Monthly Archives: March 2006

RIP Ingres

Well, after more than a month, the folks at Ingres came back to the community with ABSOLUTELY NO CHANGES in their licensing. Ingres is indeed “viral.”

So, the head fake is complete (ie, biz friendly CA-TOSL to viral GPL), and Ingres Corporation has charted it’s course to irrelevance. Again, this is just one opinionated blogger but I think Ingres won’t gain traction in new markets now (see previous post why GPL is bad for Ingres, not in general, just Ingres)

I’m sad. Ingres is (should I say was?) cool. RIP.


It’s official: I’m joining Pentaho as Director of BI Solutions.

Most of you arrive here because you’re either an Oracle professional, or are interested in Open Source BI.

To the Oracle professionals on the wire; take note. I’m suspending a healthy Oracle consultancy to get into “the big game.” It is really BIG GAME too… Business Intelligence is a HUGE, growing market and bringing open source to bear on real customer problems will be astounding. I can speak your language (we could talk about rollback segments if we WANTED to… not that we would) so if you want to talk to someone who knows both side of the coin (Oracle and Open Source) email me.

To the Open Source readers on the wire; take note. I’m voting for who I think will be the winner of the open source BI game with my own career. I’ve put all the chips on the table and my bet is on Pentaho.

To anyone who reads this blog; stay tuned. I’ll be moving the blog to a non-bayon branded location so that it more accurately reflects me as a voice in open source BI rather than an “oracle guy” blogging about open source BI.

I know everyone at Pentaho, including myself, is excited to help leverage my experience as a practitioner for their customers, partners and community.

I promise to help make Open Source BI a reality by showing you, the DBA/IT/Analyst how to help business users make sense of a sea of data, using the best collection of Open Source BI technologies available.

— Insert Pentaho Tribal War Cry Here —

OK… Since I’m shutting down my consultancy to join Pentaho the least you can do is give ’em two clicks. Just kidding… but really, help let the world know that Open Source BI is something you believe in by voting for Pentaho for SourceForge community awards!

Off Topic: Our Wedding Singer

I’m engaged to be married… Kathy and I are getting married this September at a lodge on the shores of a small lake in a beautiful part of the USA (Olympic National Park in Washington State).

We’ve just hired a band to play our wedding and I can say, without reservation, I’m absolutely thrilled they’ll be playing for our friends and family. They are an exceptional group of artists from Vancouver, BC and they are well known throughout the world as “The Paperboys.

Some of their songs (original works):
After the First
If I could

What do YOU think of their Spanish/Celtic/folksy sound?

Off Topic: I miss casual Fridays

Working from home, and at client sites, I don’t get the chance to enjoy the “casual Friday atmosphere” at software companies.

Someone sent me their office winner of the Ugly Shirt Award for Friday, March 10th. 🙂

Reader comments are open… Ugly, Classy, or Who Cares?

Lengthy Emailed Questions

Like other bloggers who post their email, I regularly get emails from people asking about topics which I blog about… I’m not really all that much of an expert on it all, just publish what I know. Usually it’s a brief:

Obscure question here: How can I do this little thing X with OWB because it’s not readily apparent in the product and the docs/forums/web searches haven’t yielded anything.

5 minute answer, I’ll email straight away if I know and I’m happy to help.

Ocassionally, people email with a whole BUNCH of question(s), that would, if answered properly, chew up a many hours of time. While I enjoy solving technology problems I do so in the context of charging people money to do it. I’d like to for free, but that would leave my paying customers behind schedule. So, when it becomes a sizable chunk of time I usually don’t answer. I’ve received three such emails in the past couple of weeks, and I figured what the heck… why not post them to the blog and see if the community as a whole wants to have a go at them. So… if you know the answer and feel like posting it please do!

Here goes:


I am looking at upgrading our current out-dated Oracle 8.0.5 database to 10G (eventually),
but for now upgrading to 8.0.6 before the next phase. I want to be able to test the 8.0.6
database migration first, I have a few questions…

Can I upgrade a test database first for testing purposes, and once satisfied upgrade the production database ?
Is this just done by setting the correct Oracle_SID and running the upgrade process?
Do I have to run multiple listeners (8.0.5 and 8.0.6 )?
To upgrade each instance do I have to run the upgrade procedure for each instance?



Hi Nicholas.

I’m a big fan of your blog and read it a lot for getting information regarding the BI. I have a few questions regarding OLAP cubes in Oracle and am hoping that you would be able to help out. We want to use MOLAP cubes in Oracle to run against historical data compromising more than 50M records. With 1M records our cubes (comprising of 6-8 dimensions) get refreshed in about 4 minutes with limited aggregation. Using incremental refresh the next 1M records take about 10 minutes while the next 1M takes around 30 minutes. This times keeps on increasing with additional refreshes. At this rate we fear that in a production environment with 50M+ records the incremental refresh time would be way too much. We want to do a one time build of the cube (with about 40M records) and then a weekly/monthly incremental refresh (of about 1M records).

