Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Critical Success Factors of BIWA Summit 2008

While we had a Panel focusing on the Critical Success Factors of BI Implementations, I though I would list the CSF's of the BIWA conference here. Since, this was the second BIWA Summit, we had some history behind us. However, just like Jeanne Harris said the biggest fallacy "if you will build a DW, they will come" - the conferences have to deal with the same issues. With a fairly successful inagural BIWA Summit in 2007, we kind of assumed the same attitude, you organize a BIWA Summit and the attendees will come. As we got closer to the event, we had to re-look the strategy and go out and "Push" the information to attract more attendees. Finally, we managed to attract attendees from all over as shown in the visual that Dan Vlamis created for the opening ceremony.

We realised there is no substitute for experience in hosting a conference. To list a few we had Dan Vlamis the conferece chair with 26 years of experience in the field related to Oracle technologies. Dan has been a member of user groups for a while. Among the Oracle Advisors, Charlie Berger, has organized several events for Life Sciences User group and has been involved with BIWA from very early stages. Karl Rexer, has been on the organization of KDD and related conferences. We were also very lucky to have the presence of Ian Abramson (President of IOUG) and Tony Jedlinski (IOUG Board member) to share their experiences, each having 10+ years of involvement with IOUG/Collaborate.

Our CFO, Matt Vranicar, who is President of Piocon, managed the finances of the event, to make sure we can support the event without a "stimulus package" from Larry! Rich Solari, who is now part of Deloitte, has a 10 yr history with Oracle, helped to us find the first ever Platinum Sponsor IBM. I was quite surprised with the existing relationship that IBM has with Oracle, as outlined by Marty in the Welcome to the Platinum Reception talk. Unlike last year, we were able to throw the reception at the end of Day with the help of the contributions from the Platinum sponsorship.

BIWA Board has been weaker in the involvement from the West Coast. This was all the more important for Summit 2009 due to the Oracle HQ based event. However, presence of John Haydu in the Oracle HQ and the 20 years of experience of Lynda Yana of Oracle Marketing, was quite useful to us.

Alissa Kang, has been the link of the BIWA Board to the Education industry and has been able to send the message out to the Higher Education folks. As for myself, my involement with IOUG pre-dates BIWA or my direct involement with Oracle. My first IOUG conference was in summer of 2003 at Orlando that got me interested enough to speak at Oracle Openworld in Sep 2003. The RAC SIG was launched in the same event. When I was invited to launch the BIWA SIG in Summer of 2006 at Collaborate (Nashville, TN), I knew I could use some of the "best practices" from the RAC SIG, such as the periodic webcast. However, BIWA SIG has been a pioneer in its own annual event. However, for the regional Oracle user groups, a periodical in-person meeting is not a complex event.

Apart from help from within the BIWA and IOUG community, we received help from the ODTUG, NCOUG and BI SIG of OAUG, to get their advice and help in spreading the word out. I think all these were our Critical Success Factors for the BIWA Summit 2008.

BIWA Summit 2008 - Bloggers Coverage

Last Year Mark Rittman was a keynoe speaker and he blogged the event, this time Peter Scott created some blog entries .

However, unlike blogging by the speakers themselves, we encouraged media to blog about the event. Here are a few of these blog entries:

The blog by James Taylor
Live from BIWA Summit - Competing on Analytics
Powering Next-Generation Predictive Applications with Oracle Data Mining (ODM)
Critical Success Factors for successful BI and analytic implementations
From Data Warehousing to Strategic Data Assets
Getting to the Right Price with Oracle Data Mining
Oracle's BI Strategy
Intelligent OLAP: Data Mining and OLAP
Fraud Detection with Oracle Data Mining

BIWA Summit 2008 a recap

First of all Thanks to all the attendees, speakers and Sponsors/Partners for making this event a success!

The BIWA Board deserves an applause for working for close to an year to organize this event. While it is hard to single out any particular Board member, we decided to award Mark Hornick and Tony Jedlinski - the BIWA 'Haydu' Contribution Award for 2008.

