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Monday, 30 May 2011

Comments on Oracle Performance Survival Guide: A Systematic Approach to Database Optimization, by Guy Harrison

On the bright side, this is one of the easiest review for me to write, since there are so many readers of the several editions of the book, that I shall mainly copy and paste  some lines of reviews I agree to. Thus, I quote: " This book is an encyclopedic overview of all aspects of Oracle performance. Mr. Harrison takes a layered approach, starting at the top with application and data model design where the focus is minimizing the demand for database resources. He then moves down into database code internals, where the focus is maximizing concurrency through reduction of lock, latch, and mutex contention. The next step is to optimize memory usage to minimize the need for physical IO. Finally, he moves to the bottom layer, where the focus is on optimizing physical IO at the disk layer.

Each of these layers is worthy of its own book, so to combine all these topics in a single book is an ambitious goal. Indeed, experienced readers will often want a bit more detail, or wonder why their favorite optimization was not mentioned. However, Mr. Harrison strikes a very good balance between depth and coverage. He also provides a very useful bibliography, including the Oracle documentation, books, and Internet sites and blogs.


For each chapter, Mr. Harrison provides extraordinarily clear, concise, and helpful introductions and summaries. He also uses boxed borders to highlights particularly important points within the text. One can learn a great deal by simply reading these summaries and boxed items, and these can also be used to help the reader find relevant sections, which is especially valuable in a book of this length.


This book is not the last word on SQL tuning, optimizer internals, Oracle troubleshooting, the SGA, nor latch contention. However, its coherent approach, useful summaries and highlights, and efficient organization, make it a valuable and essential guide to anyone wishing to expand their Oracle performance skill set.


The target audience includes both application developers and DBAs. It covers 10g, 11g, 11gR2, with context from 8i and 9i ."
The latter is true for the newest edition of course! Furthermore, the full source code is available, as well as an errata page on the author's site.

On the dark side, there are extensive sections of the text promoting the products Mr. Harrison and his company create, which although humorously introduced ("Full disclosure..."), are a waste of time to read, for open source funs or anyone who is not interested in buying the software.

All in all, the book is highly recommended and I am looking forward to reading each new edition. Congratulations to the author. Well done, indeed!

1 comment: