Saturday, April 12, 2014

4 under-recognized presentations at Collaborate 14

I attended many, many sessions last week at Collaborate 14. Big data. OEM Grid Control. Cloud. SOA. Engineered systems. Many were great. Few were disappointing. Attendance among the presentations were mixed. Some were a full house while others had only a few in attendance.

In today's blog post, I highlight four presentations in particular which were extremely impressive but lacked the turnout that they deserved.

Some presentations were early in the morning; clearly a major disadvantage for a conference taking place in Las Vegas. Others were later in the afternoon, a time when people were just getting ready to enjoy the evening and great weather. Some of the presentation titles could have definitely been made to be more attractive (judge for yourself below). And in one case, the name of the well known presenter was not in the agenda on the mobile app. Marketing also has something to do with it, and perhaps the presenters spreading the word a bit in advance might have helped.

These four presentations were all standout presentations, and I give each of them a 10 out of 10. Let me explain why.


An Alternative to Exadata for Large Scale ERP Deployments
Cliff Burgess, Director of Information Technology, Gentex Corporation

Cliff talks about their experience at Gentex and why they upgraded the commodity hardware running Oracle E-Business Suite R12 instead of moving to Exadata. Typically you don't find too many anti-Exadata presentations out there, so it was refreshing to see a different perspective.

What I learned:
  • Exadata is not just hardware, it's also software so don't forget about the ongoing support cost.
  • Who administers Exadata? The Oracle DBA? System administrator? Network admin? Storage admin? Training is clearly an issue.
  • Though Oracle sells Exadata as a means to stop finger pointing among the various administrators, this clearly was not a factor for Gentex.
  • On their commodity hardware, Gentex increased their CPUs by 50% but their RAM by 1000%. This was clearly to get as much power as possible while controlling Oracle licensing costs, which is licensed by the core.
  • To minimize licensing cost, Gentex went with the highest end CPUs at the time.
  • Given enough time and effort, you may be able to prove that Exadata performance gains may not be drastically better than commodity hardware for OLTP based transactions, something that Gentex confirmed themselves through an extensive POC.
It was a great presentation with some good insight on how Gentex saved $2 million by not moving to Exadata yet were able to resolve their performance issues with their E-Business Suite R12 environment.


Fusion Middleware-Heart of Fusion Applications, Tips and Tricks to Maintain, Install a Successful Fusion Application Install Base
Manoj Machiwal, Consulting Director, Jade Global

Manoj talks about what it takes to install Oracle Fusion Applications, an extremely new topic area. I'll be honest with you. I didn't have high hopes for this presentation, but as the presentation progressed, I realized that this one was a hidden gem.

What I learned:
  • Fusion Apps requires a lot of the Fusion Middleware infrastructure, such as the application server, identity management, and integration products.
  • Other Fusion Middleware products such as OBIEE and WebCenter Portal are optional.
  • Users are now stored in an external directory (i.e., the concept of FND_USERS no longer exists).
  • The Fusion Apps Vision instance requires 8 CPUs, 220 GB of memory, and 2 TB of disk!

Well done Manoj. Sorry I had to leave the presentation a little early, but what I saw was impressive.


Real-World Cloud & On-premise ERP Integration Simplified with Oracle SOA Suite
Vikas Anand, Senior Product Director, Oracle

Vikas talks about cloud integration and walks through a demo of a two-way integration between Salesforce.com and E-Business Suite using the new Salesforce Adapter. I attended this presentation at the last Oracle OpenWorld conference, but this one had a few new interesting twists. If you're interested in knowing why I think highly of this presentation, see my review of that OpenWorld presentation.

What's new that I learned this time around:
  • Session managed to the external service provides (e.g., Salesforce.com) is fully managed by the adapter (i.e., the SalesForce Adapter).
  • The adapter supports the ability to provide a response interface for Salesforce events to invoke.
  • The BMC Software use case, on how their CIO gave a directive to move the majority of their services to the cloud, was interesting (and scary!).


I know it doesn't seem like much, but remember, the majority of the content was similar to what was presented last October at OpenWorld, so check out my last review to find out more.


Human Task and ADF: How-to
Harold Dost III, Senior Consultant, Raastech

Harold presents a live demo creating an ADF based form to handle Human Tasks in Oracle SOA Suite 11g. Unfortunately, both the presentation and the abstract should have had some reference to Oracle SOA Suite 11g, as Human Task is one of the many components of this suite.

What I learned:
  • You do not have to rely on the awful BPM Worklist to be the UI that users navigate to manage workflow actions.
  • The ADF custom developed workflow management forms can be hosted externally or embedded within the BPM Worklist.
  • Seeing a live (working) demo and walkthrough is always welcome and enhances the understanding.


This is a presentation that's mostly geared towards Oracle SOA Suite developers or those who rely on Human Task for workflow purposes. Since it's an area I specialize in, it is of particular interest to me.


There you have it. Four under-recognized yet excellent presentations at Collaborate 14, and ones that I'm extremely glad I attended.


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