Hmm... Better Oracle Database Tools Are the Answer To Increased Complexity?

Posted on 20-May-2013 by Craig Shallahamer,

You're joking. Right?

Oracle Database performance tuning and analysis has come a long way in the last 20 years. First there was the "just add more resources" approach and tuning the blatantly poor SQL. Then there was ratio analysis, followed by wait event analysis, time based analysis, and unit of work time based analysis. In addition to the performance diagnosis and analysis evolution, the Oracle Database as a product has changed, and architectures are more diverse. Yet with all this change, some things are in many ways timeless. They relate to complexity, basic mathematical statistics, efficiency, and doctrinal purity. Over the next few weeks, I'll post four different "myths". Here is the first.

Myth #1

The first myth is better tools are the solution to increasing architecture complexity. I was attending an Oracle Corporation product demonstration a few years ago, and the presenter said something like, "Architectures are increasing in complexity. The solution is better tools." I looked around and everyone was agreeing, like in the Apple "1984" commercial, "Yes ... Complexity is progress ... We need more and better tools ... Who will bring us these new and better tools?"

I was thinking to myself, how about we focus on reducing the complexity?! Am I alone in thinking that with each increase in complexity, there is an increase in potential problems, which means an increase in risk? Contrary to popular opinion, Oracle DBAs don't typically enjoying a 3am login to fix a down production system.

A few years ago I did some consulting for a very large and well-known ecommerce company. I was amazed at the lengths they went to keep complexity and risk low, uptime high, and performance consistently good. In addition, they architected their systems so the workload could be easily and quickly partitioned. By keeping the complexity low, they were able to manage performance more simply and adjust more quickly. Their transaction throughput levels and on-line brand presence led them to the path of minimizing architectural complexity, resulting in an amazing uptime.

While advanced tools are fantastic (see: ), the true answer is to start with simplifying the underlying architecture.

Thanks for reading!


Start my FREE 18 lesson Machine Learning For Oracle Professionals E-Course here.

Craig Shallahamer is a long time Oracle DBA who specializes in predictive analytics, machine learning and Oracle performance tuning. Craig is a performance researcher and blogger, consultant, author of two books, an enthusiastic conference speaker a passionate teacher and an Oracle ACE Director. More about Craig Shallahamer...

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me directly at craig at

What Is Oracle Database Elapsed Time And Wall Time With A Parallelism Twist Oracle Database IO Read Wait Occurrence Mismatch - Part 2 Oracle Database SQL Arrival Patterns And Impact