Originally written in 1990, the Optimal Flexible Architecture (OFA) whitepaper still stands as the best-practices for oracle databases. In my time as an Oracle database administrator I have often seen DBAs using these standards, having learned them from senior DBAs, who did not realize the OFA standard exists.
Cary V. Millsap of Oracle Corp. offers this description in this distribution of the whitepaper:
The OFA Standard is a set of configuration guidelines that will give you faster, more reliable Oracle databases that require less work to maintain. The OFA Standard is written by the founder of the Oracle team responsible for installing, tuning, and upgrading several hundreds of sites worldwide since 1990â€”this paper is based on the best practices of those hundreds of sites. Today the â€œOptimal Flexible Architectureâ€™â€™ described in the OFA Standard is built into the Oracle configuration tools and documentation on all open systems ports.
The benifits of the OFA standard go beyond performance and stability. When I started at Plymouth State University 18 months ago I quickly recognized the signs of an OFA environment (mostly partitions named /u01 and /u02.) Having identified that, I immediately knew where to find nearly all data and configuration files.
The guidelines that OFA provides can be easily adapted to other modern multi-user applications including web servers, application servers and other breeds of database. I offer the OFA whitepaper here as I have found it increasingly difficult to find on the web.