20 years… down the memory lane (and a complimentary news at the end!)

February 22nd, 2000.

I was 20 when I started working as Junior Database Administrator for the service provider SemaGroup, who was born as a branch of the dying Olivetti.

20 years ago, tomorrow! In 20 years, I went through quite a few professional changes. For the records, I would like to write down the main ones.

2000-2003: the years of Sema @ Infostrada

My main customer, for the few next years, was Infostrada, a Telco company who over the years has been merged with Wind Telecomunicazioni and finally acquired by Hutchinson. At that time, I was in a team responsible for the operations, monitoring and availability of all the DB systems of the customer (mostly Digital and HP-UX): Oracle 7.3, 8, 8i, 9i and a few Sybase ASE. We had to respond to all incidents 24/7, including Alert errors, tablespace metrics, etc. It was very demanding, it took me not that much to become confident with the main Oracle technologies. I had the chance to know many colleagues who helped me growing up both technically and personally.

2003-2010: many customers, big projects and new technologies

In 2003, my managers decided to move me back to the main Data center, where Sema Group was providing hosting and managed operations for several big Italian companies.

Different customers mean different technologies. I had to study Microsoft SQL Server (6.5, 7.0 and 2000 at that time), some DB2, and install the first production MySQL (4.0, although I was already playing with it since 3.23). I have also had to become very confident with middle-tier technologies: Oracle Application Server (9 and 10g), Tomcat, Jboss, Apache, but more than this, I have had full responsibility on big projects: Disaster Recovery implementations of big customer environments, data center moving, re-platform, and absolutely heterogeneous customer environments (Windows, Linux, AIX, HP, Compaq, Solaris… SAN, NAS, DAS, Fiber Channels, FCoE, Gigabit Ethernet… Networker, Tivoli, Data Protector… do a cartesian join of all of them and you get the idea.) Among the big customers, I have worked with Costa Crociere, Lavazza, Illy, Fiat, Banca d’Italia, Fila, AirLiquide, Credit Agricole, Carrefour, International Olympic Committee, Heineken, Enel, Banco Popolare S.C., Piaggio, Pagine Gialle, European Space Agency, several public administrations (Regions, Ministries, Cities…)… I am sure I miss many, as they were more than 100.

During these years, I had to deal with incredibly hard on-call rotations (several calls per night) and high customer expectations, who helped giving me confidence and “seniority”.

Over the years, SemaGroup has been acquired/merged a few times. It became Sema, SchlumbergerSema, Schlumberger, AtosOrigin, Engineering.IT, then Engineering.

2010-2012: the team lead experience @ Engineering

In 2010 I became team lead, at the beginning just of a team of 5, then gradually of the whole Engineering Managed Operations DBA team (23 including employees and external collaborators). Sadly, in Italy it is very uncommon to have a technical career: as soon as you are good enough, you have to switch to the management side (either completely or partially). Being team lead, I understood the difference between technical problems and people problems. With the increase of customers and projects, and with the many company acquisitions, we were understaffed, most of us underpaid: working days, nights and week-ends without the chance to recover properly. It took me just a few months to realize that that was the time to say goodbye to the IT market in Italy and seek a better opportunity, abroad.

2012-2018: Senior Consultant @ Trivadis

I still remember perfectly the first call I have got from Trivadis, the very next day after I applied for a position for Oracle Consultant. Four months later I moved to Switzerland: different country, different language and completely different working culture despite the very short distance from my home region (less than 200 KM!).

There I have had many important customers and cool projects: everything was quality-driven rather than quantity-driven. Being part of that company has been a pure joy for me: company culture, colleagues, side-activities, conferences… results!

I have learnt to be outgoing and communicative, and I have kept enriching my technical knowledge (mostly on Oracle and PostgreSQL).

2018-2020: The CERN experience

Once I have got the contract proposal from CERN, it was hard to say no. Awesome conditions (pension, holidays, healthcare, dress code, flexibility…) and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the geekiest place in the world.

