Category Archives: Emerging technologies

DELETED_BECAUSE_YOU_DIDNT_PASSWORD_PROTECT_YOUR_MONGODB

It’s been a very busy summer for yours truly and the rest of the database world. ¬†Some interesting nouvelles (I thought so, at least) in case you missed them:

 

GET RID OF ORACLE!
The UK Government has ordered its agencies to “get rid of Oracle“. While Oracle have been shooting themselves in the foot spectacularly of late with their bedside manner, I have personal experience of the last time that the UKG wanted to replace them.

It didn’t go well. At all.

Nor did it go cheaply, which is all that anyone is caring about, of course.

Despite the horror stories in the media about how difficult it is to deal with Oracle’s support, sales and auditing teams, it’s still the best database out there by a country mile.

 

Ask … Someone Other Than Tom
It’s no longer possible to Ask Tom. Mr. Kyte has decided to take a very well-deserved sabbatical and has handed over Ask Tom duties to … someone who isn’t called Tom.

What a crazy world we live in.

I’m not going to lie – I definitely was dazzled by his stardom on more than one occasion. At a NEOUG conference in Cleveland, I managed to get him to sign a copy of his book and one of the most memorable moments of my DBA career was when I asked him a “great question” on a webinar many years ago. It helped me win an important argument at work, so I will always be thankful to him for that ūüôā

 

Don’t Believe The Hype
Talking of which, not even Gartner thinks Big Data is worthy of the hype now. Instead of moving to their “Slope of Enlightenment” or “Plateau of Productivity”, it fell off their Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies completely.

Oops.

 

NoSQL = NoPASSWORDS = NoDATA?
Maybe part of the reason is that the industry has realized that a lot of NoSQL databases just plain suck. Don’t forget that the “big” Hadoop story of 2015 is “Hadoop-on-SQL”, which would have been QUITE the juxtaposition eighteen months ago.

Still think NoSQL databases will replace relational databases? Then read this beauty and try and say that “relational databases are outdated” with a straight face.

While they found over a PETABYTE of unsecured data without too much trouble, probably the most noteworthy finding is that they found 347 different MongoDB databases called “DELETED_BECAUSE_YOU_DIDNT_PASSWORD_PROTECT_YOUR_MONGODB”.

 

 

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Exadata X5 – Yet ANOTHER Level

A couple of weeks ago, I admitted my confusion and bemusement over Oracle’s cloud AND engineered systems strategy. Sometimes, IT workers can get very touchy over people thinking that they might not know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING, but not I, apparently.

Not only did I scratch my head on my blog, but did so very publicly on LinkedIn too. ¬†In all honesty, I really appreciated the input from some very smart people and I do understand the logic a lot more now. ¬†Admitting that you don’t have the answer to every question is liberating sometimes and personally beneficial almost every time.

Basically, Oracle are going big on engineered systems. ¬†If customers really are serious about migrating to THE CLOUD(TM) and have made a strategic decision to never,ever buy any hardware ever again –¬†I often find that the most reasoned decision involves limiting your options on ideological grounds – Oracle will add these systems to their PaaS offering instead of selling them for on-site use. ¬†Win-win.

It’s still doesn’t really tessellate perfectly for me, but at least it makes more sense now. ¬†I’m sure you’ve all seen the data sheets by now, so here’s a few pennies for my thoughts:

A full-rack can read and write 4m IOPS:  I presume this is four MILLION IOPS, which is a seriously impressive number. To put it into context, the X3-2 quarter-rack was rated for 6,000 IOPS!

The Oracle Database Appliance now comes with FlashCache and InfiniBand:  which should make the ODA worthy of very serious consideration for a lot of small-to-medium-sized enterprises.

Goodbye High Performance drives:¬† they’ve been replaced with a flash-only option. ¬†Not only is it Flash, but it’s “Extreme Flash“, no less.

Do I trust all-Flash storage?  No.
Since moving off V2 and leaving Bug Central, have I encountered any problems whatsoever with the FlashCache?  No.
Can I justify my distrust in Flash storage?  Without delving into personality defects, probably not.

There’s a “gotcha” with the Extreme Flash drives:¬† the license costs are DOUBLE that of High Capacity drives. I don’t understand the reasoning behind this, unless Oracle are specifically targeting clients for whom money is no option with this (and they probably ARE in a way).

