The Oracle Australia and New Zealand Middleware and Technology Blog.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Turnbull's Fake Email

Hi all

There's been some interesting activity here in Australia this week surrounding an alleged email that purports to implicate the government in allegations of favouritism in assistance being offered to a car-dealer by the prime-minister's office. After a brief investigation, the Australian Federal Police announced that they had 'found' the email and identified it as a fake.

Interestingly enough, a few years ago, things would have been very different! Firstly, we wouldn't have been talking about an email but about a printed document. Secondly, locating and identifying the document as a fake would not have been as easy. With a physical document, creating a forgery can be achieved relatively simply and assuring its authenticity would be an expensive process. In the past few years, we've witnessed changes in the way that any organisation manages its information and with the quite-recent BAT and C7 cases here in Australia - now have changes coming through the court-system in the manner of practice notes leading to cheaper and easier eDiscovery activities and processes.

The government departments concerned in this case probably utilise a number of business-tools that made the discovery and identification of the email a quick and easy process and to be brutally honest, the perpetrators involved in this really should have known better. You simply cannot, today (and without some deep, deep, deep knowledge of the underlying systems) create a document and pass it off as something it isn't!

Whatever happens in the coming weeks - one thing's for sure, the real winner in this case is eDiscovery and the tools that support the processes required! I just would not want to be in Godwin Grech's shoes at the moment......


Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's the little things that count

I was thinking the other day about the new major features in Oracle DB 11g whilst preparing for a presentation when a thought occurred to me. What about all the other features in 11g? All the new features that were not "banner headlines" but that make life for people working with the Oracle database a whole lot easier. I then came across a list on the net with almost every single new feature in 11g over the previous release. These thoughts were then cemented when i attended the oracle user group meeting run by Alex Gorbachev (Pythian Group).

The main reason why these thoughts were cemented at the meetup with the oracle user group was because of one of the main discussions with Carl Young from Metcash. He spoke about how much easier life is now that he has migrated to Oracle 11g and about how it's the simple little things that have been changed, upgraded and produced in Oracle 11g that are allowing this to happen. Reduced bath report execution times, no more excel, improved performance through query caching (meaning he didn't have to rebuild the material based view aggregate), and the ability to store more data online are but a few of the main benefits Metcash has received by moving to 11g. The details of his migration can be found here and thanks to ZDnet for such a compelling read. Metcash in Oracle 11g upgrade

Alex also released a lot of the "tricks of the trade" in his presentation. Some of the interesting things that were spoken about involved Automatic Storage Management and RMAN's ability to check and verify the database.

The sydney user group presentation can be seen here:

with some comments about the meetup by Alex.

The group meets bi-weekly in the city (usually) over beer and pizza for a discussion about how Oracle is working in their environment whilst sharing experiences about moving to the latest technology. If you wish to sign up to future meetups the link can be found here:

All in all it was a good user group meeting. There were many topics discussed and it was awesome to hear about Carl Young and Metcash's transition to Oracle 11g.

The beer and pizza cliche for user groups was well lived up to as well. I'm looking forward ot the next one, which reminds me, we've just created a group on linkedin called "oracle red room". Sign up now, the link is here:


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oracle/BEA: 12 months on.

I saw this headline recently in a 2003 article from Mining Journal and I thought it was great, "Some years, 12 months can seem like long time." (You may well ask why I was reading 6 year old back issues of Mining Journal but I'm sure you've all been in a dentists waiting room). Some years 12 months can indeed seem like a long time... but not this one, well, not for me anyway.

I really enjoyed reading this article from my friend Chris Duckett - OK, so I follow him on twitter, that means I can say he's my friend doesn't it? - on the Oracle/BEA acquisition 12 months on.

We get so caught up in the 'what if's?' in our industry that it's really good to take time out and look back at the 'what happeneds'. 12 months ago we were full of what if? Two major middleware product sets were coming together, what would survive and what would perish? And what did perish actually mean? Would Oracle force a BEA customer to move to an Oracle product? How would BEA products be supported? What would the future product strategy look like?

My summary is that the reality of the acquisition was nowhere near as doom-laden with grave concerns some had predicted. There were no forced migrations, in fact products that didn't make it front and centre into the plans for the future are still being enhanced and supported, as Derrick Wheeler says in Chris's piece, "
We were concerned about WebLogic Integration a little bit as to where that would fit... We've since been assured that we can purchase more licences and that we'll be supported — at least five years developed, another five years supported — that makes us feel more comfortable."

There were decisions about the product roadmap that needed to be taken, as Cameron Tuesly from Integral Technology Services says in the article, "
There was a few overlapping products, I have to say that I thought Oracle did a pretty good job of clarifying early on where they were going... I think they picked the right products, where there were two products they seemed to have picked the stronger one rather than the incumbent."

And there is some evidence that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts in these acquisitions, a sort of 2 + 2 = 5, in that the organisation is able to turn its big brains loose on new and innovative ways to combine some of the products together. Case in point here is the WebLogic Application Grid. Oracle had Coherence, BEA had JRockit... to use a catchphrase, "Will it blend?" Well, turns out they blended very well - without the dust, smoke and general destruction that our good friends at Blendtec will show you if you click on that last link.

Coherence is a highly clustered, highly fault tolerant in memory data cache
, JRockit is the fastest Java Virtual Machine in the world. Mix them together, add some management and operations control and you have the WebLogic Application Grid, bringing maximum performance, scalability, predictability and reliability on commodity hardware to Java applications.

So good on you Chris for taking a moment to reflect and examine what actually happened. I liked this quote from Chris Muir as I imagine a future 12 months from now, "... they are accumulating some of the best products in the world". That sounds good to me, working with some of the best products in the world.