Wednesday, February 01, 2006

On RAC, death and taxes

Yesterday I attended a briefing for Partners on Oracle 10g New Features and Grid sponsored by SCC at Oracle's City office. The bulk of the presentations were done by James Anthony, who's one of those scary OCM types. James presented a very dense set of sessions which contained lots of useful information. Martin Dale from Sun was also there to talk about the new Niagara chips. I think we'll definitely be looking at the T2000 servers for our web server and data mart.

I must confess I originally signed up for this event because it was free and it was a day out of the office but the timing was actually very handy. We are currently specifying the architecture of the next phase of my current project right now, and migrating to 10g and Grid are key objectives for me. In the pub afterwards, Tim Hilton (SCC's Oracle Practice manager) made the point that RAC is a win-win situation. The high availability combined with cheap(-ish) components keeps the bean-counters happy and the techies get to play with some gnarly technology.

I should have known better

Originally there was supposed to be a RAC demo but unfortunately some navvy put his spade through a link between the SCC office in Brum and London so the day wrapped early. Thus proving that Sun plus Oracle really does equal faster throughput.

Where it all went wrong is when Tim said he'd be buying drinks in the pub afterwards. I should have gone straight home to the bosom of my family but I succumbed to the lure of free Guinness. Not that there was anything wrong with the Guinness. It's just that while I was enjoying them some poor sad soul was making the decision to throw themselves under a tube train at Balham. A fact I discovered when everybody was detrained at Stockwell due to "passenger action". I'll skip the details of public transport in South London. Suffice to say there's only one bus route between Stockwell and Tooting, running every ten minutes in rush hour, and crammed. Minicabs were a thirty minute wait. Black cabs? Don't be daft this is south of the river. So I got a bus to get as far as Clapham and walked it from there.

Give me slack or give me death

As I trudged the long walk home I was afforded plenty of time to ponder the irony of the situation. Most of the 10g features James had talked about - Flashback, RMAN, RAC, Data Guard - are about resiliance, recovery, continuity of service, seamless failover. But those are things we only have for IT systems these days. The transport system has no slack: if the northern line is running everything is okay, but if it's out there is no alternative except walking. Of course, the elimination of slack is a response to obvious economic imperatives (people don't like to pay tax) but these unplanned outages are becoming a regular event. Still, the person who went under probably had a worse evening.

One more thing. Whilst I was on the 88 bus I overheard (everybody overheard) some guy on a mobile phone planning his weekend in the Alps. He was telling a friend which extreme sports website to visit in order to book crampons, ice picks, etc. Which leads me to:

The Great Paradox Of Modern Life

If you're in Stockwell on Tuesday evening and you want to ascend a glacier in Chamonix on Saturday afternoon you're golden.
If you're in Stockwell on Tuesday evening and you want to get to Tooting on Tuesday evening you're stuffed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, just wondering how RAC keeps the bean counters happy? We've looked at RAC a couple of times now and it just seems that the money you save on hardware you end up spending on RAC licensing.. I don't really see how its 'cheaper'.

I'd love to move to RAC....

1 February 2006 at 11:31:00 GMT-8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have worked with a number of customers to build their business case for moving to RAC, and each one has been successful. We have demonstrated cost savings of up to 66% over three years, over traditional, large SMP systems.

I would be delighted to help the anonymous correspondant in such a way too, and the first cost saving element is that we would do it free of charge.

As for Andrew's point about the transport system, at least the long walk home gave him some time mull over some of the subjects covered in the day. Andrew - question for you: How long did it take you to go from sympathy for the poor fellow under the train, to thinking how long does it take to scrape a bit brain off a rail track? For ****'s sake!!

Finally, attendance at SCC seminars does not always entitle the attendee to free beer!!

6 February 2006 at 06:20:00 GMT-8  
Blogger JAYT said...

Used to live round about where you do. Left largely because of the transport problems you describe. Don't get to play with exciting, bleeding edge technology, and there is almost no transport.

But such transport as there is rarely goes wrong and I live just at the back of the middle of nowhere. And make enough to pay for the house. So far anyway.

Interesting comments on the RAC dilemma.

7 February 2006 at 15:09:00 GMT-8  
Blogger Alannd said...

What's so scarey about 'ocm types'?

Are they scarier than you 'Oracle Ace' types?

I have yet to work on RAC, a few clients have hired me other the last few years to investigate putting it in. But the cost of the license has always made them seek cheaper, although probably less effective solutions.

14 February 2006 at 14:13:00 GMT-8  
Blogger APC said...

>> What's so scarey about 'ocm types'?

>> Are they scarier than you 'Oracle Ace' types?

Oh absolutely scarier. Although of course the scariest of all is Laurent Schneider who is both.

13 March 2006 at 07:30:00 GMT-8  

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