Sunday 21 October 2012

My Oracle Open World Postings

It takes me a while to write my blog postings. I am very envious of those who do them in real time. However finally I am ready to close up the postings.

Before the event I talked about what I had planned and was expecting.

Then as the event finished I tweeted my main learning points which I intended to expand on.

The important messages to me at OOW were:

1. The Cloud - much better position than a year ago, but people were excited then. Then in June with a lot of noise there was an update that didn't really tell us anything, this was an opportunity to really launch the Oracle Cloud. Sadly people are still waiting.......

2. Fusion is doing well, I wrote about its first year in General Availability and to me the take up has been steady and successful. Oracle have added some acquisitions to their Fusion portfolio which is good, and their offerings are having some effect against the competition. I also talked about Oracle needing to have Fusion Applications in the cloud as that is where the biggest competition sits. 

My own Oracle Full Stack
Complete with pluggable database
3. So even though 'I am not technical' I understand why it is important to bring innovation into the database and 12c is about making cloud computing easier. I am a bit confused about how much we are allowed to talk about, at the ACE Director briefings I heard all about the 'Pluggable Database' and what it would do for the database but I was under NDA. At OOW it was talked about by many people but now I hear it is back to secret. So my advice, download anything about 12 now while it is still available.

4. Really important to us all is mobile, and I am glad to see the strategy for Fusion Mobile being explained and even more to be part of the demo team.  Fusion Apps are all about the technology so for me the best development in middleware was ADF mobile.

5. In my tweets I mentioned APEX. This no cost database option is amazing and yet only last week someone asked me how much it cost? Sometimes Oracle have no cost products and people don't take them seriously. In my applications world I would suggest products like Desktop Integrator fall into this category. But this year there was lots of APEX content at OOW and I hope now every developer will not only look at it but show their management the value.

6. If Oracle has the right next generation applications, running in the cloud, developed in the best middleware with the greatest database, then you need the right hardware. Oracle believe Engineered Systems are the answer and sales of Exadata continue to impress. Exalogic and Exalytics are becoming more common.

Oracle announced Exadata X3, 20 times faster than X2 and now available with 1/8 rack rather than 1/4 as entry point. 

7. That nicely brings me to Fujitsu's presence, and I look forward to seeing Larry's prophecy about our Sparc adding even more speed to Oracle systems.

8. I did miss out on many things, there were 2,523 Sessions but in all honesty I made about 3 outside of my own presentations. What I regret not being able to see were the enhancements in EBS. I did see a couple at the ACE Briefings arranged by Elke helps who was an ACE Director but now works for Oracle.

EBS ACE Director sessions with Elke

Oracle showcased no downtime patching for Oracle E Business Suite available after 12.2. This is based on Edition Based Redefinition which has been available in the database for almost 2 years.

Endeca another acquisition that allows analysis in real time of data including unstructured as in twitter feed; I am really excited about the many opportunities for this.

Oracle Open World is a great opportunity to meet up with old friends. Concentrating on Fusion meant apart from these two sessions I didn't get to see Cliff Godwin or Nadia Bendjedou. I did go to an EBS reception to try and catch them but they had left. I caught up with Steven Chan and can't wait till UKOUG2012 when all 3 will be over.

One important message from OOW on EBS was another change in their support policy for EBS and changes to lifetime and extended support. Please read his article it answers a lot of questions, but to me this is just adding confusion. Changing the rules makes it very difficult for people to plan. I know upgrades must be about the business benefit but this doesn't help.

I had a great time at OOW, I was able to be truly mobile with my new tablet and my posting about that has made me popular in the office :-)

Oracle Open World is very intense and a lot of hard work, but it is also fun.

Till next time September 22-26, 2013......... 

Saturday 20 October 2012

My Presentations at Oracle Open World

Another busy, busy year for me but I love it:

First was my session for ODTUG their User Group Sunday Fusion Symposium which I was honoured to kick off, and thanks again Richard for helping out. I am hoping we will repeat in New Orleans for Kscope.

UGF10371 - Usability and Features of Oracle Fusion Applications, Built upon Oracle Fusion Middleware

On the Monday my first session was the technical one on the exhibition show floor, rather a weird experience an open theatre with people just walking past. The theatre held 100 and it was booked out over a week before so I think I was happy. It was only 20 minutes which was long enough.

