The Data Warrior

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Archive for the tag “@KentGraziano”

RMOUG Training Days 2013 – Day 1

Unlike many conferences, today started off not with the keynote but with an actual session (probably some advanced psychology at work here). ūüôā

I started off with John King’s session on Oracle 11g features that developers should know about. (He was going to talk about 12c but since it has not been released yet, he could not speak about it)

John King giving Session 1 at RMOUG 2013

John King giving Session 1 at RMOUG 2013

John is a great speaker and gave us some very detailed information.

One very interesting piece to me, as a data modeler and data warehouse designer, was the addition of Virtual Columns. With this you can declare a virtual, calculated/derived column to be part of a table definition. With this you can define a calculation once and have it appear when querying the table without actually physically adding a column to the table. Looks promising.

John told us about lots of new things like Pivot, Unpivot, Results Cache, PL/SQL Results cache and Nth Value functions. Some of them are shown in the following pictures.



Example of UNPIVOT

Example of UNPIVOT

Another cool SQL Function: Nth Value

Another cool SQL Function: Nth Value

All neat options I did not really know about.

Next up was the keynote speech by Mogens Norgaard from Denmark. Mogens is an ACE Director, CEO of his own consulting firm, and a brew master. Interesting guy.

He showed up in his bathrobe to talk to us all about how the smartphone is taking over  the world and all the cool apps you could build (and some he has built).

Mogens Norgaard in his keynote best.

Mogens Norgaard in his keynote best.

Next was my turn – my first session of the conference – 5 Ways to Make Data Modeling Fun (based on a blog post).

I was pleasantly surprised that I had 40-50 people attend and most stayed for the whole talk. It was a good, interactive session. My good buddy Jon Arnold assisted me in administering some of the activities. It was great fun getting the attendees to actually collaborate on activities during a session.

Great participant collaboration during my talk

Great participant collaboration during my talk

As promised, I did give out prizes for some of the activities (all branded Data Warrior LLC stuff).

Next was the ACE Director networking lunch where they put our names on tables so people could sit with us to ask questions (if they wanted too).

Networking Lunch

Networking Lunch

After lunch we some vendor sessions (which I skipped) and several panel discussions. These included the Women in Technology Panel and an Oracle Career Roundtable.

Women in Technology Panel

Women in Technology Panel

Oracle Careers Roundtable

Oracle Careers Roundtable

Anyone notice that the Women in Tech had one male on the panel but the Oracle Career panel had no women? Just sayin’ folks…

Next I sat in for part of a session on Oralce TimesTem database for real-time BI. It turned out to be the same stuff I heard at Oracle Open World so I did not stay.

Last for my day at RMOUG was my joint session with Stewart Bryson on Data Vault and OBIEE. Unfortunately due to the late slot (5:15 PM) we had a very low turn out. ūüė¶ But is was a good session as I discovered all the things Stewart learned trying to use the data vault model for virtualizing the data mart layer (in OBIEE). It was all very good and reinforced my belief that Data Vault is a great way to model an EDW and that non-data vault people could understand it and apply it to dimensional modeling (or that Stewart is really exceptional).

Adios for now.


P.S. Forgot to mention again that I will be conducting another morning Chi Gung class at & AM above the registration area. Please join!

Tech Tip: Connect to SQL Server Using Oracle SQL Developer (updated)

I spend a lot of time reverse engineering client databases to see what kind of design they are working with or to simply create a data model diagram for them (so they know what they have).

Along the way I often need to actually look at the data as well to do some analysis and profiling.

Often this means looking at data and models in SQL Server as well as Oracle.

What’s an Oracle Data Warrior to do?

Hook up my FREE handy dandy Oracle SQL Developer to the SQL Server database.

How do you do that?

