Frits Hoogland came up with a very interesting project — Pgstatspack.

What can be better than a Statspack-like tool an Oracle DBA in the PostgreSQL world? Heh… right — only PostgreSQL Wait Interface. ;-) Oh well, Pgstatspack is a good start. Well done Frits!

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Well, the guess-days might be just about over for SQL Server DBA’s. People who revolutionized Oracle performance tuning several years ago, are now working at SQL Server revolution.

Look what Anjo Kolk had to say about at the interview during Miracle SQL Server Open World 2008:

And here is Cary Millsap from the same event:
Continue reading ‘SQL Server Performance Diagnostic — Still Guessing?’

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ASH Masters is the new web-site about Oracle Active Session History and everything around it. There, you can leave your comments and questions about ASH and ASHMON, the tool designed after Performance page of Oracle 10g Enterprise Manager. Kyle Hailey is the one who designed this performance screen in Oracle 10g Enterprise Manager and ASH data is what’s used behind the scene. Thanks to Kyle and others, we now have ASH Masters.

But not only Kyle created ASHMON. He has provided the ASH Simulation package for those of us who are still running Oracle 9i or have no license on Diagnostic Pack for Oracle 10g. The dream has come true!

For those of you who prefer good old SQL prompt and feel more comfortable using “hard core” queries, there are some ready to use queries. This is also the right place to share your ideas how to use ASH and contribute your queries for the community. Because…

What goes round comes round. Ideas build off ideas. No inventor is an island to themselves. We all build of existing ideas or are inspired by current ideas, but when there is discussion, sharing and community the ideas can grow faster, be more fun and become more powerful.

Join ASH Masters — share your experience and ideas.

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This is just a bit of administrative information.

I have changed BAAG Comrades page. I removed the member numbers. Two reasons — (1) I have introduced moderation of registration a while ago and I daily discard spam and need to adjust sequence and do some updates after that and (2) numbers are not important — important that you are on the list and support the party.

I have also deleted few members that seemed like dummy registrations and not replied on my emails. Those were registered before registrations approval was in place. Hope that wasn’t any of you. ;-)

If there are any suggestions for improvements — let me know. If you are not a member — here is how. If you forgot you password, here is password reminder. You can always login and adjust your profile.

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One of the main reasons why it’s difficult to troubleshoot problems in complex environments is lack of documentation. This post is long overdue because it was inspired a while ago by Dan Fink’s post (again). Be sure to read it first.

From time to time, I see situations when one person leaving the company leads to a disaster that puts in danger the whole existence of multimillion businesses. Why? Because there is nobody else who knows how system works and how all its moving parts are connected. How does that happen? No knowledge sharing.

The most universal method of knowledge transfer is documenting stuff and I would argue that, most of the times, one hour of documenting brings to a business more than two hours developing new functionality in PL/SQL.

Actually, there might not even exist such know-it-all-wizard. Complex systems are not created in a matter of days or even months. Often, extreme complexity is the result of years or even decades of evolution. All those workarounds, bug fixes, re-designs, pressing deadlines — those friends of entropy win time from documentation tasks.
Continue reading ‘Avoiding Guesswork in Complex Environments’

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Earlier this week I’ve attended RMOUG Training Days 2008 and one of the sessions was of particular interest. Mogens initiated very heated discussion about performance tuning methods that are currently in use and how inappropriate they all are because they still leave some chance for guesswork. No doubts that performance optimization has involved significantly in the recent years but there is still place for a lot of improvements. Thanks Mogens — you are invaluable BAAG supporter!

Daniel Fink was one of the presenters during that session and has done an interesting follow up. You probably know that couple month ago Dan expressed controversial idea that Oracle “wait interface is nearly useless”. My interpretation is that while wait interface removed a great deal of guesswork from performance troubleshooting, there is still a lot of times when analysts tend to rely on guesswork or don’t have other ways to go forward except educational guessing.

Now back to Dan’s most recent post — How useful are diagnostic/optimization tools?. I can’t agree more about incompleteness of performance tuning tools but can they ever be complete?
Continue reading ‘Can a Performance Tuning Tool be Complete?’

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Working mainly with App Server these days, I’ve read a manual or two… I’ve even bought them (my Oracle7 manual set takes about an arm’s worth of bookshelf and almost cost a leg too).

This all changed in 1997 when I loaded the entire database documentation set onto my new toy at the time, a Toshiba Libretto PC (which was about the same size as a hefty novel). Since then I’ve never looked back. Yes, I do periodically print out chunks of manual for reading on the train (as there’s no point keeping them longer than a few months I use all that single-sided junk mail you get), but more often than not I read documentation online. This has the following advantages:

  • you can easily search for terms across several books,
  • you can have several pages/books open at once in different windows,
  • you’ve got the right version for the software you’re running,
  • you can copy and paste any command examples you want to try.

All obvious stuff - so with such easy access to the documentation, why is it you still see lame questions (on Oracle-L, OTN discussion forums, etc) asking how to do such and such? Surely it’s quicker just to look it up… and you don’t have to wait for some kind soul to reply.

The Oracle manuals (and Cisco for that matter) are very comprehensive - yes, there are lots of them but these are complex products. Of course reading the manuals doesn’t solve a problem in itself… just not reading them means you’re more likely make things worse!

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One of the great problems with guesswork is that you can be led down some very blind alleys indeed. This commonly occurs when you guess what the problem is, rather than diagnose it, and then embark upon a solution. Every time you find yourself doing this think of Miriam.

BAAG in action

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Join BAAG Now!

It took me the whole last night and few additional hours now to adapt Wordpress for the need of BAAG party registration. You can now join the BAAG Party and see the list of its members.

Thus, everything is now ready for the call to arms. Together we provide community with invaluable resources on how to fight the predilection for guessing, show how to unite in building stronghold of the BAAG Party.

This is just a beginning, and there are many interesting ideas being composed now. Everyone should be given opportunity to contribute, voice one’s concerns, stories and problems, given a chance to make a difference!

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BAAG is born

Today is Saturday, 16th of June 2007 and is the birthday of… (drum-roll please…)BAAG - Battle Against Any Guess.

This idea was sitting in my head for a while and finally materialized here. “Enough is enough” trigger was this Oracle-L thread followed by couple emails from Tanel Poder and David Kurtz. While replying to Tanel describing this idea, I carried on and imperceptibly for myself started this site.

Interested? Find more details here.

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