SBH4843 - How Fujitsu Built Its Oracle Cloud for Its Customers

But then OTN asked me to record a video about how we had worked together on this.  

Talking to OPNs Steve Lemme about Cloud Building
Fujitsu US asked me to talk to our customers about what Fusion means to their organisations, this is me at my best and I talked without slides. Loved doing this.
Tuesday I had no sessions to give, but Wednesday was jam packed. It started with my Fujitsu sponsored session. I was showcasing the offerings we have in the UK, and how it can make a difference. It was a good crowd but I would have liked more. The press were in the session and their article was picked up by most of the technical journals and I was really proud.
And finally at 5pm on Wednesday I got to redo my Consolidation presentation again from last year. This is a pictures only presentation and I had really great feedback last year and the EMEA usergroups voted for this to be accepted this year again. It is light hearted and great for the end of the day before the party!

CON3543 - Consolidation for the Cloud

At the time of posting these links are active for downloads. You do not need an account to access them. 

Fujitsu at Oracle Open World

Two years ago Fujitsu were marquee sponsors and their first ever keynote was good, about us as an organisation, so this year with Fujitsu as Global Sponsor I was really excited about what they would say.

This year's keynote was the first of the conference and I loved it, great fun being sat at the front with Fujitsu and our customers.

Noriyuki Toyoki gave the keynote and you can watch it here;  it centred on Project Athena the next generation of Sparc and its use in Big Data; however it also talked about Fujitsu in our society and was very well received. (Project Athena about 20 minutes in).
In the keynote Oracle’s Andy Mendelssohn talked about how Exadata minimises the IO to storage and Athena will reduce the CPU time.

Listen and watch Larry Ellison promise that “next year the Fujitsu chip will run the Oracle database faster than any other processor on the planet by moving software functions to the silicon “  ( first minute).

What I liked was that the keynote was of interest rather than too marketing. There certainly was no competition baiting. They used the keynote to get people's attention about the company, the people, the possibilities and then the research, inviting people to come back and learn about the product.

The follow up session from Goro Watanabe, SVP R&D Centre received good press  

As part of our sponsorship package, along side the keynote and executive solution sessions above we had 4 general sessions and the approach we took was to showcase from the regions. My session was about what we do in the UK. 

Colleagues from N America talked about work done there with Consumer Packaged Goods customers and more on the SPARC relationship with Oracle. We talked about Exadata success in the Caribbean, which I was lucky enough to visit in July.  

We had a big sized stand, and lots of people came to see the prototype server, which as well as a glass case also included real gold plating.


The star of our booth though was the robotic teddy bear.  As he appears more and more around the world, he is becoming quite famous.

Another thing I liked on our stand was the back wall. It was covered in post it notes showing our specializations. We have more than any other partner which I am really pleased about. if you are a partner you know the process isn't simple. The program is being enhanced this year which basically means we have to do even more. More work for me :)

Me and Chie from out Tokyo HQ

Fujitsu's sponsorship also included entertainment, the opening event and the appreciation party. Great for me, I got VIP tickets and enjoyed the bands from the front. I had a wonderful time and it is great to be able to let your hair down towards the end of a very busy week.

Thursday most people are packing up, but we like most global partners take the opportunity to have Fujitsu meetings. The chance to catch up in person with people we only speak to on the phone most of the year. Our Oracle account managers also came by, and it was a very busy day that ended with the traditional dinner.

I am very proud of working for Fujitsu, the support they give me and user groups.

At the time of posting these links are active for downloads. You do not need an account to access them.


Saturday 13 October 2012

Don't Tell Larry He Thinks We're Working!

Work hard play hard, that old conference motto, although I prefer Mogens' - "80% serious (technical) stuff and 80% fun (drinking). How do you manage the 160%? You skip the sleep..."

I am so privileged to have so many friends in my network, through user groups, the OTN ACE Program, speakers, users, colleagues in Fujitsu and even Oracle itself. Friends from all over the world who I hope to see at OOW.

So what did I get up to off the show floor in the 12 days I spent at Redwood Shores and Moscone Centre?


Dinner with great friend Misha Vaughan on my first evening, the calm before the storm. I love Redwood Shores, I love the walk from the hotel, the view of Oracle never disapoints.

