Oracle Database 11g is loaded with automation features that
I praised highly in my review. To gain perspective on the features that will be
most beneficial to Oracle shops, I asked veteran consultant Don Burleson to name
the top five goodies?and gotchas?in Database 11g. Burleson is a senior
consultant at Burleson Consulting, of Raleigh, N.C., and the author of more than
30 books on Oracle database management.
What are the top five features of Database 11g?
The new Oracle data compression utility promises to save on
disk storage up to three times over storing data in an uncompressed format, with
relatively small overhead. This has a whole lot more benefit than just saving on
disk space. It will allow companies to go solid state for far less money.
ADR [Automatic Diagnostic Repository] is a re??pository for critical errors.
It's basically automating something that database administrators have been doing
manually for decades.
As part of the ADR, SPA [SQL Performance Analyzer] is one of the most exciting
features. It's a holistic tuning tool that allows you to define and replay a
representative workload on your database. You can then adjust the global
parameters for optimal performance very quickly. It's the kind of task that
database administrators have been doing manually for years.
By getting these initialization parameters optimized, you
can save yourself from having to tune tens of thousands of SQL statements. What
SPA does is allow you to bundle together a representative workload and then
empirically test what the SQL settings are going to be so you don't have to
[Another feature is] the ability to do "hot updates," which Oracle has been
working on for years. It's phenomenally difficult from a software engineering
perspective to write software that can update itself while it's running. Oracle
is raising the bar for all the database vendors with this Real Application
Clusters [RAC] feature. People want continuous availability. That doesn't mean
just three years?until it's time to do a patch upgrade.
Automatic Memory Management [AMM] tuning dates back to Oracle Database 9i, when
Oracle provided the first tools to dynamically tune memory pools. [You can read
more about Burleson's suggestions for Oracle tuning in his book, "Creating
a Self-Tuning Oracle Database.". The AMM tool is basically a detection
mechanism. [11g] has a number of RAM pools, and if [it] sees a shortage in one,
it will steal RAM frames from one area and reallocate to where they are needed.
And the top five things to look out for?
The "two-day" DBA. Oracle offers a class called the 2 Day DBA where the claim is
they can teach someone enough information to manage, or really babysit, an
Oracle database in 48 hours. Oracle has become so automated that you can end up
with a DBA that doesn't really know what is happening, and that is getting a lot
of companies in trouble.
Also look out for choosing a suboptimal replication system. Oracle offers many
kinds of data replication, including Oracle Streams, Multi-master and snapshot
replication, and Oracle RAC, which is, in a sense, a type of replication.
Misunderstanding the output of the intelligent advisers?Oracle has created
artificial intelligence to advise on self-healing operations, and these are
often misunderstood and misapplied by people without the requisite background.
Oracle has offered features in 11g that are geared to senior practicing DBAs
that have a huge potential for abuse by dilettantes. Many times I see that
people are using these automated tools beyond their level of understanding.