Monday, November 19, 2007

OOW2K7: Not so San Fran Psycho

Last year OpenWorld seemed crowded, manic and just generally too much. By contrast OpenWorld07 was pretty chilled. There was only one session where I had to wait in a really long queue. There was the one occasion when I was in a long line of people tramping into Moscone South as another long line of people going in the opposite direction to Moscone West. And only once was I in a queue for the restrooms - and that was during OTN Night, when the amount of beer on offer had generated, um, extra throughput. Certainly this morning, as I found myself pressed up against some bloke's wet raincoat in a crammed tube train, I really missed the light and space in San Francisco.

I think this calmness wasn't because there were fewer people - there were more - but because the OOW Team learned lots of lessons from last year. They couldn't really scale out - they are at the limits of what is possible in San Francisco - but they organised things to spread the load as evenly as possible and to avoid the need for too many people moving from building to building. You can figure out your own RAC/PQ metaphor :)

The other reason why this year was calmer was due to the lack of hype. I think many of us were expecting to be continually hit over the head with 11g. But really it was quite low key; lots of sessions on New Features but no real publicity blitz. this is partly to do with the early release of the software taking the edge off things but I also think the licensing issue has something to do with it. Many of the coolest features are chargeable extras to the Enterprise Edition. If you have already got customers who have to rip chips out of their servers to be able to afford to run Oracle it's hard to get a sympathetic audience for news about stuff that's going to cost a whole lot more.

The thing that disappointed me most this year was missing out on presenting in the Unconference. The Unconference sessions were scheduled on the hour. The nature of Unconference is to be different from the conference. But attending one Unconference session meant skipping two regular conference sessions. Wednesday was the only afternoon I had a free two-hour slot but I didn't nab the last remaining 3:00pm slot when I had the chance, so I really have only myself to blame.

The thing I liked best was the series of presentations from the Real World Performance group. I know before the conference I downplayed the significance of the sessions. So sue me. Meeting some old friends from cyberspace and putting faces to new ones was very pleasant too. And at least I didn't suffer too much from jet-lag.

The next OpenWorld is in September 2008. That's only ten months away.... I'm keeping my fingers crossed I get to go again.

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