Nordic ACE Tour 2014 by Simon Haslam


clip_image001Last week I was a speaker on the OTN sponsored Nordic ACE Director Tour 2014. It’s well over a year now since I was kindly invited to take part but, as an "ACE Tour virgin," I wasn’t really sure what to expect, so hopefully this non-technical article will help others in a similar position. Heli Helskyaho, a fellow speaker, has pipped me to the post so you can read about her experiences too.

The tour consisted of 4 one-day events in 4 countries on consecutive days – given my distance from London Heathrow this meant I was away from home for 6 days. I had offered 5 abstracts, most of which I’d actually presented elsewhere, but I also included the new EDG presentation that my good friend Jacco Landlust and I have submitted for a few conferences this autumn/winter. Each speaker delivered 2 presentations per day and the 4 user groups chose the sessions they wanted – for me that meant 4 out of my 5, for others it was the same 2 presentations given 4 times. What surprised me was that the event in each country had a different feel.

We started in Sweden in a Japanese-style health spa, in the countryside about an hour’s drive away from the airport. This was a very peaceful setting for meetings though all guests were provided with kimonos and seemed to wear them around the hotel. Being almost the only one in the restaurant without one on Sunday evening I hopefully redeemed myself by spending the whole of the following day in one (over my normal clothes I hasten to add!).

After a couple of taxis and a flight we ended up in Oslo. We had a very pleasant dinner courtesy of OUGN (I had reindeer – a first for me!), and I started the following morning presenting across tracks about EDG. I knew the audience would be database-biased so tried to include as much database commentary as I could – I’m not quite sure how well it worked, but hopefully showed how many interesting technical challenges there are in middleware platform design and administration. Nobody walked out anyway!

The OUGN leg was a much bigger event – around 80 or so delegates, including partners exhibiting in the foyer – so it felt more like a day from their annual conference. I later ran my SSL session – using a flip chart which I thought might be useful for data flows – but at 45/50 minutes ran out of time without being able to fit in the demo. I concluded that the subject really needs 2 sessions – one for PKI and encryption concepts, the second for WebLogic configuration and demos. Although you can set up WebLogic SSL without necessarily knowing what’s happening underneath, I think the more you know the easier it is to debug when configuration goes wrong (which it invariably does in my experience!).


One benefit of being on the tour is that you can attend most of the presentations at some point – here’s Jože talking about 12c database upgrades and new features (like hybrid histograms): Read the complete article here.

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