SystemTap into Oracle for Fun and Profit

Topic: This post is about using SystemTap for investigating and troubleshooting Oracle RDBMS. In particular you will learn how to probe Oracle processes and their userspace functions. These techniques aim to be useful as well as fun to learn for those keen into peeking under the hood of the technology and improve their effectiveness in troubleshooting and performance investigations.


Userspace probing is a very powerful technique that can be used to complement the available (more...)

Scaling up Cardinality Estimates in

Topic: Counting the number of distinct values (NDV) for a table column has important applications in the database domain, ranging from query optimization to optimizing reports for large data warehouses. However the legacy SQL method of using SELECT COUNT (DISTINCT <COL>) can be very slow. This is a well known problem and Oracle provides a new function APPROX_COUNT_DISTINCT implemented with a new-generation algorithm to address this issue by providing (more...)

ASM Metadata, Internals and Diagnostic Utilities

If you use ASM on a regular basis, you may find that knowledge of the internals can be very useful for advanced troubleshooting and in general to acquire familiarity with the technology. In particular this is even more relevant when using ASM capabilities for data redundancy/mirroring (i.e. when deploying disk groups with normal or high redundancy).

I have first started investigating this topic when deploying 10g RAC databases in 2005. From time to time (more...)

Oracle Optimizer Investigated with Flame Graphs

Topic: This post is about investigating the Oracle Optimizer using stack sampling and flame graphs. We will see how the complexity of the Optimizer has increased over the years and in particular with the introduction of cost-based optimization and more recently with 12c adaptive optimization.

Context and goal: Stack sampling and visualization with flame graphs are powerful techniques to probe the activity of OS processes and in particular for advanced investigations and troubleshooting of Oracle (more...)

Flame Graphs for Oracle

Topic: This post is a hands-on introduction to using on-CPU Flame Graphs for investigating Oracle workloads. This technique is about collecting and analyzing sampled stack trace data to analyze and troubleshoot Oracle processes at the OS level (in particular applied to Linux).

Motivations: The techniques and tools described here can be used for performance investigations to complement wait-event based information gathered from the Oracle engine, such as information available with ASH and sql monitoring. They (more...)

A Closer Look at CALIBRATE_IO

Topic: This blog entry is about investigating Oracle's DBMS_RESOURCE_MANAGER.CALIBRATE_IO

Spoiler: If you have reached this article in search of a tool for quantitative analysis of storage performance and in particular for measuring random read I/O in Oracle, I'd rather advise you to use tools that allow generating test workloads in a controlled manner, in a way that can be understood and measured and in particular with latency details together with IOPS measurements. For example (more...)

Recent Updates of OraLatencyMap and PyLatencyMap

Topic: This post introduces the latest changes to OraLatencyMap and PyLatencyMap, two custom tools for collecting and displaying Oracle wait event latency details using heatmaps.

OraLatencyMap is a SQL*Plus tool, with a core written in PL/SQL, aimed at studying Oracle random I/O by displaying the latency drill-down of the wait event 'db file sequential read' using heatmaps. The tool can also be used to collect and display event latency histograms for any other Oracle wait (more...)

Wait Event History Sampling, an Experiment in Oracle Performance Analysis

Topic: This post is about a performance analysis technique based on high frequency sampling of wait event history data in Oracle. Two scripts are provided for performing this type of analysis and two example cases are discussed applied to the study random read latency and read workload characterization.

Context: In the context of performance analysis, for example for a study of I/O response time, I want to analyze the flow of all wait events for (more...)

Clusterware 12c and Restricted Service Registration for RAC

Topic: This post is about exploring the mechanisms used by Oracle Clusterware to restrict remote service registration, i.e. the 12c new feature "Restricting Service Registration for Oracle RAC Deployments"

Why is this useful? This improvement of 12c clusterware and listeners over the 11.2 version is useful mainly for security purposes, for example as a measure against TNS poisoning attacks (see also CVE-2012-1675), and it is particularly relevant for (more...)

