Month: March 2015

OTech article on Predictive Queries

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Last week the Spring 2015 edition of OTech Magazine was published.

Check out the link to the it here.

Otech 1

I was lucky to have an article accepted and published in this edition and the topic of the article was on Predictive Queries.

I’ve given a presentation on Predictive Queries at a few Oracle User Group conferences over the past 6 months or so, and this article covers what I talk about in that presentation.

The article covers what Predictive Queries are about and goes through some example of how you can use them. Again I give some of these examples in my presentation.

Now is your chance to try out Predictive Queries using the examples in the articles.

Otech 2

Recently I recorded a very short video with Bob Hubbard of OTN on this topic as part of his 2 Minute Tech Tips. Check out my blog post about this video and view the video.

OTN tech tip

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Automatic Analytics is So main stream. Not something new.

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Everyone is doing advanced analytics. Right? Hmm

Everyone is talking about advanced analytics? Yes that is true.

Everyone is an expert in advanced analytics? This is so not true. Watch out for these Great Pretenders. You know what I mean! You know who I mean! Maybe you know some of them already? If not, watch out for these Great Pretenders!!!

Some people are going around talking about data mining, predictive analytics, advanced analytics, machine learning etc as if this is some new topic. Well it isn’t. It isn’t anything new and most of the techniques have been about for 10, 20, 30+ years.

Some people are saying you should only use language X or tool Y because. Everything else is basically rubbish.

What we do have is a wider understanding of how to use these techniques on our various data sources.

What we have is a lot more tools that allow us to perform these tasks a lot easier, at greater speed, with more functionality and without the need to fully understand the hard core maths that is going on behind the scenes.

What we have is a lot more languages to perform these tasks and to support the vast amount of work that goes into understanding the data and preparing the data.

Someone thing for all of us to watch out for, when we ready about these topics, is what kind of problem area they are addressing. The following table illustrates the three main types or categories of Analytics. These categories are Descriptive Analytics, Predictive Analytics and Prescriptive Analytics. I think most people would agree that the Descriptive and Predictive Analytics categories are very mature at this stage. With Predictive Analytics we are perhaps still evolving in this category and a lot more work needs to be done before this this become wide spread.

Blog 1

Some people talk as if Predictive Analytics is some new and exciting topic. But isn’t all that new. It was been around for the past 30+ years. If you go back over the Gartner Hype Cycle that comes out every September, Predictive Analytics is no longer being shown on this graph. The last time it appeared on the Gartner Hype Cycle was back in 2013 and it was positioned on the far right of the graph in the section called Plateau of Productivity.

So Predictive Analytics is very mature and main stream. Part of the reason that it is main stream is that Predictive Analytics has allowed for a new category of Analytics to evolve and this is Automatic Analytics.

Automatic Analytics is where Advanced and Predictive Analytics has been build into our day to day applications that are used to run our business. We do not need the hard core type of data scientists to perform various analytic on our data. Instead these task, once they have been defined, can then be added to our applications to process, evaluate and make decisions all automatically. This is were we need the data scientists to be able to communicate with the business and be able to work with them to solve real world business projects. This is a different type of data scientist to the “hard” core data scientist who delves into the various statistical methods, machine learning methods, data management methods, etc.

The following table extends the table given above to include Automatic Analytics, and is my own take on how and where Automatic Analytics fits.

Blog 2

Every time we get an insurance quote, health insurance quote, get a “random” call from our Telco offering a free upgrade, get our loyalty card statements, get a loan from the bank, look at or buy a book on Amazon, etc. the list could go on and on, but these are all examples of how predictive analytics has been automated into our everyday business application.

But this is nothing new. When I first got into data mining/predictive analytics over 16 years ago, it was considered a common thing that certain types of companies did. What has happened in the time since and particularly in the past few years is that a lot more people are seeing the value in using it.

Before I finish off this post we can have a quick look at what Oracle has been doing in this area. They have their Advanced Analytics Option and Real-Time Decisions tools to all data scientists do their magic. But over the past X years (nobody can give me an exact number) they have been very, very active in building in lots and lots of predictive analytics into their various business applications, particularly with into with Fusion Apps and BI Apps.

Blog 3

A recent quote from Oracle highlights their aim with this,

… products designed to close the gap between data scientists and businesses.

Now with Oracle making a big push to the cloud, they are busy adding in more and more Automatic (Predictive) Analytics into their Cloud Applications. What we need from Oracle is a clearer identification of where they have done this. Plus with the migration of their Apps to the cloud, their Advanced Analytics Option is a core part of their Cloud platform. As they upgrade or add new features into their Cloud Apps, you will now be able to get the benefit of these Automatic (Predictive) Analytics as they come available.

Blog 5

OUG Ireland 2015 is next week

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The annual OUG Ireland conference is on next week on Thursday 19th March.

