I had the great pleasure to spend the better part of last week at the Norwegian Oracle User Group’s spring conference. Martin Nash and I helped promote the Real Application Cluster platform on the attendees’ laptop in a program called RAC Attack. RAC Attack has its home on the wikibooks website http://racattack.org where the whole program is documented and available for self-study. The purpose of the hands-on labs which Jeremy Schneider started a few years ago is to allow users to get practical experience installing Oracle Linux, Grid Infrastructure and the RDBMS binaries before creating a two node database. Following the database creation a practical session ensues which explains certain HA concepts with RAC such as session failover. We are planning on greatly enhancing the lab session as we go along. If you have any suggestions about what you would like to see covered by us then please let us know!
Now what we were really surprised about was the number of attendees. I have helped at RAC Attack at last year’s UKOUG annual conference and we had a good turnout. This was nothing in comparison to Oslo! You can get an idea how busy it was from the picture shown below.
The entire workshop went really well and we had lots of interesting discussions with the audience. What was really great was the preparation of the attendees. The organisers of the event send a number of emails out to all indicating which software to download. We saw a mixed field of VMWare Server and Virtual Box users, with Virtual Box clearly in the majority. Martin Nash has prepared supplemental instructions for Virtual Box in a PDF which made the installation process a lot easier, which I have distributed on this weblog on Wednesday. Not having to download the software on the spot was very useful. Towards the end of the training day I wanted to demonstrate the usefulness of RAC and demonstrated my lab environment in full swing. I started a two node RAC cluster, two more VMs for OEM 12.1 plus an application server for Tomcat. Those were obviously not running on my laptop. The tomcat instance created a universal connection pool to both RAC instances. The implementation of UCP using FAN and FCF allowed the pool to tolerate the forced failure of one instance: instead of 10 sessions spread over both instances, it immediately created 5 more on the surviving instance. And by the way-fewer sessions in your connection pool will most often result in better performance! During all the time I had the OEM 12.1performance page open as well. As you can see I really like UCP, and have a few blog posts about it and RAC.
Wednesday evening we went to Holmenkollen, just above Oslo where daredevils jump from a ski-ramp. This was very impressive, and I believe any contestant must possess a certain lack of fear before going down that slope. The best of Wednesday was the dinner in the evening. The OUGN board took us speakers out for a VIP event, which was not only 5 courses, but also the best I have had for a long time. I felt really appreciated and well looked after, which continued for the rest of the event. The Norwegians certainly knew how to look after their guests!
Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning we spent on the boat from Oslo to Kiel and back, which was a wonderful experience. The calm seas certainly contributed to that feat, but it was again the great work of the organisers (especially Oyvind-many thanks to you) who proved great company. RAC Attack continued, and we might actually extend the supported platforms to VMWare Workstation which one of the participants used. I even managed to go out for lunch on Friday in Kiel which turned out to be a very pretty city. I especially had a nice time experimenting with a few additions to the database scheduler, and found an interesting anomaly with a merge statement on Linux x86-64 in 22.214.171.124. Maria Colgan was great fun and very eager to have a look, let’s see if something will come out of that.
The evenings were spent with many geeky conversations, a few drinks and more good discussions. I have to thank Doug once more for his open comments which were very much to the point (mostly ;) The conference speaker lineup was great, including lots of familiar names from the Oracle community. When asked I left a few recommendations who else could be invited to complement the good lineup-I’m curious as to whether that’s going to happen or not.
On Saturday morning we were taken back to the central station in taxis, also organised by OUGN. Have I said already that I never felt that well looked after during a user event? Thanks for the hospitality and being looked after so well, I really enjoyed it and so did everyone I talked to.
Oh, and by the way, Oyvind you need to come to the UK once to see the state of the trains there. I didn’t find a fault with your trains at all spending about 20 minutes at the platform!