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Don Burleson : "Oracle Tuning Fallacies"
October 15, 2004
Mark Rittman

Don strikes back (again): "Oracle Tuning Fallacies" : "There are many Oracle experts who have very different approaches to Oracle tuning and database optimization. There are Oracle scientists, pragmatists and statisticians, all of whom are successful at Oracle tuning, but with very different approaches solving the Oracle tuning problem.

The problem occurs when some Oracle experts become zealous about their method and a "dogma" emerges. Some Oracle guru's even develop a cult-like following, each chanting the mantras of their opinion leader and fostering an almost religious fervency in their belief system about Oracle tuning. Cults are fine, but in the real-world, we use every approach that has validity!

Many Oracle gurus' publish "rules" for the best way to tune an Oracle database, and Oracle professionals accept these rules as Gospel. This acceptance of rules is because of their high respect for the Oracle guru, but it is also a function of the needs of a tuning professional to have "firm" guidelines and checklists to follow. If only it were that simple! Of course, these rules are often little more than tautologies and they only serve to confuse the Oracle community.

In reality, Oracle tuning success is a semi-structured task, and the successful tuner must have an excellent understanding of all of the interacting components to be successful. There are no hard-and-fast rules; everything is in flux.

Let's take a close look at some of these Oracle tuning fallacies and understand their weaknesses."

See also "Busting the Oracle Myth Busters". Interestingly enough I'm going to Cary Millsap and Jeff Holt's talk next week, and it'll be interesting to hear from (and hopefully meet) the two guys behind the canonical text on wait event tuning. I guess my call on this particular religious debate is that, as with most things, the truth is somewhere in the middle and most successful Oracle tuning processes start off with a bit of instance tuning using statspack and adding a bit of memory, together with a few inspired hunches to look for that 'quick fix', usually followed by an in-depth trace, explain plan and wait event investigation of the most business-critical batches and processes. Oracle tuning is a fascinating area, with some excellent books out there, and a skill that's none the less important even with the introduction of self-tuning features such as 10g's AWR and ADDR - and if you want to get a good overall view of the complete tuning process, probably the best book I could recommend is Oracle Performance Tuning 101 by Gaja Vaidyanatha, which covers both statspack and the background to wait event tuning.



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