First you need to get the right driver. You can find it here:

NOTE: For SQL Developer 4.0EA3 and SQL Developer Data Modeler 4.0 (production) you now need jtds-1.3.1. Get it here:

Then follow these steps:

  1. Download and unzip the file into the main SQL Developer directory (or the directory of your choice).
  2. In SQL Developer go to Tools -> Preferences -> Database -> Third party JDBC Drivers
  3. Click the “add entry” button
  4. Navigate to the jtds-1.2.5.jar file. (or the 1.3.1 file for 4.x installs)
  5. Save and exit preferences.
  6. Close and restart SQL Developer
  7. Open “Add Connection” – there should now be a SQL Server tab.
SQL Developer Preferences

SQL Developer Preferences

With this in place, you can now connect to SQL Server without having to load any other software.

Pretty useful.

Happy Querying!


P.S. You can connect to other non-Oracle dbs as well. Check out this post by Jeff Smith for even more details.

Additional Notes on SSO errors:

Lots of folks, including me, have had issues getting the native Windows SSO connection to SQL Server to work. Based on answers on the OTN Forum and this post ( I finally got my new 4.x versions to work.

For SQL Developer 4.0EA3, I did as suggested in the article: I put the ntlmauth.dll where my JDK 1.7 was installed: C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0_40\jre\bin

For Data Modeler 4.0.13 (production), based on a suggestion from Jeff Smith, I put the dll file here: C:\SQLDeveloper\SQLDeveloper4.0.13\sqldeveloper\sqldeveloper\bin

If I was better at setting windows paths, I am sure there is a better way to do this.

2012: Year in the Life of an Oracle Data Warrior

Hard to believe it is nearly the end of the year. But…it is here.

I will be taking time until the end of the year so I am doing my “year-end” post now.

It was a significant year for me with many new things, events, conferences, and clients. Here is a list, by month of a few of them:


I launched this blog – Oracle Data Warrior! At the stroke of midnight on January 1, I hit publish for this posting. So far I have had over 22,000 views on the site with the best/biggest day drawing 294 views on September 24th. People came to check out a free promotion for my new Kindle book.

So far 78 of you have subscribed to this blog and hence get notification whenever I post something new.

Thanks for your support! (For the rest – subscribed now so you don’t miss anything in 2013).

In January I also launched the Year of the Data Vault by going to Dan Linstedt’s Data Vault¬†certification¬†class in Montreal. It was a great class. Check the January archive for my posts about the class.


I posted what has turned out to be THE most popular article so far: The best FREE data modeling tool ever. So far it has had 8,213 views! Wow! (of course since a bunch of you just clicked the link that number has gone up again)

Also big in February (every year) is the RMOUG Training Days in Denver, Colorado. This year I did the first ever remote presentation via skype as part of their pre-conference seminar on data warehousing. My presentation was, of course, on Data Vault. There were a few technical issues but with the help of my good friend Jerry Ireland we got through it fine.

(Note: For RMOUG 2013, I will actually be presenting in person).


Two really big things this month:

  1. I filed with the state of Texas and formed Data Warrior LLC, signed my very first 1099 (independent) contract and became an official business.
  2. The Data Vault Training Portal was launched. You can read my post about that here.


Business wise, I started the 1099 contract work at MD Anderson Cancer Center and got to work building a data vault for one of their internal projects.

On the blog, I made some modification to the layout and added a War Chest page with links to some resources that cost a little money (as opposed to my White Paper page which has Free stuff).


After one month of being an independent contractor I bought my first smartphone – an LG Nitro. I am not really a huge gadget guy so I had put this off for sometime but finally gave in so I could tweet at the upcoming ODTUG conference in San Antonio.

Of course this means I signed up for Twitter. You can find me there at


June was  HUGE month.

  1. The Data Vault modeling book, hit #1 on Kindle.
  2. I got “promoted” to Oracle ACE Director (and found out via a Facebook post!).
  3. And of course there was KScope12 in San Antonio, Texas. I taught Chi Gung every morning at 7 AM and blogged about the event every night (at about midnight). Just check my June archives for all the posts and plenty of pictures.


Slowed down a bit here. Recovered from KScope12 (started planning for KScope13). Wrote a bit about work/life balance and posted this cool InfoGraphic.


Another first for me in August was I published my first eBook on Kindle about data model design reviews.