If you haven’t already signed up for the conference this is only a few days left to do so. Click here to go to the registrations pages.

Also don’t forget to sign Maria Colgan’s one day seminar on the Oracle 12c In-Memory Option.

As always there is a very full agenda with 7 streams, 47 presentations and several keynote presentations.

I’ll be a draw for a copy of my book and I’ll be giving away a few Oracle Press goodies too. Check out this blog post for the details and rules of the book draw.

The following are the presentations I’m planning on attending (so you know where to find me)

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Time Presenter Topic
09:10-09:30 Debra Lilley OUG Ireland Welcome, Introduction and Opening
09:30-10:10 Jon Paul (Oracle) Opening Keynote by Jon Paul from Oracle
10:15-11:00 Oralce Presentation Oracle Big Data Strategy

11:00-11:25 Exhibition Hall
11:25-12:10 Antony Heljula Real Business Value Using Predictive BI

(I’ve seen this before but I worked with Antony on some of what he will be talking about)

12:15-13:00 Roel Hartman &

Brendan Tierney

What Are They Thinking? With Oracle Application Express & Oracle Data Mining.

(we gave this presentation at Oracle Open World back in September 2014)

12:15-13:00 Gurcan Orhan How to handle Dev, Test & Prod with ODI
13:00-14:00 Lunch

(and then freaking out before I give my second presentation)

14:00-14:45 Brendan Tierney Predictive Queries in Oracle 12c Database

(I suppose I have to turn up to my own presentation)

14:50-15:35 Roel Hartman Hidden APEX 5 Gems Revealed

(APEX 5 is due out any day now)

15:35-16:00 Exhibition Hall & Coffee

(and then freaking out before I give my third presentation)

16:00-16:45 Brendan Tierney Running R in your Oracle Database using Oracle R Enterprise

(This presentation generally runs for 50 minutes)

16:50-17:35 Maria Colgan BI, Dev & Tech Closing Keynote: Oracle Database In-Memory-The next big thing
17:35-18:35 Event Social i.e. free drink 🙂

As you can see it is going to be a busy, busy day.

I would love to attend lots of others, but being able to be in multiple places at the same time is not one of them.

NOTE:The User Group has a rule that a presenter can have a max of 2 presentations. Unfortunately we had to break this rule a week out from the conference, due to some cancellations. And that is why I’ve ended with 2.5 presentations.

RIP SQL*Plus & hello SQL Command Line

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Over the past couple of months Oracle has been releasing some EA (Early Adopter) versions of a new tool that is currently called SQL Command Line.

The team behind this new tool is the SQL Developer development team and they have been working on creating a new command line SQL tool that is based on some of the technology that is included in SQL Developer.

SQL Command Line in an stand alone tool and all you need to do is to download and un-zip the tile.

What I want to show in this blog post is some of new features that are available and that I have found particularly useful. But before we get onto those commands let us first have a look at how you can get setup and running with SQL Command Line.

Download & Setup

The current download of SQL Command Line can be found under the SQL Developer 4.1 EA Download page. I’m assuming when 4.1 is formally released the download for SQL Command line will be on the main SQL Developer Download web page.

SQL CL 1

After you have downloaded the file, all you need to do is to unzip the file and then copy the unzipped directory to where you want the software to be located on your client.

Now you are ready to get started with using SQL Command Line.

Connecting to your Oracle Schema

(That) Jeff Smith and Barry McGillin have a couple of good blog posts on the different connection methods and some setup or configuration you might need to consider. Check out these links for more details.

For me I did not have to do any additional setup or configuration. I was able to use the TNS Names and the EZConnect methods without any problems.

The following how to connect to my (DMUSER) schema using the EZConnect method. With this method we pass in the username, password, the host name, port number and the service name. Just like this

> sql dmuser/dmuser@localhost:1521/pdb12c

We can not have a look at the JDBC connection details.

SQL> show jdbc

— Database Info —

Database Product Name: Oracle

Database Product Version: Oracle Database 12c Enterprise Edition Release 12.1.0.2.0 – 64bit Production

With the Partitioning, OLAP, Advanced Analytics and Real Application Testing options

Database Major Version: 12

Database Minor Version: 1

— Driver Info —

Driver Name: Oracle JDBC driver

Driver Version: 12.1.0.2.0

Driver Major Version: 12

Driver Minor Version: 1

Driver URL: jdbc:oracle:thin:@localhost:1521/pdb12c

SQL>

If we have a TNSNAMES.ORA file on our computer and the directory that it is in, is on the search PATH, then we can use the service names defined in the TNSNAMES.ORA file. The following example shows you how to use this in two ways. The first shows how to enter all the details when you are starting SQL CL and the other is when SQL CL prompts you for each parameter.

> sql dmuser/dmuser@pdb12c

and when we are prompted to enter the parameters, we get the following.

