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Cost-Based Oracle Fundamentals (Expert's Voice in Oracle) Paperback – October 31, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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 jonathanlewis.wordpress.com.

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Product Details

  • Series: Expert's Voice in Oracle
  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Apress (October 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590596366
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590596364
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #367,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas Kyte on November 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is the book for you.

This book is, well, in a word amazing. If you have ever been baffled or bemused by why the heck did the optimizer do that, or as Jonathan wrote on page 299:

"I am reluctant to call something a bug unless I can work out what Oracle is doing and can prove that its doing something irrational. Too many people say, Its a bug when they really mean I dont know why this happened."

You will absolutely love this book. In it you will discover the hows and whys of the optimizer. Why statistics matter, how they matter. Whats up with histograms when and where do we need them, what affect do they have.

Sprinkled throughout the book are random insights like this one:

"There are many ways to implement Oracle systems badly, and as a general rule, anything that hides useful information from the optimizer is a bad idea. One of the simple, and highly popular, strategies for doing this is to stick all of your reference data into a single table with a type column. The results can be catastrophic as far as the optimizer is concerned."

And then is goes on to say why. That is what I really really like it goes on to say why. I hate it when statements are made and no reasoning is made why. You will find none of that in this book.

Jonathan did one thing in this book that Ill definitely be stealing myself. One neat thing is every chapter ends with a list of script names and descriptions. In the text, he references these script names as well. That way, when you download the code you have a straight reference to the sample you should be running. Ive used the (extremely poor) naming convention of demo001.sql, demo002.sql and so on. Next book theyll all have names and Ill be referencing exactly like he did. Very nice.
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Format: Paperback
There is little point to write how good this book is, since there is no other book devoted to SQL optimization exclusively. Dan Tow's book comes close, but he is focused more on a method of join graph analysis that he developed, than on details how optimizer did arrive to a certain access path. The lack of competition on the market is really surprising giving that SQL optimization is the only part of RDBMS that is justifiably complex, and would remain complex in foreseable future.

Compared to SQL optimizations all the other issues that DBA deals today look ridiculous. There is no reason why, for example export and import should be more complex than copying image file from your camera. Likewise, managing extents and segments is totally automated these days. All the manageability trend just proves a simple idea that RDBMS is nothing more than query execution engine.

Now, unlike any other RDBMS implementation area, the flow of poorly executed SQL never seems to cease. SQL Optimization is well known to be a difficult problem. Statistics information is incomplete, robust cost metrics is elusive, and the search space is explosive. The optimization goals are often conflicting. The very first idea that every SQL performance analyst discovers: "The optimization is only as good as its cost estimates". Those issues are fundamental rather than SQL DBMS vendor specific, of course. Given the scope and complexity of the problem, one citation comes to mind: "There is no emperor's way to SQL optimization".
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Format: Paperback
The beauty of reading a book by a publisher not sanctioned by Oracle and by an author who doesn't work for Oracle is that they can openly mention bugs. And there are oh-so-many! This book is a superb introduction to the Cost Based Optimizer, and is not afraid to discuss it's many shortcomings. In so doing it also explains how to patch up those shortcomings by giving the CBO more information, either by creating a histogram here and there, or by using the DBMS_STATS package to insert your own statistics in those specific cases where you need to.

Another interesting thing is how this book illustrates, though

accidentally, the challenges of proprietary software systems. Much of this book and the authors time is spent reverse engineering the CBO, Oracle's bread and butter optimizing engine. Source code, and details about its inner workings are not published or available. And of course that's intentional. But what's clear page after page in this book is that for the DBA and system tuner, going about their day to day tasks, they really need inside information about what the optimizer is doing, and so this book goes on a long journal to illuminate much of what the CBO is doing, or in some cases provide very educated guesses and some speculation. In contrast, as we know and hear about often, the Open Source alternative provides free access to source code, though not necessarily to the goods themselves. What this means in a very real way is that a book like this would not need to be written for an alternative open source application, because the internal code would be a proverbial open book.
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