Dinner with the Fusion User Experience Team. Then thursday pizza with those arriving early at HQ for the ACE briefings. Did Dan Morgan really order all that pizza, and did it survive the way he carried it home?

Helping to polish the mimic skills of the ACE Directors as they collectively chant "I'm not technical but..."


Chi Gung with Kent Graziano at the Sofitel. I told them we were being watched from the windows and they laughed at me. Thanks Sheeri for taking the photo from your room.

Enjoying the ACE queue to check in at the Hilton, the must do, not to, be missed, activity for a Friday evening. This video from Eddie Awad is from last year but is almost identical.

Cycling the bridge with Alex Nujiten and Stanley, I did this a few years ago but threw away my camera and had no evidence. Meeting Simon Haslam and Markus Eisele on the ferry home.

Continuing the energetic theme we walked back to Union Square and I continued to Townsend for the OakTable party. This annual event normally hosted by Graham Wood was this year held in town and wonderfully organised by Doug Burns. I leave Tim Hall to tell you about it.

Oh dear, at the party I discovered that Kevin Clossan was not who I thought he was. I thought Kerry Osborne was Kevin, pity this ACE video wasn't available earlier. Anyway Kerry laughed and Kevin did eventually forgive me.


Sunday evening was the ACE Dinner at the yacht club and a chance to say hi to so many people and for Stanley to party with friends.

Monday morning thanks to Oraclenerd Chet, I swam in the. Bay, yes you read that correctly I swam in San Francisco Bay! They told me it would be freezing so I bought a wetsuit but actually although cold I didn't need it. I really enjoyed it except for the fact we had no photographer to record the momentous milestone. Even more amazing was that Mogens turned up first, not surprising at all was that he bought his infamous bathrobe.

After the swim Connor McDonald who is seriously in training for an English channel swim in 2014, and I went off to get the cable car back to our hotel. Sheeri and Kent joined us and we wind dried on the way back. Sheeri was quite scarry as she simply doesn't hold on even though she stood on the platform all the way back.


Being such a long day and I skipped most parties for a quiet drink with Lillian and Vikki from OTN and then a quick visit to the friends of Pythian reception. How can you not enjoy a reception held in a bar that stocks Mount Gay Rum?


Tuesday evening I went on a cruise with the Oracle Partner Network and was actually very well behaved. I thought it was going to be a real session when I spotted the rum sign ( can you see a pattern emerging ) but it was just a cruel joke. I formed a new alliance between IBM and Fujitsu as Fiona and I put the world to rights and then paid far to much for a limo home, determined not to be led astray (on this occasion) by other OPN characters.


Wednesday morning another session of Chi Gung watched this time by local Chinese experts in the Yerba Buena Gardens followed by an excellent french breakfast. However not sure I liked the idea of drinking coffee from a bowl!

Later was the bloggers' meetup, sponsored by Pythian and I was lucky enough to win an America's Cup Oracle Jacket but I'm not saying how!

Wednesday was the appreciation event and as Fujitsu were sponsors I had VIP tickets. I thought Kings of Leon would be my favourite but actually Pearl Jam were brilliant and the guitarist amazing.

The new jacket came in handy for Treasure Island where the event is held. It was great to see the boats in the bay along side the rides.

Thursday morning I had breakfast with my friend Sue Shaw at Mels Diner ( no trip to San Fran is complete without this ritual).

I popped into the OakTable Closed World or whatever name Mogens wants to try and be controversial with this year. The venue, was excellent. My only concern was it allowed the Doug Burns to project an godly image of Mogens on the ceiling which was probably about the correct size for his head.


Thursday evening I attended the annual Fujitsu Dinner in Forrinas, a fantastic Italian on 18th. Then afterwards I had a quick drink with Marcelle and Alex.

Friday morning I said goodbye to the Dutch. I loved it when they left, not because I wanted them to go, I didn't I love them, but because I could go back to feeling tall. I would also like to congratulate Marco for tricking me into buying the Coffee for Roel, not that I minded.

Friday afternoon I enjoyed the sights of San Francisco and had the most amazing flat bread at the Cheesecake Factory in Macy's.

Saturday after the luxury of a lie in I had coffee with a few stragglers from Germany and after they left went shopping, then it was time to hit the airport and go home myself.

