So long 2009…

Posted on December 31, 2009

2009 is going… along with the first decade of the new millennium. After 10 years I’m still unsure what we call this decade, seems like we’ve dodged the question in uncertainty. I’ll end this year on a personal note and get back to technical posts in the new year. If there was any doubt about my suspicions of being ADHD they are confirmed by the strange journey my studies have taken me in December.

You’ll notice my last post was an exuberant burst of Oracle 11g R2 on Solaris/X86 joy…. and I was obsessed like a madman for about a week straight. Oracle 11g R2 is the first release of the Oracle database that has entirely and completely impressed me. Namely because it just works! For instance, since the introduction of Enterprise Manager (8i I think?) its never actually worked properly for me, something was always wrong or flimsy and no matter how many times I re-installed I couldn’t get it right… with 11g R2 is worked flawlessly. No more messing with listener configuration thanks to wizards that actually work. The installer did its thing brilliantly and you don’t even need to tell it to ignore pre-reqs anymore, it just asks you. You can install from start to finish in 15 minutes and be playing.

Of course, this put me in this wierd position of having a lot of time to actually play with the features of the database instead of fix install issues or tuning crap. And so I engrossed myself in its world and got a renewed appreciation for the robustness of features present in Oracle. Yes its big and bloated, but for the first time with 11g it doesn’t feel big and bloated. This is partially because of the simplicity of install and configuration, but also because the lowest common denominator in workstation hardware has finally caught up with the robustness of the database… no more lumbering database on a Sun Blade workstation or Ultra2, on my consumer grade Intel Quad-Core it just rocks along.

What happened next was an odd turn of fate. After playing with all the features of the database I could think of I wanted into its OLAP capabilties and then got re-interested with Business Intelligence (BI) software. I checked out Oracle’s various industry specific application suites and looked around at SAP and SAS’s new offerings, caught up with PeopleSoft and JD Edwards and spend a lot of time researching the history of consolidation of BI tools over the last couple of years that I paid little attention to at the time.

I then got off on a tangent with security… but before long I was digging deep into ISO27001 which pushed me into ISO20000 which unfolded into ITIL and CobiT and CMMI and COSO and PMBOK and PRINCE2 and on and on. Knee deep in a pile of standards I’ve mostly avoided for some time now and with a renewed interest in procedures for building serviced based IT departments. Naturally this re-converged with Oracle and SAP and SAS.

The spiral got so violently out of control, buried under piles of laserjet paper (22lbs paper, only the best of course), that I essentially had to hit the reset button on my brain and ended up researching ADHD for a couple of days, picking up a great deal of pointers in the process. All this came back into focus after Christmas as I’ve tried to cleanup and re-organize all my personal projects which have grown like monsters on rampage.

Many of you have a passion for learning, growing, improving. But maybe you’ve hit places like I do, every so often, where you sort of hit a point at which you are so entrenched in an area that you question its practicality. I mean, at what point am I going to need to espouse the merits of CMMI? When have you gone so far down the rabbit hole that your loosing touch with the reality of your station? It’s good to stretch yourself and learn new things, but at some point, without a rigorous structure on which to build, the weight becomes to great to bear and you collapse under the pressure.

And so now I’m re-engaged, back on the GTD wagon, and lining up for a good new year. I didn’t plan it to coincide with New Years but it just sort of happened that way. And why shouldn’t it? This is about the time last year that I figured I’d finally trash my current blogging software (Pivot) and migrate to WordPress, redesign the site and start doing video content…. which of course never happened. Startup life still hasn’t really left me enough spare cycles to invest sufficient time to get it all done. January is going to be crazy but maybe February will allow me the time to update things.

Anyway… 2010 is upon us. Oracle should close the acquisition of Sun by the end of January. SX:CE is supposed to die any time now. ZFS Dedup is here but ZFS Encr still lagging. The Oracle 11g R2 release stands to shake up things and hopefully re-inject enterprise attention to Solaris. But really, who knows.

I’ll be honest, 2010 is going to be a very tough year. Most of the question about Oracle’s intentions are sorted out, but what will really happen? OpenSolaris, Solaris 10, Solaris Next… whats really going to happen this year? I’m not sure we can say. It could be time for a big change, or maybe not. I just don’t think there is enough data to tell. I can say that some big changes are needed to make all the Nevada goodness trickle back into a proper enterprise release and OpenSolaris sure as hell isn’t it, but what? S11? S10 Update 9? I just don’t know. And with the rise of Oracle’s fight with IBM, will AIX and HP-UX rise anew? Who can tell?

So, lets all raise a pint and toast to the year and enjoy it while it lasts… history will be made soon and lets all hope that we’re a whole lot more excited when 2010 winds down 365 days from now.

Happy New Years folks.