BIWA SIG as a user driven group, tries to balance the voice of the actual users, vendors and the Oracle Product managers, VP's etc. Being not too long after the announcement of Oracle HP Machine with Exadata storage, it was inevitable to avoid the presence of Exadata in a far too obvious way. It is indeed a "BIG" invention, just to highlight how big is the 'X' box, I took the picture with me in the frame!

However, is the real word ready for Exadata, or there are other choices for the companies in 1-25 TB range? Our Platinum Sponsor IBM, helped ot fill that space. They showcased their tight relationship with Oracle as hardware vendors. The Optimised Warehouse Intiative (OWI) serves the customers in that space. IBM can ship the H/W compoments for the refernce configurations or the fully functional optimised stack for Oracle Data warehouses. Others in this space are HP, SGI, Sun, Dell/EMC etc. While none of the other H/W vendors were present as sponsors, Pillar Data was a new discovery for us at BIWA. They claim their niche as "application-aware" storage company and they ship a box that is optimised for Oracle Business Intelligence Applications (OBIA) or commonly known as BI Apps. This box runs the Oracle DW as well as the BI server.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

BIWA Summit 08 Day 1

Dec 2, day 1 of the Summit is over. Three keynotes, BI Panel, Lightening round by the Exhibiting sponsors and the IBM Platinum reception, along with the countless Sessions and the hands-on labs!

As BIWA SIG is totally run by volunteers, it is important to take time to thank them for their efforts. Last year at Reston, BIWA awarded John Haydu, the BIWA Contribution Award 2007. This year, John would be again a worthy recipient so instead of giving him the award, we decided to name the award as BIWA 'Haydu' Contribution Award. The recipients for this year are:
Mark Hornick and
Tony Jedlinksi

Both, were instrumental in implementing the BI to run the BI conference. They together devised the system that managed the abstract submission and selection progress. Then as we got closer to the event, we used the Admin's dashboard with critical reports to monitor the registration sources and numbers to keep a strict eye on the conference and take remediation steps to steer it towards a registration level of 300.

I would personally like to Thank Karl Rexer, Matt Vranicar, Alissa Kang, Rich Solari and Ian Abramson for all their help to Dan, Charlie and John in running the show.

Day two will have more sessions, as there is only one key note.

More later...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Three more days to BIWA Summit 2008

As we get close to the event, the weather is likely to stay mostly dry, at least compared to the heavy rains from the prior week. The low will be 45F, so if you are from a warmer place, please be prepared with some jacket.

We are requesting help from all speakers and attendees of the BIWA Summit, to compete the speaker survey forms, this will help us bring you the speakers that you liked the most in the future years as well. The speakers will receive an envelop with the speaker evaluation forms, all attendees are requested to fill these out and hand over before they leave the room. Please bring along your pens, hopefully the exhibiting sponsors will have pens as giveaways if you did not bring your own...

We have posted the public transit information to the Oracle campus to help keep the event green. However, if you prefer to rent a car, the goos news is there are places selling gas for below $2 in this area. If you still are looking for hotels, Sofitel is very close with a shuttle to conference center. If you are looking for really low cost deal, them Motel 6, is 6/10 th of mile away and rates for Dec1-4 are $54+tax...
#1251, US 101 at Ralston Avenue/Marine World Parkway
1101 Shoreway Road, Belmont, CA 94002, (650) 591-1471
Motel 6

If you will stay here, for an extra day after the event or are getting here on Monday early, check out some of the places worth seeing, specially if you are not from Bay area and donot come here frequently. Some of my favorites are:
1) Golden Gate Bridge, Marina and Fisherman's Wharf (in San Francisco downtown area or close by)
2) Half Moon Bay (Take 92 W - N 101 from Oracle, to the beach... and drive up to San Francisco through the Pacifica!) or if you love the mountains, take 101 S to 84 W, 25 miles of drive up and down the mountains to reach the coast...South of half moon bay
3) Drive north to Napa Valley or Sonoma valley and take wine train ride... (will need almost a full day)
4) Drive along the coast, on 1, thru Santa Cruz, Monterey to big Sur! This will take you at least 3-4 hrs each way... you better not be afraid of heights and cliffs!!! I will post some of the pictures of these areas...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oracle BIWA Summit - Dec 2-3, 2008

It's now only a week!