Yes I worked hard, but I did enjoy the craic as we say here in Norn Iron.

Friday 12 October 2012

I Love My Fujitsu Tablet - Tales from OOW

I was so honoured to get the opportunity to demo the Fusion Fuse mobile apps at Oracle Open World. Initially I was using the presenters laptop so it was projected on the screen but when a peer was presenting another app, someone in the audience wanted to see them on an actual mobile device, "did we have an iPad" he called out. As I was following the demo on my tablet, I was able to hold that up and show him it working. "It's android" I said, "from Fujitsu". I was really proud.

Let me tell you a little bit more. As you know I work for Fujitsu. I may also have mentioned that 'I am not technical', however since Oracle bought Sun I have had to learn a little about the hardware as Fujitsu manifacture Sparc that is used in their M series. Fujitsu also manufacture laptops and increasingly tablets. At our own conference in Munich last November one of the most popular products was a waterproof tablet. Lots of people playing in a trough of water.

Recently we launched a new android tablet the Stylist M532, and I had the opportunity to use one for a day in our London HQ. It was so light, much lighter than my iPad and although I wasn't android savvy seemed very easy to use. So I ordered one and thought 'I like this'.

I travel; I travel a lot, so what I need is something that has great battery life and is easy to carry around. It is no good if it is in addition to my laptop, it needs to be instead.

I spent a few hours loading all the apps that I had on my iPad and was happy with all them, in fact TweetDeck and Facebook are in my opinion better on android.

On the downside, if you have a lot of music on iTunes you have to reload it all for android, but I don't so for me it wasn't a problem. What I do miss is the ability to create a screenshot. On iPad it is part of the device but on android apparently you need an app, and as yet I have not found the right one for me, but that is my lack of techncal ability showing and I have colleagues here looking for me.

At first the battery life didn't seem too great, if I use it from unplugging I do get 6+ hours of work, what I am looking for on a longhaul flight but if it sat in my bag overnight a fair bit had already gone. However that turned out to be because my email was set to sync every 15 minutes. I changed it to sync on demand and it got much better but switching to aeroplane mode before I turn off solves the issue completely; again probably not the easiest answer but it works for me.

The big test was Oracle Open World. Could I attend pre briefings and a conference for 7 days, take notes and manage the hundreds of emails I get each day just on the tablet?

The answer is simply YES.

First, I actually find typing easier than on my iPad, I think part of that is because it is easier to hold in my hand, because it is thinner and lighter.

The tablet is defiantly more attractive, perhaps this is because I am an evangelist and loved the Fujitsu red bevel, although my Oracle friends thought it was for them.

Email was great and I was even able to work well enough to file emails in folders (I use exchange) and I certainly didn't feel the need to shorten responses like I do my my phone.

I wrote blogs and notes on my tablet and as I said typing was much easier. I had invested in a generic stylus for my iPad especially for when I was on a plane, and to be honest that doesn't work as well on the tablet, but because typing is easier I don't have the need.

The most impressive thing I have to say was the plug. Please don't laugh but the power pack has interchangeable pins, nothing unusual there,and as a traveller ideal, but the magic is that you can put the pin plate in two ways, thus changing the orientation of the power pack. When you have many geeks sharing a power strip this was very popular. Absolutely brilliant.

My tablet has Mobile Data security protocols so I can use it for work email (don't ask me what they are, but for instance I cannot change time out times and must have a 6 character password),and I also use it for VPN, no problem on either.

Another thing it does which I love is that if I am connected to the Internet on one session and then later come back to the same wifi network  it will remember the sign in details so I don't have to re-enter. That was very important at OOW because the wifi was so poor you kept being dropped. In fact the poor wifi meant I couldn't trial tweeting as much as I wanted. It does have a 3G card and that also works well but I don't have one for the US and Fujitsu may love me but not enough to rack up huge data roaming costs, so I didn't try that.

I did have another problem with the tablet, on the stand it appeared that I could not use it and the power cable at the same time, but I mentioned that to a more technical colleague and he suggested I switch on the auto rotate. Guess what, it worked!

I have to disclose that I am not being paid to write this but if Fujitsu want to give me another tablet my daughter would love one :) #ILoveMyJob

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Fusion Apps Go Mobile

One of the things that resonated with me about OOW was how the Fusion Applications are driving the development through the stack and no where is as obvious as the middleware. In fact in all my presentations I talk about Fusion Applications being a window on FMW.

