some interesting developments
Not only have I been very busy at work, but also a very dear old friend has passed away after a short tussle with cancer. That affected me a lot more than I thought.
Vale, John Alexander Wildgoose.
My fierce Scot friend, IT colleague of 29 years and long time golfing buddy. A master of the comic understatement, his last words to me were: "Well, if this is what dying is about, I'm bored stiff!".
We'll meet again in that ideal superb golf course we talked about, I'm sure. I'll always be proud to have counted you as a friend.
But, back to the grind...
If you haven't yet seen Dan Morgan's page on patches and their use, you owe it to your peace of mind to do it! When is it gonna down on Oracle that MOS is a disaster and the entire design and development team MUST be sent packing?
Anyways... Been tremendously busy with the relocation of our DR site to a new installation over the Xmas/NY break. The need to do this was somewhat unexpected for a number of reasons, and caused us to have to postpone other important work to the start of this year.
The end result being we've been flat out since the start of 2010!
One of the interesting results of this is that we were finally able to use direct dark fibre SAN-based asynchronous replication as the mechanism to transfer data to our DR standby database. This is now done by a set of scripts that control the SAN from the Unix command line, sending out backups and redo log archives on a schedule. These are then rolled forward into our DR instance.
It all works like magic and very, very fast! Somewhat a poor man's auto Dataguard, but a LOT faster!
I'll have to do a session on all that for the Sydney Oracle Meetup folks.
If you are a Sydney DBA with a penchant for "geek" stuff as opposed to certifications, I urge you to join this group: we do some sensational technical talks and there is very little marketing nonsense in our meetings.
Another thing we've managed to get going in the last couple of months is the archival of some of our DW data using partitioning.
Not only were we able to achieve full swap-out-in of data on demand, the performance of existing queries on the partitioned data - with only very minor syntax changes - went up anywhere from twice as fast to 10 times faster. With most in the last category!!!
Even more amazing: that was achived with a single local PK index as opposed to the prior 8 indexes on the non-partitioned table!
This is a perfect vindication and confirmation of my earlier posts on the "nomoore" series.
In there I mentioned the need with vldb to start thinking less in terms of indexing for performance and more in terms of classifying and "binning" very large data sets following classic library techniques. Oracle partitioning is a very good tool to achieve that.
Combined with carefully thought out local indexing, the performance improvements can be quite extraordinary, even dramatic.
As a small side note: we also found a number of bu^H^Hfeatures, particularly in how data pump handles subpartitions and also statistics gathering issues with said sub-partitioning.
Fortunately, all of them solved now!
While I'm here, I must acknowledge and thank Doug Burns for his superb series on partitioning and its statistics: if you haven't read it yet, go there right after this!
Doug has now indexed them and it's easy to follow. Worth your time, I guarantee!
Now the good side of all this is that senior management has finally acknowledged that maybe there is a bunch of committed, competent and enthusiatic people in this team and they have decided to invest some decent funds into our side of IT this year. Instead of listening in to the usual nonsense from external "consultants" with no clue whatsoever about our environment and conditions.
(Yes yes:we'll be in the "cloud". Just not yet, ok?)
There will be some very interesting developments in our DW setup as a result! Not the least of which is we'll upgrade to 11g.
But only r1: r2 is too new for the guys in the US to use and they were burned already by Oracle's usual bu^H^Hfeatures...
As a result, "once bitten twice shy" has taken over and the powers that be don't want the bleeding edge ever again.
Ah well: could have told them as much two years ago when they decided to adopt - untested - 11gr1, because the Oracle rep "recommended they went that way, *everyone else* was".
Live and learn, I suppose. They learned...
On the photography front, I've been having a lot of fun with some small p&s cameras from the film era. Combined with modern film and scanning technique, the results with a humble Oly mjuIII can be quite pleasing, even if not top notch technical quality:
This tree has somehow survived and thrived in a very unfriendly concrete environment...
The front of our place is coming together quite pleasantly. Finally!
Only taken 5 years...
These local swamp hens like to stretch and spread their wings when the weather is very hot: it helps them keep the "Celsius stuff" under control!
If you look close, that seagull looks like it's laughing at the rowers. I called this one: