Oracle Concepts - Physical Oracle
Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting
Please see these 2007 updates to Oracle hardware
costs and benefits of server deconsolidation.
At Oracle Openworld 2007,
Oracle officially embraced the 2nd age of mainframe computing and the
rise of the virtual machine, via their commitment to vmware for Oracle.
Andrew Holdsworth (Senior
Director of the Oracle Real World Performance Group) gave a presentation titled
Current Trends in database tuning, (user cboracle, password=oraclec6),
Andrew notes that 99% of OLTP applications have multiple instances per host
machine, and that it’s easy to keep an instance from hogging the CPU by using
the cpu_count as a processor fence (you can set cpu_count=4 on a
32 CPU machine, and the instance will only use two processors, and that you can
use the resource_manager_cpu_allocation to control processing resources.
At the OS level, you can also control resources with the CPU affinity features,
and you can adjust the priority of individual processes with the Linux/UNIX
“nice” command, which changes the dispatching priority for server tasks.
The Physical Oracle Architecture
All buildings, from the home you live in to the place
you work, have an architecture that keeps the building together. This
architecture (if it’s well designed), will keep the building from falling apart,
keep you nice and warm, and provide you with easy access to facilities like
water fountains and restrooms.
A well-crafted architecture will also help you work more
efficiently. The same is true for databases. Despite the name “Oracle”, there
is no magic!
The architecture that Oracle has built its database
around is designed to perform quickly, efficiently and without errors.
In this section we will introduce you to the Oracle
architecture. This architecture includes the following components:
* The System Global Area (SGA) and other memory areas
that utilize RAM
* Database related background processes
* Tablespaces and Datafiles
* Database related files
* The instance and the database
Next we will look at each of these components in more
detail. Finally we put the components together into a single “big picture” view,
and see how all these pieces fit together to complete the Oracle puzzle. Keep in
mind that the discussion in this chapter is limited to the overall database
architecture. In later chapters we will get into the finer details of managing
With this in mind, let’s drill down a bit deeper into
the architecture of Oracle and learn more about memory structures, the part of
Oracle that utilizes your system’s RAM.
Diving into the RAM Pools
All computers have memory. Memory should not be confused
with disk storage. Memory is volatile, which means its content is lost after the
power is removed. Memory is also very fast. RAM memory is expressed in
nanoseconds (billionths of a second) and disk speed is in milliseconds
(thousandths of a second). In Oracle, RAM speed is hundreds of times faster
than disks. Don’t get burned by tiny pools. See the Google search ”oracle
cache disk speed” for details.
Disk storage is non-volatile. This means that the data
stored on a disk will remain after the power is turned off. Disks are always
slower than RAM, but disks are hundreds of times cheaper than RAM.
There is a trade-off between memory and disks: Memory is
fast but expensive (about $1,000 per gigabyte), whereas disks are slower but
very cheap. Thus, memory is used for short-term storage of information that is
frequently needed and disks are used for long-term storage of information.
Oracle has a number of memory areas that it uses to
store information. In this section we will address the main Oracle memory areas.
They are called:
* The System Global Area (SGA) – RAM areas for the
* The Program Global Area (PGA) – Private RAM areas for
individual client connections to Oracle
The Instance and the Database
We are almost at the end of our introduction to the
Oracle database architecture. We can’t complete this journey, however, until we
define two more terms, instance and database. The Oracle instance is the
combination of the Oracle SGA and the related background processes (the
programs, PMON, SMON, etc.). When the SGA RAM memory is successfully allocated
and the Oracle database processes are running normally, the instance is said to
However, and instance is sometimes different from a
database. You can have the instance running, but the database might not be
mounted or open. The Oracle Database includes the physical files we have
discussed: the datafiles, the control file, and the redo log files. When the
Oracle instance is running, it can attach itself to a database, “mount” the
control file, and finally “open” the datafiles and redo log files. This is an
important distinction because many Oracle operations must be done with the
instance started but the database is not open.
Oracle Architecture Concepts
In the previous section we discussed the Oracle physical
architecture. Things like files, programs and hardware are all considered
physical pieces (or physical properties) of the Oracle database. In this section
we are concerned with the logical pieces of the Oracle database.
Oracle segregates “physical components” (the .dbf files
on disk) my mapping them into “logical” containers called tablespaces. In turn,
we allocate our tables and indexes inside these tablespace, and Oracle
takes-care of the interface to the physical disk files.
In this section we will look at the following logical
* Tablespaces (not completely a logical thing actually!)
We will then give you a big-picture summary of the
relationships between these logical objects. Note that this section just
provides you with some basic concepts. We will get into much more detail in the
chapters to come!
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