All the session abstracts and details at posted at this site:

So if you are heading there, please make your personal schedule as the event will be packed with 4 keynotes and sessions in 6 || tracks along with the hands-on-lab.

This year IBM is the Platinum vendor who will showcase their Optimised Warehouse Initiative i.e. how to run Oracle DW's very fast on the IBM hardware. While there will be a fair amount of focus on the Oracle HP Database Platform, each one has its own niche. If you are a 1 TB to say 25 TB customer and have standardised on a non-HP hardware platform, then you will look at the Optimised Warehouse Initiative (OWI) space. You will find all major H/W vendors such as Sun, IBM, HP etc shipping you a reference or tested configuration with Oracle instance ready for use in DW. Typically, if you have standardised on HP hardware or are pushing over 25 TB, then Oracle HP Database Platform is something you need to look at...

Well at the BIWA Summit, you will find all the experts, Product Managers etc who can give you the first hand information and share the success stories of the pilots and early adopters. This is just one piece of the full pie that the BIWA Summit represents. The full spectrum will have talks on Analytics, other DB featueres that make Oracle a compelling platform for DW, OLAP, OBIEE and much more...

As we get to this event, we are also plannin for the next event and we would like your ideas, the time of year, the place and any changes you would like to see.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Oracle BIWA Summit 2008 (Dec 2-3)

Now we stand 4 weeks from the Summit, 4 keynotes, 50+ sessions, ~ 10 hands on Labs.
Attend a Webcast on Wed Nov 5, 2008 to learn why you should attend the BIWA Summit.
See details at

Learn about Oracle BI, Data Warehousing. Learn about Optimized Data Warehouse,
Learn about Exadata (Oracle HP Database Platform)

Still time to grap good flight deals, or the hotel near the Oracle Head Quarters.
Spend 2 days at the conference, speand some time visiting San Francisco Downtown or the nearby beaches.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The 'X' Box

So did Larry miss the boat again? Gates introduced the X-box years ago and its a house hold name. So what's fascinating with this new 'X' box? Joking aside, let's look deep into the Oracle/HP Database Platform based on the Exadata. Larry compared it to Teradata and Netezza in his keynote. No doubt DW appliances have been out for a while and were giving Oracle run for money in the very large DW environments. Oracle's history has been as a key database player for transactional/OLTP systems. While the database features like partitioning, bit-mapped indexes, support for upto 32K block size etc have slowly tried to transform the DB for DW market, till now Oracle was never really looked upon as a DW player in the same league as Teradata or Netezza... and the key note is a proof of that.

Interestingly, what about HP. "Operational business intelligence drives business outcomes HP Neoview has industry unique, patented capabilities to make it the premier enterprise data warehouse for operational business intelligence." In the yesterday years Scott McNealy of Sun was a regular keynote speaker in OOW. So it's interesting to note that Oracle shook hands with HP, on this DW appliance. It is sold by Oracle, serviced by HP. So what is the future of Neoview? HP lists its Neoview BI partners here but Oracle is not part of that list. Neoview is also supposed to be on Open platform using industry-standard components, which is something Larry used for Oracle Platform as different from Teradata and Netezza.

On the positive side, for the Oracle shops, now its a one stop shop. "BI in a Box" seems reality now. I remeber in my DBA days, I spend hours with our performance and benchmark expert, tunning the SAN, moving the data files around to squeeze the performance out of the EMC Clarion SAN. As human time get's more important (yes 80% of BI/DW project costs is human time), paying for a DW appliance as an insurance policy to higher speeds is a better option. The DW community around Oracle is very happy that first time Oracle has truly "created" something for the DW data bottlenecks. Yet, the box is a good fit for the OLTP databases as well.

Where does all these leave SAP, IBM and Microsoft? SAP has been selling a BI accelerator card for a while along with its SAP Business Warehouse (BW) solution to speed up the performance. IBM is a key player in the Optimised Datawarehouse initiative for Oracle where it wil ship a machine pre-loaded with Oracle Database for a any range between 1-100 TB, for use as a data warehouse box. Other players in that Oracle's initiative are Dell/EMC, Sun, HP, SGI etc. Well it was July '08, that Gates acquired the company called DataAllegro, whose tag line was data at the speed of business. However, we are yet to see SQl Server as the platform of choice for very large DW's.

