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27 June 2014

Kscope14 Days 4 and 5

What happened to live blogging Kscope14?

That, as the saying goes, is a great question.  Kscope happened.  I have never, ever, ever been so busy over a sustained period of time as I was this past week.  Ever.

Sleep?  Gave up on it.  Food?  Gave up on it.  Coffee?  Definitely did not give up on it.  Fun, learning, networking, giving?  Gave all I had and more, just like everyone else at the conference.  I will say that not getting sleep at Kscope is par for the course, but literally not having enough time to eat…Not Cool.  I usually carry some kind of energy bar.  Good thing or I’d have completely dropped dead.

So that’s my excuse, I was just too busy to blog.  Surely eating and sleeping do have to have some kind of priority?

 It gets worse and worse every year.  Or is that better and better?  You decide.

So, Cameron, what did you do?

Yet another great question.  Natalie Delemar aka @EssbaseLady and I were comparing notes about sessions post the conference.  I figured out that I managed to go to just two sessions other than my own.  Two.  That’s really a bit disappointing but it does sort of explain why I seemed to live on Mojo bars.

  • Two presentations (ASO Planning and Hybrid Essbase)
    • As an aside, you have not “lived” till you stay up past 1:30 am rehearsing your part of a presentation in preparation for a rehearsal 3-ish or so hours later with your copresenter.  Fun times, fun times.
  • Essbase experts (so what was I doing there?) panel participant
  • Meetings with Oracle
  • Interview with OTN
  • Interview with ODTUG
  • Moderated the Thursday Planning Deep Dive session
  • Attended the two aforementioned sessions
  • Did a meet and greet of (just about) each and every vendor in the exhibition hall
  • Had fun
  • Sometimes
    • Slept
    • Ate

So yes, after all that I think I understand the paucity of sessions.  What a conference.

Yeah, you were busy.  So what?

My presentations with BFF Tim German

ASO Planning – Do this, not that

ASO Planning, is real, powerful, and hugely fast.  Even procedural calcs with a sufficiently powerful hack (If there was a hack meter, and its range went from 1 to 10, this one would be an 11, thanks to Joe Watkins.) can be almost absurdly, did-it-really-calculate fast.  I mean fast.  ASO Planning isn’t for everyone (there are licensing, calculation complexity, and other considerations, but not very many), but if your application fits within its constraints and needs ASO Planning’s speed, I would definitely encourage you to look at it.  It can be magic.

Several blog posts, maybe another presentation, and a webinar or two may come out of this session  – there was a ridiculous amount of content we couldn’t use because of time constraints.    

Hybrid Essbase – Evolution or Revolution

I think it’s safe to say that Hybrid Essbase is a revolution and it will change what we do with Essbase.  It’s almost better than ASO, and I think ASO itself is a very exciting concept and a proven product.  The marriage of an ASO-like aggregation and query processor with BSO is going to solve all kinds of design and performance issues that BSO imposes.  And we get to use BSO’s rich calc script language.  Magic.

The two presentations I managed to see

Glenn vs. Edward

I’ve already blogged about this in my Day 2 post.  As always, the snipping and bickering between the two of them reminds me of an old married couple.  I think they like each other.  And no question, Glenn won that contest.

It’s mostly basic stuff, but I did like the review of Glenn’s accumulation trick.  It’s a clever idea that allows you to get dimension totals while skipping intermediate aggregations you don’t need for allocation purposes.  

There was however something about what he and Edward went back and forth on that bothered me.  As I looked at the code sample, I wondered how the code worked when it was run more than once.

Here’s what it looks like in EAS:

The concept is really quite clever:  loop level zero members adding their value to a top of house (or wherever if you used @RELATIVE and an intermediate hiearchy ancestor) ancestor skipping all of the intermediate hierarchies between the bottom and top levels.  There could be quite a few so time would add up making this a fast approach to get that total for allocations or whatever the purpose is.

Does it work?  

The answer is yes.
Before accumulation
After accumulation
A run of Glenn’s code gives us the 2,300 we would expect.
The sting in the tail
So what happens if 100 is entered into Sasparilla?