We are using Oracle on Windows 2000 on a HP Proliant DL380 (3.4GHz*2 and 6GB RAM). SGA Target is 890Mb and PGA Target is 370MB.

My questions are:

What is your opinion/experience about running OLAP cubes against high volume data (50M+ records). Please comment on both the cube maintenance time and the drill time at runtime in the reports. Do you know of any production systems that use cubes with this volume or higher? Are MOLAP cubes meant to operate against such a data volume or should we switch to ROLAP? Do you have any white paper that would help us in designing our cubes and configuring our hardware/oracle?

If we want to keep our daily incremental refresh time (for 1M records) for one cube to say 30 minutes then what do you think should be the minimum recommended machine specs for our environment? How many processors? How much RAM?

Thanks in advance.


Hi Nicholas,

My name is XXXX and I’m working as Product Analyst with XXXXXX Inc. XXXXXX is providing software solutions to XXXXX and XXXXXX industries.

I have been reading your blogs and I like them very much.

I have a real quick question. We want to develop a data warehousing solution that requires almost real-time warehousing. Is there a way we can do it with Oracle’s Asynchronous Change Data Capture and Oracle Warehouse Builder R1?

I’m not sure when OWB R2 will be out and how long it is going to take to stabilize. Is there a way to get hold of a beta version?

Your help is greatly appreciated.


That whole "Freedom" thing pays

Hot on the heels of the news (here, here) that Mozilla banked 72m USD, Christopher Blizzard responds that it’s not accurate, but not that far off.

I say… good for them

Even Matt Asay (proponent of ‘fringe, on the cusp open source business models’) blogs Interesting, the return that freedom can bring..

To put that in perspective, I bet that surpasses the annual revenue for JBoss, MySql, SugarCRM, Alfresco, Zimbra, Suse Linux revenues etc. The only open source play I don’t think it tops is Red Hat. I’d love comments on this if you think my guesses are incorrect (all private companies so no way to know for sure).

I think my good friend Russ at Nanoblog might be on to something… The potential is the Crop NOT the Carrot.

eWeek thinks SugarCRM will be alone

Ok… really I have no beef with SugarCRM, just their license. They seem like a good company (revenue and customer focused) and their product appears to be making a good impression with customers. I’ve looked at their demo, and it does look rather functional. OK, that’s out of the way. SugarCRM well funded, eager company, decent product.

However, the fact remains, they are NOT open source (refer here, here, here, here, here) Even recently they signaled to the world what they think “open source is” is in actuality “public source” by releasing SugarCRM under the Microsoft Community License.

Eweek thinks SugarCRM will be alone. I agree… In fact, I encourage SugarCRM to actually standardize on the Microsoft Community License! It meets your needs and actually refers to itself honestly. In other words, if you think of open source like public source (and you do) then just be a community source or public source licensed company. Don’t use the term open source just to get a marketng bump.

Ingres Goes Silent

A while back I blogged about Ingres going GPL. I wasn’t alone in my disapproval and Ingres thought it should take some time for reflection, consider the needs of the community and partners, and make a decision about interface code being a more biz friendly open source license (ie, non viral GPL).

An updated was promised in a “few days” on February 12th. It’s been almost a month… I echo this again, Ingres has MUCH to learn about being an open source company if they go silent to their community for almost a month. Open Source is interactive, it’s public, it’s democratic, it’s real. Traditional “black hole” corporate decision making is sooooo RDBMS 1990s.

Sigh… I’m available to anyone at Ingres who is actually interested in learning about this whole “open source community” thing and what it means in PRACTICE not just MARKETING MATERIALs. 🙂 Drop me a line (email is in the box on the right) if anyone is listening and is interested in actually engaging a community outside their current customers.

Poignant Pentaho Podcasts

Joseph and Clarise have published two of their three podcasts on Pentaho. If you are a developer considering Open Source BI you should definitely have a listen to the three podcasts. Why? Well, rather than sifting through web pages, design documents, etc to get the gist of Pentaho you can hear it from their top techies mouth. James Dixon (whom I’ve met) is sharp as all get out. Listen to James talk about the core of Pentaho, and the realities of bringing together more than 40 open source projects into a cohesive framework.

Both are about 15 minutes or so. Worthwhile to get the net net:
OSC Podcast Pentaho Overview
OSC Podcast Pentaho Overview Part 2