How to Recover Files from a Dropped ASM Disk Group

Topic: This post describes a few tips and techniques on how to recover ASM files from a dropped disk group and an example of how to 'undrop' an ASM disk group

Context: This research stems from a recent case I have investigated where the data disk group of a test (more...)

UKOUG Tech13, Latency Sudies and Lost Writes

I am looking forward to participating again to the UKOUG annual conference. This year I will present together with my colleague Marcin Blaszczyk on two topics that are follow-up of articles in this blog.
The first talk is: Storage Latency for Oracle DBAs. A presentation about a performance tuning techniques for (more...)

Daylight Saving Time Change and AWR Data Mining

Topic: this article is about a tip for Oracle 11.2 and higher on how to handle DST change when querying directly the AWR repository. In addition a few comments on Perfsheet4, a tool to extract and plot AWR data in Excel.

Introduction: Statspack and more recently AWR reports, (more...)

Getting Started with PyLatencyMap: Latency Heat Maps for Oracle and DTrace

Topic: this is a getting-started article for PyLatencyMap, a performance tool for real-time investigation and troubleshooting of latency data. Contains examples relevant for the Oracle RDBMS and for DTrace.

Getting started

Download the latest version of PyLatencyMap (also available on GitHub). At the time of this writing PyLatencyMap (more...)

PyLatencyMap, a Performance Tool for Latency Data Visualization

Topic: this post is about PyLatencyMap, a performance-oriented tool I have written for command-line drill down of latency data, integrating various data sources (Oracle, DTrace, trace files) into a basic visualization engine.

Motivations: Understanding a performance problem is often about understanding where time is spent. Many of the systems I (more...)

Dtrace Explorations of Oracle Wait Events on Linux

DTrace is a great tool to measure and investigate latency for performance troubleshooting. DTrace is now coming to the Linux platform too and I would like to share a few tests I did with it. The following is meant to be a short technology exploration but hopefully it can also highlight (more...)

OraLatencyMap v1.1 and Testing with SLOB 2

Topic: OraLatencyMap v1.1 is an updated versions of a performance tool aimed at collecting and displaying Oracle wait event histogram data as latency heat maps. We will also briefly discuss an example of the usage of OraLatencyMap in the context of storage testing.

OraLatencyMap v1.1 is now available (more...)

Latency Heat Maps in SQL*plus with OraLatencyMap

Topic: This post is about the use of heat maps to investigate wait event latency in Oracle (and in particular I/O-related latency). This post also discusses a SQL*plus-based script/tool I have developed to help with this type of monitoring and performance drill-down (OraLatencyMap).

Context: Oracle (since version 11gR1) exposes (more...)

Testing Lost Writes in Oracle and with Data Guard

Topic: This post is about lost writes in Oracle and in particular on techniques to reproduce and investigate the effects of lost writes in a test environment and with Data Guard

Motivations: Imagine this scenario: a production system has two standbys to protect against disaster and to load balance read-only load (with (more...)

AWR Analytics and Oracle Performance Visualization with PerfSheet4

Topic: This post describes PerfSheet4, a tool for performance analysis aimed at streamlining access and visualization of Oracle's AWR data. The tool is aimed at DBAs and Oracle performance analysts. PerfSheet4 is a spin off of previous original work by Tanel Poder, rewritten and integrated with additional functionality for AWR analysis and with important changes to the user interface.

Context: There is much information in the counters and metrics of Oracle's AWR that can be of substantial help for troubleshooting and for capacity planning. Besides the standard AWR report, time-based analysis is often very useful. However this type of access is (more...)

Active Data Guard and UKOUG 2012

I am looking forward to participating again to the UKOUG annual conference (and also to attend the Sunday's OakTable event). This is for me a great opportunity to meet and discuss with many passionate Oracle experts who regularly attend the conference and also to get up-to-date with the latest technology and news from the Oracle community.
My colleague Marcin and I have just finished preparing our presentation on the subject of Active Data Guard. I have enjoyed the work even though, as it is often the case, this has taken quite some effort from both of us to reach the level of details (more...)