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Oracle Data Warrior: 2013 in Review

Happy New Year!

I have been busy relaxing with my family on vacation so I decided not to write a full review this year. It was a busy year in many ways (not just blogging!). If you take a look in the right column, you will see a list of recent posts, top posts, and a complete archive by month. Go crazy…

If you want some highlights and details to see what happened on Oracle Data Warrior, check out this cool report provided by WordPress. Below the report I am also posting the link for Jeff Smith’s SQL Developer year-in-review.

Year in Review Report

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 46,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Other Reviews

Well my main man Jeff Smith did a nice write up for SQL Developer. Check it out here: www.thatjeffsmith.com/archive/2013/12/the-best-of-2013-sql-developer-posts/

I was pretty busy on Twitter this year too. Here is a list of my top tweets: https://twitter.com/KentGraziano/timelines/419701819502104577.

For something fun check out the Vizify video link in my twitter profile.

For me, 2014 will be more adventures in Oracle data land, attending conferences, listening in at the BBBT, working with Dan and Sanjay on DV 2.0 stuff, and working to build and improve data models and data warehouses for my clients.

What will you do in 2014?

Cheers!

Kent G

The Oracle Data Warrior

Let’s Review #OOW13 and #OTW13 in Pictures

Yes I have been derelict in my duty and not posted about the sessions I attended at Oracle OpenWorld (#OOW13) and OakTable World (#OTW).

Well here are the high points with pictures!

Monday

Monday started off with the now annual Swim the Bay (so I missed the keynote). If you have Facebook, you can see pictures from the event here.

Most of the day I then spent at the alternate conference, OakTable World (#OTW13) seeing a few talk and giving one myself.

My good friend from Denver, Tim Gorman gave a nice talk about all the data compression options available in Oracle.

Tim Gorman: Oracle Compression Options

Tim Gorman: Oracle Compression Options

Next was a great session from the well known blogger and author Fabian Pascal. I have been reading his work for years but this was the first time I got to hear him speak in person. As with his writing, the talk was both intellectually stimulating and challenging!

Fabian Pascal: The Last Null

Fabian Pascal: The Last Null

It really is quite a debate in the database world about the meaning and use of NULL in an RDBMS. Fabian has a proposal on how we can (and should) represent data in a way where there will never be NULL attributes.

After a some scheduling issues. later in the day, I did my presentation on using Data Vault Modeling for Agile Data Warehouse Modeling. The room I got had a huge wall for me to project my session on. Definitely the biggest screen ever for one of my talks.

Biggest screen ever for me and my data vault presentation.

Biggest screen ever for me and my data vault presentation.

Tuesday

Started the morning with a few friends doing morning Chi Gung in Union Square, then followed by getting a quick survey of the exhibit hall in Moscone South and a trip to the Demo grounds.

The throng descends into the depths of Moscone West to hunt the exhibit hall for goodies.

The throng descends into the depths of Moscone West to hunt the exhibit hall for goodies.

The hall was of course HUGE as usual so some of the vendors who were tucked in back got creative on getting the foot traffic to come their way.

A clever gimmick one vendor did to get traffic to their booth in the gigantic hall

A clever gimmick one vendor did to get traffic to their booth in the gigantic hall

For sessions, I attend a road map session on Oracle’s Big Data strategy given by my friend JP Dijcks.

JP talks all things Big Data

JP talks all things Big Data

Mostly he painted a picture of the issues with figuring out how to collect and put all that data to real work. Of course Oracle has a ton of products to offer to help solve the problem.

How to shrink the gap between getting big data and actually using it!

How to shrink the gap between getting big data and actually using it!

Next up I attended Jeff Smith’s session on SQL Developer 4.0 and got to learn that there was a data mining extension available for the tool that makes doing some advanced analytics a lot easier.

Definition for Data Mining. An extension for Data Mining is available for SQL Developer.

Definition for Data Mining. An extension for Data Mining is available for SQL Developer.

Next on my agenda was the Cloud keynote with Microsoft. I wrote about that here.

Finally for the day, a late presentation by Maria Colgan and Jonathan Lewis giving us their top tuning tips in what they called the SQL Tuning Bootcamp.

Optimizer tips from a pro Jonathan Lewis. I am sure it means something to someone out there!

Optimizer tips from a pro Jonathan Lewis. I am sure it means something to someone out there!

As always with these type session, there was a ton of useful information that makes my brain hurt. I have to keep reviewing  my notes to make sure I can use at least 10% of what they taught.

Wednesday

This was mostly a work day for me at a client site. And a late lunch to see the final race of the America’s Cup.

In case you have been under a rock since last week, Team USA won! It was great to actually be there on Pier 27 during the final race. Not a great vantage point overall but with the big screen to watch and then seeing the boats right after they finished, it was worth the walk.

After the race and a little more data model work at my client’s office, I walked back to the conference to see a final session (for me) given by Gwen Shapira about using solid state disks with Exadata.

I really did not know much about SSDs before this session but feel really educated now. I actually had no idea that SSD and FLASH drives or FLASH memory were the same thing. Guess I was behind on the hardware buzzwords.

