Despite new “self tuning” features in recent versions of Oracle, database tuning continues to be an essential part of the DBA skill set, but where do we acquire these skills? There is no substitute for experience, but once in a while there’s a roadmap for it.

Oracle Tuning: The Definitive ReferenceIn their new book Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference, Alexey B. Danchenkov and Donald K. Burleson reveal a holistic, platform agnostic approach to tuning the Oracle RDBMS. Both proactive and reactive tuning are given ample treatment while always conveying the “why” and not just the “how”. The techniques presented are complimented by a free copy of the Workload Interface Statistics Engine (WISE) tool (available via download), written by Danchenkov, which provides an interface into the tuning tables and views in Oracle.

The authors, clearly tempered by years of experience, take a very realistic approach to database tuning. They acknowledge that the DBA may not have the time, ability or influence to bring upon an application rewrite or change in server architecture. The bulk of the book focuses on tuning methods within the realm of the database administrator (though all areas affecting Oracle performance are covered.) While focusing on Oracle Database 10g the authors present tuning concepts and techniques in a way that many of the techniques and nearly all the concepts are applicable to all Oracle RDBMS versions.

Thoroughly covering everything from disk to SQL the book is littered with the exact commands you will be running in the field including example output and analysis. The authors have also included several pages of “Silver Bullet” tuning examples. These examples demonstrate how a quick diagnosis and the right tweak can save the day.

Testing a hypothesis on a large active database is like trying to tune a car while it’s flying down the freeway at 75 miles per hour.

This book is not for the beginner. If you do not feel confident about your knowledge of the Oracle architecture you will feel overwhelmed by this book. Of course if you do not feel confident about your knowledge of the Oracle architecture you should not be tuning a database.

For those comfortable with Oracle but new to tuning there will be many paragraphs you will read, re-read, then read again, but Danchenkov and Burleson have not missed a step. On almost every topic there are a couple notes on common pitfalls and how to avoid them. The authors have really taken great care to shepherd you safely through all steps of tuning the database.

In barely less than 1,000 pages, Danchenkov and Burleson have compiled the definitive reference for Oracle tuning. Coupled with a good background in Oracle, this book contains everything you need to tune almost every aspect of the Oracle database. I highly recommend it to the Oracle professional looking to learn about tuning or the experienced tuner looking for a good reference. The type of tuning presented in this book could easily lower your hardware costs and make you a rock-star DBA.

Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference
By Donald K. Burleson and Alexey B. Danchenkov
Copyright 2005 by Rampart TechPress. All rights reserved.
Kittrell, North Carolina, USA.

Available at Rampart-Books.com