Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer 2011 Edition of RMOUG Newsletter

I received a copy of the Summer 2011 edition of the Rocky Mountain Oracle Users Group (RMOUG) newsletter SQL>Update last week. In this post, I highlight a few items that stood out to me from this edition. In a sign of the times, this may be the issue with the most articles available online that I have ever seen. Although RMOUG does not make the newsletter's articles available online, many of the articles' authors have done so in this case.

RMOUG Training Days 2012

The back cover of the newsletter features a full-page advertisement for RMOUG Training Days 2012. The annual conference is scheduled for February 14-16, 2012, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. The advertisement states that "early registration begins in November" and that "more information is coming soon."

Expanding Focus at RMOUG

In his "From the President" column, RMOUG President Tim Gorman writes:
"RMOUG needs to reach new audiences, spread our continuing education message through newer mediums, explore the effectiveness of social networking technology, and strive more to reach young and upcoming colleagues around us. Also, as the scope of Oracle Corporation has expanded to new databases, into hardware, new applications, and broader technologies, clearly RMOUG needs to expand beyond our core competencies as well."

I joined RMOUG in 2000 in conjunction with attending RMOUG Training Days 2000, the first edition of this conference that I attended. I also attended RMOUG Training Days 2001 and then have presented in some capacity at each RMOUG Training Days edition since then. Although it's certainly true that RMOUG and its Training Days conference are dominated by DBAs and developers largely tied to Oracle-specific products, it is also true that RMOUG has not entirely limited itself to these areas. There's no better evidence than this than the fact that they've accepted my abstracts for RMOUG Training Days presentations for a wide variety of topics including Java, Enterprise Java, Ruby on Rails, Apache POI, XQuery, Flex, HTML 5, REST, Groovy, XSL-FO, SVG, and Ajax.

Various forces (struggling economy, reduced IT funding, overlapping technologies, etc.) have led many of us to take on tasks from a variety of disciplines. Many developers must learn basic database administration and scripting skills and many DBAs must learn basic development and scripting skills. I agree with Gorman's assertion that the best way for RMOUG to continue to appeal to a younger generation and to a wider audience is to embrace some new approaches and new topics. I think RMOUG's tried to do this for some time and expect that this will continue into the future, perhaps a little more aggressively.

Passwords are Case Sensitive in Oracle Database 11g

Dan Hotka's single-page article "A Change for Oracle 11: Case Sensitive Passwords!" discusses the change in Oracle Database 11g to support case sensitive passwords. Hotka shows how to determine in SQL*Plus (or SQL Developer) if the case sensitive password option is turned on using the SHOW PARAMETER command on SEC_CASE_SENSITIVE_LOGON. He also provides a query DBAs can run to see the PASSWORD_VERSIONS for each user.

Hotka points out that some administrators in certain situations may not want case sensitive passwords. He shows how to run orapwd from the operating system command line followed by use of ALTER SYSTEM to set the SEC_CASE_SENSITIVE_LOGON parameter to FALSE. These steps disable case sensitive passwords, returning behavior to that which existed before Oracle Database 11g.

Hotka's blog, Dan Hotka Blog, features the post Oracle 11g Case Sensitive Passwords: A Change for Oracle 11, which is essentially the same content as the RMOUG SQL>Update article. This is obviously good news for those who don't have access to the printed newsletter, but it's even nice for those of us with the printed newsletter because it means it is available online to us when we don't have the newsletter with us.

Migrating the SQL Management Base

Jed Walker's article "Making Plans with Oracle 11g And Not Leaving Them Behind" discusses the Oracle Database 11g component called SQL Management Base (SMB). Walker discusses using SMB to achieve optimal query performance and then focuses on migrating these stored plans when necessary. Here is text from his introduction:
Starting with Oracle 11g the database now has a component called the SQL Management Base (SMB). The SQL Management Base contains SQL Plan baselines. SQL Plan Baselines are a known plan for a given SQL statement. Oracle stores these plans and then uses them to ensure optimal query performance. SQL Plan Baselines often significantly improve query performance without making any changes to your schema or database configuration. Once you’ve got these performance improving plans stored in the SMB you don’t want to leave them behind. The purpose of this paper is to point out some situations when you would want to migrate your SMB and how to do it.
It appears that this article is available in its entirety in PDF format on Walker's blog in the Papers section.

Oracle Database Write Consistency

Ruslan Dautkhanov begins his article "Oracle's Write Consistency: Side Effects for Applications" with this introduction:
Write consistency is barely covered in official Oracle documentation, though it can have serious impacts to applications. Understanding what issues might be lurking, and some rather puzzling behavior to those not acquainted with write consistency behavior, might provide some insight when architecting a system.
After briefly reviewing read consistency, Dautkhanov focuses the remainder of the article on write consistency in the Oracle Database. Toward the end of the article, he lists the effects Oracle's write consistency approach might have on applications.

Dautkhanov has made a PDF copy of this article available online in his blog post Oracle's Write Consistency. Dautkhanov has also provided links to source code that accompanies the article and references the Ask Tom post on write consistency.

Cloud Integration Checklist

Jordan Braunstein has written two articles in this edition of the RMOUG newsletter. The first is called "The Essential Cloud Integration Checklist." This article approaches Cloud Computing from a very high level and "explores the more critical characteristics of integrating to and from the cloud, and how to ensure your solution is stable, scalable, and interoperable." Braunstein focuses on several aspects of cloud integration such as security, interoperability, presentation, federated search, functionality/usability, and standards before listing some "leading practices." Braunstein has made this article available on his "SOA Today" blog as post The Essential Cloud Integration Checklist.

IT Isn't Dead

Jordan Braunstein begins his second article in this edition of the RMOUG newsletter (called "IT Isn't Dead: 100% Guaranteed Approach to Keep Your CEO Happy") with the statement, "If there is one constant with IT, it is the guarantee of change." As part of this one-page article, Braunstein lists "IT trends that every company should be considering in order to keep their company strategically aligned for high value gains." Braunstein has made this article available online as a blog post: IT Isn't Dead. 100% Guaranteed Approach to Keep your CEO Happy.

By the way, if you're a software architect or like to make fun of software architects, then you should check out Braunstein's post Software Architect Proverbs.

IT Value

Bill Wimsatt's article "IT Investment Management: Get the Value from IT Projects" includes an abstract that starts with a definition of investment: "Investment is about applying resources to return higher value than the initial resource outlay." One of the sentences from this article that I found most interesting is: "I would posit that many projects are failures in the eyes of the investors regardless of whether the project was on time or on budget." He also writes, "The investment must be for business purpose that is used to increase company revenue, market share and profit (via reduced expenses)." This article is available online.

People of RMOUG

This edition of the RMOUG newsletter also featured Lisa Collett in the "RMOUG Member Focus" and Ron Bich in the "RMOUG Board Focus." There are brief biographies also provided for new RMOUG Board Members John Jeunnette and Kellyn Pot'vin.

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