Now that we have looked at all the major players, it seems everyone has there hand in the game. Let's wait and see how the other large players plan their market strategy against Larry in the weeks and months to come.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Smart Scan is the key to Oracle Exadata and 'X'

I googled Exadata last night after Larry's keynote and it returned 934 hits, this morning it was in 3000's, right now its 3440 and sure anything that Larry Ellison has said or done in past, becomes an instant hype...

So what is that makes Oracle Exadata storage or the Oracle HP Database Platform unique? It is the Smart Scan technology that reduces the amount of data to be sent from the storage system to the database server. For general description of the new technology, I suggest reading the White Paper:
Oracle Database 11g for Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence

The new Storage Server returns a query result set of the SQL, rather than entire tables. This reduces the network bottlenecks and frees up database server resources. When analyzing data stored in their data warehouses, Oracle claims, that the performance improvement can be 10X or more. Whaty if you are still not satisfied? Well Oracle's advanced compression, can typically reduce the data volumnes on the storage servers by 2-3 times easily. This will further improve the performance in Exadata or the 'X' machine.

It requires Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition or later for the database accessing Exadata storage. Let us look at the visual on top of this post, to see how the Smart Scan reduces the data blocks send to the Database server. As Larry explained, a SQL query in Data Warehosue report, specially on an unindexed column, will do a FULL SCAN and return all blocks to the Database server, unlike the SMART SCAN will only retuern the result set, reducing the number of blocks to be tranasmitted to the database. This will reduce the I/O load substantially. So the key to Smart Scan are:
>Offload predicate evaluation
>Only return relevant rows and columns to host
>Join filtering

SMART SCAN is totally transparent to the SQL writers, so all current applications will work as it is, what a relief! Let's take an example of a Telecom provider. They want to know which customers are spending over $200 in a single call. If the huge customer table is 1TB, these small set of customers are actually in say 2MB of space. Traditionally, the 1 TB space will have to be searched for these customers even though it may be by partition pruning etc and a lot of blocks have to be send to the DB. Using SMART SCAN, the data reduction takes place in the storage sub-system itself.

Som of the other uses of SMART SCAN are:
>Join filtering where Star join filtering is performed within Exadata storage cells
or Dimension table predicates are transformed into filters that are applied to scan of fact table

With SMART SCAN - Exadata Way!

Without SMART SCAN (traditional storage)
>Backups I/O for incremental backups is much more efficient since only changed blocks are returned

>Create Tablespace (file creation)Formatting of tablespace extents eliminates the I/O associated with the creation and writing of tablespace blocks

Smart Scans correctly handle complex cases including
Uncommitted data and locked rows
Chained rows
Compressed tables
Date arithmetic
Regular expression searches AND
Partitioned tables

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oracle Exadata 'X' is out

Convergence of hardware and datab ase soft

Larry Ellison announed the database machine today in his keynote, a machine build on radicle new ideas. He used the sail boat analogy on the out of box thinking needed to overcome the bandwidth limitation between the storage system and the database. The large DW's are tripling in size every two years and are plagued with the data bandwidth problem. There is a disk to Database choking. Storage disks can easily store 100TB but movement of data is the biggest.

Most hard configurations slow down at even lesser values 1-10 TB range. The largest storage systems show the exponential increase in scan time at 10TB. This problem can be solved in two way, as a data problem, reduce the data - compression or indexing the data or partition pruning etc. The other way it to enhance the amount of data travelling over the data pipes. Make the pipes faster and increase their number.

This lead to the announcement of Oracle's first hardware product called Exadata programmable storage server in partnership with HP. This is a combination of hardware and software. The idea is to locate the intelligence next to the storage server, to process the query in the h/w side and ship only the results. Typically a query on a large table that is not indexed, results in full table scan, i.e. shipping of all the blocks to the database, this is the point of choking. To reduce that, now the intelligence in in the storage system that limits the results and only ships the result blocks to the database. This will help to improve the parallel query. Now the idea is resturn results not disk blocks. Query is now moved to a lower layer. There will be three grids now, grid of database, grid of fusion middleware and grid of storage servers. The connection between the storage server and DB is the Infiniband pipe at that can practically transfer data at 1 GB / sec.

