For the afternoon I had two sessions I attended. The first was "Quantifying Oracle Performance" and the second was "The X-files – Managing exadata and highly available databases". I anticipated both to be great and possible be among my favorites for the week.
Unfortunately neither met my expectation, so this is going to be a fairly short post.
The first one was "Quantifying Oracle Performance" with Craig Shallahamer, I have seen many presentations with Craig and he has always been good and his material very interesting. Even if you do not use queueing simulations at work, having seen his presentations on how it affects performance helps when trying to understand system performance. This presentation was intended to help you build a model where you could show where your solution is today on a response time curve, i.e. where in the famous elbow are you now and where would different changes put you.
Craig showed some parts of how to model your current performance and to use AWR to figure out some numbers to use. However, there was virtually no data on how to model a planned change. I guess you have to implement and test that change with production like load to get the same data and then be able to plot it on the same graph as you created for your current solution.
I think the idea of showing non technical users the impact and how close to instability you currently are in a graphical manner is very good, as is the idea of comparing possible alternative solutions with it. However, I think the participants get only this idea and they have to do a lot of work on their own to make this a model they can use to work with their clients.
So, (sorry Craig) this did not feel like a presentation that is complete at this point. I do believe it could be a great one if it reaches its goal but I don't think it is there yet.
The next one was "The X-files – Managing exa databasemachine and highly available databases" and this was not one that fell short of the goal, it did not even make an attempt at meeting it. Pure bait and switch.
To explain this better here is the abstract
The Oracle Exadata is a complete package of software, servers, storage, and networking designed for all data processing and data management challenges. In this session, experts will walk you through Oracle maximum availability architecture best practices for managing this critical piece of your operating infrastructure through Oracle Enterprise Manager. They will also provide additional guidance on troubleshooting the Oracle Exadata and Oracle high-availability database solutions.
I read that as a session that will talk about how I should set things up snd how to achieve a HA-solution that is stable and can be proactively managed. What I got was a long session about how I should fork over money to ACS (Advanced Customer Support). Yes, ACS is probably great and big and important installations should probably have them as their dedicated Oracle support. However, knowing how to take care of your own solution is what I expected from the abstract and there was non of it. This was instead a one hour long plug for ACS.
I took away two things. The first is that a lot of work has been done to make EM monitor all aspects of an exadata box. It looks like they have a lot of interesting information. Unfortunately access to a lot of it seems to require using ACS and the appliance they put in place to aggregate information. The other thing is that setting up dataguard via EM now looks really easy. Maybe it is time to start using EM for setting up DG.
There was a brief mention of a tool that can estimate the benefit of using exadata based on a SQL tuning set. It was called something like "SPA exa database machine simulator".