Gwen and Mark on Solid State Disk AKA Flash

Gwen and Mark on Solid State Disk AKA Flash

Then it was off to the annual blogger meetup then dinner on the town with friends at The Stinking Rose (thanks Tim!).

I decided to skip the appreciation event this year and take it easy, have a nice dinner, then pack up to head home. Thursday it was breakfast at Lori’s Diner then off to the airport and back home.

As a reminder if you want to see what the buzz was at the events, just check out the hashtags #OOW13 and #OTW13 on twitter (if you had a big data machine you might even be able to generate some insight from those feeds).

Well that’s a wrap for this years big show.

Next up, I will be speaking at the upcoming ECO conference in North Carolina. Should be fun.

Later.

Kent

P.S. If you want to see my OTW presentation, you can find them on Slideshare.

P.P.S. For another great review of OOW13 check out this post by my friend from Turkey, Gurcan. See if you can find my unlabeled cameo in the post.

#OOW13 – Oracle OpenWorld 2013: Pictures, Tweets and more

#OOW13 is well underway now with lots of tweets and blog posts already out on the web. Check the stream on twitter under #oow13 for all the news.

I tried to see some of the Americas Cup race on Saturday but unfortunately the weather and wind did  not cooperate so the race was called for the day. 😦

But got a few pictures to share:

Americas Cup Racing: Team USA

Americas Cup Racing: Team USA

And a  nice view:

Golden Gate from the East Bleachers at the Americas Cup

Golden Gate from the East Bleachers at the Americas Cup

The New Oracle Plaza

Imagine our shock when we learned that there would be no Howard Street Tent this year! The nerve.

But in its place is the open-air Oracle Plaza, full of comfortable seats for hanging out, networking, eating lunch, and watching the keynotes on a big screen. Oracle is really counting on the weather to be typical dry fall weather. Hopefully that holds up.

OOW13: The New Oracle Plaza

OOW13: The New Oracle Plaza

User Group Sunday

I did attend a few sessions on Sunday.

The only session this year (from a user) on my favorite tool, Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler was given by Heli Helskyaho, the CEO of Miracle Finland (@HeliFromFinland).

Heli Helskyaho: Why do I need #SQLDevModler?

Heli Helskyaho: Why do I need #SQLDevModler?

She did an excellent job of introducing folks to SDDM and laid out 9 use cases for using the tool.

9 use cases for #SQLDevModeler

9 use cases for #SQLDevModeler

(Hard to read I know, but zoom in…)

I also attended a session by my buddy Stewart Bryson, who is now the new Chief Innovation Officer for Rittman Mead globaly, Congrats Stewart!

He did an amazing (IMO) talk about how to go beyond agile and achieve Extreme BI. He gave us the beginnings of a complete Oracle-based framework which looks very promising.

He said some heretical things like skip the staging area for your data warehouse! I do think he is on to something and can make it work so we have a real chance at real time BI and still have a solid architectural foundation.

Stewart Bryson's talk about Extreme BI

Stewart Bryson’s talk about Extreme BI

Opening Keynote

Of course the was the opening Keynote by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Key words: #bigdata #inmemory and #AmericasCup (of course). Lots of big news.

Check out this info graphic about the event.

Mark Rittman already did a nice review of the talk (among other things). So rather than repeat check out his post.

And for those interested, right now the Americas Cup standings are USA 5 to New Zealand 8. But that will change later today for sure when they race again.

More to come about #oow13 and this years Oaktable World (#OTW13).

Later.

Kent

The Oracle Data Warrior

P.S. Had a great evening last night at the annual Oracle #ACE dinner which was hosted at the Walt Disney Museum in The Presidio.

Better Data Modeling: Are you making these 3 beginner mistakes in your data models?

There are lots of people in the database industry that end up building data models.

Some of them are very educated and well trained and are professional data modelers and data architects. (If that is you, you can probably skip this article)

Others have learned on-the-job with little or no training or education on modeling concepts or techniques. They may be database administrators or even programmers that got asked to produce a model diagram by their boss or project manager, after the project was delivered (but there was no data modeler on the project ever).

This article is for this last group of folks who may want to improve their knowledge or skill in data modeling.

So here are three of the most common mistakes I have seen over the years:

1. Only defining surrogate keys

Do all your tables have a primary key defined and that primary key is a single column integer generated by the system? That is a surrogate key.

Instead of that, you should be defining a natural, or business, key for every table in your system. A natural key is a an attribute or set of attributes (that occur naturally in the data set) required to uniquely identify a row in that table. In addition you should define a Unique Key Constraint on those attributes in the database. Then you can be sure you will not get any duplicate data into the tables.

CLARIFICATION: This point has caused a lot of questions and comments. To be clear, the mistake here is to have ONLY defined a surrogate key. i believe that even if using surrogate keys is the best solution for your design, you should ALSO define an alternate unique natural key.

2. Using Visio or PowerPoint to draw your data model diagrams

This is all too common when no data modeler has been hired for a project or there is a really tight (as in NO) budget. The result is a pretty picture that gets out of date very quickly and can’t help you generate DDL code to build (or rebuild) the database.