Here I have been working exclusively with Oracle RAC on Linux. There are incredibly large databases (from a few TBs to 1 PB) and interesting technologies, but the vast majority of my time is dealing with legacy database schemas and methodologies. I am trying hard to improve things, but the inertia of such big projects does not allow me to innovate as fast as I would like. So what’s next?

2020- : Back to Trivadis

Last December Trivadis contacted me back and tried to convince me to go back… with success 🙂

Next April 1st I will start back in Trivadis as Principal Consultant. Initially, I will be working on a couple of critical projects: it will be very interesting! Other than that, I am excited to go back to the company (and colleagues) that I have loved so much!

To end this quite long post… I would like to paste here one of the quotes that well represents my feelings since I have moved in Switzerland…

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

– Terry Pratchett

About the universe, the infinite big and the infinite small…

The rumors start spreading fast (despite I have tried to keep it secret :-)), so I prefer to announce it personally rather that let you know through other voices…

I will work for Trivadis until the 6th of June, then I will take three weeks of vacation before starting a new adventure.

I cannot express in words how much I loved Trivadis: the environment, the conditions, the incredibly knowledgeable techies and super friends that I met there.

Nowhere I felt so part of a family as I have done in Trivadis in the last 6 years. 6 years!

The reason is that I have got a contract at CERN. Yes, THAT CERN.
I was not expecting to get selected, but when I had the confirmation I decided to catch the opportunity: working at CERN, even for a defined period, represents a lot for the people working in IT. It will be the opportunity to apply what I already know as consultant, but also to learn many new things that are not easy to see everyday.

Wish me good luck!

Get the Most out of Oracle Data Guard – The material

Here we go: as usual, the feedback that I usually get after my talks (specifically, after POUG High Five conference), is if I will share my demo scripts and material.

Sadly, the demos I am doing for my presentation “Get the most out of Oracle Data Guard” are quite tied to an environment built for the purpose of the demos. So, do not expect to get scripts easy to use as is, but rather to get some ideas beyond the demo themselves.

I hope they will help to get the whole picture.

Of course, if you need to implement a cloning strategy based on Data Guard or any other solution that I describe in this post, please feel free to contact me, I will be glad to help you implement it in your environment.

Slides

Demo 1

Video:

Scripts:

 

Demo 2

Video:


Scripts:

 

Demo 3

Video:

Scripts:

Preparation:

snap_acfs.pl

 

snap_databasae.pl

clone_from_snap.pl

Cheers

Ludovico

trivadis sessions at Oracle Open World 2017

This year Trivadis will be again at Oracle Open World (and Oak Table World!) in San Francisco, with a few sessions (including mine!)

If you are going to Oracle Open World and you want to say hello to the Trivadis speakers, make sure you attend them!

Get the Most Out of Oracle Data Guard
Ludovico Caldara – ACE Director, Senior Consultant – Trivadis
When: Sunday, Oct 01, 12:45 PM
Where: Marriott Marquis (Yerba Buena Level) – Nob Hill A/B

EOUC Database ACES Share Their Favorite Database Things
Christian Antognini – ACE Director, OAK Table Member, Senior Principal Consultant, Partner – Trivadis
When: Sunday, Oct 01, 10:45 AM
Where: Marriott Marquis (Golden Gate Level) – Golden Gate C1/C2

Application Containers: Multitenancy for Database Applications
Markus Flechtner – Principal Consultant – Trivadis
When: Sunday, Oct 01, 2:45 PM
Where: Marriott Marquis (Yerba Buena Level) – Nob Hill A/B

TBA
Christian Antognini – ACE Director, OAK Table Member, Senior Principal Consultant, Partner – Trivadis
When: Monday Oct 02, 1:00 PM
Where: Oak Table World, Children Creativity Museum

Apache Kafka: Scalable Message Processing and More
Guido Schmutz – ACE Director, Senior Principal Consultant, Partner – Trivadis
When: Monday Oct 02, 4:30 PM
Where: Moscone West – Room 2004

You can find trivadis’s sessions in the session catalog here.

