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Don Burleson Blog 







Oracle performance testing tips

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonJune 18, 2015

Question:  I read your article on the 11g SQL Performance analyzer, and I agree that a representative performance benchmark is the best way to go.  However, I need to simulate the activity of several hundred users.  How to I do real-world performance testing of an active database?

Answer:  As you might imagine, justifying a production change with a single-user contrived test case is suicide.  As we see below, a single view of Oracle has lead to vastly different results, like the difference between a circle and a square.

Always remember that there is no substitute for a real-world test that simulates the actual behavior of your production systems, using your own production SQL.

Diagram showing the limited value of test cases

Llike many DBA's, I?ve developed tools to capture and replay multiple transactions to accurately simulate a real production workload. It's not hard, just extract SQL from the library cache, add host variable values in the same distribution as they appear in the tables, and build a multi-user test.  In 10g, you can also capture SQL profiles for representative performance testing.

Others use tools like the Quest Benchmark Factory to produce statistically significant performance tests. I recommend Bert Scalzo's book ?Database Benchmarking?. for details on statistically representative performance tests.

In performance testing we always measure one of two areas, throughput performance or response time performance, and these are commonly measured with the "set timing on" command.

There is mis-information in the Oracle community should be tested in a single-user mode with a contrived artificial test case, and it's important to recognize the contrived test cases are always invalid for testing database performance.  IMHO, only a fool would discard a real-world benchmark to use an artificial test case, it's malfeasance at the highest level.

When testing Oracle performance, artificial test cases are ALWAYS non-generalizable, and non-reproducible, even in the same environment! Even a through bench is not perfect, but unlike a test case, the predictive value of a benchmark can be scientifically ascertained, and management can make a decision based upon the real probability of success.



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