DOAG 2019 – Recap and a personal complaint

Nürnberg and München are just 175 km away from each other, a bit more than 1 hour by train. Still I felt a post-conference blues already when I boarded the ICE train yesterday to head back to the south. It was an awesome conference – again. Except for one thing which I will write about below. So here’s my report on DOAG 2019 – Recap and a personal complaint.

DOAG 2019 - Recap and a personal complaint

Photo by Philippe Mignot on Unsplash

DOAG 2019 – What an agenda

I knew it before already. But my VP, Roy Swonger, visited DOAG Conference in Nürnberg for the first time. And a few days before he sent me his schedule with a comment saying “Wow, what an agenda. It was sometimes really hard to pick between several interesting talks in parallel.” And Roy selected only from the talks which were supposed to be given in English or get simultaneous translation in the big rooms. I can choose from even more – and I can confess: The agenda was awesome. And the talks I went to were excellent, too.

Of course, thanks to the fine DOAG team and everybody who was involved in making this such a great conference. Call me patriotic as DOAG Conference happens in my hometown, but it’s a pleasure every year for so many years now. Well done, folks! Thank you!

Our presentations

Honestly … THANK YOU for coming to our talks. I’ve had the last slot on the first day at 17:00h, and I was a bit anxious before whether most people will be tired and just enjoying a drink at one of the exhibition booths instead. But you really surprised me. Wow! “Tokio” tends to feel a bit empty but you made it a cozy place on Tuesday evening. And thanks to Daniel Overby Hansen from SimCorp for inviting me to be with him on stage on Thursday morning. We didn’t expect so many people being up so early after the great party on Wednesday night.

In case you visited one of our 3 talks, please find the slides here:

And here’s the video (no audio!) for the AutoUpgrade talk on Tuesday showing the “resume”, “abort” and “restore” command options of AutoUpgrade:

Finally … a complaint

Actually this year something has happened which made me angry and frustrated. Usually Tim Hall is the grumpy but always fair complainer, this time it is me.

Since June 2019 people from our team and I exchanged 40 (!! – I counted them) emails with a customer regarding AutoUpgrade. Actually it is not our job to solve SRs. But in this, as in many other cases, we supported a customer directly. The customer found issues with AutoUpgrade. And it is in our own interest to fix things as quickly as possible. Which we do – what many others can confirm. My team mates, in this particular case Hector and Byron but also all the others, do an awesome and tough job. And I’m really grateful to be part of such a fantastic team (I really mean it).

On Wednesday, I had one of the many “upgrade/migration” discussions at DOAG with a customer I know now for a decade. We’ve been at OOW on stage together a while ago. We know each other very well. And he told me that the customer we helped a lot with AutoUpgrade complained on stage about our tool, the support coverage and bugs per se.

Of course, this is a tech conference. And it’s the place to name things which are not working well (yet). That’s the reason why we all like these conferences. If you’d be interested in marketing-only, you could watch a youtube video instead of paying for a conference pass and be away for days from family and work.

Yesterday night I downloaded the slides of this talk. And I realized that my long-year customer’s impression may have been right. It made me really sad.

Let me clarify a few things.

At first, as I wrote above, we are “Development“, notSupport“. If you need to complain about Support, complain to Support or your sales contact. There were Oracle Support people at DOAG at the Oracle booth. But if our team gives you a several-month-long coverage assisting you directly, personally, reply overnight, send you intermediate version of AutoUpgrade with fixes others don’t have access to yet, then PLEASE go on stage and tell everybody about it. We don’t expect you saying “Thank You” necessarily – but at least tell others.

The SRs we ask you usually to open are mainly used to exchange files. We are not allowed to share files via the typical file sharing services. Hence, an SR is the right way. And this way, things for other customers can be documented. It’s not fair to complain about slow SR response when we supported you in a 1:1 coverage directly.

Furthermore, it is not – really not! – OK to complain about functionality of the tool which is in beta stage. Which we clearly explained and described as beta. Beta functionality obviously is not in the documentation. Never! And yes, it’s on my blog. It will be even in the next version of the lab for testing purposes. We love when you test. And we’ll fix things when you find them. But beta is beta is beta. Period. We made this VERY clear.

I deal a lot with customers in reference projects. Which means usually that I deal a lot with SRs, and of course with bugs, too. Not every team at Oracle which will give you such direct and immediate support. It is tough for us because it would be much easier to hide behind the wall of MOS and the bug database. Of course, I understand that it is hard for you, too, when you find issues. But there wasn’t a single one where there wasn’t a fix provided at the speed of development-light, or at least a workaround given.

We are thankful when you find things because we would like this tool to fly perfectly well and ease your daily work. We never promoted it as a flying cow. In case you wonder what I mean, watch this video. Then you’ll understand. We are honest with you. We talk about the things not working perfectly well. But we tell you as well that we are working to improve the tool. And we give you workarounds and deliver fixes more rapidly than for any other product I can think about. We even support customers directly who haven’t signed a reference agreement with us. As we did in this particular case, with plenty of extra effort.

What I would have expected is respect and fairness.

I can promise that a future version of the tool will fix the issues you found. But we can’t release a new version every night as we want to test it, too. System testing does not complete just overnight with the massive numbers of tests the tool undergoes.

I would like to say “Thank You” for an outstanding 1:1 coverage to my team mates from the Database Upgrade Development team.

And something very positive at the end:

Thank you so much to the people who came by at DOAG and told me that they used AutoUpgrade a week ago to upgrade 50 databases unattended. And to those who said, it’s such a tiny little tool but gives such a great improvement in the work with the database. Thank you for coming to our talks and giving us constant feedback. This is really important to us – and I don’t write this just because it reads nicely.

A big thank you from the Database Upgrade Development team to you!



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