#DOAG2018 Impressions

As every year in November, the database circus moved to Nuremberg on behalf of the annual DOAG conference. As you may know, this conference has very high standards in terms of turnout and top-notch speakers and it reached them once again: It was a great event!

It started with the welcome keynote where Stefan Kinnen told us that the conference attracted over 2000 attendees and more than 400 speakers from all over the world. That should make it the largest database conference in Europe, I suppose!

DOAG welcome keynote (Stefan Kinnen speaking)

I went on to attend Tirthankar Lahiri who presented about the In-Memory column store:

Tirthankar Lahiri preparing to speak

To me, the In-Memory expressions and In-Memory external tables sounded particular useful here.

Next talk was done by Martin Widlake about Performance Tuning:

Martin Widlake walking on stage

I liked his statement that in order to solve performance problems, the key skill you need is not technical in the first place, but more of a social nature: You need to thoroughly understand the problem and listen carefully. Secondly, some technical expertise is helpful, of course 🙂

Afterwards I did my own talk about Flashback in the same room to approximately 150 attendees – some less than Martin had, though:

The talk was well received, I finished my live demos in time while being able to answer some questions also – all good 🙂

Then came The Basics of Machine Learning by Heli Helskyaho (the pic I took is too bad to put it here, unfortunately) whose talk was so successful that she had to repeat it on the next day. Great job!

I went on attending Markus Michalewicz presenting about The Smartest HA Features in Oracle’s Autonomous Database:

Markus Michalewicz presenting

Here I liked the new concept of “Recovery Buddies” in RAC that leads to a shorter freeze time of the Global Resource Directory if one instance fails in particular.

Then came a talk How to run a user group delivered by three (!) presidents:

Three User Group presidents presenting

Martin emphasized that you need to have (at least) one guy who is passionate about the topic and one (often another guy) who gets things organized. Apart from that, size doesn’t matter that much: You can start a user group with three persons. Kamil and Luiza told us their story about how they started the POUG user group in Poland while Stefan gave us some insights into the quite extensive DOAG internal organization.

Continued with RAC Performance Internals by Anil Nair who attracted a substantial audience in the largest room:

Anil Nair in room Tokio

One takeaway here was for me that on Exadata, Oracle RAC uses ExaFusion to achieve 3 times faster block transfers over the interconnect compared to non-Exadata platforms – which is one more reason why Oracle uses Exadata as the platform for their autonomous database offers.

Then I was really shocked by the outcome of the DOAG support survey: Two thirds of the 270 customers interviewed said they are not satisfied with Oracle Support! That was even worse than two years ago when that survey reported over 50 % discontent. The room Singapur was full – but unfortunately filled with frustrated people who gave the Oracle officials present a hard time. I felt bad for them, it was a bitter moment, being for so long with Oracle myself in the past.

Went on to attend The battle between Oracle vs. PostgreSQL:

Jan Karremans (Postgres) vs. Daniel Westermannn (Oracle)

Frankly, my impression was that Daniel came up with the better arguments but Jan scored many sympathy points – nonetheless because many people wanted Postgres to win over Oracle. I think Oracle has to watch out here in order not to alienate from their customer base further. Otherwise, Postgres might continue to take away market share.

Next talk was from Paolo Kreth about Open Source Databases:

Paolo Kreth on stage

His message was that DBAs cannot ignore the usage of open source tools but have to be approachable and try to assist the internal customers with these tools. Otherwise they may just become less relevant.

Another interesting presentation was The changing role of the DBA by Valentin Leonard Tabacaru:

Valentin Leonard Tabacaru presenting

Especially in the light of Oracle’s new autonomous databases, his prediction is that maintenance tasks like patching will disappear while areas like data modelling, security or application tuning should become more important for DBAs.

Another very good talk was about the TimesTen In-Memory database by Doug Hood:

Doug Hood

He showed some convincing facts to back his claim that TimesTen is the fastest In-Memory database regarding OLTP workloads while also providing fault-tolerance and scalability.

All in all, the DOAG annual conference rocked again, kudos to the DOAG members who helped organizing and running it again so smoothly!


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