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Re: Should DBA have access to sar and top?

From: Hans Forbrich <>
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2004 04:05:27 GMT
Message-ID: <b479c.9639$wg1.3503@edtnps84>

Tim Barkley wrote:

> I came to a new shop as a DBA recently and discovered I am not allowed to
> use either sar or top on a Unix server where Oracle database is installed.
> Unix system administrator gave me some explanation why DBA is not allowed
> to have access to sar and top, but to me it sounds ridiculous, to put it
> modestly. I can't see how can one be expected to do serious Oracle
> performance tuning and troubleshooting without those tools. I'm curious
> if any of you ever ran into similar nonsense and how have you handled it.
> Here's what I've was told:
> "SAR and Top are system administrator tools and are therefore not required
> by any other users. System performance monitoring is an expressed
> function
> of the systems administrator. It is clearly stated in our job
> descriptions
> as being part of our responsibilities. This responsibility is not
> indicated in the job description of DBA's.

Are you in a Union shop? It sounds like someone has read a rule book and believes that 'rules is rules and they ain't gonna change for nuttin'. My gut says 'get out now'.

In other similar situations, I've found the SA is trying to put you in your place, pull seniority, pull weight or hide something (such as ignorance) - or it's in the union book on page 17, paragraph 5, subsection 1.3.9 and "I'm (*&^-well gonna teach you to follow the rules".

I'm of the school that believes in holistic tuning - things interact and you have to understand the big picture as well as the little details. Therefore I believe you should have access to the results of both SAR and top, if not access to the utilities them selves. However, there are a number of other tools that you can use within the Oracle toolkit that you might want to reach for first (statspack, Oracle Enterprise Manager Diagnostic and Tuning packs) and then come up with a specific request for info from the SA - preferrably at awkward hours <g>.

> Additionally, these tools inflict an overhead of system resources, which
> could compromise the running of a server if not controlled properly. SAR
> especially utilizes a great number of resources (especially if all of the
> parameters are used). Currently TNG is running performance monitoring
> (SAR
> in the background) and we run performance metrics as well. If other users
> also run these same monitors it would be a gross and unnecessary misuse of
> server resources and undermine the integrity of the system with which we
> are charged to maintain. Systems administrators are responsible for the
> monitoring of all applications on the platform (Oracle, Unicenter, FTP
> etc.) DBA's are responsible for the performance of their own individual
> application and as such may use the dedicated OEM and statsback
> utilities."
> Any comments are appreciated.

A DBA is NOT other users. A DBA works on behalf of other users AND on behalf of the SA to ensure that the processes are operating properly. As a matter of fact, the DBA and the SA SHOULD^H^H^H^H^H^H^H MUST work as a complementary team.

However, as long as you have access to the data when you need it, you don't really need to run the tools themselves.

You may want to look at Chapter 1 of the Database Administration Guide, one of the first manuals in 'List of Books' within the doc set for your database version at ... that chapter discusses roles and responsibilities.

It also seems the SA has some background or history, possibly a myth taought in some UNIX class (I've seen those as well). You may also ask the SA if he's had any bad run-ins with the tools that are causing this reaction.

One other tip - while CA Unicenter, BMC Patrol, etc. have their good points, Oracle is going full bore on Enterprise Manager. Within a few version I suspect you will have no choice but to use that to manage the environment. You might want to talk to the the local Oracle (OEM) presales guys and have them work with your SA for a while.

Bottom line - brush up your people skills if you intend to stay there.

BTW - cross posting is not necessary - please move this to cdo.misc Received on Fri Mar 26 2004 - 22:05:27 CST

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