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Saturday, October 31, 2008
Richard Foote and I arrived from Helsinki yesterday to attend Miracle A/S Denmark's 8th Anniversary Party. A huge thank you to Mogens for the invitation and to both Mogens and Annette for their hospitality. The party was, as Richard Foote said,

SELECT 'Just a bit ' || RPAD('l', 70, 'o') || 'ng' FROM dual;

Perhaps one needs to be Danish, to truly appreciate the affair. But the food was great, the supply of Miracle beer seemingly endless, and the food fight with Stanley a smashing victory. Though I did apologize to Stanley later at RMOUG.

Thursday, October 29, 2008
Helsinki is a surprise in almost every respect and all of them positive.

The first surprise was that everyone I've met, everyone, speaks English like a native speaker. That means taxi drivers, people walking down the street, people serving food in non-tourist restaurants. The city is small, clean, civilized, and by American standards devoid of motor vehicles and parking places. It appears that everyone uses public transportation. The largest number of cars I've seen at an intersection during the morning commute is six. Americans would be so envious if they didn't have their collective heads stuck in their BBQs while chanting the mantra "we're number one."

But back to why I am here. Thanks to the kindness of Dian Thompson and Mary Dopart I was able to attend the EMEA President's Council in Munich back in May where I had the pleasure of meeting OUGF President Heli Helskyaho. Heli invited me to present at the Fall OUGF conference and I, with thanks to Justin and Victoria Lira of the ACE program was able to accept. Sometime later today I will present my Oracle Gems session and earn my keep.
On the gastronomic side ... and any good trip must have one. I stayed at Helsinki Hotel Sokos and the hotel restaurant had the best borscht I have ever had in my life. Good enough to be appetizer, salad, main course, and desert. Heli and her husband took a small group of us out to dinner at a Lap restaurant: Saaga. If you find yourself in Helsinki and have only a single chance to eat out ... this is the place. The menu is a dream .. I had reindeer rump, Richard ate the bear before it ate him, and we all drank our fill of Jaloviina brandy in our Kuksa mugs finishing the evening with the "cranberries in an icy bowl." Thank you Heli for a real treat. And if you are the type of person that feels a bit strange eating new things ... just think of the menu this way ... you get your choice of Bambi, Rudolph, or Winnie the Pooh. Feel better?


Pictures from Finland
Sunday, September 28, 2008
One night's decent sleep since OOW and I can talk a bit.

In some respects this was the best OOW and in some respects the worst. Certainly the new Exadata servers are interesting and certainly there were a few good presentations out of the thousands: For example a few from some of the Oakies and Aces and in the OTN Unconference. But for the most part the quality of the presentations has not gotten better over the years so I spent most of my time meeting with old friends, making new friends, and hanging out at Chevy's in Mogen's virtual office: Click Here. If you are paying attention and have a good memory you may be able to find the Oracle ClosedWorld conference in October of next year.

Also notable this year were the following (in no particular order):
  • Oracle Aces received new vests, black this time, and far more presentable outside of a Native American casino.
  • The Oracle Ace briefing contained the phrases "zero latency", "infinite scalability" and "zero change." No one will ever accuse Oracle marketing of hyperbole. Mark Townsend's briefing was, as always, on target. Thanks Mark.
  • Justin Kestelyn and his new co-conspirator Lillian did a great job in every respect. Even without the new vests.
  • We missed Victoria and the chance to meet the new addition to her family: Congratulation!
  • The weather was near perfect
  • The on-site Beta test, before OOW, of the new Audit Vault was very impressive ... watch for the release soon
  • Watch for my picture, oh how I dread this, in the next issue of Oracle Magazine.
I am looking forward, a month from now to arriving in Helsinki Finland for OUGF and then to Miracle's 8th anniversary party in Ballerup.


Saturday, September 27, 2008
Just back from OOW 08 and almost found the following in my in-basket from my friend and associate Caleb Small. Thought I'd share it with everyone:

Subject: RE: RAC 11g feedback
From: caleb@xxxxx.com
Date: Sat, September 27, 2008 10:23
To: KIRK.MCGOWAN@oraxxxx.com

Kirk:

Thanks for the explanation. Now that we know of this document, we can ask for updates on future assignments. Are there any other internal documents you could suggest asking for regarding RAC best practices on 10/11g Linux? We are often called upon to be experts and sometimes it does get frustrating finding all the information.

This assignment was a success; we just completed two 2-node production clusters on OEL5 and 11g, and added a fifth node to an existing 10g cluster. It was a busy couple of weeks! I have some feedback/questions regarding 11g best practices:

DIRECT NFS CLIENT - we successfully configured DNFS on both of the 11g clusters using NetApp storage. I think our problem back in the lab relates to configuration of our mount points and I will clarify next week. We did discover one minor bug during RMAN backups. The following message is repeated in the DB alert log. I suspect this is related to bug #6477080 and we have an open SR on this now. We are using oranfstab and it works fine for all other files.


warning did not find dir /u01/app/oracle/product/11.1.0/db_1/dbs

AUTOMATIC MEMORY MANAGEMENT
- setting max_memory and memory_target instead of max_sga, sga_target and pga_target. We did use this feature, but it appears that there is no way to lock the SGA into physical memory. Using 10 Automatic Shared Memory Management (max_sga) in combination with Linux 64 Huge Pages allows us to lock the SGA in memory eliminating the risk of
swapping.

We also have an open SR regarding orphan memory pages being left behind in /dev/shm when using AMM. I suspect it may be related to one of the background maintenance jobs, and am worried that it may be cumulative thus consuming memory over time. I'll keep you posted.