Unpossible!  But all too true.  What happened?
The explanation
Simply that there was already 2,300 in Product->Sales and Glenn’s technique added another 2,400 (the already existing 2,300 from all of the existing level zero Products and the new 100 in Sasparilla).  If the technique doesn’t clear beforehand, the code will return unpexpected results.

I can almost hear Glenn say, “But it’s not an aggregation, it’s an accumulation.”  And so it is, and it is fast.  Having said that, usually well-written BSO calc scripts can be run one or a thousand times in a row and return the same result each time.

If you want to use this technique, make sure you have a way of clearing out that top Product->Sales member before you run this code.

NB – It’s not that this accumulation approach is bad (I actually like it else I wouldn’t bother to highlight it), it’s that it breaks the normal behavior of Essbase aggregations if the developer isn’t careful to remember that he isn’t aggregating, but instead using a clever hack.  

Glenn, MMIC, you may very well have stated this and it flashed by me, but I sort of don’t think so and this could really trap the unwary.  If you talked about it, think of this as a further illustration of your amazing acumen.  If you didn’t, I’m here to correct your mistakes.  :)  Heaven knows if I am correcting a mistake or oversight, this might be the second or maybe the third time.  I contrast that with the 100 (at least) going the other way.

Speaking of the power of Hybrid, see Planning on the cloud

Shankar Viswanathan and Prasad Kulkarni really wowed the crowd on this one.

The big deal(s):
  • Really big grids really, really, really fast.  Faster even than Smart View.  Did I mention they were big?
  • Client side calcs via an Excel-like editing metaphor that post back to forms.  OMG cool.
  • Intelligent sandboxes (finally, as I have kludged this at just about every Planning client ever)
  • Valid combinations
  • And of course Hybrid
  • Did I mention that all of this is coming to on-premise Planning?

I’m going to write a blog post on this one as well as there’s simply too much to go into but the act of opening up a 120,000 row grid, changing drivers, having it flow through into calculated results, and then aggregating immediately, live, well this particular geek almost swooned.  Just as well I didn’t as the choice was either the carpet or the metal frame of a chair.  I like all of my teeth and I like them still in my mouth.

In other words, Planning cloud demoed really well.  If it works half as well as it demoed, they will have knocked the ball out of the park.  If it works as well as they showed…well, that will simply completely change the way we architect Planning solutions.  Interesting and fun times lie ahead.

We can (if all goes well) hopefully expect this around the end of the year although as always Oracle reserve the right to say it was all a gigantic game of Let’s Pretend.

If it didn’t happen on social media, it didn’t happen at all

I have a steam punk smartphone, aka, it’s five years old and its camera isn’t exactly on the cutting edge of functionality.

Happily I happen to know some people who are apparently not as cheap as I am (the phone, text, and email bits work, mostly, just fine, thanks) and thus can actually provide photographs that can illustrate all of the cool parties that only happen at Kscope.  Thanks go out to Leticia and Jessica Cordova (yes, they are sisters who work together in EPM and that is actually pretty cool) who were kind enough to take time out to get some great shots of the entertainment and send them to me so I could post them here.  

Monday night EPM carnival

You’ve seen the madness here, now see it in a legible and disturbing photograph.  Correction, very disturbing photograph.  Was a message being sent?

Space Needle

Tim Tow of  AppliedOLAP and Jonathan Berry of Accelitis threw a great big shindig at the Seattle Space Needle.  That was super cool, and the view from the top was amazing.  Of course, what do people take photos of when they’re at the top of a tall building that overlooks a beautiful city?  Other people on top of that tall building.  


Jessica, yr.obdt. svt., Leticia, Jason Jones


Okay, to be fair, here is why cell phones are not used to do real photography:
But it’s still a pretty cool picture.


Here’s my buddy Joe Aultman looking…weird

It was sort of interesting when Joe walked into my Hybrid presentation and sat in the front row as I was halfway through a slide.   I just about lost it.  This shot of Joe, at the conference well before he actually needed to look like a refugee from a big hair band, is stolen from @EssbaseLady.