Then we had an excellent family vacation with my father back east. We drove through the Adirondack Mountains in New York State and then to the Green Mountains of Vermont where we stayed at the Trapp Family Lodge. It gets my highest recommendation for a family friendly, environmentally aware, upscale, outdoor vacation resort. Pay the money and go – you only live once!

While on the trip, my nine year old son came up with a great idea for a blog post: How to make data modeling fun. When we got back, I wrote and posted it here. (Soon it will be a presentation at a conference near you)


This was another big and fun month – all about Oracle Open World 2012 and getting to attend my first Oracle ACE Director meeting at Oracle HQ. Like at KScope, I blogged every night in the wee hours to capture what I saw and learned that day. The smart phone got a lot of use taking pictures in session and around San Francisco. It is all logged in the September archives.


Actually OOW 2012 bled over into October so there are even more posts and pictures in the October Archive folder.

The other biggie in October was that I finished out my contract at MD Anderson Cancer Center and started a new gig at McKesson Specialty Health (US Oncology). This has turned out to be a great project with a good team (like I had at MD Anderson), but with the added benefit of only being 9 miles from my house. This is the shortest commute I have had since college! Saves me 2.5 hours a day in driving.

Needless to say, that is a very nice aspect of the job.


This month was less about data (and my normal work) and more about fitness, a new habit, and being a warrior. (Though I did get accepted to present at the RMOUG Training Days in Denver.)

The highlight of the month was attending the 20th Anniversary celebration for the International Combat Hapkido Federation. I have been attending their workshops and seminars for over 15 of those years and have had the privilege to train with several of their master as well as their founder and grand master John Pellegrini. Combat Hapkido is a very practical martial art for self-defense and a lot of fun to learn and practice.

It was a great event with back to back workshops (i.e., work outs!) with many masters and grand masters. We got training in Tai Chi, stretching, conditioning, kicking, Filipino Escrima, ground survival, and¬†pressure¬†points. There were¬†actual¬†martial arts celebs in attendance including Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, Cynthia Rothrock, and Stephen Hayes.

Since my main art is Tae Kwon Do, I was very¬†privileged¬†to meet and train with Grandmaster Bill Wallace (who actually has signed my last two black belt certificates along with GM Pellegrini). GM Wallace’s¬†session¬†was¬†challenging¬†and fun. He is quite entertaining.

Me (right) with GM Superfoot Wallace (center)  and Master Ramon Voils

Me (right) with GM Superfoot Wallace (center) and Master Ramon Voils

At 67 years old, GM Wallace can kick faster and higher than pretty much everyone I have every trained with. I can only hope to be doing so well when I reach that age.

This why he is called "Superfoot"

This is why he is called “Superfoot”

For more pictures from the event, you can subscribe to my newsfeed on Facebook or like my page. You might even find a picture of me in a suit!


And now we are up to this final month of 2012. I have been very busy with my work at McKesson so have only got one post out about the newest release of SQL Developer Data Modeler (which I use nearly every day!).

I did however recently get notification that I had several papers accepted for presentation at the ODTUG  KScope13 conference in New Orleans next June. Be sure to register for that event too!

Yes it was quite the busy year…

Stay tuned for 2013 and see what happens.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


The Oracle Data Warrior

Oracle OpenWorld Day 3

Another one for the books…

As before you can see a bunch of my activities on twitter (@kentgraziano and #oow). I posted a few pictures throughout the day.

For the first time I got to watch two keynotes live without being in the cavern of a hall for four hours. Actually sat outside in the shade in Yerba Buena Gardens and watched it all on a really big screen.

Lots of ¬†“cloud” talk from Oracle and its partners. CEO Larry E did a cool presentation or real-time analytics on 4.9 billion tweets gathered for the 5 days following the summer Olympic games. It was quite interesting to see the analysis of structured and unstructured data together in a drillable dashboard environment.

And it was…you guessed it…all in the cloud.

Big Data meets Big Iron

Pretty good slogan…guess for doing big data analysis you will need some pretty hefty hardware too…

Also attended two of Jeff Smith’s (@thatJeffSmith)¬†presentations. One on collaborative model development with SQL Developer Data Modeler (my personal favorite) and one on SQL Developer Tips and Tricks (mostly tips).

