Log Buffer #17: A Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs

Nov 3, 2006 / By David Edwards

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Welcome to the 17th edition of Log Buffer, the weekly, human-edited review of news from the database blogosphere. There’s a lot to cover this week and not a moment to waste, so let’s begin.

That 800-pound gorilla, Oracle Open World, has trundled back to its jungle home for another year, and a lot of bloggers this week are talking about their encounter with it. Here are the stories, with some of their opinions and thoughts on highlights quoted.

OTN Techblog’s Justin Kestelyn: “…this was clearly a ‘consolidation’ show … (the Unbreakable Linux) announcement took nearly everyone by surprise.”

Orclville’s Floyd Teter: “I have been PowerPointed into a gelatinous blob of bullet-point overload… I probably got at least as much new information from…attendees as from the Oracle presentations … the Beta release of the 11g database and the entry of Oracle into the Linux marketplace are…noteworthy.”

Oracle BI, Data Warehousing and Databases’ Mark Rittman: …I couldn’t help feeling underwhelmed by the news of Oracle Database 11g. … (It) doesn’t exactly seem groundbreaking so far, nothing in there particularly to get you all excited.…”

The Tom Kyte Blog: “The conference was pretty good … I gave three talks at OOW … In each and every one – at least one cell phone went off. … Just turn them off please.”

Blogging About Oracle: “…every hour these 40,000 people moved their way from one room to another… And still they managed to feed all these attendees without creating long waiting lines. … The most irritating thing was that a lot of people… kept their cell phones on with really loud ringtones. And even dared to pick up the phone when it rang and talked out loud!”

Peter K‘s blog: …this year’s last day saw some drama where some of the street folks managed to get hold of attendee badges (probably from the trash after the attendees had discarded them) and got into the building.”

FeuerThoughts‘s Steven Feuerstein: “Awe-inspiring and quite overwhelming … There are…the magicians, the mugglers, the masseurs, the mini-arcade games, the barristas, and rarely but still occasionally the scantilly clad attractive women who no doubt are also ace PL/SQL developers. … Live penguin steals Larry’s show”.

Larry’s show. Penguins. This has to do with Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, and his momentous introduction of Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux (UL), of course. A pretty big deal — likely a major step forward for the acceptance of Linux in the mainstream. Maybe the death knell of Red Hat? Or an affirmation of it? Is Oracle preparing to acquire Red Hat? Lots of questions, and lots of opinions to go with them.

Like me, Peter K recalled that Unbreakable Linux is not a new coinage: “I did a search on “Unbreakable Linux” and found the following article dated June 2, 2002…when Larry Ellison (Oracle), Michael Dell (Dell Computers), and Matthew Szulik (Red Hat CEO) jointly announced ‘Unbreakable Linux’ … What was interesting was the quote by Matthew Szulik at that time, ‘Boy it feels awfully good to get here, I guess you could call this an ‘Unbreakable’ partnership.’”

On An Expert’s Guide to Oracle Technology, Lewis Cunningham points to an article that “raises some points that (he) hadn’t thought of. Most specifically how this might tie into Oracle’s plans for a data warehouse appliance.”

Perspectives on Database Management’s Craig Mullins: “(The) market for Solaris-based servers has cooled due, in large part, to the advances of Linux. I mean, why pay a premium for a Unix (Solaris) server from Sun when you can run your Oracle server on a Linux x86 box? So this move will not help Sun.”

Following up on his Bull*&#% blog, Dave Dargo writes, “Perhaps this is all about damaging Red Hat’s market capitalization and not about enabling Linux in the enterprise. The latter, by the way, has already been done. … Red Hat’s value is in the support and services infrastructure they built up, it’s not in the bits and bytes that make up Linux. That value can’t be exchanged for a lower-cost provider in under a minute.” He also mentions his own intimate involvement with Oracle’s Linux programme, and why that informs his disapproval of their recent move.

On The Dizwell Blog, Howard Rogers has an early, and not favourable, review of Unbreakable Linux.

The AMIS Technology Blog‘s Marco Gralike offers some links to ISOs for UL. A commenter makes a worthwhile point: “Surely what Oracle is offering is a distro – Centos and Whitebox do the same (less in fact, they only rebadge and compile binaries, Oracle are adding bugfixes) and we call these distros; regardless of what Oracle are saying, this is an Oracle Linux distro, albeit one that aims to provide binary compatibility with Red Hat.”

On We Do Not Use Blogs, Moans Nogood has posted a provocative piece on what he calls “Oracle prostitutes”. And if that doesn’t pique your curiosity, no summary I could write will.

The Integrigy blog has a piece about the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) and Oracle’s recent adoption of it for its critical patch updates.

Markus Popp’s db4free.net blog has an item reminding us about HowToForge that links to some MySQL HOWTOs there.

You may remember the big announcement from a couple weeks ago — MySQL AB’s Enterprise Edition/Community Edition plan. Bob Field of Bob’s World has this to say: “What I see is added value for paying customers, better reasons for purchasing the paid edition, a focusing of MySQL’s resources to better develop the product as well as to devote support to their customers, and importantly, an enabling of the community to be even greater participants than before.”

Sheeri Kritzer, on her My-ess-queue-ell vs. My-see-quell, expresses her opinion that the new arrangement will not amount to a degradation of the (now) Community Edition of the MySQL DMBS. “(The) fact is that the Community Edition IS reliable in an enterprise-level system.”

Zack Urlocker reports that “Traffic at www.mysql.com has continued to increase and over the last few months, we’ve broken into the top 500 websites according to Alexa.” on TheOpenForce.com blog. MySQL seems to go from strength to strength. Also, their user community is very strong and inter-connected, while that of their main open source rival, PostgreSQL, is less so — I find it difficult to get at good blog posts about it. But I do try.

Here is David Fetter‘s blog’s weekly list of Postgres links.

On zillablog, Robert Treat has an item singing the praises of using dtrace in concert with Postgres.

On An Expert’s Guide to DB2 Technology, Chris Eaton has a treat of an item on the tricky (and DBMS-non-specific) “hallowe’en problem” in databases.

What edition of Log Buffer would be complete without a link to a piece on Chris Foot‘s Oracle 10g Blog? This one, on Using Deductive Reasoning and Communication Skills to Identify and Solve Performance Problems.

There’s a new kid on the blog — Jonathan Lewis, and his blog is the Oracle Scratchpad. Here’s a post of his on the virtues of clarity. And clarity and clarity.

Finally, here are some noteworthy items on our Pythian Group Blog. Alex Gorbachev has a piece about broccoli (my favourite vega-table), and how Oracle data pump can’t import LONG columns.

And Shakir Sadikali writes about using the Oracle wait interface to troubleshoot I/O issues. And about broccoli.

Okay, that’s all for now. I’m going to go massage my wrists. See you in a week!

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