Thirty years on, 10gen emulates Oracle

It's now more than thirty years since I first came across the Oracle database. At that time, Oracle had only just got a distributor in the UK (a small part of CACI, with just three staff: Geoff Squire, Mike Evans and Chris Ellis - soon to be joined by Ian (more...)

Managing Windows scheduled tasks – SCHTASKS output misleading

Here's a little gem - found on Windows Server SP2 but still there on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 at least.

I wanted to write a little script to disable some scheduled tasks (for maintenance) then after a predetermined time to re0-enable them. This is a common support problem, and I find I often complete the maintenance and forget to re-enable the tasks which results in alarms going off - but maybe not until the start of the next working day.

Anyhow, Windows gives you (at least) two ways of interacting with scheduled tasks:

  1. SCHTASKS
  2. PowerShell and the PowerShellPack which (more...)

Breaking change in calling Groovy on 1.8 upgrade

I've been bitten by this a couple of times now, so for anyone else's benefit: If you have a bat file that calls a groovy program, you may notice surprising behaviour after an upgrade from 1.7.x to 1.8.x (I went from 1.7.4 to 1.8.4).

If your bat file looks something like:
..some stuff..

groovy myGroovy
copy xyz abc

... more stuff ..
Then in 1.7.4 you would have called groovy.exe, executed the program, then continued to copying the file. But in 1.8.x groovy.exe is deprecated so instead you (more...)

MySQL Group By is a little too indulgent

After 30 years of Oracle, I've found myself using MySQL recently. I came across a little thing that surprised me. I'm by no means the first to trip over this - I found this 2006 post from Peter Zaitsey on the same topic.

MySQL lets you write a group by statement that references columns that aren't in the group by, and aren't aggregates. For example:

mysql> select table_name, column_name, count(*)
-> from information_schema.columns
-> where table_schema = 'information_schema'
-> group by table_name
-> limit 5;
+---------------------------------------+--------------------+----------+
| table_name | column_name | count(*) |
+---------------------------------------+--------------------+----------+
| CHARACTER_SETS | CHARACTER_SET_NAME | (more...)

OT: Good value first class fare?

From the NationalRail website:




One million squids for a day return?

Using Groovy AntBuilder to zip / unzip files

I've been quiet for quite a while - partly because I am not working with Oracle just at the moment. I have been building some automated workflow systems using Groovy as the scripting language. I've known about Groovy since James Strachan first invented it back in around 2002/3 - but this is the first time I've really been using it in earnest. It's a great for portable scripts, and for integration with Java (it runs in the JVM). It's much friendlier than Java for someone like me who comes from a PL/SQL and C (not C++) background.

Anyhow, I found (more...)

Customer satisfaction – the Xerox Effect

Thanks to Martin Widlake for pointing to this gem of a paper from Dennis Adams (pdf), pointing out that an increase in customer satisfaction can lead to an increase in negative feedback, and vice versa. Anyone who has worked in customer support (whether on an internal help desk or for external customers) will have gone through a "why don't they love us, we're doing such a great job for them?" period. This might explain why.

User friendly / supported monitoring of concurrent processes

Yes, I know everyone else is having a great time at OOW, but some of us are back in the real world still.

I've asked a question on OTN (under EBS General Discussion) Best way to execute / monitor long running custom conc request with slave.

Can anyone help me with suggestions for an EBS-supported API (11.5.10 on Solaris 10 / Oracle 9iR2) that would enable the professional user who launched a (PL/SQL) concurrent process to monitor its progress over several hours from his/her application UI? To add to the fun, the process is going to spawn some (more...)

ETL patent case: Constellar and DataMirror let off off the hook; DataStage still in dock

Once again Vincent McBurney delivers a fantastic summary of the latest state of the Juxtacomm ETL patent case: SQL Server, DB2 and DataStage will fight out Data Integration Patent Infringement.

I'm most interested from the Constellar point of view - I first came across Constellar (then Information Junction) as a product on sale in late 1993 / early 1994 (before joining the company from Oracle in 1995), so it always seemed clear to me that it would qualify as prior art to Juxtacomm's 1998 patent. Oddly, it seems that the parties to the trial have agreed that Constellar Hub (and (more...)

SQLstream delivers instant data stream analysis of Mozilla 3.5 downloads

Here are a couple of posts that describe the download monitor/dashboard which is giving up-to-the-second statistics for downloads by country of the latest Mozilla release 3.5 (just about to top 5.5 million downloads since yesterday's launch). The dashboard has been put together with the help of my friends at SQLstream. Just don't try looking at this with Internet Explorer, as it doesn't support HTML5.

Julian Hyde on Open Source OLAP. And stuff.: SQLstream powers ...
By Julian Hyde
SQLstream gathers data from Mozilla's download centers around the world, assigns each record a latitude and longitude, and summarizes the (more...)