Source control in SDDM

I also got in the tail end of a session on Pluggable Databases (PDB). Got some really nice summary slides (be sure to click on them and zoom so you can read them). Lots of great details on how PDB works and what it can and cannot do.

All about pluggable database


The details on PDB

After the second keynote it was over to the OTN Lounge for the first ever Tweet Meet. It was designed to let people meet the person behind the twitter handle. I think it was a good success with a great turn out. We even got one of the OTN guys to create his own twitter account so he could follow the Oracle Aces and Ace Directors more easily.

Finally dinner in North Beach with some friends at the Stinking Rose. This has become an annual tradition.

After dinner I did manage to catch the last set from Joss Stone performing in Union Square. That pretty much rocked. Glad I went.

Tomorrow night the BIG appreciation event: Pearl Jam (if I remember to pick up my wristband to get in).



Oracle Open World 2012: Day 2

A crazy group of us got the day off to a rip roaring start by heading down to the Dolphin Club on San Francisco Bay for an early morning swim in the bay. We cabbed it down and were greeted by a full moon over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Good Morning San Francisco Bay!

It was about 62 degrees (F) and the water was purported to be 59 degrees (F), even if it felt much colder. Here I am with my friend Debra Lilley (@debralilley) and few other crazy Oracle people, right before we took the plunge.

Ready to swim the bay!

Well, we all survived. You can see more pictures on twitter (@kentgraziano) and Facebook if you really feel the need.

Thanks to our buddy Chet (@oraclenerd) for setting this up and shaming us into doing it. It was quite invigorating and great way to start the day. (I did some Chi Gung on the beach too in order to prepare and to warm back up). Next year, we want ribbons or t-shirts or something for the effort.

After trekking back to the hotel and cleaning up, it was on to the conference.

Missed the keynotes but instead got to attend a real live press briefing (thanks to my blogger status) with Mark Hurd, the president of Oracle Corporation.

Mark Hurd Press Conference

It was great to be in the small room with all the reporters and bloggers getting the scope first hand from Mr. Hurd about Oracle’s strategy.

Oracle Strategy

The¬†slide¬†sums it up well –¬†simplify¬†IT by¬†providing¬†a complete stack of software and hardware and by giving customers complete choice. The choice now is host your own set up, use a private cloud, use a public cloud (hosted by Oracle), or use a hybrid model. You pick where and what you want hosted. You can mix and match and change your mind later. Sounds like a good idea. The next year or so will show us how will it works as a model.

Mark had a lot to tell us, much of which you will be able to read elsewhere in the main stream tech media. The thing that got my attention was the fact that Oracle  has spent over $14 billion (with a B) in the last two years on R&D, and over $6 billion in the last year on mergers and acquisitions. It is good to be Uncle Larry.

Most¬†memorable¬†quote from Mark: “we are the best”.

In other news…

The exhibit halls opened today. Bigger and more stuffed than before . A dizzying array of vendors hawking their wares. This year there is even an Airstream trailer and a very large Buddha in the hall (check my twitter stream for pictures of those).

OOW 2012 Exhibit Hall Opens

I spent some time in the hall today catching up with some product managers, learning about Oracle NoSQL, and even talked to the MongoDB guys (another NoSQL engine). So much information, so little time.

Went to a few sessions as well. Checked out Big Data Mining and RDF Graph Tools. Still trying to get my head around why you use these other technology approaches like RDF, NoSQL, and Hadoop. Spatial I get, since I did some GIS work in the past, but these others are harder.  Lots of companies seem to be including them in their overall solution architecture so there is something to it. I think I just have not run across a real need on my projects (at least not yet).

Like Oracle Endeca, there are a lot of advances in what Oracle is building in this space.

I am sure it will sink in eventually.

Oracle In-Database Analytics Platform

On the networking side, I attended the ODTUG reception this evening and manage to hear the last two tunes from Jimmy Cliff who was performing at the Oracle Music festival.

Tomorrow – chi gung in the morning, two keynotes and a few sessions. Then the first every Tweet Meet at OOW.

More to come…




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