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Don Burleson Blog 







Oracle performance best practices

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonFebruary 17, 2015


Managing Oracle performance is one of the most complex areas of Oracle database management, and there are many conflicting opinions on the "best practices" for managing Oracle performance.  As a working Oracle DBA, I offer these Oracle performance best practices, based upon my first-hand observations of real-world Oracle shops.

Oracle performance monitoring best practices

Most successful Oracle shops have a firm performance methodology in-place to measure end-user performance and ensure that the majority of their transactions are completed within well-defined thresholds.  Here are some of the most common Oracle performance monitoring best practices:

  • Develop a performance SLA - In order to successful monitor Oracle performance, a comprehensive end-to-end response time SLA must be codified.  These performance SLA's may read like Ninety five percent of all transactions must complete within one-second elapsed time".  BC has tools such as FormsPack for Oracle which measures end-user response time for SQL*Forms applications, and we also develop end-to-end response time performance monitors for Apex, J2EE and other application server databases.
  • Monitor performance at the system-level - Many shops fail to monitor Oracle performance properly, and some fall into the "myopic" trap that advocated a drill-down into the performance of critical tasks.  Shops that follow Oracle performance best practices understand that a holistic approach is best, and they tune by adjusting system-level techniques (adjusting Oracle parameters, CBO statistics, new indexes, materialized views, &c).  They also monitor Oracle performance using proactive techniques such as STATSPACK, AWR and avoid real-time monitors that cannot provide long-term performance opportunities.
  • Employ Oracle performance features - Optimal features such as partitioning can reduce query response time by an order of magnitude, and TPC benchmark results show that optimal performance is related to techniques such as function-based indexes, deploying multiple block buffers and other advanced performance techniques.
  • Use workload-based performance testing - The top Oracle performance best practice is to conduct system wide performance benchmarking using Oracle tools such as SQL Tuning Sets and the 11g SQL Performance Analyzer.  Inappropriate methods such as contrived test cases and "proofs" cannot predict future performance.  It is only by certifying a databases optimal configuration with a real-world workload that ensures success. 

    Many Oracle shops keep fours environments, DEV for development, TEST for unit testing, QA for pre-production testing, and PROD for production.  Take shortcuts on your Oracle performance testing and you risk unintended side effects.

  • Optimize for high updates - Oracle performance has many aspects, and performance optimization for high-DML workloads is critical.
  • Verify your expert advice - The Internet is clogged with self-proclaimed Oracle experts, poser who proffer incorrect and dangerous advice.  Even some Oracle book authors have very little full-time job experience, and you must be very careful to verify the expertise of any Oracle expert, and reply on one that you know and trust.  In general, you should avoid anyone who claims to be an expert, but who hides their resume and job experience.

In sum, there are many best practice techniques to monitor and ensure optimal Oracle performance and it is not necessary to purchase expensive third party tools to comply with Oracle performance best practices.

If you need additional advice on best practices, feel free to contact us at Burleson Consulting.  We are real Oracle experts, seasoned veterans with years of hand-on tuning experience.  Our Oracle health check is a great way to ensure that you are following Oracle tuning best practices.


Related Oracle performance best practices notes

See my related articles for more on Oracle performance best practices.  For a comprehensive treatment of Oracle performance best practices, see my book "Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference":

If you like Oracle tuning, you might enjoy my book "Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference", with 950 pages of tuning tips and scripts. 

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 30%-off and get instant access to the code depot of Oracle tuning scripts.



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Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

Verify experience! Anyone considering using the services of an Oracle support expert should independently investigate their credentials and experience, and not rely on advertisements and self-proclaimed expertise. All legitimate Oracle experts publish their Oracle qualifications.

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