At OOW ADF mobile was launched, the ability to code once and deploy across a range of mobile devices. Oracle must have been listening to me as they very cleverly had put ADF developers into the User Experience team to create apps for Fusion ahead of the launch. The team headed by fellow Brit VP Jeremy Ashley understand users and they have the skills to understand what works well as a mobile app. 

But lets step back a minute, Oracle have 3 kinds of mobile delivery for Fusion. 

These are not simply putting Fusion Applications onto mobile, it is NOT a rewrite after just a year as I have heard asked. 

Fusion Tap is Fusion Applications deployed for Tablets; it was demonstrated by Chris Leone SVP for Fusion Applications at OOW, but if you missed it watch this excellent video. Fusion Tap is a single app that recognises all the security and access of your Fusion Applications implementation and most importantly also works offline.

Oracle ADF builds the Cloud Apps for Mobile Web. The new face of Fusion (Project Fuse, is the internal name) are example apps written using ADF. Using ADF means that you can deploy a browser based application on any device, tablet, desktop, netbook etc. These are applications that make life simple for casual or mobile users. They don't replace the professional interface and as explained by Jeremy, think of what you do on your smartphone, you may use an airlines full site for browsing and selecting flights but once booked the mobile apps on the go and in your pocket allow for checking flight status and online check in.

A great pride of mine is being the catalyst for the FXA program run by Misha Vaughan in Jeremy's team, these Fusion User Experience Advocates are all from the ACE program and are experts from across the middleware (plus me ) who have an in depth understanding of not just the product and technology but also the science behind usability.

Me and a 'salesperson'
Last year the training was extended to a group of internal people under the SAMBA (Sales Ambassadors) banner. Working with sales people can be a challenge for me :-) but actually this team is really about sales specialists who are called upon to explain the product rather than the pricing. Not much different from me then (just don't tell them).

We had another day of training on the Wednesday before OOW, before the ACE director briefings (OOW is a bit like Christmas, we start the process earlier and earlier every year).

This time we looked further at the extensibility of the  applications and of course we spent time learning about and how to demo the Fuse applications. Oracle loaded them onto iPads and onto my new Fujitsu android tablet. Initially ADF mobile has iPad and browser support, so on the android I am using a browser version but it behaves identically. 

One of the highlights of my OOW was when Jeremy asked 3 of the FXA team, Basheer Khan, Edward Roske and myself to demo these applications in his general session. What really impressed me was the number of ADF developers who attended the session, backing my theory about Fusion Applications being the window on the technology. One of these developers Wilfred vander Deijl  filmed the demo.

The third category of mobile are specific smartphone apps. I  have the Fusion expenses app loaded on my iPhone which was written in native java and uses OCR to scan receipts and I must of scanned most of the issued receipts in San Francisco during OOW showing people the functionality.

I do love my fellow ACE Directors and it seems I gave them plenty of entertainment:

Note. In an earlier draft of this post I incorrectly stated that Fusion FUSE was ADF Mobile. It is ADF but the project started before ADF Mobile was available. ADF Mobile as a tool makes the process of developing and deploying mobile apps even easier.

Monday 8 October 2012

Fusion Applications One Year On

Last year we had the Fusion Nation at OOW11 and General Availability was finally announced. 12 months on, how are they doing?

Let me get my annoyances out of the way first:

Steve Miranda updating ACE Program on Fusion
When I or the average Oracle user thinks of Fusion Applications we think of the next generation of ERP written by Oracle. Oracle on the other hand include their recent acquisitions such as Taleo and Right Now. There is nothing wrong in this, they are Java based and next generation, they bring great functionality and are a great adition to the portfolio but are confusing the story. Oracle talked about 400 customers but if we are talking those they have written, which is important for understadnding uptake, then it is closer to 200. That is not a negative, in fact the opposite. The ability to go through a thorough analysis of the offering, the procurement process and implementation for new applications takes time.

Second clarification, the 100 applications, these are modules and again just confuses the audience, however if you think about how we use apps on smart phones it makes sense.