Be Alert!

Here's a tale of woe from an organisation I know - anonymised to protect the guilty.

A couple of weeks after a major hardware and operating system upgrade, there was a major foul-up during a weekend batch process. What went wrong? What got missed in the (quite extensive) testing?

The symptom was that batch jobs run under concurrent manager were running late. Very late. In fact, they hadn't run. The external scheduling software had attempted to launch them, but failed. Worse than that, there had been no alerting over the weekend. Operators should have been notified of the failure of (more...)

Oracle Exadata posts #1 TCP-H result

Grag Rahn's Structured Data blog provides the data that Kevin Closson had to remove from his own blog. From an HP/Oracle point of view, a very good performance, reducing cost/QphH by a factor of 4.

However, it is interesting to see that the HP/Oracle solution is still more than 4 times the cost/QphH of the #2 placed Exasol solution (running on Fujitsu Primergy, and reported a year ago) - while the absolute performance improvement is relatively slight (1.16M queries/hr against 1.02M).

Flutter is the new Twitter

Worth a look, for those (like me) who find 140 characters too much to hande. Hat-tip to the BCS Oddit blog
.

Doubly dynamic SQL

It is great to see a new post from Oracle WTF last week, after a quiet period. Which reminded me to post this example of a dynamic search.

I won't post the whole thing, and I have disguised the column names to protect the guilty. The basic problem is that the developer didn't quite understand that if you are going to generate a dynamic query, you don't have to include all the possibilities into the final SQL.

Let's say the example is based on books published in a given year. First, to decide whether to do a LIKE or an (more...)

Tibco RV in a box – would appliances help streaming SQL?

Several others have posted on the new Tibco Messaging Appliance - apparently it's Tibco Rendezvous (RV) in a box OEM'd from Solace Systems. Paul Vincent ponders at the Tibco CEP blog:
    It’s quite feasible that the same approach could be used for “basic” complex event processing operations, especially those that don’t require history (or much persistence)
Paul is certainly right that CEP and event/data stream processing engines could benefit from the appliance approach. However I think that it is precisely those applications that require history that could most benefit. A high-speed streaming engine with a co-located database (running with (more...)

Analytics as a Service

With all this talk of SQLstream's recent v2.0 launch, I was interested to read Tim Bass's CEP blog posting on Analytics-as-a-Service. He calls it A3S - and rightly avoids calling it AaaS; apart from the fact the X-as-a-Service is almost as cliched as XYZ 2.0 (and equally meaningless), careless use of that sequence of As and Ss could cause spam filters round the world to get over-excited.

If we must have the as-a-service tag, I'd like to trademark BI-as-a-service: BIAS. Apart from being a proper acronym, it also gets across that BI often gives you the (more...)

Shared Feeds

My posting rate has been quite low recently, but I have been enjoying using Google Reader to keep up with what everyone else is saying.

I've been sharing items with some friends / colleagues, but it seems harmless to open this up to the world. The topics are eclectic, but mainly around product development, event stream processing, RDBMS and data warehouse. Maybe the very occasional Dilbert or xkcd. You're all very welcome to see what I've shared - the links are now on the right hand side of this blog. And if you too are using a reader, here is (more...)

SQLstream launches v2.0 of its Event Stream Processing engine

As well as working as a freelance Oracle consultant, I have spent most of the last year working with SQLstream Inc on their Event Stream Processing engine, version 2.0 of which has now been launched.

My initial point of contact was Julian Hyde, with whom I worked in the Oracle CASE / Oracle Designer team in the early 90s. He went out to Oracle HQ and worked on bit-mapped indexes, then spent time at Broadbase before becoming best known as the founder-architect for the Mondrian OLAP server.

Event Stream Processing (ESP) is a development of what we might (more...)

Unexpectedly honest job posting

I recently joined the Oracle Connections group on Linked-In and I'm getting regular daily mails with job postings and searches for work. Mostly harmless, but I've just seen a great one:

(You may need to be a member of Linked-In and/or the Oracle Connections group to follow the link).

I think we've all been there, confRigurating away to our heart's content, haven't we? It certainly explains a lot of the problems we see in production.

OT: 3 Mobile Broadband doesn’t much like Gmail and Blogger

I use 3 mobile broadband in the UK (and Italy) and I have only a couple of nags about it:
  1. I can't use FireFox 3 and Gmail together over mobile broadband - I have to switch to IE7 and sometimes I have to downgrade Gmail to the simple HTML version. I have 2 gmail accounts (one work, one private) and the problem seems to be worse on the latter. The symptom is that the loading bar is followed by a blank screen and the status "Done".
  2. I simply cannot seem login to blogger.com over mobile broadband - hence no (more...)