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Re: Oracle 911 Article

From: Richard Foote <>
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 2004 23:49:43 +1000
Message-ID: <0a5101c402b8$b6fbf4a0$0100000a@FOOTE>

Oracle 911 ArticleI'm not sure if it was a technical article or an attempt at a resume !!

It certainly has it's amusing moments. Can you imagine the scene. A patient lies critically ill on the surgery table when the doctor suddenly utters
"Shit, some bastard has just gone and deleted all the statistics from our
"Where To Find Bodily Parts (WTFBP)" database, we're doomed". "Oh No"
exclaims the nurse, "quick, someone fetch Don" !!

Strangely what he calls "Unconventional Methods" I call "Conventional and Elementary Methods" in tuning trivial problems. Problem: missing indexes Solution: create missing indexes, Problem: missing statistics Solution add missing statistics, etc doesn't sound particularly "unconventional" to me (although if the site is migrating to CBO, I would prefer to just go back to the RBO as a safer emergency solution, if not migrating then what the hell happened to all the stats bar one table)

His "Contrary to the pontifications of theoreticians and ivory-tower academics, there are many silver bullets for Oracle performance tuning" comments could possible by aimed at yours truly, for which I would be deeply flattered for the complement. However as I work full-time as a DBA dealing with real databases in real production environments solving real problems (how I wish it was always as simple as Don's examples), I might unfortunately be mistaken.

I think the preamble where Don yet again prattles on about "Silver Bullets" is an attempt to save some face following criticisms he received after his
"Silver Bullet: optimizer_index_cost_adj" article. However, considering he's
subsequently re-written the whole thing and retitled it with the "Silver Bullet" title removed, perhaps even Don might agree that such criticisms were justified, else why all the changes ? Maybe the "ivory-tower academics" had a point ... Of course there are silver bullets, here's a big list of them is still his stubborn claim though. What he fails to realise is that they're not silver bullets at all but specific solutions to specific problems which maybe of benefit in specific situations. If for example the optimizer_index_cost_adj parameter is a silver bullet, why not have used this silver bullet in all the FTS problems ?

This is where I kinda agree with Jonathan. For a DB article, it actually has it's good moments in that at least he attempts to narrow down and describe a specific problem, he attempts to justify an appropriate solution and he attempts to see the impact and the positive effects of applied solution. He may have a dislike for those that practice a scientific approach to database administration but at least he's making an attempt to follow some of the basic steps.

Where the article falls down for me is the numerous errors that again proliferate throughout. Time and again DB lets himself down with error after error after error in an article. It just tarnishes the whole thing and dents the credibility of the author. The errors also makes the claim that all the stories are true somewhat questionable in that much of the "evidence" that supports the "stories" is inconsistent or plain wrong (eg. using alter system commands to change the optimizer parameters, interestingly now fixed, the faked statspack reports as it's a little difficult to believe that two separate databases had issues with identical schemas and table definitions and even had an identical number of FTS for one of the tables, solving a different problem to that listed in the top 5 wait events, the faked top 5 wait events as the wait times and % wait times are inconsistent in all the top 5 wait reports listed, putting tables in the buffer pool that aren't listed in the report, etc, etc). If the evidence is made up, what does that say about the rest of the article ...

Finally, the Oracle Support comment. Does Oracle Support really recommend Don and other external consultants when the customers gets confused with OS instructions. Hopefully we'll find out as I posted a question on metalink out of curiosity.

In summary, the article has it's moments and provides some useful pointers when dealing with simplistic tuning problems. But the ever present errors and the silly preamble and tone again tarnishes the whole thing.

----- Original Message -----
From: David Wagoner
To: ORACLE-L (E-mail)
Sent: Friday, March 05, 2004 8:29 AM
Subject: Oracle 911 Article

You guys are going to enjoy this :-).
I just read a very interesting article that managed to insult some of my favorite Oracle authors and the entire state of Alabama! Now I've heard Mr. Burleson speak before, and I must admit that I thought he was a dynamic and entertaining speaker. But do you really think that Oracle Support has ever told anyone to call HIM to solve their performance problems (his article makes this claim)? Does anyone else find the tone of this article unbefitting of an Oracle professional with such extensive credentials? I honestly can't believe that published this, especially considering that Oracle is listed as one of their sponsors.

Best regards,
David B. Wagoner
Database Administrator

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Received on Fri Mar 05 2004 - 06:44:13 CST

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