But my most fustrating issue about the Oracle marketing machine is the claim that they have been writting for the Cloud for the last 7 years. Just a few years ago Larry was saying he wasn't interested in the Cloud and yet 2012 was all about he Cloud.

Apps Dev Meg Bear and I
Having had my rant, let me tell you what I loved. There are real customers and they love the product. I did read an article that suggested one customer was unhappy, but if you read it, they like the product they just want faster progress and a clearer definition of strategy. One area they specifically talked about was mobile and I will cover that in a later post about useability.

The Cloud story is getting clearer, much better than the 6th June event, although I was worried that in Larry's 2nd keynote he had not seen the slides before he arrived on stage. His explanation about multi tennancy and 12c database made complete sense. Most compeditors do this at application level, Oracle currently achieve it at virtualization but when 12c is available it will be at datbase level, the most secure and efficient solution. Interestingly many of their competitors use Oracle databases so it will be available to them too.

I gave a private session on Fusion Applications with a group of Fujitsu customers and the conversation was great. People are now seriously thinking about their roadmap for the next few years, and I hope I am able to help with an indepndant viewpoint. 

Warning: This is my opinion and please make sure you discus your needs with your account manager as this is a very complex area and there are many different things to consider for the individual.

Th Only ACE in the Village

I am very open about my love of the ACE program and honest that it funds many of my speaking opportunities.In return for this I agree to engage with Oracle Product Development, attend their briefings and share the knowledge. Not really much of a commitment, I love the sharing and who wouldn't want to have the product management access?

The briefings take place the Thursday and Friday before Open World and are an in depth summary (is that an oxymoron?). People like Thomas Kurian, Steve Miranda, Amit Zavery and Wim Coekaerts give up an hour of what is probably their busiest few days in the run up to the conference and give you their messages. Many are to be told for the first time at OOW so luckily we have Duncan Mills on hand to constantly remind us of our NDAs.

By the end of the two days I have all the big messages, have had the privilege of hearing it from the best people and then having my peers who are experts in those areas ask the clever questions. Even if I had time at OOW to attend all their sessions I would not have had this insight. There is open debate over product direction and sometimes passionate dispute but please Oracle never stop these briefing their value is priceless.

It is also a great time to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Again we may not have the chance once the OOW circus starts for real. I particularly liked catching up with Plinio from Peru who I had the privilege to meet in Costa Rica on the Latin America North OTN tour this year. Thank you for the Tequila :-)

There is also an ACE party on the Sunday evening this time at the Yacht Club and I also then got to catch up with Paola from Equador, Pablo from OTN LA and many others I have met over the years. Please don't judge me if I cannot remember everyone's name.

At OOW the ACE leaders, Vikki, Lillian and Todd run the OTN lounge and I did have a couple of very short opportunities to hang out there. A haven with a desk and power amongst the 50,000 attendees and of course free T shirts.

I also got a chance to help Vikki with an OTN Live video talking about the ACE program, and was asked if I was 'the only ACE in the village' but the interviewer talked about where I live. A tiny village in Northern Ireland called Ballynure

Sunday 7 October 2012

What I Learnt at Oracle Open World

My thoughts as captured at #OOW, pity it shows my lack of being able to count to 10!
Blogs on the detail to follow.

Union Square from the Cheesecake Factory at Macy's

#1 Fusion Apps use of Mobile ADF is really cool, loved being the demo babe in their presentation #ukoug

#2 Although I am not technical love the #fujitsu athena project and yes that was real gold plating 

#3 Larry certainly believes in the cloud now, to be fair having seen OPN model there is a lot of thought in it

#4 12c looks good and people who know about the database seem to like it

#5 for a no cost option APEX got a lot of airtime, and still don't understand why more people don't use it

#5 Endeca rocks, saw it running with EBS and is a game changer

#6 Cant believe never saw Nadia Benjedou to speak to, sneaked in back of her session which was full but couldn't stay

#7 no downtime EBS patching, love that time to restart servers called 'cutover' but seriously EBR for EBS is excellent

#8 still in shock I presented about OEM and OVM but heh, even us non techies need to know about what it does

#9 love to demo Fusion Expenses, have now scaned most receipts in the city and filled the demo databased :) #FXA

#10 the #OTN #ACE Director program is awesome, thankyou for bringing us to #OOW and all the great opportunities to learn (writeup)