Monday Oct 08, 2012

Open World Day 4

A Day in the Life of an OpenWorld Attendee Part V

Last day at OpenWorld.  The exhibits are closed, and the final few presentations are being given.  I spent much of the day meeting with customers to talk about SOA/OSB and Coherence.  Main event of the day was the farewell party which was loud and surprisingly well attended.  I was able to have lunch with Dave Felcey, Coherence PM, who has a great blog and is always ready to share his expertise with people.

So that was OpenWOrld for another year.  I met a friend of a friend who attends OpenWorld every year and attends the Demo Grounds with a list of questions to ask people.  I think that illustrates the point that everyone approaches OpenWorld in a different way and looks to get different things from it.  For me OpenWorld is a great experience to feel the energy in Oracle and network with customers and partners.  Hope to see you there next year!

Friday Oct 05, 2012

Open World Day 3

A Day in the Life of an Oracle OpenWorld Attendee Part IV

My third day was exhibition day for me!  I took the opportunity to wander around the JavaOne and OpenWorld exhibitions to see what might be useful for me when selling WebLogic, Coherence & SOA Suite.  I found a number of interesting vendors and thought I would share what I found here.  These are not necessarily endorsements, but observations on companies that I thought had interesting looking products that fill a need I have seen at customers.

Highly Available EBS Upgrades

A few years ago I worked with a customer that was a port authority.  They wanted to tie E-Business Suite into their operations to provide faster processing of cargo and passengers.  However they only had a 2 hour downtime window to perform upgrades.  This was not a problem for core database and middleware technology, this could accommodate those upgrade timescales easily.  It was a problem for EBS however so I intrigued to find Rapid E-Suite Inc offering an 11i to 12i upgrade service that claims to require no outage.  This could be a real boon to EBS customers like my port friends that need to upgrade without disruption to their business.

Mobile on WebLogic

I have come across a number of customers who want a comprehensive mobile solution, connected and disconnected operation and so forth.  ADF only addresses part of these requirements currently so I was excited to discover mFrontiers Inc offering an apparently comprehensive solution that should integrate easily with Oracle SOA Suite to mobile enable a SOA infrastructure.  The ability to operate without a network is important for many applications, particularly in industries that require their engineers to enter buildings to perform maintenance or repairs, because network access is not always available – many of my colleagues don’t have mobile access from their homes because they live in the middle of nowhere – and disconnected support is crucial in these situations.

Sharepoint Connector for WebCenter Content

Obviously Sharepoint is an evil pernicious intrusion into a companies IT estate Winking smile but it is widely deployed and many people like it but also would like to take advantage of Oracle products such as WebCenter Content.  So I was encouraged to see that Fishbowl Solutions have created a connector for Sharepoint that allows it to bring in content from WebCenter, it looks like a valuable way to maintain the Sharepoint interface end users are used to but extend the range of content by pulling stuff (technical term for content) from WebCenter.

 

Load Balancing

The Enterprise Deployment Guides are Oracles bible on building highly available FMW environments, and each of them requires a front end load balancer.  I have been asked to help configure F5 Load Balancers on a number of occasions over my time at Oracle and each time I come back to it I find more useful features have been added to the BigIP line of load balancers that F5 sell, many of their documents are tailored to FMW.  I like F5, they provide (relatively) easy to use products that do what they say on the side of the box.  They may not have all the bells and whistles of some of their more expensive competitors but they do the job and do it well!  Besides which I like their logo!

Other Stuff

I saw lots of other interesting products and services, such as a lightweight monitoring tool for Coherence, Forms migration services, JCAPS migration services and lots of cool freebies to take home to the children!

A Quiet Night

Wednesday night was the partner appreciation event and I had decided to go back to the hotel and have an early night.  I decided to attend the last session of the day – a Maven/Hudson/WebLogic tutorial.  I got the wrong hotel for the session and snuck in 20 minutes late at the back and starting working on the hands on workshop.  One of my co-attendees raised his hand for help and as the presenter came over to help he suddenly stopped and yelled – “Is that Antony”!  It was my old friend Steve Button who used to be based in Redwood Shores but is now a WebLogic guru PM in Australia.  It was good to catch up with him.  As he yelled out a guy with really bad posture turned around to see who he was talking to, this turned out to be my friend Simon Haslan, Oracle ACE from the UK.  After the tutorial Simon and I retired to the coffee shop to catch up and share stories.  2 and half hours later we decided it was time to retire, so much for an early night but great to renew old friendships and find out what real customers are worrying about.

Wednesday Oct 03, 2012

Open World Day 2

A Day in the Life of an Oracle OpenWorld Attendee Part III

My second full day started with me waking up and realising that I was supposed to meet my friend Tejas Joshi (co-author of the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Handbook) at the station in 20 minutes!  Needless to say I didn’t make it, but then I felt better later when I found out he had caught the wrong shuttle bus and ended up at the airport instead of the BART!

