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Common Performance Errors in Oracle Databases

Oracle Tips by Mike Ault


In my 16 years of working with Oracle I have seen the database grow and change as new features are added and old ones removed or changed. However, even as things change, they remain the same in many respects. We still must index properly, set memory settings correctly and specify proper hardware.

You would think that by now everyone would have a pretty good idea what an average configuration for an Oracle small, medium and large database would be, but unfortunately these classifications also undergo mutation. It wasn’t too long ago that if you used several hundred megabytes of disks you had a large database. Now of course large databases are in the terabyte and larger size range. This makes setting tuning guidelines for Oracle databases somewhat of a moving target where the rules change almost as fast as you can derive them.

Given a changing environment for tuning Oracle is the only constant I will try to present in this paper the major issues I have found in the last few years while tuning several dozen different client databases. I will try to present a method or methods for determining set points that take into account this changing beast that is Oracle.

Major Issues of Concern

From a review of the tuning reports I have generated over the last couple of years I have come up with a list of 6 major areas that the Remote Remote DBA or tuning expert needs to pay attention to in an Oracle environment:

·         Non-use of bind variables

·         Improper Index usage

·         Improper memory configuration

·         Improper disk setup

·         Improper initialization parameter usage

·         Improper PGA setup

Each of the above areas can have a profound impact on the ability of an Oracle database to function properly. In the following sections we will cover how to measure the affect of these on your system, how to correct them once found and how to prevent them from being issues in the future. Each of the above can be, and probably is somewhere at this conference, a full hour topic, so we have a lot of ground to cover, let’s get started!


For more information on this topic, I recommend Don Burleson's latest book "Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference". 

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 50%-off and get instant access to the code depot of Oracle tuning scripts:



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