As Published In
Oracle Magazine
November/December 2007


Oracle OpenWorld, Community Style

By Justin Kestelyn

From lounges to giveaways, Oracle Technology Network membership has its benefits.

Oracle OpenWorld and the concurrent Oracle Develop Conference are the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) community's major "skill-set enhancement" calendar entries for the year, but there's far more to these events than packing your agenda with sessions and keynotes.

The OTN Lounge, located in San Francisco's Moscone Center West (second floor), will be your community nexus throughout the conference—a place not only to relax (perhaps via a friendly game of chess with Oracle ACE Laurent Schneider) but also to chat up other OTN members with similar interests, meet Oracle ACEs and Oracle ACE Directors in person, and get advice from legendary experts and community figures like Tom Kyte. It's also an opportunity to pick up exclusive OTN swag, including free Oracle software, T-shirts, coffee mugs, and the 2007 edition of OTN's Greatest Hits CD.

Last year's OTN Night was the most successful yet, but this year's event (Monday, November 12, at the Westin St. Francis) promises to be even better. Whether you're focused on "edutainment" (the Oracle-on-Linux Installfest or the DBA Hot Seat Competition) or strictly on recreation, OTN Night is the hottest ticket of the week.

For more information and to register for Oracle OpenWorld and the Oracle Develop Conference, visit

The Hands-on Users Group

The Puget Sound Oracle Users Group (PSOUG), in Seattle, Washington, gives its members more bang for their US$35 annual membership fee. The group now boasts its own well-stocked technology lab that's open to members 10 hours a day, five days a week.

"We've moved away from the model where a user group charges for a few training events or conferences a year," says Oracle ACE Director Dan Morgan, who was instrumental in putting the lab together. "Instead, we charge for hands-on classes one week a month and then open the doors so members can come in and practice in the lab."

The lab equipment includes a NetApp 1TB 270C NAS appliance as well as other equipment donated by NetApp and a 7TB Axiom 500 SAN donated by Pillar Data Systems. Brocade donated all the switches and fiber required for a first-class network. The configuration can simulate a cluster of up to eight nodes, using Oracle Real Application Clusters.

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"The people who teach our classes and develop our curriculum also teach at the University of Washington," says Morgan. "We've had people fly in from New Jersey to take classes here. They pay to become members of PSOUG and then enroll in classes just to get access to this lab." The great thing about this setup, adds Morgan, is that a member can take a class and then get hands-on practice on the lab equipment.

PSOUG's lab approach is potentially a model for other user groups, and PSOUG has surplus equipment to pass on to any group that wants to set up a lab of its own (while supplies last). Visit to learn more.

It's All Academic

Oracle ACE Steve Karam started using Oracle Database when most kids his age were learning long division. In high school, Karam landed a job building applications for an Oracle consulting company. Today, he is an Oracle ACE and Oracle Certified Master who wants to give children a similar opportunity, via Oracle Academy.

Oracle Academy provides software, training, and resources to prepare students for careers in information technology. The program trains educators and provides resources for high schools, vocational schools, colleges, and universities around the world.

Karam judges student projects at Virginia's Edison Academy and speaks with students through Oracle user group events. "I want to show the education community that Oracle Academy is out there and is very worthwhile," he says. "It will likely be the next great source of top-notch Oracle technologists." What better goal for an Oracle ACE?

Learn more about Oracle Academy at; read Karam's blog at

Justin Kestelyn ( is the editor in chief of Oracle Technology Network.

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