Configuration elasticity is cool:¬† you can pick and choose how many compute nodes / storage cells you buy. ¬†I do remember in the days of the V1 and V2 when¬†you couldn’t even buy more storage to an existing machine. ¬†The rationale being that you’d mess the scaling all up (offloading, etc).

It’s a really great move for Oracle to make this very flexible and will go some way to silencing those who claim that Exadata is monolithic (and, don’t forget, expensive).

You can now virtualize your Exadata machine with OVM:¬† I haven’t had the best of luck ever getting OVM to work properly, so I’ll defer my views¬†on that for the time being, though the purist thinks they’re dumbing down the package by offering virtualization at all. ¬†Isn’t that what the Exalytics machine is for?

OK, fine, they want to bring Exadata to the masses and it’s an extension of the “consolidation” drive they’ve been on for a couple of years, but it’s a bit like buying a top-end Cadillac and not wanting to use high-grade gasoline because it’s too expensive.

Other cool-sounding new Exadata features that made my ears prick up:

  • faster pure columnar flash caching
  • database snapshots
  • flash cache resource management – via the ever-improving IORM
  • near-instant server death detection – this SOUNDS badass, but could be a bit of a sales gimmick; don’t they already do that?
  • I/O latency capping – if access to one copy of the data is “slow”, it’ll try the other copy/copies instead.
  • offload of JSON and XML analytics – cool, I presume this is offloaded to the cells.

I didn’t have the chance to listen to Oracle’s vision of the “data center of the future” – I think it had something to do with their Virtual Compute Appliance competing against Cisco’s offerings and “twice the price at half the cost“.

Oracle’s problem is still going to be¬†persuading customers to consider VALUE instead of COST. ¬†“Exadata is outrageously expensive” is something I’m sure everyone hears all the time and to claim it’s “cheap” isn’t going to work because managers with sign-off approval can count.

Is it expensive?  Of course.  Is it worth it?  Yes, if you need it.

This is why I’m unconvinced that customers will buy an Exadata machine and then virtualize it. ¬†The customers who are seriously considering Exadata are likely doing so because they NEED that extreme performance. ¬†You can make a valid argument for taking advantage of in-house¬†expertise once your DBA team has their foot in the door – best of breed, largest pool of talent and knowledge, etc.

However, so many companies are focusing solely on the short-term and some¬†exclude their SMEs from strategic discussions altogether. ¬†Getting to a point where the DBA team is able to enforce¬†Exadata as¬†the gold standard in an IT organization¬†is going to be incredibly difficult without some sort of sea change across the entire industry and … well, the whole economy, really.

I’m not sure what caused it, but I came away with a feeling that these major leaps in performance were very distant to me. Maybe it’s because I don’t personally see much evidence of companies INVESTING in technology, but still attempting to do “more with less” (see all THE CLOUD(TM) hype).

I’m really not convinced there is much appetite out there to maximize¬†data as an asset or to gain a competitive advantage through greatly enhancing business functionality so much as there is to minimize IT expenditure as much as possible. ¬†Cost still feels seems to be¬†the exclusive driver behind business decisions, which is a real shame because it’s difficult to imagine a BETTER time to spend to invest in enterprise data than right now.

Said the DBA, of course.

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Oracle Big Data Lite VM 4.0

Following OpenWorld, Oracle released version 4.0 of their Big Data Appliance Lite Virtual Machine for VirtualBox.

It includes OEL 6.4, RDBMS database 12.1.0.2 with Big Data SQL, Cloudera 5.1.2, NoSQL database 3.0.14 and GoldenGate 12c.

The “Getting Started” page now has all sorts of good documentation, white papers and hands-on labs you can try out.

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2014 Gartner Hype Cycle

Gartner’s 2014 Hype Cycle was released earlier this month and shows, unsurprisingly, that Big Data and Cloud Computing are some way from reaching the prized “Plateau of Productivity” rating.

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Oracle Big Data SQL Primer

What is Big Data SQL?
Oracle Big Data SQL runs on the Big Data Appliance and allows an Oracle database to run one SQL query to pull data from disparate sources such as Hadoop, NoSQL and relational databases.

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DBA, DMA, DBMA, other?

Quite some time ago, I read a fascinating article, co-written by easily the best Oracle instructor I ever had the pleasure of being taught by in Joel Goodman, which talked about the skills required to be a “DBA 2.0”.

They even mentioned Exadata needing its own “version”, though they suggested it would be “DBA 2.1”. I’m not sure Exadata had made it out into the wild at this point.