Guitar sculpture


Sky Church video screen (insert sounds of pounding music to get the right feel)


Some total geek with (apparently) Tina Turner and Madonna-no-it’s-Cindy-Lauper-no-it-is-some-sort-of-generic-80s-female-rocker

Do I look like money?  I’ve got it on my fingers and round my neck.  But not in my wallet.  Sigh.  Perhaps the glare from the bling is why my eyes are closed?

Btw, that is Natalie Delemar, conference chairwoman on my right and Opal Alapat BI/EPM content chairwoman on my left.  I understand each and every one of us has a serious, real, and responsible job.  I agree, it is somewhat hard to believe.

Professional dancers (really quite good; certainly better than drunk geeks getting it on)


Amazing aerialists


In short, as only Kscope seems to be able to do, an outstanding series of entertainment events.  No one does it like ODTUG.  No other conference is like Kscope.

And now we begin planning Kscope15

Kscope14 was the best Oracle user conference ever, bar none.

ODTUG will now make Kscope15 the best Oracle user conference ever, bar none.  That means it will beat Kscope14.  Such is the penalty of awesomeness.

That awesomeness doesn’t come from Seattle, or the EMP museum, or a really nice convention center, or even the awesomeness of new product demos and strategy direction Oracle give.  Kscope isn’t about technology at all, it’s about people.  People who give time, effort, and money (never forget the opportunity cost of all of that time) to make sure that attendees meet life-altering friends, learn career-changing techniques and theory, and experience the transformative opportunities that only physical contact with a group of like-minded individuals can bring.  Those communities are what make ODTUG and Kscope special, and in some way they’re what makes Oracle the special and successful company that it is.  It all comes back round to people and Kscope is the vehicle that unites those people.

Every conference is like magic in a bottle and I begin thinking about the next one before the current one has even finished.  Only crazy (I am sort of sure I’m not crazy.  I think.) or crazily passionate (guilty as charged) people think that way but the awesomeness of Kscope has that kind of influence. 

If you work in Oracle technologies, and you don’t come to Kscope, you’re crazy.

See you at Kscope15!

24 June 2014

Kscope14 Day 3

Oh my goodness

Are we really at the halfway mark?  I suppose it depends on how you define the start of Kscope14.  Given my state of tiredness, I don’t know if I can count to 5 (or is it 6 or is it 4?) and then do a divide by 2.  No matter, Kscope14 is now in full swing.

And what does that mean, Cameron?

It means busy.  I should note that this state of business is true for everyone, not just me.  Or maybe especially not me.  I, thankfully, don’t have to work a booth.  I do have ODTUG (not too bad) and OTN (quite nice, actually) responsibilities but compared to doing the meet-and-greet that conference booth duty entails it’s nothing.  So I am not (well, maybe just a little, but this is hopefully the last time today) whining too much about it.

No really, what?

I am actually relaxing right now listening to Gary Crisci explain the nuances of ASO Design Principles for Financial Reporting.  I feel so…calm listening to Gary.  He’s really an excellent presenter:  a good speaker, extremely logical, and very, very, very thorough.  Yes, I am a fan.  And, unlike me, Gary is relaxed.  Isn’t he a little bit like Rick Moranis’ satire of Perry Como?  Perhaps I am the only one who sees it?

So where was the stress?

I am not presenting today but I was on two panels.  

The first was at 8:30 (eek!) on Tim German’s Essbase Optimization Panel with John Booth, Dave Collins, Edward Roske, and MMIC Glenn Schwartzberg.  Considering breakfast consisted of two cartons of milk and an energy bar (I have too little time to eat – That Is A Bad Thing) I think I managed not to embarrass myself too much.

The second, the OTN-sponsored Essbase ACE Lunch and Learn was at lunch time (food, so this was good).  It was moderated by the aforementioned Gary Crisci and the panelists included yr. obdt. srvt., Glenn Schwartzberg (Glenn, like me, fits the idiom a bad penny always turns up), Tim Tow, and John Booth.  

And that was all a bit tiring.  Happily, I am mostly obligation free for the rest of the day.  That means I get to look forward tonight to rehearsing with Tim German for our Evolution or Revolution:  The New Hybrid Essbase session.  For those of you interested in seeing the future of Essbase development (surely everyone?) you really ought to be there at 11:15 in room 604/603/602.

