Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Training Class (Day 2)

The second day of training was much better than the first. I suspected it would get better based on the material to be covered. The topic set de jour was:

  1. Metrics, Alerts and Baselines.
  2. Using Statspack.
  3. Using Automatic Workload Repository.
  4. Reactive Tuning.

Having limited exposure to 10g in any true production environment, I found 75% of these topics interesting (Statspack chapter was not valuable to me). I really like what Oracle has accomplished with 10g with regard to the gathering and reporting of statistics and metrics (the rates of changes for given statistics). About 5 years ago I wrote a utility for 9i that allowed me to compare Oracle-captured statistics and wait event durations to similar reference points. This utility, I dubbed AppSnap (written in PL/SQL), captured the statistics and wait event durations each hour and calculated and stored the deltas in a separate tablespace. This permitted me to compare what is considered "typical" load to current load and evaluate the deviations rather quickly. I wrote a Unix shell script reporting tool called Instance Health that reports each hour the deltas as they relate to what I call peer hours. For example, each hour a report is generated as a text file and stored in a log directory. The most previous delta is compared to the same hour of day for the past 30 days, the same hour of day and day of week for the past 12 weeks and against all hours for the past 30 days. This has proved to be very valuable for detecting systemic anomalies after application upgrades, etc.

Okay. Now Oracle has come along with 10g and provides the same functionality (albeit not free). I appreciate the graphical conveyance of this type of analysis provided by Enterprise Manager. Shoot, Oracle even calculates the variance within the sampled timeframe for each metric. This is really cool because you can easily write a query that can ascertain if some metric is statistically anomalous (i.e. +-3 standard deviations). At first glance, some of the AWR reports are not very intuitive. But, the more you stare at them the more sense they appear to make. The Active Session History reporting is also a very nice feature (once again, not free).

If you already have considerable work experience with AWR/ASH/ADDM then this class probably won't provide you much value. The course does go into the mechanics of the data capturing and touches rather superficially on the reporting capabilities. So there is a good chance you probably have more knowledge about these products than this class affords. However, if you are like me and have yet to dig in your heels on a 10g production environment this class could serve as a very nice primer.

Well, I am off to day 3 of this training class.


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