The exadata is available for immediate shipping for Linux and will be extended for all OS. The Oracle database machine or 'X' was announced as the competitor for Teradata and Netezza platforms or the hardware database appliances. The results of three years of R&D leads to X as the fastest database machine on earth. It has 8, total of 64 Intel cores and 112 cores of Intel CPU just for storage. It can hold 168 TB of data and is 1000 X larger than largest Ipod.

The pilot customers were Yahoo, NPD (the company I cosulted at last summer when I was in Oracle's BI practice), Country wide, Retailer Giant eagle, Amazon etc.
The European Telecom provider, saw 10X to 72 x query performance 4.5TB of CDR's, average 28 X perf (on half the config of X). This is compared to 2 IBM p series and EMC disk array. The largest imporovement was in CRM report - customer discount report
LGR telecom DW for phone companies saw 30X performance improvement, compared to HP superdome + based config with Hitachi array.

Other Examples of Performance Improvement
Chicago Board of Trade 10-15 X perf
Giant Eagle Retail sales 16 X performance
Oracle's Internal financial data warehouse netapps 30X speedup

In a nutshell, X has intelligent storage and more bandwidth. Rather than conventional movement of disk blocks, X shows almost same access time as the DB's in size making is very scalable as DB and DW's grow into petabyte ranges.

Market comparision: X is faster than 5 rack Terdata 5550
Larry said that there is no query intelligence in Teradata, very sophisticated DB though, proven over many years. Teradata moves disk blocks.

Unlike Teradata, Netezza, is a storage server, however, in the comparision shows, it was about 2:1 improvement in data bandwidth (14 GB/sec compared to 7.5 GB/sec)
Besides, the Netezza h/w does not run Oracle database.
One one had the Teradata is a very good DB, netezza is not. X provides the balance between both the current market leaders for DW appliances.

Now let's look at the pricing model, $1,680,000 for the license for X, about 650 for the H/W, cost of about 4K/TB of data at undiscounted level. Its open technology, Intel CPU's with 6 cores can be used in future, will take advantage of
cpu and ram speed etc. reducing the cost to the end user.

Currently, 90 of the load in OLTP systems is queries and reports. Therefore, it is imporant to make sure that both databases for OLTP and data warehouses can be run on this platform.

HP and Oracle will together take orders for X, Mike Hurd of HP came "online"

Let's keep an eye how the rest of the world will respond to this news..

Sunday, September 21, 2008

BIWA Sessions at OOW 2008

Dan Vlamis started the day...about 100 attendees, well received talk, was in parallel with Mark Rittman's talk. Mark had arrived at 4 AM and said he was jet lagged...

Next session was Ian (his story is he lost his wallet on the way to San Francisco), he spoke on Master Data Management. This was in parallel Matt Vranikar's talk.

After lunch, was my talk on Retail Business Intelligence Accelerator, Carl Daniels from the Oracle Development, ran the demo during my talk. They will also be on the demopod L23 in Moscone west.

Richard Solari and Teresa Wong's tag team talk was very powerful and very well received. It ran amost full 90 mins. The final event of the day was the BI Panel, moderated by Joe Thomas, participants, Charlie Berger, Dan Vlamis, Jon Mead, Matt Vranikar, myseld and Rich Solari. The Q&A was quite interactive at the end, followed by some post Q&A discussions, one on one...

Sunday Openworld

I am sitting in the keynote session, Sunday evening, the first big event. Today BIWA had 7 sessions, ending the in the BI panel. Bareley made it in time this keynote. This time a see reserved tables for bloggers, and I am in one of those.

Safra started the evening, announced >43K attendees, over 450 exhibitores, 300 oracle demos. Safra joked that no way Oracle say show all its 9000 applications!

She told that Michael Phelps will be in tomorrow. Although the green theme is being emphasised this year, the confernece book is only offered in print and not on the USB stick like last year!

Safra introduced the San Francisco mayor, the youngest mayor ever...Gavin Newsom.
Gavin said that SF's bond rating was increased recently, highest ever.