See you there!

Italian Oracle User Group: from nothing to something

I am pretty sure that every user group has had its own difficulties when starting. Because it happened that we started the ITOUG just a couple of years ago, I think it is worth to tell the story 🙂

I have been told about a team of italian DBAs willing to create a new user group, back in 2013. I decided to join the team because I was starting my journey in the Oracle Community.

We were coming from different cities (Lausanne, Vicenza, Milano, Roma)… the only solution was to meet up online, through Google Hangouts.

The first meetings were incredibly boring and not concluding (sorry ITOUG guys if you read this :-)):

You cannot start something if you do not know what you want to achieve

Of course, everybody was agreeing that it would have been nice to become the new UKOUG in the southern Europe. But being realistic: no budget, no spare time, nothing at all, we needed a starting point. We though that the starting point was a website. But even something easy like a basic website forks a lot of additional questions:

  • Should it allow to publish content?
  • Should it have a bulletin board?
  • What about user subscription?
  • What should be the content? Articles, webinars?

We created something with the idea to publish our content, but after a while it was mostly an empty container.

It took me a while to learn a first big lesson:

Democracy does not work for small User Groups

The original founder of the group decided to quit the ITOUG because nothing concrete was happening. Everybody was putting ideas on the table but nothing was happening, really.

When my friend Björn Rost proposed me to candidate Milano for the OTN Tour, I jumped on the train: it was the best way to start something concrete. I somehow “forced” the OTN Tour candidature to happen, saying to my peers: “I will do it, if you support me, thanks; otherwise I will do it alone”.

And the response was great!

Do not wait for something to happen. If you want it, take the lead and make it.

This is the biggest lesson I have learned from my involvement with user groups. People sometimes cannot contribute because they do not what to do, how to do it, or simply they do not have time because there are a gazillion of things more important than the user groups: family, work, health… even hobbies sometimes are more important 🙂

If you have an idea, it’s up to YOU to transform it in something concrete.

 

After the acceptance, we had to prepare the event. We proposed a few dates and Björn prepared the calendar taking into account the other user groups.

Organizing an event is not easy but not so complex either

  • Set a reasonable target number of participants
  • Fix a date when most contributors are available
  • Get offers from different venues (pricing for the venue and the catering)
  • Get an idea of the budget
  • Ask different companies to sponsor the event
  • Eventually ask Oracle 🙂
  • Once the sponsors are committed to pay, block the venue
  • Prepare and publish the Call for Paper
  • Eventually start some advertising
  • Select the papers
  • Prepare the agenda
  • Ask the speakers for confirmation about the proposed date/time
  • Prepare the event registration form
  • Publish the agenda
  • Broadcast it everywhere 🙂 (Social media, contacts, website, Oracle through their channels)
  • Interact with the hotel and the sponsor to have the proper setup, billing addresses, invoices, etc.
  • Host the event
  • Relax

Finding the sponsors is the most difficult part

It has been easy for the first two events to find a sponsor (just a database stream, event held in Milano), but it was not the same for the last one.

Our aim was to do a double event (Milano + Roma) with two streams in each location (DB + BI & Analytics). In Roma we have been unable to find a sponsor (if you read this AND your company may be interested in sponsoring such event in Roma, please contact me :-)), we decided then to continue with the event in Milano.

Finding the speakers is easier than you can imagine

Unless you want non-english sessions held by native speakers, there is a huge community of speakers willing to share their knowledge. For Oracle, the most obvious source of speakers is the ACE Program, and twitter is probably the best channel for finding them.

Now it has been the third time that we organized an event, and every time we have been surprised by the good attendance and feedback.

A few images from the last event

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Souvenirs from 2016

The 2016 is ending, at least from the Oracle Community point of view. It has been tiring and exciting at the same time, so I would like to put some good memories together.

