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Don Burleson Blog 







Third-party Oracle Tuning Tools
Has their time finally come?

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting
Don Burleson

When I tune, I always use SQL*Plus scripts. I sometimes wonder if any vendor will design a GUI that makes sense to the DBA. Tuning Oracle is all-about locating and fixing bottlenecks, and most DBA's pull-out their native scripts rather then try to navigate their way through a convoluted interface. Things appear to be changing.

Our premier Oracle monitoring software is Ion for Oracle, a truly proactive tool that gets right to the heart of any Oracle performance problem.  Ion for Oracle uses STATSPACK or AWR to analyze for hidden trends and signatures, making it easy to monitor Oracle.

Click "Play" to take the tour or visit
Ion for Oracle. Enterprisse Edition.

Ion Enterprise Edition

Also see the valuable notes on Oracle Monitoring Best Practices.

I know dozens of DBA consultants who tune databases everyday.  When you do it for a living, you have to use whatever "tool" that your client has purchased.  If the client has an Oracle EE license, and has paid for the extra-cost Oracle Tuning Pack and Oracle Diagnostic packs, you can use the Oracle new automation features.  Remember, even though the Oracle 10g Active Session History tables are built-in to the kernel, the time-series wait event tables can only be read if you have the proper licensing.

I'm always skeptical of any GUI tool that claims to assist me when tuning, usually because the tool doesn't give me what I want to see. I recently investigated a new offering called DBFlash that surprised me. I love the ASH cluster and the new ability to perform time-series tuning, but it only works on Oracle. The DBFlash product mimics the ASH, and you don't have to pay for the Oracle Performance Pack to use it. The proliferation of 3rd-party tools to compete with OEM speaks for itself, but I needed a time-series tool that would allow me to do advanced trending and predictive analysis. It appears that these new self-collecting ASH GUI tools may be the wave of the future.

When you choose a tuning tool, its all-about functionality. When your manager chooses a tool, its all about saving money.

Oracle Tool Pricing

Oracles offering (OEM), requires Oracle Enterprise Edition (EE), just to get the right to purchase the OEM performance packs. Oracle is unclear about the costs of the Performance Pack (PP) and Diagnostic Pack (DP).

Oracle Tuning Tool Functionality

When it comes to a tool that can do advanced tuning (i.e. identifying performance trends), there are only a few tools that provide time-series capability for the professional Oracle DBA.  These are presented in cost-order, with the most expensive first:

Oracle Extra-cost Solutions (Oracle Performance Pack, Diagnostic Pack, Automatic Database Diagnostic Monitor) Prices vary, depending on your Oracle license.  - The OEM interface has come a long way since Oracle, but the licensing issues require Oracle EE, and it's not an option for SE users.  Obviously, Oracle 10g OEM ASH and AWR components are not an option for shops running Oracle databases.

Quest Spotlight The oldest of the third-party Oracle Performance tuning GUI tools and has a sophisticated interface to the Oracle Wait Interface x$ views:

Solarwinds Ignite  A nice, on-target tool that can support time-series wait event tuning on Oracle databases. A great drill-down too, based on Oracle Wait Tuning approach, and it makes sense. I suspect that the interface was written by an experienced Oracle tuning expert: 

Ion (Workload Interface Statistics Engine) Ion is the only tool outside OEM that will plot time-series data from AWR and ASH. It is move advanced than OEM (IMHO) because it allows you to view Oracle trends by day-of-the-week and hour-of-the-day.  The Ion EE also allows the same interface to Oracle8i and Oracle databases.

Ault Script Collection ($79.95) - I'm still not a GUI guy yet, and I still rely on my trusty script collection to help me see what's happening inside Oracle.  Many people use Mike Ault's script collection too:

Are there other Oracle tuning tools out there?  Sure.  Are we likely so see Oracle tuning experts using them?  Looks like that's about to change. . . .



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