Oracle Shell Scripting available on

Oracle Shell ScriptingMy book Oracle Shell Scripting: Linux and UNIX Programming for Oracle has just become available on!

The book has been out for just a couple weeks and should be in book stores soon, but it can be had online right now! The best price on the book right now can be found at Rampant TechPress who is currently selling the book for $34.95. Amazon is currently selling the book at the cover price of $49.95.

unix, oracle, shell scripting, linux, book, database tuning, database administration, database security

Oracle Shell Scripting Now Available!

Oracle Shell ScriptingExactly 15 months after I first posted about it my book Oracle Shell Scripting: Linux and UNIX Programming for Oracle has finally been printed and is available!

The book offers an introduction to shell scripting, an in-depth look at many useful shell commands and tools and a bunch of example scripts to use as-is or as a basis for your own custom scripts. As a long-time database and system administrator I have compiled some of the best tools, tips and tricks I have found for administration, monitoring and automation of DBA tasks.

I know you’re just dying to go out and get it, but it will probably take a couple weeks for it to hit book stores and Amazon. The best way to buy the book is directly from the publisher. They have it in stock and ready to go.

I will be posting more about the book here in the near future. It really covers a lot of what I have learned in my professional career and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to share my experience in this form. If you have questions about the book please feel free to leave a comment. I don’t always get to my comments quickly, but I do read and reply to all of them.

unix, oracle, shell scripting, linux, book, database tuning, database administration, database security

Statspack Analyzer – Intelligent analysis of Oracle Statspack and AWR reports

After spending a couple days picking through Oracle statspack reports for clues on what could be causing some database latency I finally got the chance to try out the new, free Statspack Analyzer from Texas Memory Systems, Inc. and Burleson Consulting. is a FREE SITE provided to the Oracle community by sponsor companies including Texas Memory Systems, Inc. and Burleson Consulting.

Our shared goal is that the advice provided by this website evolves as community feedback indicates that the heuristics should be updated. If you like what you see, please let us know. If you don’t like what you see, please tell us what you would do to improve the site and which if any decision rules should be updated.

Just paste your whole statspack or AWR report into the analyzer and it will do the heavy lifting and give you custom recommendations on what areas you can possibly tune to increase performance. I had the chance to run several reports through the analyzer this week and it came up with many of the same conclusions I did in a fraction of the time.

Tools like this aren’t about to replace the DBA but rather help take the edge off intensive tasks like tuning. Check out the sample report to get a better idea of what the analyzer output looks like, or better yet try it out! After all, it’s free!

oracle, database, dba, database administrator, database tuning, sql

Oracle Shared Pool Advisory

Over at the ITToolbox blogs there’s a great entry on the Oracle shared pool advisory in 9iR2. This type of article is great as it presents a tool, describes it, and walks you right through applying the knowledge.

Here’s their description of the advisory:

The shared pool advisory is an Oracle9i feature that keeps track of the library cache’s use of shared pool memory. While doing this it keeps statistics to determine the behavior of differently sized shared pools. Typically, the advisory will keep a bucket of statistics for shared pool sizes that range from 50% below your current setting to 200% of your current setting. It is then up to us as database administrators to use these statistics to determine what the size of the shared pool should be through the use of the view V$SHARED_POOL_ADVICE.

Check out the article for more information on how to enable and use the advisory.

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Gathering Statistics for the Oracle Optimizer

OracleWhen you execute a query in an Oracle database, Oracle has to decide how to retrieve that data. That’s where the query optimizer steps in. The query optimizer makes decisions like which indexes to use, weather to perform a full table scan etc. based on the tables, columns, calculations and joins in a query. Oracle can do this quite efficiently with the cost-based optimizer, but it is important that there be accurate statistics available for it to use.

A short history

Originally the query optimizer worked on a static set of around 20 rules. These rules would be applied regardless of the size and type of data in a table.

Oracle 7 introduced the cost-based optimizer which can make more intelligent optimization decisions. By analyzing pre-gathered statistics on database objects the cost-based optimizer estimates the “cost” of processing several possible execution plans. The cost-based optimizer then chooses the cheapest execution plan and the database executes the plan.

In Oracle Database 7 through 9i either the cost-based or rule-based optimizer could be used. The rule-based optimizer is no longer included in Oracle 10g.

How can I tell which optimizer mode I am using

If you are running Database 10g or later, you are using the cost-based optimizer.

If you are running Database 7 through 9i you should check the optimizer_mode parameter.

SQL> show parameter optimizer_mode

------------------------------------ ----------- ------------------------------
optimizer_mode string CHOOSE

RULE means your database is using the old rule-based optimizer. The good news is you do not have to gather statistics on your data. The bad news is your queries probably aren’t running as well as they could.

CHOOSE was introduced as a stop-gap between rule- and cost-based optimizers. If there are no statistics available, the rule-based optimizer will be used; however if statistics are available the query optimizer will default to cost-based mode.

FIRST_ROWS or ALL_ROWS will force your database to use the cost-based optimizer regardless of statistics, so you’d better gather them.

How can I gather statistics for my index, table, schema, database, etc.?

The DBMS_STATS package is used to gather statistics for the cost based optimizer. Historically the ANALYZE command would perform similar operations

Here are a few popular examples. Of course you should always consult the documentation for your Oracle distribution before using a new command.

These can be run through SQL*Plus, but you will probably want to automate them for more active databases. There are more options that I have chosen to show here, but these should be a good start.


This will analyze statistics for your entire database. It is likely to take quite a while (hours) and generally should not be necessary, but if you want to analyze the whole database this will do it with one command.


This will analyze statistics for everything owned by the user ‘JEMMONS’. It is important to put the username in single quotes and all capitol letters. You can exclude the parameter and parentheses to analyze the current user’s statistics.


This will gather statistics for a specific table and all its indexes. This may be a good idea on tables which change drastically on a regular basis.


This will gather statistics on a specific index. If there is a need to drop and rebuild an index you could use this to re-analyze the index after rebuild.

The GATHER AUTO option can and should be added to the commands above after initial analysis. This will cause only objects with missing stats or more than 10% changed since last analysis (via insert, update or delete) to be analyzed. The resulting command should look something like the following:


How often should I gather statistics?

This is a question I cannot answer. I have schemas which do not change often that I may analyze once a month, others that I will gather new statistics on once a day. The GATHER AUTO option should be used to automatically gather missing and stale statistics rather than re-analyzing everything; however, sometimes there may be an advantage to re-analyzing an entire schema or database.

oracle, database, database administration, dba, database tuning