This post is mostly for me, sorry 🙂

February: Another nice Tech Event

Trivadis Tech Event is a great conference, sadly not open for everyone, but still a great one… Got two (or three?) talks there.

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March: a good beer in good company

Nearby the CERN, in Geneva, with a few good friends and big technologists:-)

cc9ymgkweaa1uxjMarch again: That ACE Director tweet

May: The DOAG Datenbank 2016

One speech there… the first of many about “upgrading 300 databases  in 300 days”. It was my first time speaking in Germany. 🙂

cilmlkzuoae99csMay again: The Italian leg of the OTN EMEA Tour

The OTN tour has been a great starter for the activities of the Italian Oracle User Group (of which I am one of the founders). It was great to discover that the interest for Oracle Database in Italy is still high (we got almost 60 people: that is huge for a first event, IMO).

We had Mark Rittman (before he became famous :-D), Christian Antognini, Frits Hoogland and Mike Dietrich!

cipw4ewwgauukzeSeptember: the ACED briefing, Oracle Open World and three spare days at Yosemite

It was my first time at the ACED briefind (key word: #cloud 😉 ) and also the first at Oracle HQ. It’s like going to Disney World, but the attractions are a little more scary 😀

cshime8uiaa4ygycsfozwrueaaq0g8The Yosemite was also incredible. In a single day of trekking, I scored 42k steps, 31km, +1200 vertical meters…

dsc09325dsc09426dsc09464dsc09490dsc09578dsc09594October: the great OTN Nordic Tour

That was fun, but incredibly tiring. 4 days in a row, 4 countries, 4 fligths, 4 different currencies, 4 ACE Directors and now 4 friends 🙂

I did not know very well Joel and Martin  and I did not know John at all. They are great people and I enjoyed a lot the time spent with them (and the beers :-D).

Copenhagen

dsc09766cueeecfwgaaza2idsc_2275Oslo

cukiuhswiaalnkvdsc_2282Helsinki

dsc_2327cupa78twaaa_z8lStockholm

Stockholm was the last leg, I did it with John only. There I spent the rest of the week-end (the event was on Friday). I love Stockholm so much! Perhaps my favorite city (for sure in the top 5). I have also got a good whisky as speaker gift 😀

dsc_2343dsc_2402dsc09836dsc09920November: thesecond Italian Oracle User Group Event

We had again 60 people. In november I have also been speaker along with Christian Antognini, Mauro Pagano, Francesco Renne and Francesco Tisiot.

cw-izwiwiaaxosbNovember again: the DOAG

Definitely the best conference in Europe 🙂 It was my second time there and first one as speaker.

cxym09ouqaawfgxcxv6db2xeaamwqlNovember again: the Swiss Data Forum

It has been a great single-day event in Lausanne, not database centric but DATA centric, about Data, IoT, Big Data, Data Science, Deep Learning… I had one speech there.

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December: the UKOUG Tech 16

Two final speeches at UKOUG in Birmingham. It was fun again, but the last day I did fell sick 🙁 (and some how I am still recovering).

czg9lvdusaahcikPlans for the 2017

I have got accepted for the IOUG Collaborate, but because of the many duties and all the recent travel, I have not confirmed my sessions (ouch, it is the first time that I do this, next time I will submit more carefully), so Open World will likely be my only US trip next year.

I look forward to submit for DOAG events again, speaking at SOUG (it’s already planned: 18th and 19th of May), and organizing at least two more events for the Italian Oracle User Group.

Happy New Year! 🙂

trivadis sessions at UKOUG Tech16

UKOUG Tech16 will start in less than a week. Trivadis will be there with many speakers, 10 sessions in total 🙂
If you are a delegate, come along and have a chat with us!

Super Sunday

Monday 05/12

Tuesday 06/12

Wednesday 07/12

See you there 🙂

Autumn: a season of conferences and travels

It is not a news that autumn is the busiest season for people involved in the Oracle Community. Thanks to the OTN Nordic Tour this year I am setting my new record 🙂

In the next 2 months I will give 15 presentations in 8 distinct countries and in 3 distinct languages (Italian, French, English).