The article was written five or six years ago and was tremendously prescient. With the data industry at such a fascinating crossroads with Big Data, engineered systems and extreme performance, how will the DBA role change to keep up with the demands of the ever-increasing volume and mission-critical exploitation (hopefully the beneficial kind) of enterprise data?

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Cloudera Primer for Relational DBAs

Recently, Cloudera paid a visit to HQ and gave a presentation on their industry-standard implementation of Hadoop. I found it to be very insightful, especially given the paucity of details and proliferation of industry buzzwords that currently attaches itself to anything remotely related to “Big Data”.

I made some notes/observations during the presentation and did some follow-up reading afterwards. In case they’re useful, especially to those DBAs out there who might be expected to support Cloudera pretty soon, I typed up the notes and put them on here.

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Oracle’s “Nightmare”?

Over the last six weeks or so, I’ve been voraciously reading about Big Data, NoSQL, Hadoop and other emerging data management technologies which are clearly The Next Big Thing‚ĄĘ in IT. Personally, I find it fascinating to learn/think about how we will integrate different volumes and scales of data – both structured and unstructured, big and small – to give our organizations a clear, competitive edge in their industries.

As with all Next Big Things‚ĄĘ, there are a lot of tremendous blogs and white papers written by some extremely smart and insightful people ‚Äď and there are a lot of articles in ‚Äútrade mags‚ÄĚ which do nothing but fuel the runaway hype. Continue reading

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Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud vs. Engineered Systems?

I listened to an Oracle webinar on “The Value of Engineered Systems” yesterday. It didn’t really cover anything ground-breaking from my point of view, but it offered the following facts or thinking:

It should be noted that I’ve spent my career as a Oracle (relational) DBA of some description, so I’m sure there’s some degree of bias. However, I’m an advocate of Oracle databases because they’ve proven to be the best on the market.

  • There will be an estimated 50 billion Internet devices by 2020.
  • 90% of all data in the world has been created within the last 2 years.
  • An estimated 50x data growth is expected by 2020 thanks to the Internet of Things, Social Media, surveillance
  • An estimated 340 trillion IP addresses will be required by 2020 – I hope SOMEONE is using IPv6 by then!
  • IT departments need to grow by 4% per annum just to maintain existing systems, excluding any growth of business needs – yet companies continue to make cuts in infrastructure and avoid investing in R&D.
  • Storage accounts for 17% of IT budget.
  • Oracle do NOT expect customers to host their PRODUCTION systems in the PUBLIC Cloud ‚Äď they see customers to host PRODUCTION in a PRIVATE Cloud (either hosted by the customer or via co-lo) ***
  • Instead, they expect SaaS for Development to be the big draw for the PUBLIC Cloud.
  • Engineered systems simplifies IT.
  • Oracle is awesome.
  • Exadata is awesome on steroids.

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Some Interesting Articles about “Big Data”

My interest in Big Data was piqued recently when an excellent Oracle consultant was able to get me to understand its purpose and value during our ExCite review.

Here are a collection of links that I’ve found while reading up about the technology. I hope some are of interest.

Putting Big Data in context.

The awesome ways in which Big Data is used today.

The 5 “V”s everyone should know about Big Data.

‚ÄúBig Data is like stomach bacteria‚ÄĚ – I’ll admit that I included this one because I thought this one quote was awesome!

Why your data is dirty.

How small businesses can scale the Big Data barrier.

‚ÄúGoing forward, the companies that have the best data will win … until you can understand precisely what your customer wants, what they don’t want, how they want it and when they want it, you’ll be left to guess ‚ÄĒ and guessing is a very, very expensive business sport.‚ÄĚ

Oracle’s view on Big Data – not as focused towards infrastructure spending as you might think!

“Too often, IT leaders look at the infrastructure needed for a Big Data analytics solution rather than the business requirement for the solution. They focus on the storage and compute capacity needed, or make decisions based on technology. This is usually driven by the need to contain ballooning infrastructure costs. Instead, IT leaders should focus on business outcomes of big data initiatives.”

Big Data requirements include a different … management of environments as compared to traditional deployments. This, in turn, requires changes in operational processes. Trying to add Big Data deployments into an existing environment will not help.

Big Data environments need to be structured separately and the operating processes to maintain them will also need to change. Failing to do so will only ensure a highly complex and non-sustainable architecture.”

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