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ODTUG KScope12: Day 3 Recap. More Fun in the San Antonio Sun

Well it was another HOT day in San Antonio, Texas at the 2012 ODTUG KScope conference.

Really.. it was.

It was something like 104 degrees outside with a Heat Index of 107.


But it was more like 65 degrees in the session rooms.

They do like to keep it cold inside here in Texas.

But the topics and speakers were hot anyway.

After an energizing session of Chi Gung this morning, my first session to attend was Mark Rittman talking about Exalytics and the TimesTen in-memory database. Based on the number of people in the room at 8:30 AM, I would call this a hot topic for sure.

Inquiring minds want to know if this Exalytics stuff is all it is cracked up to be (and worth the $$).


Mark did his best to give us the low down, candid truth. Mostly it was good news.

With the Summary Advisor, it is pretty easy to create an In Memory Adaptive Data Mart which will hold commonly used aggregates. It leverages the existing Aggregate Assistance Wizard,

So what you ask? Well that technology tracks all the quesries run in your OBIEE server and figures out which summaries would help speed up your performance.

Now you won’t get your entire data warehouse up in memory, but you will get the most used data set up to return faster.

The biggest gotcha is that it does not know from automatic incremental refreshes, so you have to use ODI or some scripting to refresh the TimesTen database automatically.

Anyway, the future does look bright for Exalytics.

Next up was Ashley Chen, Oracle Product Manager, talking about the new features in the 3.1 release of SQL Developer and SQL Developer Data Modeler.

Notably in SQL Developer there is now some APEX Integration and TimesTen integration, along with improved DB Copy and DB Diff utilities. Plus they have re-done the Oracle web site for SQL Dev to segment the tool into more logical groupings of functionality.

On the Data Modeler side, new features include Easy Sync to DB, better versioning support, a better, modifiable meta data reporting engine, and the new Query Builder for developing and testing the code for an Oracle view (I wrote about that here).

Then it was bit of a break while I interviewed JP Dijcks in the ODTUG Social Media Lounge and then got my set of ODTUG tatoos.

Next it was lunch and the Oracle ACE and ACE Directors Lunch and Learn sessions where we divided the rooms by topic area and had the various Oracle ACEs answer questions and lead a discussion about topics in their area. Here are a few of the BI ACEs plotting their strategy for the panel.

They did end up asking me to join the panel, so I got to field a few questions about data modeling, big data, and where to build a metrics model in the OBI RPD or the database? It depends….

After lunch I attended Ron Crisco’s talk about Agile and Data Design. A favorite topic of mine!

Often a contentious topic, Ron challenged us with some very good questions:

  • Is Agile the enemy of good design?
  • What is data design?
  • Who does it?
  • How do you keep it in sync with ongoing changes and implementation?

He kept this all in context of the principles in the Agile Manifesto and the goal of delivering useful software to the business.

Best quote: “Agile is an Attitude”

I completely agree!

I finished the day hanging out with the Ashley Chen and Jeff Smith in the Data Modeler lab session as folks tried out the new features on a pre-configured Oracle VM.

Ashely and Jeff kept busy helping folks while I tried to get the new VM running on my laptop. No luck. Maybe tomorrow.

I did get to help a bit and answer a few questions for some of the participants.

No official KScope events tonight so I got to spend a little time relaxing by the pool and in the lazy river with my friend JP and his family. Saw several other friends and collegues as well with their spouses and kids playing in the pool. Then we all got to watch Despicable Me projected on a sheet on the far side of the pool.

Pretty neat. Nice way to end the day.

Tomorrow should be another exciting day of sessions and then we have the BIG EVENT:  we all saddle up and head out to the Knibbe Ranch for BBQ and a real Rodeo.

Yee haw!

See ‘ya at the round-up tomorrow, y’all.


ODTUG KScope12: Day 2

So another extraordinary, information filled day in San Antonio, with a bit of pathos thrown in for depth.

Started the day again with Morning Chi Gung. Another nice group of folks dropped by to try it out and a few hardy souls returned to try again. I think they are all getting the hang of it and enjoying it. We will do it again in the morning.

First session of the day from me was OBIEE Answers vs BI Publisher from Borkur Steingrimsson of Rittman-Mead.


Borkur did a great job of highlighting the pros and cons of each toolset and outlining some of the use cases for the two tools. While there is some overlap, there are definitely some best practices to follow to help decide which to use for what.

One tool does not fit all.

Next session was mine: Introduction to Data Vault Modeling for an Oracle BI Environment.

I had a good crowd (below) to pitch data vault modeling to. Talked about where it fits and how this modeling approach can be leveraged in OBIEE and with Oracle’s Exalytics platform. The audience was small but I think they got a lot out of the talk.

Lots of note taking going on!

Next another information packed session from Tom Kyte about the various options in the Oracle database for securing your data.

He talked about many things including Oracle Total Recall, Audit Vault, and Database Vault (not to be confused with Data Vault Modeling), and Oracle Advanced Security option. Yes most of these cost more money for licenses but you really do need to think about how you protect your data and from whom.

Tom gave us a lot to think about.

Next, my favorite, lunch! Sort of a cook out style lunch with hamburgers, slaw and the fix’ns just in the exhibit hall.

In the picture you have some of the BI crowd (Stewart and Kevin) chatting with the Optimizer Queen (Maria). Lunch at Kscope is where many questions get answered and problems solved.

After lunch we had the official KScope12 (or was it 2022?) General Session complete with “special” effects and time travel.

Edward did a “this is your life” style interview with ODTUG President Mike Riley. Along with some good-natured ribbing, we also got some serious announcements:

  1. Mike Riley stepped down as President
  2. Monty Latiolais was appointed the new President
  3. Edward got “fired” as conference chair
  4. Mike got named conference chair for 2013
  5. Our long time executive director Kathleen McCasland handed the reins over to Crystal Walton so she could focus more on managing the great meeting company she has built, YCC.