The next speaker was Ed Begley and actor and activist. He talked about the "sustainable conference"

Friday, September 19, 2008

Last Working day before Oracle Openworld

TOday was the last working day before the Openworld kicks off. The stock market had a good 2 day run, and Oracle stock ORCL came postive from the 52 week lows, so the stage is all set for a bigger, better OOW. BEA will be there on the red side of the fence for the first time. Last two years, the BI folks (Siebel and Hyperion) got the spot light, this time its middleware, let's see what is new in Fusion this time. An interesting trend though is "fusion" of BI and SOA. Oracle is well placed in both the segments. The new paradigm is to think of BI components as "services" in the enterprise SOA architecture. This has a lot of potential as SOA so far has lacked "content" and growing popularity of BI can provide that missing "content" to the service oriented architecture.

So I would be airborne in 12 hrs, getting there middle of day on Sat to Bay area, so that I am all set of the marathon 7 seven session for BIWA SIG on Sunday. Actually two of the BIWA sessions will current concurrently as one room can have only 5 sessions in a day...

BIWA SIG does not formally have any business meeting, but please feel free to stop by at my session as I will spend a few minutes on what is BIWA upto lately. IT will be at 1 PST at Room 2001 in Moscone West on Sunday Sep 21. There is also a BI panel at 4 PM in the same room on "Why do BI projects Fail?" Joe Thomas, the Oracle veteran will drive that session.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oracle Openworld 2008 - Countdown begins

This is the last week before the Openworld starts on Sep 21, 2008. The Wall Street has really pushed the panic button, 500 and 400 points in the red, in last two days! Will the state of the economic union have any impact at an event like OOW?

Well the Oracle stock ORCL was at its 52 week low today at $18.07, the earnings call is tomorrow and the guidance had been less than optimistic. However, Larry is known to announce new products, offerings every time at Openworld. So what is the speculation this time? Oracle database guru Mark Townsend says it's going to be the biggest one ever! Over 50,000 are expected to participate online apart from 43,000 attending in person. The Extreme Weekhand starts on the weekend and will feature how to setup RAC cluster, Data warehousing, JD Edwards hands-on and other stuff with pizza and beer in the room. The Oracle Develop event runs in the Hilton...with purely development focus. Google and others will talk in this event and his event will cover beginer to advanced level developers who will learn about .Net, Java, PHP etc.

Two large exhibit halls will house about 500 exhibitors. Chuck Roswat will speak on Information Management, Andy Mendelson will talk about the future of databases.
Tom Kyte will talk about the database "worst practices" like he did recently at NY Oracle USers Group. We hope to hear a lot about content management products like the content DB and records DB. Records DB helps with the compliance and security with the help of rules that can be implemented with these product. Database Vault will also be show cased for internal security of data with roles based segregation of data access in the database.

Secure backup and Secure Enterprise Search (SES) have been around for a while but will get some attention this time. IT will be good to compare / contrast SES with Goolge search applicance.

In the data warehousing space, Oracle Warehouse Builder is bundled in database. With OWB base product being a free product, it's likely to get more popular. The data quality and enterprise connectors will stay priced options.

Stop by the demogrounds for demo of all these products in the Exhibition Hall.

Those attending in person, if you will be driving in the San Francisco downtown, be ready to observe altered traffic patterns:

Monday, September 15, 2008

BIWA SIG Sessions at Oracle OpenWorld - Sep 21, 2008

Oracle BIWA SIG presents to you, 7 sessions at SIG Day - Sunday Sep 21 at Oracle Openworld

Building Cubes and Analyzing Data with Oracle OLAP 11g (IOUG)
S301022 8:30 AM, Dan Vlamis, Vlamis Software Solutions, Moscone West 2001

Be the Master of Your Domain: MDM Explained (IOUG)
S301156, 10:00 AM, Ian Abranson, IAS Inc. Jeremy Fitzgerald , Dimensional Strategies, Moscone West 2001

A Retail Business Intelligence Accelerator: Oracle Data Warehouse for Retail (IOUG)
S301009, 1:00 PM, Shyam Varan Nath, Deloitte Consulting, BIWA SIG President, Moscone West 2001

Case Studies: Implementing Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition in Three Environments
S301190, 2:30 PM, Richard Solari, Teresa Wong, Deloitte Consulting, Moscone West 2001

