The book's title tells the whole story about its content. It focuses on waits, latches, locks, and memory allocation because they have a dramatic effect on overall performance. Each of these topics is presented separately, with explanations of how each works under the hood and what can be done to optimize it. Although the title offers plenty of architectural explanation, a solid foundation into Oracle 8i release 8.1 (the version addressed by the author) is a prerequisite for understanding this text.
The presentation includes few diagrams. Instead, the author makes a special effort to list relevant Oracle parameters and their descriptions in tables, as well as examples of statistics that can be used in optimization. This is a guide for advanced administrators already on a solid footing with Oracle8i and offers plenty of insight into the crucial undocumented aspects of the relational database. --Stephen W. Plain
About the Author
Steve Adams runs a small consulting company, Ixora, that specializes in advanced Unix and Oracle performance tuning. He is based in Sydney, Australia, but also works remotely for clients in America and Europe. Steve is a regular contributor to various Oracle discussion forums on the Internet, where he is widely regarded as the leading performance expert. His experience with Oracle dates back to version 3 (1984). However, most of his work has been in Unix performance tuning. His interest in Oracle--and Oracle internals in particular--was rekindled when working as the Unix performance expert on a benchmark of an Oracle-based application in 1995. He found the challenge of understanding Oracle performance to be extremely demanding, and yet irresistible. Steve doesn't yet claim to have mastered the topic of Oracle performance, but he does have plenty of insight to share. He can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or via his company's web site at http://www.ixora.com.au/.