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Oracle Insights: Tales of the Oak Table Paperback – July 28, 2004

ISBN-13: 068-9253158715 ISBN-10: 1590593871

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Oracle Insights: Tales of the Oak Table + Oracle Wait Interface: A Practical Guide to Performance Diagnostics & Tuning (Osborne ORACLE Press Series) + Oracle Core: Essential Internals for DBAs and Developers (Expert's Voice in Databases)
Price for all three: $106.13

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Product Details

  • Series: Oaktable Press
  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Apress (July 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590593871
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590593875
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,505,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Announcing a new book from Apress and the OakTable Network: Read unique insights into how to develop successful Oracle applications

About the Author

Cary Millsap is the former vice president of Oracle's System Performance Group and the cofounder of Hotsos (, a company dedicated to Oracle system performance. Hotsos provides performance-improvement tools for Oracle environments and also delivers training in the form of clinics and the very successful Hotsos symposiums.

Anjo Kolk worked for over 16 years at Oracle and now runs He is the inventor of the YAPP technique (

Connor McDonald has worked with Oracle since the early 1990s, cutting his teeth on Oracle versions 6.0.36 and 7.0.12. Over the past 11 years, Connor has worked with systems in Australia, the U.K., southeast Asia, western Europe, and the United States. He has come to realize that although the systems and methodologies around the world are very diverse, there tend to be two common themes in the development of systems running on Oracle: either to steer away from the Oracle-specific functions or to use them in a haphazard or less-than-optimal fashion. It was this observation that led to the creation of a personal hints and tips website ( and more, presenting on the Oracle speaker circuit in an endeavor to improve the perception and usage of PL/SQL in the industry.

Tim Gorman began his information technology career in 1984 as a C programmer on UNIX and VMS systems, working on medical and financial systems as an application developer, systems programmer, and systems administrator. He joined Oracle Corporation in 1990 as a consultant, then became an independent consultant in 1998, and has worked for SageLogix since 2000. Gorman is the coauthor of Essential Oracle8i Data Warehousing and Oracle8 Data Warehousing. He specializes in performance tuning applications, databases, and systems, as well as data warehouse design and implementation, backup and recovery, architecture and infrastructure, and database administration. Gorman still considers himself a pretty good coder, although the market for C programs has dried up somewhat lately.

A bio is not available for this author.

Dave Ensor spent over 35 years in IT, almost all of it in a hands-on role as a programmer, a designer, or a researcher into the performance characteristics of specific pieces of software. He worked with Oracle databases for 15 years in all three of these roles, also building a worldwide reputation for his ability to present technical material with clarity and humor. He is coauthor of the books Oracle Design and Oracle8 Design Tips, and he's an Honorary Oracle9i Certified Master. Dave holds undergraduate degrees in both mathematics and law.

Jonathan Lewis has been working in the information technology industry for nearly 25 years, and has been using the Oracle relational database management system for more than 20. For the past 16 years, he has worked as a freelance consultant, often spending only one or two days at a time with any client to address critical performance problems. He also advises on design and implementation problems, and on how to make best use of the most appropriate Oracle features for a given project. Jonathan is also renowned throughout the world for his tutorials and seminars about the Oracle database engine and how to make best use of it. Having visited 42 countries at last count, his exceptional ability has earned him an O1 visa from the United States, allowing him to do consultancy and lecture work there. Jonathan has written two books about Oracle (Practical Oracle8i, Addison-Wesley, 2000; Cost-Based Oracle Fundamentals, Apress, 2005), and has contributed to two others (Oracle Insights, Apress, 2004; Oracle Database 10g New Features, Oracle Press, 2004). He also writes regularly for the UKOUG magazine, and occasionally for other publications around the world. In the limited amount of time he has leftover, Jonathan also publishes high-tech Oracle articles on his blog at

Gaja Vaidyanatha has more than 12 years of technical expertise, with over 11 years of industry experience working with Oracle systems. His key areas of interest include performance architectures, scalable storage solutions, highly available systems, and system performance management for data warehouses and transactional systems. He holds a master's degree in computer science from Bowling Green State University, Ohio. He has presented many papers at various regional, national, and international Oracle conferences, and is the coauthor of Oracle Performance Tuning 101 from Oracle Press.

With 15 years of experience in professional computing, James Morle has been personally responsible for the architecture and implementation of some of the world's largest and most complex business systems, including a 3-node Oracle Parallel Server configuration that services 3,000 online users. James is a well-respected member of the Oracle community and is the author of the critically acclaimed book Scaling Oracle8i. He is the cofounder of Scale Abilities (, a specialist consulting and training company focusing on aspects of system engineering related to building very large and complex computer systems.

Customer Reviews

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Someday I want to meet and work with these guys!
Benjamin S. Prusinski
They provide methods to diagnose and reapir problems in oracle performance as well as enumerate the known pitfalls in project management and database design.
B. A. Moseley
You will certainly get very useful insights into managing Oracle RDBMS (up to version 10g).

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jack D. Herrington on November 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is intended for Oracle internals experts who want a deep, deep drill down into the guts of Oracle to look for optimizations. It's well written and very in-depth, but you should have a look at the table of contents to make sure that you can get anything out of this book before you buy it. If you aren't the target audience then you are likely to get little or nothing out of it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ales Kavsek on May 1, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really don't know where I should begin writing this review to give the book a proper credit that it deserves. Hmm...FUN - I think that this word best describes this collection of essays (eleven prominent authors instead of more usual one or two, certainly helped a lot).