The State of Oracle Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing: BI Discussion Panel (IOUG)
S301191, 4:00 PM, Joe Thomas Oracle Corporation, other Panelists, Moscone West 2001

Note Different Room

Extending and Customizing the Oracle Business Intelligence Applications Data Warehouse
S301063 8:30 AM, Mark Rittman, Rittman Mead Consulting, Moscone West 2008

2009: A BI Odyssey
S301163, 10:00 AM, Matt Vranikar, Piocon Technologies, Moscone West 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oracle BIWA Summit 2008

Dec 2 is coming up faster than I thought...the Second International BIWA Summit will be held on Dec 2-3 in Oracle HeadQuarters! (Redwood Shores, CA).

If you are inerested submit your abstract at

If you are not ready to speak but attend the event, go ahead and register to take advantage of the early bird pricing ($200 for IOUG members). Please also tell us what topics would you like to hear in the summit, your feedback will be vital to the abstract selection committee.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kaleidoscope - 2008 (ODTUG)

Seems like the last 4 days flew away, I reached my first ever Kaleidoscope on Sat June 14, and now its Tuesday on my way back....

Sat ODTUG Brigade - Voluteer work for Reconstruction School District (incidentaly my talk at the event a Case Study of BI for K-12

Sunday - Essbase Developer Symposium... Tom Kyte's keynote, welcome reception

Monday - My talk at the 4:00PM and the speaker reception

Tuesday - attended some of the BI talks and way back...

more to come...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Collaborate Day 2/3

Day 2 My presentations were related to Total Recall and Database Development Best Practices. The day ended with the invitation only Geek meet that also had the Linux installfest managed by the OTN staff.

Day 3 The Grand BI Debate, Topic was:
Are Pure Play BI Vendors on Road to Extinction?

The pro team was Joe Thomas, Matt Vranikar and Dan Vlamis

The against team was Steve Lemme, Scott Rappoport/Steve Stein and Shyam Varan Nath.

The debate was moderated by none other than Ian Abramson who will be the next IOUG President. Both sides gave good arguments such as pro side stated that Larger companies only can afford to invest in the integration of BI technologies with the Applications and Database. An example is IRI the owner of Oracle Express or the root of modern day OLAP was in heavy debt when Oracle bought it and helped revive the OLAP technology on Oracle platform.

The against side pointed out the cannibalization of products by Oracle such as OLAP/Essbase, Discoverer/OBIEE and pointed examples such as BI apps where link between Oracle Apps (EBiz) and OBIEE is a pureplay vendor - Informatica.

Later today is the Explore Colorado party and since it is snowing today in Denver, its great to "explore" Colorado inside a hall. The Exhibit hall closed today. So now things are coming towards a wrap up....

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

BIWA SIG at Collaborate Day 1/2

Day 1 we had the first Unconference session in PowerPoint free zone followed by the BIWA SIG meeting. The SIG meeting was very interactive dicussion between some of the BI industry experts and Oracle PM's and touched different aspects like ETL, BI tools and Oracle's direction in the BI space.

I delivered the hands on lab on Oracle Text and Oracle Text Mining in the state of art hands on lab. James Liu has done a wonderful job managing the nuances of the onsite 50 PC lab. I was forced to move the lab to 11g as I could not create text index in where the fix was not available on the OS I used. The attendees loaded unstructured data in Oracle database, ran text queries, setup SQL Developer and Oracle Data miner on the fly to get a good feel of it.

The Keynote by Chuck Phillips at 4:45PM was well attended and lead to the Exhibition hall night but that was not the end. The evening ended with Oracle Tuning Coffeehouse....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Day 2 at Collaborate - Key Note with Andy

Monday morning started with opening key note by Andy Mendelson who talked about the DB features that provide Oracle the edge in the world of DB vendors. He highlighted features like Real Application Testing (for realistic testing), Information Lifecycle Management to save on storage costs, on the features for compliance like Total Recall, Database Vault etc.