> sql

SQLcl: Release 4.1.0 Beta on Thu Mar 05 15:16:12 2015

Copyright (c) 1982, 2015, Oracle. All rights reserved.

SQLcl: Release 4.1.0 Beta on Thu Mar 05 15:16:14 2015

Copyright (c) 1982, 2015, Oracle. All rights reserved.

Username? (”?) dmuser

Password? (**********?) ******

Database? (”?) pdb12c

Connected to:

Oracle Database 12c Enterprise Edition Release 12.1.0.2.0 – 64bit Production

SQL>

As you can see these work in the same way as when we use SQL*Plus.

Now that you are connected to your schema, what else can you do? The following sections are some useful commands.

Commands & Help

The following list of commands is by no means a complete list of commands available in SQL Command Line. Theoretically everything you can currently do in SQL*Plus you can also do in SQL Command Line (theoretically) But the commands I give examples of below are some of my favourites (so far).

You can get the list of commands by typing help at the SQL prompt.

SQL> help

Then to get help on a specific command you can just add the command after the help.

SQL> help cd

CD

Changes path to look for script at after startup.

(show SQLPATH shows the full search path currently:

– CD current directory setting set by last cd command

– baseURL (url for subscripts)

– topURL (top most url when starting script)

– Last Node opened (i.e. file in worksheet)

– Where last script started

– Last opened on sqlplus path related file chooser

– SQLPATH setting

– “.” if in SQLDeveloper UI (included in SQLPATH in command line (sdsql))

).

SQL>

Some work is still needed on the help documentation and what is listed for each command, as the current version is missing some important details.

Alais

This is by far my favourite new feature. This allows us to take some of our most common SQL statements and to create a shortcut for it.

Very soon I will not be using Oracle SQL but I will be using My SQL, as I will have created my own personalised version of SQL.

To list what aliases you have defined in your schema you can type

SQL > alais

Oracle will have a few aliases already defined in SQL CL. By having a look at some of these you can see some of what you want they can do and get ideas for what you might want to do with them. To list the contents of an alias, you can use the following command.

alias list {alias name}

for example

SQL > alias list tables

This command lists the query that is used for the ‘tables’ alias that comes with SQL CL.

I use Oracle Data Miner a lot and when you use this tool it can create a number of tables with a variety of names in your schema. Most of these you will never need to look at. So what I do is create an alias that excludes these from the list of tables in my schema.

SQL> alias tables2=select table_name from user_tables where table_name not like ‘ODMR$%’ and table_name not like ‘DM$%’ and table_name not like ‘SYS_IOT%’;

So now all I need to do to list my important data only tables (and exclude all the Oracle Data Miner tables) I can run my alias ‘table2’.

SQL> tables2

You will quickly build up a suite of commands using aliases.

info and >info+

info and info+ are the new commands to replace the DESC command.

The difference between info and info+ is that info+ gives you some statistical information about the table and the attributes in the table. This is illustrated in the following examples.

Example using ‘info’

Sqlcl 2

Example using ‘info+’

Sqlcl 3

CTAS & DDL

If you want to get the DDL script to create a copy of a table you have two options open to you. The first of these is the DDL command. This creates a DDL statement based on the meta data for the table, just like in the following

Sqlcl 4

An alternative to this is to use the CTAS command that will give a slightly different output to DDL command. With the CTAS we also get the CREATE TABLE .. AS SELECT …

History

In SQL*Plus we had a limited scroll through our previous commands. The same kind of scrolling is available in SQL CL, but we can get to see all our previous commands using the ‘history’ command. The following illustrates how you can list all you previous commands, I’m sure it is limited to a certain number or will be otherwise it will become a very long, long list.

SQL> history

To find out how often each command has been run you can run

SQL> history usage

and to find out how long the query took to run the last time it was run

SQL> history time

There are lots more that I could show, but this post is way, way to long as it is. What I suggest you do is go and download SQL CL (Command Line) and start using it today.

Book give away at OUG Ireland

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The annual Oracle User Group in Ireland conference is on the 19th March in Croke Park.

I’ll be giving 2 presentations, with one each on the Development and Business Analytics tracks. Here are the details of these presentations.

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Time Room Presentation Title / Topic
14:00-14:45 InterConnect 681 Predictive Queries in Oracle 12c
16:00-16:45 Davin Suite Running R in the Database using Oracle R Enterprise

I will be giving away a copy of my book to one luck person 🙂

How will this book give away work?

During both of my presentations I will pass around a “hat” for you to put your name or business card into. Then at end of my last presentation we will draw one name out of the hat.

But you have to be in the room to collect the book. If you are not there then I will draw out another name (and so on) until the winner is in the room.

So by attending both of my presentations you are doubling your chances of winning my book.

(Maybe this is an attempt by me to have a good attendance at my last presentation)

Book Cover

Plus I might have a few other Oracle Press goodies to give away too.