Here comes OOW2K7
Last year the theme of the conference was just sheer size. Oracle had ramped up the scale of the conference to cope with all the acquisitions. The number of attendees went from 29,000 to 41,000. This year's projected attendance of 45,000 is a smaller increase (although it will still be mad).
In 2005 the theme was Fusion. There's recently been some upheaval in the Fusion programme, with slippage in both the scope and the delivery schedule, so it'll be interesting to see what the message will be. They'll have to say something. Let's hope senior executives are hot-pluggable too.
In 2003 the hype was all about 10g: The Grid Has Landed. Even though the actual software was still several months from delivery. Obviously there will be a lot of noise around 11g at this conference. The difference is the database has been available, at least in Linux flavours, for several months now. A large chunk of the audience will be in a position to rebut any wild assertions. So whilst there will undoubtedly be a lot of noise about the new software there will have to be less hyperbole. At least I hope so.
Jason Jones published some useful tips for OOW newbies. I think the key thing is to make the best use of the opportunities for personal contact. A lot of the conference resources will be available as downloads, podcasts, blog articles and whitepapers. So don't get hung up on attending presentations (although make sure you do go to some, just in case your boss asks). Instead, take advantage of the main thing which online can't offer: talking face to face with actual people. I think the evening events tend to be rather too crowded and noisy for networking. So look to some of the extra-mural daytime sessions, particularly the OTN Unconference and the No-Slide Zone which should provide useful arenas to engage with like-minded delegates.