Oracle FAQ Your Portal to the Oracle Knowledge Grid

Home -> Community -> Mailing Lists -> Oracle-L -> RE: Evaluation checklist - monitoring s/w - LONG

RE: Evaluation checklist - monitoring s/w - LONG

From: Mark Leith <>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 16:02:14 -0000
Message-Id: <>

Hi Sean,

Being from a sales oriented background, and having had to deal with countless evaluations of these very tools, I feel my insight may be of benefit.

To be fair, every tool should be tested on the exact same environment, without another tool running along side it at the same time as tests. They can conflict, and cause each other to perform "badly". The tool must be graphically easy to use, and have a relatively low learning curve.

Depending on the level of monitoring, you may also want to have a background agent monitoring you databases without a GUI open at all times. If this is the case, what platforms will this agent support? You say you may move in to UNIX, so plan for the future, and add this in to your checklist. Typically you will find that the major players - Sun, AIX, DEC, HP, NT, LINUX, are almost always supported now, but there are some tools out there that need a specific platform already in place to be able to use the tool (Foglight - Quest - needs a dedicated Solaris system to run its Server on)

I would include these background agents as a must have if you are planning to monitor real business critical systems. They will ensure that the databases are being constantly monitored at all times. There are a number of tools where the front end client just connects via SQL*Net/Net8, and monitors in a kind of diagnostic mode. The question you then have to ask is, what happens if this PC is shutdown for the weekend etc..

Now from background experience, here is my list of must, useful, and nice to have options. I would also have to add that as minimum requirement a tool should be able to monitor this information both re & pro actively.


  1. Space Issues
	Tablespace - 	Space allocated.
				Free Space.

	Tables -		Space Allocated.
				Unused space at block level.
				Proximity to max extents.

	Indexes - 		Space Allocated.
				Unused space at block level.
				Proximity to max extents.

	RBS - 		High Water Mark.

	Archive/Error Log Space.
	Space Bound Objects.

2) Database Usage

	Sessions - 		Number of Sessions
				CPU Usage per
				I/O Per
				Identifier - SID/PID/Terminal/User name
				Current SQL
				Locks / Blocking
				Sorts - memory/disk
  				Transactions per second
				Average Transaction time

	Memory - 		SGA memory allocation
				Block Buffer Cache
				Buffer hit ratios
				Shared Pool
				Redo Log buffer cache
				SQL Area - monitoring for resource intensive SQL.
				Data Dictionary Cache Miss %
				Library Cache Hit %

	I/0 - 		Datafile Physical I/O
				Logical I/O

3) Alerting

        The tool should be able to alert on any problems with the previous areas of interest.

	You should be able to set up a reasonable time schedule of where and when
to alert  	certain people. If you are a 24x7 shop, you may need to send out
of hours alerts to a 	pager, or maybe SMS to you mobile phone.

	Can the tool send a corrective SQL/OS script to fix the problem? How
flexible are the 	event/alert functions? Can I write my own? Do I need a
"specialist" contractor to come  	set these up for me?

	Alert on new error log message.
	Instance Down


  1. Historical Information
	Many tools will store a repository of performance information. It may be
useful to set  	up criteria on any information you may need to pull up about
past usage of Oracle - 	transactions per minute/hour.

	You can also use the historical information for things such as capacity
planning and 	so on.

2) MTS information

	Dispatcher counts
	Queue Length
	Percent Busy

3) Replication monitoring

	Broken Jobs
	Replication validation

4) Parameter information.

        INIT file parameters, for quick reference.

5) Log switching.


  1. O/S Monitoring
	Many, many people when evaluating Oracle performance tools, also want to
have the 	functionality to monitor O/S statistics as well. Things such as
overall CPU usage, 	I/O, process information, active jobs etc. Whilst all co
uld arguably be of great use 	to a DBA, most tools will not have this
functionality. A useful thing to find out is 	if the vendor doe actually
supply these kinds of tools, and if so, how well 	integrated are they?

2) An E-DBA

	Wouldn't it be nice for a performance tool to alert, fix, diagnose future
performance 	problems, fix them before they happen, then open your CD drive
to rest your plastic 	coffee mug in to? Hmm.. that would be nice from a

3) Tips - There are some tools out there that will give hints on performance

problems, and 	maybe tips on how to fix these problems. Sometimes these can
be a little out of whack, 	but many are extremely helpful for diagnosing
problems on the fly, as they draw your 	attention.

4) A good help file!

Have I bored you enough? I'll quickly say - Licensing can vary between the different vendors, there are some out there that license per instance, some per server, and a rare few that license per DBA client irrespective of how many instances they touch. Depending on the number of servers and number of instances per server, this can make the costs vary extensively! I heard recently that Quest were trying to charge on the criticality of a system!

Maintenance is usually around the 18-20% of the full license cost. If you get a discount on the full license, you will sometimes still have to pay 20% of the LIST PRICE license cost though, regardless of discount!

Maintenance should cover full 24x7 support, with all upgrades included. It's usually a good idea to go over all agreements to double check for yourself on any possible areas of concern.

Right, I'm off for a coffee now, but before I go -

<Shameless Plug>

We have a tool that you may want to take a look at! If you are interested, contact me away from the list, and I will get all of the information over to you. You may/may not have heard of it. A hell of a lot of people haven't which really does surprise me! Mostly just due to the vendors poor marketing strategy though! The tool is cool though! It's called DBGeneral, shortly rebadging under the name of NORAD! This is to bring it in to line with a new O/S, App monitoring tool being released on the 15th of Jan.

Shameless Plug/>

Right, mines black with 3 sugars please..


Mark Leith
Cool Tools UK Ltd

Tel: 01905 330 281


Hi Folks,

Early next year I'm planning to evaluate and select Oracle DB monitoring s/w. We are currently NT bound, but there might be a possibility of Unix introduced too. Anyhow, to help select the monitoring software I am planning to put together an evaluation checklist to try and objectively compare the various offerings out there. I'd appreciate it if you would let me know what features you think a monitoring package should have, e.g. in categories, "must have", "useful to have", "nice to have" (if you can afford it???). It would be also useful to hear feedback from you folk who already have such software on other factors such as, support level, costs (licences, annual maintenance), or even such aspirations as "looking back what I should have gone for was", or "but nowadays the xxxx package does this and more".

In return for your time and feedback I'll publish the evaluation sheet to Received on Mon Dec 18 2000 - 10:02:14 CST

Original text of this message