The morning was spent in the Authors Seminar arranged to give authors a whirlwind tour of Oracle Product updates and strategy plans.  It was useful to see what was happening in areas I knew little or nothing about.  In the afternoon I wandered around Java One, a very different show to OpenWorld with much more bleeding edge stuff and just plain blue sky thinking.  Of course who couldn’t love a show with a full size Duke wondering around and available for photographs.

Attended a presentation on a highly available Weblogic JMS environment wich did a great job of laying out to architect a highly available solution.

Dinner with customers and then collapsed exhausted into bed!

Tuesday Oct 02, 2012

Open World Day 1 Continued

A Day in the Life of an Oracle OpenWorld Attendee Part II

A couple of things I forgot to mention about yesterdays OpenWorld.

First I attended a presentation on SOA Suite and Virtualization which explained how Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder (OVAB) can be used to accelerate the deployment of an Enterprise Deployment Guide (EDG) compliant SOA Suite infrastructure.  OVAB provides the ability to introspect a deployed software component such as WebLogic Server, SOA Suite or other components and extract the configuration and package it up for rapid deployment into an Oracle Virtual Machine.  OVAB allows multiple machines to be configured and connections made between the machines and outside resources such as databases.  That by itself is pretty cool and has been available for a while in OVAB.  What is new is that Oracle has done this for an EDG compliant installations and made it available as an OVAB assembly for customers to use, significantly accelerating the deployment of an EDG deployment.  A real help for customers standing up EDG environments, particularly in test, dev and QA environments.

The other thing I forgot to mention was the most memorable demo I saw at OpenWorld.  This was done by my co-author Matt Wright who was showcasing the products of his company Rubicon Red.  They showed a really cool application called OneSpot which puts all the information about a single users business processes in one spot!  Apparently a customer suggested the name.  It allows business flows to be defined that map onto events.  As events occur the status of the business flow is updated to reflect the change.  The interface is strongly reminiscent of social media sites and provides a graphical view of business flows.  So how does this differ from BPEL and BPM process flows?  The OneSpot process flow is more like a BAM process flow, it is based on events arriving from multiple sources, and is focused on the clients view of the process, not the actual business process.  This is important because it allows an end user to get a view of where his current business flow is and what actions, if any, are required of him.  This by itself is great, but better still is that OneSpot has a real time updating view of events that have occurred (BAM style no need to refresh the browser).  This means that as new events occur the end user can see them and jump to the business flow or take other appropriate actions.  Under the covers OneSpot makes use of Oracle Human Workflow to provide a forms interface, but this is not the HWF GUI you know!  The HWF GUI screens are much prettier and have more of a social media feel about them due to their use of images and pulling in relevant related information.  If you are at OOW I strongly recommend you visit Matt or John at the Rubicon Red stand and ask, no demand a demo of OneSpot!

OpenWorld Day 1

A Day in the Life of an OpenWorld Attendee Part I

Lots of people are blogging insightfully about OpenWorld so I thought I would provide some non-insightful remarks to buck the trend!

With 50,000 attendees I didn’t expect to bump into too many people I knew, boy was I wrong!  I walked into the registration area and immediately was hailed by a couple of customers I had worked with a few months ago.  Moving to the employee registration area in a different hall I bumped into a colleague from the UK who was also registering.  As soon as I got my badge I bumped into a friend from Ireland!  So maybe OpenWorld isn’t so big after all!

First port of call was Larrys Keynote.  As always Larry was provocative and thought provoking.  His key points were announcing the Oracle cloud offering in IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, pointing out that Fusion Apps are cloud enabled and finally announcing the 12c Database, making a big play of its new multi-tenancy features.  His contention was that multi-tenancy will simplify cloud development and provide better security by providing DB level isolation for applications and customers.

Next day, Monday, was my first full day at OpenWorld.  The first session I attended was on monitoring of OSB, very interesting presentation on the benefits achieved by an Illinois area telco – US Cellular.  Great discussion of why they bought the SOA Management Packs and the benefits they are already seeing from their investment in terms of improved provisioning and time to market, as well as better performance insight and assistance with capacity planning.

Craig Blitz provided a nice walkthrough of where Coherence has been and where it is going.

Last night I attended the BOF on Managed File Transfer where Dave Berry replayed Oracles thoughts on providing dedicated Managed File Transfer as part of the 12c SOA release.  Dave laid out the perceived requirements and solicited feedback from the audience on what if anything was missing.  He also demoed an early version of the functionality that would simplify setting up MFT in SOA Suite and make tracking activity much easier.

So much for Day 1.  I also ran into scores of old friends and colleagues and had a pleasant dinner with my friend from Ireland where I caught up on the latest news from Oracle UK.  Not bad for Day 1!

About

Musings on Fusion Middleware and SOA Picture of Antony Antony works with customers across the US and Canada in implementing SOA and other Fusion Middleware solutions. Antony is the co-author of the SOA Suite 11g Developers Cookbook, the SOA Suite 11g Developers Guide and the SOA Suite Developers Guide.

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