Thursday, July 10, 2008

Christian Antognini's new book: Troubleshooting Oracle Performance

I learned from a friend yesterday that Chris Antognini's new book, Troubleshooting Oracle Performance, is available now. I just checked at Amazon, and the product is listed as temporarily out of stock. That's good: it means people are buying them up.

If you're an Oracle application developer, get one. If you're an Oracle database administrator, get one for yourself and a couple more for your developer friends.

I hope he sells a million of them.

Jonathan Lewis and I both wrote a foreword for Chris after seeing the work he had put into this project. Here's mine...

My Foreword for Chris's Book

I think the best thing that has happened to Oracle performance in the past ten years is the radical improvement in the quality of the information you can buy now at the bookstore.

In the old days, the books you bought about Oracle performance all looked pretty much the same. They insinuated that your Oracle system inevitably suffered from too much I/O (which is, in fact, not inevitable) or not enough memory (which they claimed was the same thing as too much I/O, which also isn’t true). They’d show you loads and loads of SQL scripts that you might run, and they’d tell you to tune your SQL. And that, they said, would fix everything.

It was an age of darkness.

Chris’s book is a member of the family tree that has brought to us, …light. The difference between the darkness and the light boils down to one simple concept. It’s a concept that your mathematics teachers made you execute from the time when you were about ten years old: show your work.

I don’t mean “show and tell,” where someone claims he has improved performance at hundreds of customer sites by hundreds of percentage points [sic], so therefore he’s an expert. I mean show your work, which means documenting a relevant baseline measurement, conducting a controlled experiment, documenting a second relevant measurement, and then showing your results openly and transparently so that your reader can follow along and even reproduce your test if he wants to.

That’s a big deal. When authors started doing that, Oracle audiences started getting a lot smarter. Since the year 2000, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people in the Oracle community who ask intelligent questions and demand intelligent answers about performance. And there’s been an acceleration in the drowning-out of some really bad ideas that lots of people used to believe.

In this book, Chris follows the pattern that works. He tells you useful things. But he doesn’t stop there. He shows you how he knows, which is to say he shows you how you can find out for yourself. He shows his work.

That brings you two big benefits. First, showing his work helps you understand more deeply what he’s showing you, which makes his lessons easier for you to remember and apply. Second, by understanding his examples, you can understand not just the things that Chris is showing you, but you’ll also be able to answer additional good questions that Chris hasn’t covered. …Like what will happen in the next release of Oracle after this book has gone to print.

This book, for me, is both a technical and a “persuasional” reference. It contains tremendous amounts of fully documented homework that I can reuse. It also contains eloquent new arguments on several points about which I share Chris’s views and his passion. The arguments that Chris uses in this book will help me convince more people to do the Right Things.

Chris is a smart, energetic guy who stands on the shoulders of Dave Ensor, Lex de Haan, Anjo Kolk, Steve Adams, Jonathan Lewis, Tom Kyte, and a handful of other people I regard as heroes for bringing rigor to our field. Now we have Chris’s shoulders to stand on as well.

―Cary Millsap
10 April 2008


Jared said...

Somehow I missed the release of this - just ordered mine, in stock at

skymaster said...


I agree 100% with you. Baselines and testing is essential when troubleshooting Oracle performance backed with a methodology like your Method R. It was a pleasure meeting you this year at OpenWorld. I will check out Christian's book.

Ben Prusinski

Term Papers said...

i feel glad to see this site.. good work .