Can't remember when was the last time that I read technical book that kept me reading and reading, and reading - simply because all essays were *fun* to read. To be clear, yes I'm an Oracle geek, but I don't think you have to be an expert to understand 'the point' in the majority of the book, on contrary, if you're by any chance an Oracle newbie you have an opportunity to learn from the true experts (from their work done on the "projects from hell") and pick up some good habits and techniques to start your Oracle career (this book is not really about internals as much as it's about proper design and importance of understanding technology before using it - and using it to the full extent - you'll probably never again write DB agnostic applications, if this was your sin in the past :-).

So, being an expert or not, I'm sure you'll get the true 'message' from this book that will stick with you for the rest of your life (of course experts will enjoy reading it slightly more, they'll finally learn, what AFIEDT.BUF is really all about ;-).

Finally, thank you guys for writing this book, and Mr. Mogens Noorgard (you lucky *****), thank you for "networking" Oak Table members together.

Thank you for reading this review.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By B. A. Moseley on April 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have 14 years of Oracle Experience with some of the busiest and largest transaction systems in the world. This book really hit home for me and brought back a lot of memories of painful times as well as gave me new insights. I have re-read this book twice since getting it amonth ago. It is that good.

The Tales of the Oaktable is a skeptic's work of technological history that is funny and hard to put down, but which also provides experienced database professionals roadmaps to solve their pressing problems ( or even see that they have a problem.)

The authors take an empirical, rational approach to diagnosing and discovering the most serious problems while providing amusing revelations about the people and organizations they have worked with. Along the way they lift Oracle's skirts and take us out back to show us the dirty laundry and other junk in Oracle's back yard. They provide methods to diagnose and reapir problems in oracle performance as well as enumerate the known pitfalls in project management and database design. Seasoned IT types will groan and laugh during these chapters.

They also look at larger architectural, economic, psychological, and philosophical issues which have a direct impact on databases and large information systems. Norgaard's history of computing is quite depressing. And I agree that many of the "new" blood wants to focus on .NET and J2EE - when the real heart and soul is still the data.

Oracle Insights DOES require both deep thought and deep, hard-won knowledge of Oracle in order to fully enjoy it. So, if at first you don't like it, then you don't know what you don't know.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin S. Prusinski on July 17, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an Oracle and SQL Server DBA for the last seven years I found this book an excellent and very refreshing change from technical manuals and books on Oracle database design and administration. The first few chapters are priceless from Oracle history to the useful read on Oracle tuning using Wait events. I really enjoyed learning how the product evolved from inception to the new version of 10g. All in all money well spent and nice to know that even such gurus as the Oak Table guys are human and have shared tough DBA experiences. Someday I want to meet and work with these guys!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Gaffuri on October 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is not designed to teach you anything about programming, database administration, or architecture. It is an excellent series of essays about real life professional experiences. Two essays stand out above all the others. The first essay in the book about the evolution of the Oracle database provides excellent insites into how the database has changed over time.
The other article that stands out is the last one by Tim Gorman about the worst project he has ever been on. The project was run so badly it put a young company out of business.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Duke P. Ganote on February 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book delivers the fun "back stories" on both Oracle databases in particular, and database-oriented application development in general. For example: why did Oracle personnel -- in sheer desperation -- start instrumenting the DBMS? Because they couldn't figure out what their highly-complex software was doing either! Now it's public knowledge how to track every step of Oracle execution.

Why do projects fail despite Oracle being highly-scalable? Because people *assume* they know what the Oracle DBMS will do, so they never test for scalability before throwing the project into production! Tale after tale prove you can't optimize what you never tested: only ignorance and hubris are infinitely scalable!
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More About the Author

Tim Gorman has worked in IT with relational databases since 1984, as an Oracle PRO*C and PL/SQL application developer since 1990, as an Oracle DBA since 1993, and managing/troubleshooting very large and very complex systems on Oracle database since 1994.

He is a technical consultant for Delphix Corporation ( Previously, he was an independent technical consultant as Evergreen Database Technologies, Inc. ( specializing in data warehousing and database administration, particularly application and database performance and data availability.

Mr Gorman is currently a member of the board of directors of the Oracle Developer Tools Users Group ( and an advisor to the boards of the Rocky Mtn Oracle Users Group (, the Northern California Oracle Users Group (, and Project SafeGuard (

Tim has co-authored six books, performed technical review on seven more books, has been a member of the Oak Table Network ( since 2002, an Oracle ACE since 2007, an Oracle ACE Director since 2012, and has presented at Oracle Open World, Collaborate, KScope, Hotsos, RMOUG, UKOUG, and Oracle users groups in lots of wonderful places around the world.

In real life, Tim lives in Westminster in colorful Colorado with his partner, Kellyn Pot'vin, who is herself an extremely talented multi-platform database administrator on Oracle, SQL Server, and MySQL and she blogs as DBAKevlar. He has two children, my son Peter and my daughter Marika who are out in world on their own, and he lives with Kellyn and her son Sam, her daughter Caitlyn, and her son Joshua.

He snowboards the steeps and deeps, bicycles (road) long distances, and plays squash when he can find someone of like mind.