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Don Burleson Blog 










Which Oracle do you mean?  The impact of platforms, versions and special features

Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

One of the reasons I believe in the value of empirical research is that artificial test cases can mislead the reader into believing that the test-case "proves" something about Oracle behavior.  Artificial test cases prove nothing except the results for the specific version, release, platform and operating system.  It is a misconception that a "proof" by itself proves very little and you cannot be extrapolated to the entire universe of Oracle databases.

That's why a wide breadth of real-world experience is more important than "lab" research on Oracle behavior, using artificial data on contrived systems.  Let's take a closer look and understand why artificial test cases cannot be generalized to the universe of Oracle databases.  Using artificial test cases is cumbersome and time consuming.  This artificial test case proof Validation of Sort Sizes in an Oracle10g Database required over 200 pages of listings to prove sort area behavior on one specific platform and release.  A comprehensive artificial test all all releases would require over 10,000 pages of listings.

Turning-on specialized features

Oracle has lots of specialized features, each offered for specialized types of Oracle databases.  Examples might include the object-relational (ORDBMS) features of Oracle which radically challenge the accepted principles of object storage.  For another example, the Oracle7 Multi-threaded server changes Oracle PGA management and using the MTS will invalidate any artificial test cases using the default installation of Oracle.

Differences in platforms and releases

From Oracle6 to Oracle 10g we have seen more than a dozen releases of Oracle, each more powerful than the one before, and each with very different behaviors.  When we factor-in the varied hardware platforms and operating systems, and specific patches, there are thousands of Oracles, each with platform-specific behaviors.



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