The IOUG voluteer award were also awarded, Tom Kyte got the Ken Jacobs award for contribution to the User Community (they called it IOUG Oracle Contribution award till last year when I got it!). It was nice to hear Ken's recorded video, he was the first recipient of this award, of cource we would have love to see Dr DBA in person but as he joked the technology to cyber port people or replicate people is not there yet!

Today we also had the first Unconference session (power point free zone) for BIWA SIG, next is the formal SIG meeting at the Korbel ball room at 11:45 EST.

I am using the conference center wireless so connectivity is great!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Collaborate 08, Day 1

On Satthe all the user groups were seen actively setting up their head quarters, registration desks and so on. The hands-on labs are being setup. The conference committees are taking the guided tours to give them membership base a superior experience.

The entire Denver Conference center will be used for the conference and the spill over sessions go to Hyatt, which is right next doors on the big blue bear side of the convention center. The convention center has three levels, the street level where you register, the upper exhibit level and the lower level where labs etc will be held. The unconference is the new feature this time and BIWA SIG will host the Business Intelligence case study related session.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Day 0 Collaborate

Here I am in the mile high city with the mile high spirit! At the Denver airport it is nice to see the banner about Collaborate from the city, reconfirms that you took the right flight and landed in the right city for the next week full of excitement.

After getting to Denver and checking in early to the hotel (one of the perks of being a Platinum member of that hotel chain), contacted my former Oracle colleague who lives here. He is conducting the ful day OBIEE training tomorrow, of late any OBIEE related talk has been a big crown puller, we experienced that in BIWA Summit as well. Also getting ready for the conference committee meeting today at 4:00PM.

Saw a bit of snow after landing in the city, the airport is about 20 miles NE of the city which means a lot of such will be cutting it close on Thursday on way back home. There are fewer red eye flights out of Denver to East coast than say out of SFO or LAX, so you kinda have to leave at mid day and reach home late night, for those from the East coast.

Watch out for more....we will have the whole BIWA SIG crew here Len R, Dan V, Lejla C, Matt V, Ian A etc (if you do not recognise these names go to BIWA's page (

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Collaborate 2008 - the final countdown...

The Collaborate is almost here....
This year we have to go there with "mile high" spirits, it's in Denver, CO. The snow is melting, too late to ski! ... so time for some serious stuff next week.

I look forward to the keynotes by Chuck Philips and Andy Mendelson. There are a lot of BI/DW and Advanced analytics sessions, you can get to a list of these at BIWA site.

There will be a debate on Pureplay BI vendors: are they on road to extinction, where debators are from different segments of the industry including from Oracle. Watch out for more details out here....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

BIWA Webcast on OWB + Newsletter

Find the BIWA Newsletter

Also attend the Webcast on Oracle WarehouseBuilder tips and tricks on March 19, 2008 at

BIWA SIG will be at Collaborate 2008, attend our sessions...see the BIWA site for details.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Great Debate: Are Pure-Play BI Vendors on Road to Extinction?

As Collaborate 2008 preparations are underway, the debate on what is the future of Pure-PLay BI vendors, is heating up. If you are attending Collaborate, please stop by to attend this debate in person.

Recent times have seen Siebel, Hyperion, Business Objects and Cognos lose their "independence" to the "giants" but what does it mean for other BI vendors, in ETL space, in BI presenatation tools, in advanced analytics space etc.

What does it mean for SAS, Microstrategy, Informatica, Information Builders etc.?


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Start of 2008

Its been a while since I posted here. At BIWA SIG we had two webcasts recently, on Data Mining + BI Publisher and on BI Project Management. However, the overall industry scene continues to throw curve balls! While Oracle's bid for BEA this time is no surprize but seeing My SQL go to Sun and Yahoo being chased by Microsoft did catch some of us in the left field.

What does it mean for Yahoo? Yahoo uses Oracle databases internally (though for data mining it uses propriety algorithms). This is unlike Google who has less dependence on Oracle databases. So going forward is SQL server going to power the Yahoo sites? Will Yahoo inceasingly use Microsoft BI stack for its marketing initiatives like to power its Yahoo Search Marketing offerings?

Let's wait and see how it unfolds... will the next release on Windows OS have the yahoo toolbar natively? So what happens to msn searches? Will the MSN IM and Yahoo IM unify... Bill Gates sure has a lot of questions to answer.