If you are based in one of those countries, you can join and say hello 🙂

Date/Time Event
11/10/2016
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Adaptive Features or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Troubleshoot the Bomb [Nordic Tour 2016 - Denmark]
Oracle Denmark, Ballerup
11/10/2016
2:10 pm - 3:10 pm
Migrating to 12c: 300 DBs in 300 days. What we learned [Nordic Tour 2016 - Denmark]
Oracle Denmark, Ballerup
12/10/2016
11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Migrating to 12c: 300 DBs in 300 days. What we learned. [Nordic Tour 2016 - Norway]
Felix Conference Center, Oslo
12/10/2016
1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Self-Service Database Operations made easy with APEX [Nordic Tour 2016 - Norway]
Felix Conference Center, Oslo
12/10/2016
3:00 pm - 3:45 pm
Database Migration Assistant for Unicode (DMU): a Real Customer Case [Nordic Tour 2016 - Norway]
Felix Conference Center, Oslo
13/10/2016
3:10 pm - 4:00 pm
Migrating to 12c: 300 DBs in 300 days. What we learned. [Nordic Tour 2016 - Finland]
Accenture Finland, Helsinki
14/10/2016
9:00 am - 9:45 am
Migrating to 12c: 300 DBs in 300 days. What we learned. [Nordic Tour 2016 - Sweden]
Stockholm, Stockholm
14/10/2016
10:00 am - 10:45 am
Adaptive Features or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Troubleshoot the Bomb. [Nordic Tour 2016 - Sweden]
Stockholm, Stockholm
11/11/2016
9:30 am - 10:15 am
Migrating to 12c: 300 DBs in 300 days. What we learned. [ITOUG Tech Day 2016]
UNA Hotel Century, Milano
11/11/2016
12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Adaptive Features or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Troubleshoot the Bomb.
UNA Hotel Century, Milano
16/11/2016
11:00 am - 11:45 am
Adaptive Features or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Troubleshoot the Bomb [DOAG 2016]
DOAG Konferenz 2016, Nürnberg
22/11/2016
10:50 am - 11:30 am
Montée en version de 300 bases de données vers Oracle 12c en 300 jours. Quels problèmes peut-on rencontrer ? [Swiss Data Forum 16]
Aquatis Hotel, Lausanne
23/11/2016
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Migrating to Oracle Database 12c: 300 Databases in 300 Days [Oracle Tech Breakfast]
Oracle Business Breakfast, Oracle Suisse SA, Geneva
07/12/2016
12:30 pm - 1:15 pm
Upgrading 300 Databases to 12c in 300 Days. What Can Go Wrong? [UKOUG_Tech16]
International Convention Centre, Birmingham, Birmingham
07/12/2016
3:10 pm - 4:00 pm
Adaptive Features or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Troubleshoot the Bomb [UKOUG Tech16]
International Convention Centre, Birmingham, Birmingham

The updated list of upcoming events can be found here.

2015 in numbers…

I am spending good times since I have moved in Switzerland 3 years ago. 2015 has been as good as 2014. Now that January ends, I am officially late in publishing this information, but it’s MY blog, so who cares? 😛

Google_Analytics_2013-2015

A few numbers:

25 blog posts (+1)
~52000 page views (+40%), ~43000 visits (+48%)
Speaker at 2 major conferences (#C15LV, #UKOUG_TECH15)
Speaker at 2 Trivadis internal conferences
Speaker at 1 local user group event
Delegate of EOUC at DOAG 2015
A total of 14 public speeches (same as 2014)
I’ve been elected RAC SIG Vice President
2 RAC Attack workshops organized
1 roundtable as organizer, 1 panel
2 T-shirt designed as gifts for 2 RAC Attack workshops
2 articles published
Launched the RAC SIG website and the new session agenda
Countless new friends and/or contacts

I hope that 2016 will be as good as 2015