Instead of that, you should either invest in a real data modeling tool (like ERWin), or better still, get Oracle’s totally free SQL Developer Data Modeler (my favorite!). The point being with a real data modeling  tool, you can forward and reverse engineer your database tables, make changes, review them, generate DDL, etc.

3. Not reviewing the model with real business people

Build it and they will come does not work!  How do you even know you are using the right terminology or have defined the relationships correctly if you have not talked to a business person about their data and data needs?

Instead of that, you need to involve business users from the very beginning of the project. You need to either set up 1:1 interviews with key stake holders or better yet have group JAD sessions to discuss the project and have them help you define the data model. That is the best way to get buy in to the end result.

Just avoiding these three rookie mistakes can greatly improve your chance of success.

Bonus Tip:  The best way to avoid these and other common rookie mistakes is to use a pre-defined data model review checklist.

You can get a jump-start on your own check list by downloading  my Kindle book A Checklist for Doing Data Model Design Reviews on Amazon.com.

Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/Check-Doing-Design-Reviews-ebook/dp/B008RG9L5E/, or just search Amazon for author Kent Graziano.

Here’s to building better data models! Are you with me?

Kent Graziano

The Data Warrior

KScope13 Day Three: Crossing Over in New Orleans

Well Tuesday was another fun and fact filled day at the annual ODTUG KScope conference in New Orleans.

As we do each morning, the first event is Morning Chi Gung. This morning the group grew again to 22 participants who met at 6:45 AM (yes it is early) to walk down the street a few blocks to get in some morning moving meditation. Today we even picked up a few “strays” who joined us (folks not part of the KScope event).

Only in New Orleans would people wander by and join an Ad Hoc exercise and meditation class.

I consider that a sign of success. 🙂

After that is was back to the hotel, breakfast, a quick shower, then my first session.

Hands-on Lab

To start off I went to the SQL Developer Hands-on Lab run by Oracle Product Managers Jeff Smith and Ashley Chen. We had a very nice lab (downloadable from OTN) on how to use SQL Developer for Tuning database queries.

It was very education and useful for me. I even learned a few new options in the tool I had not seen before.

Lunch and Learn

Next, after writing yesterday’s blog post, I got to participate it an ODTUG annual session – the BI Panel Lunch and Learn.

This year they improved it by allowing 30 minutes first for everyone to eat before we started the discussions and questions. Much better (at least for us panelists!).

Quite a good audience for the Oracle ACE BI Lunch & Learn Panel discussion

Quite a good audience for the Oracle ACE BI Lunch & Learn Panel discussion

We had a great and interactive session with lots of give and take and a few somewhat controversial comments from Dan Vlamis to liven things up a bit. Our esteemed moderator, Mark Rittman, did an excellent job of prompting us with relevant questions and controlling the flow of the conversation so everyone had their say. Rounding out the panel was Gurcan Orchan, our resident ODI expert (amoung many other things)

Data modeling sessions

After the panel I went on to see my friend Ashely Chen introduce people to SQL Developer Data Modeler in her Data Modeling 101 session.

Oracle Product Manager Ashley Chen presenting Data Modeling 101 with SQL Developer Data Modeler

Oracle Product Manager Ashley Chen presenting Data Modeling 101 with SQL Developer Data Modeler

Ashley dd a great job setting the stage by showing people what is meant by data modeling and how it fits in the life cycle of developing a database. She then showed many of the basic features of Oracle Data modeling tool.

After Ashley’s session then I had my final presentation on my Top 10 Cool Features in SQL Developer Data Modeler. Ashley and Jeff Smith both attended along with 20-30 other folks as I ran down my list of things I use and like in the tool.

The talk went well with some good questions about the product and how to use it (except for the fact I kinda ran out of time and had to rush the last 3 features). I got some great feedback from Jeff and Ashley on the talk and an excellent suggestion for my next talk. 😉

The Hyperion Crossover Session

This was a KScope first -sessions about topics aimed at people on the other side of the fence. So this session was for database people who know nothing about the Hyperion and Essbase products that Oracle acquired a few years back.

It was an excellent session, even if not highly attended (something about being after the happy hour in the exhibit hall perhaps?).

Andy Jorgenson conducts the first ever Hyperion 101 Crossover Session (for database people)

Andy Jorgenson conducts the first ever Hyperion 101 Crossover Session (for database people)

I learned that they are solving many of the same problems as we database people do but just with a different technology. Some of the terms are used a little differently. For example what they label as BI is much broader than I tend to think of – to them it is basic reporting against an ERP. I tend to associate BI with a data warehouse or a data mart (but the data comes from an ERP or operational system originally).

We also got a full list of some of the pre-packased applications that Oracle provides in this space. Very focused on financial solutions.

During the Hyperion 101 session, Andy discussed all the pre-built packaged analytic application that Oracle offers.

During the Hyperion 101 session, Andy discussed all the pre-built packaged analytic application that Oracle offers.

The really cool thing I learned was what Essbase stands for:

Extended SpreadSheet dataBASE

Very telling!

After that it was off to another fine dining experience in the French Quarter.

Probably not going to lose weight on this trip!

C’ya! Tomorrow I should be reporting on our big event!

Kent

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