
rootpool/ROOT/os_next      compressratio  1.50x  -
rootpool/dump              compressratio  1.00x  -
rootpool/swap              compressratio  1.00x  -
tank                       compressratio  1.14x  -
tank/home                  compressratio  1.14x  -

So this is the base compression set on the 2 zfs pools currently. Let’s turn on dedup.  I’ve chosen to use the sha256 setting, with verify.  This will ask me to overwrite if there’s the small chance that 2 blocks have the same sha256.  Always good to be cautious 😉

# zfs set dedup=sha256,verify rootpool
# zfs set dedup=off rootpool/swap
# zfs set dedup=off rootpool/dump
# zfs get dedup
NAME                       PROPERTY  VALUE          SOURCE
rootpool                   dedup     sha256,verify  local
rootpool/ROOT              dedup     sha256,verify  inherited from rootpool
rootpool/ROOT/os_129       dedup     sha256,verify  inherited from rootpool
rootpool/dump              dedup     off            local
rootpool/swap              dedup     off            local
tank                       dedup     off            default
tank/home                  dedup     off            default

Now to reboot and copy some small test databases 😉

more innovation – ZFS Deduplication

When asked about Sun Microsystems, one word will always spring to the top of my mind: innovation

There is such a fantastic DNA in this company that looks to push boundaries and make things better – ok, we often do not got the message across well but the effort and dedication shown by employees always makes me proud.

To emphasis this point again there is great news as told by Jeff Bonwick earlier this week: "ZFS now has built-in deduplication"

Deduplication is a process to remove duplicate copies of data, whether it’s files, blocks or bytes.

It’s probably easier to explain with an example: suppose you have a database with company addresses, the location ‘London’ will exist for quite a few customers, so instead of having this entry 100 times, there will be one entry and the other 99 references to the original entry. So it saves space and lookup time as it’s likely that the reference will already be loaded in cache.

How easy is it to set up?

Assuming you have a storage pool named ‘tank’ and you want to use dedup,
just type this:

zfs set dedup=on tank

There is more to it, so read Jeffs blog for the whole story.

I’m guessing this should appear shortly in the OpenSolaris /Dev builds, which will feed into the next OpenSolaris release (2010.03) and possibly into a later Solaris 10 update. Once it’s released, I’ll try and run some tests to see the savings I get.

This should also feed into the FreeBSD project. Such a shame OSX has dumped their ZFS project.

More good news for Sun customers

Hot on the heels of the previous WSJ ads is this teaser for launch 15th Sept @1PM PST:

What is it? this is the blurb from the teaser: "the world’s first OLTP database machine with Sun FlashFire technology"

It’s great to see some collaboration and new technology 😉

You can sign up for the webcast here.