Thursday, 7 August 2008

A Training Lesson from Bruce Springsteen

Tom Peters had an epiphany the other day: his first Bruce Springsteen concert.  Initially miffed by the pouring rain (and at being dragged there by his wife), he nevertheless described himself as "Earth's newest Bruce Groupie":

Well, the storm abated, The Boss showed up—and I, one of Earth's newest Bruce Groupies by midnight, was mesmerized by the most amazing piece of performance art of any sort I've ever seen (65.8 years) or ever expect to see. Three+ hours, non-flagging energy, no intermission at all—he ran to a little table and threw ice water on himself a couple of times without breaking stride. If ever there was a time when the word "excellence" was not hyperbole, this was it. The repertoire was great, but so what. The passion & energy & performance [P.E.P., "pep"—God help me] per se was the point, the whole point, and nothing but the point.

I'm inspired by energetic performance, because I see training as performance. The students expend a lot of energy, and they get empty. Where do they get more? By and large, from us, the trainers. By directing their attention and planning their energy output, we can help them budget it. And we can break up the material with energizers and other fun things that fill them up again.

I know it's been a good class when I feel just drained from all the energy I gave away, but happy that those I gave it to had a good experience. Makes me feel a little like a rock star.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Oracle on VMWare

One of my current projects is building VMWare virtual machines that I can use to practice installing Oracle 11g and third-party products.  I found some great "cheat sheets" at the Oracle Base website:

  • Oracle DB 11gR1 RAC Installation on OEL5 Using VMWare.  This one covers setting up Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 on VMWare virtual machines in a configuration designed to be used as a RAC node (e.g., dual network interface cards). It's the whole meal, from soup to nuts. The level of detail is great.
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 Installation.  This is a step-by-step, generic setup of OEL5 suitable for adding other software (like Oracle) later. It's not Oracle-specific, but a good overview.

Both of these have lots of screenshots and the little tips that head off disaster.

I do have a couple of qualms, though.

Now that Oracle has released their own virtualization solution, OracleVM, they are not likely to ever support VMWare-based solutions. Part of me says I should be building these VMs on OracleVM. However, Oracle VM requires a separate machine to run, and VMWare doesn't. Plus, VMWare is a clear market leader at this point. Because these machines will be used as learning aids, not production, I don't think it's a big risk.

The other thing is using Oracle Enterprise Linux as the O.S. instead of something more generic. The only reasons I'm going this way are that the cheat sheets use it, and it is a free download.

But clearly, things have come a long way since people were first struggling with Oracle in virtual environments years ago.