So is the above a whine?  I guess you could argue that it is, but it’s all tremendous fun, despite the level of effort, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Are you here?  Do you agree?  What, you aren’t here?  Why?

If Oracle technology is important to you, and you like to stay informed, aka employed, I can’t think of any other place on God’s green earth that is a better place to learn, meet the experts (obviously someone other than me), have fun, and figure out what the next step in your career will be.

I know I’ll see you next year.

And for those of you who are here, don’t you agree?  Send your huzzahs care of this blog.

Be seeing you.

23 June 2014

Kscope14 Day 2

Kscope14 Day2

It has begun

Finally, yes, the “real” Kscope has started.  Okay, to be fair yesterday’s Sunday Symposium was the real kickoff, but today is the first day that attendees are presenting.

I’m currently watching my hated former oppressor beloved ex-boss, Edward Roske, battling my older-brother-that-I-never-had-and-will-never-have, My Man In California, Kind to his Mother, Glenn Schwartzberg on Essbase design concepts.  One of them is the smart one, the other not so much.  You decide who.  I know who the better man is.

It will begin

The ASO Planning session I am copresenting with Tim German (you can decide who is the smart one and who isn’t, I’m pretty sure Tim is the former and I am the latter) is at 1:15 pm in room 604/603/602.  

I’m very excited about all of the cool things we learnt in putting together the presentation.

ASO procedural calculations

If you are an ASO Essbase database developer, and you have struggled with ASO procedural calcs, even if the word “Planning” makes you ill, you need to be at this session.  We have something really exciting and I hope to see you all there.

The end, but not really

I will, as time permits, update this blog all day long.

Update numbers 1 and 2

Update the first

The ASO Planning presentation Tim German and I gave went over well, hopefully.  We just pipped the 60 minute mark so not as bad as we might have thought from a timing perspective.

Otherwise, it went well, although of course the reviews will tell the tale.

We are going to see if we can present all the cool stuff we didn’t have time for in an ODTUG webinar, or failing that, some other kind of webinar.  Watch this space.

Update the second

Gabby Rubin (ODTUG Oracle Contributor of the Year) is doing his always entertaining best with Essbase futures.  Of course it’s all under Safe Harbor, so I can’t say anything.  But it is very interesting.  :)  This is some seriously interesting stuff.  You should be here.

Probably all for today

Kscope14 is nothing if not fun, beyond seeing the future of Essbase.  After Gabby’s session, is the next cocktail party, and then the EPM Monday Night Festival.  

Nope, not all for today

The EPM Carnival

Wow, what a fantastic success this was.  Please excuse the Stone Age nature of my pictures as my “smartphone” uses vacuum tubes, needs to be wound regularly, and I think uses coal or maybe charcoal for power.  All of the nice looking pictures are courtesy of Leticia Cordova who apparently isn’t as cheap as I am and thus can take pictures that are actually legible.

The madness begins

Arch of balloons

Are these games disturbing?  Why yes they are.

Finally getting me to shut up

Will need eye bleach after this one

Monday night meetup

We EPMers are a hardy lot, and there was more, more, more  to Day 2.  If there is this much more, more, more to day 3, I may not make it till Day 3, but I will have a good time in doing it.  In short, Natalie Delemar (aka @EssbaseLady) and I hosted another of our ODTUG EPM Monday Night meetups.  A fun (and late) time was had by all.  

As the saying goes, if it didn’t happen in social media, it didn’t happen at all so here are the pics.

What do EPM geeks do when they’re at a bar having a fun night out?


Sometimes we smile at the camera


We draft unwitting Oracle employees into our midst

C:\Tempdir\Conferences\ODTUG 2014\20140623_234009.jpg

Or we make silly faces

C:\Tempdir\Conferences\ODTUG 2014\20140623_233927.jpg

It was a lot of fun.  I am beyond sleepy.  I also can’t believe how fast Kscope14 is passing by.   Noooo, make it last longer!  That’s my brain – the rest of my body may be disagreeing.

Be seeing you.