My experience of UKOUG TECH15 (UK Oracle User Group Technology Conference 2015)

>> Wednesday 16 December 2015

This year's UK Oracle User Group Technology Conference took place in Birmingham.

I went on the middle day of the 3 (4 including super Sunday) day event.

The agenda is huge on every day.  There are 7 streams: Database, Apex&DB Dev, Big Data and Warehousing, Business Analytics, Engineered Systems, Integrations and Collaboration, Operating Systems, Virtualisation, Web&Mobile apps, Keynotes and General Cross Topic.  And within those streams there are different presentations happening all day, each day - that's a lot to choose from.

So remembering that Apps15 and JDE15 are also happening at the same time you start to get a feel for how huge it is.

In fairness I rarely use this word's awesome (!)

I sat down with a print out of the streams I was interested in and a highlighter pen and planned my day in advance.

I plumped for:

Women in IT Breakfast : Debra Lilley and Evolution
Advanced ASH Analytics ASH Masters:  Marcin Przepiorowski
Keynote: Oracle Database 12c What's next?
Oracle Flashback: Connor McDonald
Adaptive dynamic sampling : Christian Antognini
Interpreting AWR Reports:  Franck Pachot
Just Don't Do it: Jonathon Lewis
Evolution of performance Management: Oracle 12c Adaptive optimization: Nelson Calero

The mobile app for the conference works well, you tell it your agenda and it tells you where to go and when, simples.  The full agenda is on it to look through, the speaker lists and you can leave feedback for the presentations through it.

It was a full day 8am to 5:30pm with little break.  I admit to being brain fried by the end of the day.  Whilst all the presentations were worthwhile, I have to say that Connor and Franck made the day worth its weight in membership fee and travel time.

I find it hard to explain the value of this type of training...yes, it is training.  Some of it is sound bite, some of it is in-depth, all of it excites me, all of it motivates me to want to use these things in my day to day work and yes, they motivate me to work smarter....I suspect most people attending feel the same way.

I'm not sure you could keep up the level of presentation attendance I did in one day for 3 (or 4) full days but there are other 'diversions'.

There was a set of challenges through the 'conference explorer' for each day to enter a prize draw (and get scores on the doors), some involved visiting exhibitor stands, getting selfies, tweeting stuff, finding stuff in the app, meeting new people.  I quite like things like that.

The loudest exhibitor stand seemed to by the golfing area that had putting for pounds.  Clever draw.  As popular as the Scalextric a few years ago.

There was the drinks in the conference hall after the days work and that was followed by the Big Birmingham Bash.  I didn't stay for the bash and I know very little of it,  I suspect what happens in Birmingham stays in Birmingham!!

 Badges have become quite the thing and there were many 'in house' and 'out of house' ones to be collected.

Part of the draw for me for the UKOUG is the incredible community it is.  I now know people that go to these events I am proud to call my friends.  Of course the good and the great are there to be spoken to (So many ACEs, Masters, OakTable members) but also the people I talk to a lot on social media (there may be some cross over there!).  The people that help each other as problems present themselves across the year.  The person that responds to a twitter beg when you really can't find something in a manual, the ones who write all those great blog posts you've been cribbing off all year.  It's a great opportunity to give them a hug/whiskey/wide berth* (delete as appropriate based on last interaction.)

As I said to one twitter friend, you'll spot me I'm playing 'Where's Wally' but in monochrome!

One year I swear I will get there for the full conference! Now that really would be quite awesome but I think I would have to go for the full red and white stripes.

If you are a member of the UKOUG and get a conference pass but don't use it: huge mistake - no, seriously - just go - get that training and networking in.

If you aren't a member of the UKOUG you should look at joining.  If you are working for a company there are many ways you can talk to them about justifying the cost of membership.

For me this one day taught me that we can use Flashback data archive now and it is a good solution for some of my archiving woes.  I found out I knew more about Sharding and other up and coming changes than the guy from Oracle that comes into my company to brief us on new features. I got more confident about the way I interpret AWR, and I have already seen Adaptive Sqlplans in explain plans I've been looking at and thought "ahhhh I know what you are and how you got there!"

It's all good.


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