There were many awards given including a Lifetime Achievement award to Kathleen (bravo!) and one to Mike for all he has done as President. Oracle Contributor of the year went to Kris Rice; volunteer of the year to Karen Cannel; editors choice award to Peter Koletzke and Duncan Mills.

And the BIG announcement was that KScope13 will be in New Orleans. Registration is open at

But wait there is more… I attended more great sessions in the afternoon and evening including another session from Tom Kyte on SQL secrets.

And Steward Bryson’s riveting session on how to use OBIEE against a transactional schema. (I did have a hard time getting a good picture because he NEVER STOPPED MOVING!)

Yes, that is Stewart in a suit…

He has nailed the approach to making OBIEE treat just about any schema design like a dimensional model. Very cool, a bit tricky. Next year we may do a joint session about making a data vault model work in OBIEE without having to instantiate a star schema data mart first. Stay tuned…

To end the day (sort of), we had an excellent and inspiring keynote from Cary Millsap (@carymillsap).

He had lots of inspiring and  insightful things to tell us based on his own life experiences as a father, husband, and business man. I can’t really do it justice so I will give you a few quotes from his slides:

Thinking clearly is more important than the right answer

To teach, test the code path, not just the memory

The goal of a parent: Kids who are interested in figuring out how to use what they are learning

Life is not linear (one of my favorites)

And the biggy:

Happiness is not a state. Happiness is a state change.

So do something BIG.

It really was a great talk.

And to finish out the day (for me anyway) I went to the BI Mad-Dashboard networking event. With Kevin McKinley as the host and Rittman-Mead providing the adult beverages, we had a good time networking and playing some interesting games.

There are actually even more networking events going on into the wee hours but that is it for me today (or I would not have gotten this blog post done).

But that is one of things that makes ODTUG and KScope so great is the opportunity to network and bond with colleagues old and new from around the globe in a relaxed setting.

More tomorrow…


Woo hoo! New Oracle ACE Directors

Yup, I am one of them!

Thanks to Kris Rice (@krisrice) at Oracle for submitting my nomination.

Still getting used to the new “networked” world. I actually saw the announcement of my promotion on Facebook (on my new smart phone) which was a feed from Twitter, before I saw the official email in my inbox.


Six degrees of separation from what????

Here’s the Tweet:

Oracle ACE Program Oracle ACE Program
Two more promotions to #ACED: Kent Graziano-@KentGraziano and Tingkun Yang. Congratulations!!
12:42 AM – 23 Jun 12 via TweetDeck

Also promoted today is my good buddy from Denver, Tim Gorman (@timothyjgorman). Tim is one of the best Oracle DBAs I know, a published author, great presenter/teacher, and is the current President of the Rocky Mountain Oracle Users Group (RMOUG).  He will be presenting a few session at KScope12 this comming week along with me and a bunch of other Oracle ACE and ACE Directors.

Congrats to all the newly minted ACE Directors!

Anyway, this was a good way to end the work week and start the weekend.



P.S. Stay tuned as I will be blogging and posting pictures from KScope12 in San Antonio starting Sunday (using WordPress on my smart phone, I hope!).

Countdown to KScope: Oracle Education, Fitness and More

It’s almost here: the best education event for Oracle developers – the Oracle Development Tools User Group KScope12 conference.

It starts Saturday June 23rd with the annual community service day helping out the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of San Antonio.

Then things really get rolling on Sunday June 24th with the famed all-day, in-depth symposiums.

One Monday, the main sessions kick things into high gear.

This year I am lucky enough to give two presentations on my favorite topics.

On Monday June 25 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am, I will present Introduction to Data Vault Modeling for an Oracle BI Environment. 

Then on Thursday June 28, from 10:30 am – 11:30 am, you can close out the conference by attending my presentation on SQL Developer Data Modeler: Reverse Engineering (and Re-engineer) an Existing Database Using Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler.

If you are using the KScope app, don’t forget to add these sessions to your schedule and then check in during the sessions to be eligible for  some special ODTUG prizes.

Of course there will be networking events, a vendor hall, food and fun.

With all the good food and sitting in intense sessions all day, it is important that we all do our best to stay fit. To help with that, I will again be leading a 30 minute Chi Gung session every morning at 7 AM on the main lawn.

Really – anyone can do it. Read my article here for details.

Come out and join me to get your day off to a calming start so you can focus on getting the most out of your day at Kscope12.

And don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KentGraziano. I will be tweeting live and posting pictures all week from the conference.

See you in San Antonio. Giddy Up!


Flexible Data Warehouse Architecture

My friend and colleague, Sanjay, just put up a new video discussing aspects of using the Data Vault as your data warehouse architecture.

It is really short – just barely 10 minutes.

You can jump over to see the video here.

Covers a nice little discussion comparing dimensional (star schema) models to data vault as a centralized data warehouse repository (as opposed to end-user facing data mart).

As a bonus, Sanjay also covers the basics of data vault modeling using an actual chalk board (okay so he is “old school”).

So why listen to Sanjay?

He is the co-founder with Dan Linstedt of and has done tons of writing and consulting on Data Vault for quite a few years. He was behind the scenes helping us get the book out on the web, Amazon, and on Kindle.

He knows whereof he speaks.

Have a listen.

Be careful – you might learn something. 🙂


– Kent

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @KentGraziano or subscribe to this blog (button at top of the right column) so you don’t miss out on my updates.

P.P.S. ODTUG KScope12 is just around the corner. I will be doing two talks and bunch of other stuff out there in San Antonio in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

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