ORACLE-VALIDATED.rpm - I am curious to hear you opinion regarding using this utility for production installations. We give it two thumbs down. It is awkward, required access to Linux network which may not be possible during initial install, especially when NIC drivers still need to be built. It doesn’t really help that much, and the kernel parameters it generates are not sutiable for the production system.

DB CONSOLE - After getting over my initial frustration learning new navigation, it seems to be much better than 10g. It starts properly in a RAC environment, it seems to be very responsive, and I like some of the new features.

Thanks again for you help, Kirk.

Caleb.

On Fri, September 19, 2008 8:01 am, KIRK.MCGOWAN@oraxxx.com wrote:
> Hey Caleb,
> That list of patches is constantly changing, and varies by platform and version.
> Basically, it is a set of recommendations that are valid at a point in time. Customers can get the list by filing an SR and asking for the
> list.
>
> My team used to creat and maintain this list for the customers we were engaged with. RAC Assurance team took that list, and
> basically built an internal system to help maintain it, and get my team out of the business of managing a spreadsheet with a bunch
> of patches. That system is not externalized, and we do not have a maillist where we email new recommendations. We still are key
> contributors to the recommended patches, but unfortunately, it is still painfully subjective as to whether a patch should be on that
> list or not. In general, it is best not to patch unless you really have no other alternative, but that depends on the particular
> customer scenario.
>
> Long answer to your question.
> Short answer - you can get it for a customer at a point in time - but need to file an SR asking for latest list of recommended
> patches for Clusterware, rdbms/RAC, and ASM.
>
> K.
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: caleb@xxxxx.com
> Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 7:34 AM
> To: KIRK.MCGOWAN@oraxxx.com
> Subject: RAC Assurance Team documents?
>
>
> Hi Kirk:
>
> Hope you had a good long weekend on the boat, you sure had the right weather this time! I'm busy back in the mid-west again
>  installing 11g RAC/App Server clusters. One of my clients forwarded a document to me entitled:
>
> "RAC Assurance Team Recommended Patches"
>
> Creation date: April 2, 2008, Last Modified July 30, 2008
>
> Documents like this are invaluable to the work we do both in the lab, and on client production systems. It is possible for me get on
> the distribution list for such documents? Otherwise, I'm not sure how to find them other than by hit-and-miss.
>
> Thanks
> Caleb


Monday, June 16, 2008
In a few minutes I will be in the air on my way to ODTUG's Kaleidoscope 2008 in New Orleans, Louisiana. My first time to an ODTUG event, my first time to New Orleans, but no my first time into 90 degree weather with 90+% humidity: How can I possibly be so lucky? Well at least I will be in good company as the schedule includes Tom Kyte, Mogens Norgaard, Dr. Paul Dorsey, Steven Feuerstein, Chris Ostrowski, Dan Norris, Cary Millsap, Mark Rittman, John King, any many other excellent presenters.

During Session 9 you will find me in Napoleon B1 with Mogen Norgaard. My two presentations will both be on Tuesday, June 17th. The first is a Development DBA Experts Panel moderated by Dan Norris of Piocon in Napoleon C3 (2:00pm) and the second in Napoleon B1 with Oracle's Audit Vault Product Manager Tammy Bednar (3:15pm).

I hope to meet many of you there.

Saturday, May 2, 2008
With a smile on my face, joy in my heart, and some really good Allagash beer I am heading to Europe for two weeks. This morning I fly to Chicago, change planes to Munich Germany, and then changes planes yet again to Copenhagen where I will be delivering good beer and good wishes to Mogens Norgaard on his very special day. The jet lag should be palpable.

Depending on how I, or perhaps we, feel during the following couple of days I hope to further explore a concept discussed at RMOUG this year with Mogens and Jonathan Lewis about the possible creation of Miracle University.

After a few days of enjoying Denmark: Helen and I will head for Prague to spend a week totally out of touch with the world of ones and zeros and then, on or about the 13th of the month, head to Munich Germany for the EMEA President's Conference which Oracle has asked me to attend.

I will be back at the U, and in my office on the 17th hopefully with some Miracle beer. Depending on how customs treats me I may just have to drink it all before I board the plane. Could happen.


Saturday, April 12, 2008
Check out these two videos: [Unconventional Install 1] and [Unconventional Install 2]. Nothing else need be said.

Monday, March 17, 2008
I'm heading for Collab '08 in Denver ... looking forware to seeing everyone there!

Monday, March 10, 2008
Is it time to move 180 degrees around the circle away from the Microsoft PC revolution, which has really become rather revolting when we look at the consequences, and return to the time when mainframes ruled the world of IT? I'm certainly not getting nostalgic for punch cards and Fortran and certainly not having any fond remembrances of COBOL.

But I think a good case can be made for doing so. The average mainframe has a mean time to failure of 90 years. Essentially no issues with respect to viruses and other malware, no blue screen of death, and a cost that dictates that those who have access have a demonstrated ability to do better than just throw untested code over the cubicle wall. And, in spite of the jokes about RAC on mainframes, RAC on mainframes makes tremendous sense.

Further, in a world where the requirements for security, auditing, compliance, governance, and stability are paramount, and considering an environment that essentially eliminates the need for virtualization complexity or concerns about performance ... why not Oracle on zLinux for the backbone?

So with that in mind I am posting a link to Barry Perkins 2004 presentation on Oracle products on zLinux for the community and I am working on getting Barry to come to Seattle for the April PSOUG meeting. [Click Here]. Also of interest is the International zSeries Oracle SIG [Click Here].