Top positive review
Good But Flawed...
on January 15, 2016
I really wanted to give 3.5 stars, but since you can't do that I rounded up to 4. On the basis that I've actually spoken to Larry Carpenter on the 'phone one time and he was super nice and super helpful.
This book seems to be the definitive one on Data Guard and it does do a pretty decent job of explaining how to configure it in all its guises. So why not 5 stars? It boils down to 4 reasons:
1) I'm not an Oracle/Oracle Press 'fan boy' and therefore I'm not predisposed to give Oracle Press books an automatic 5 stars on the basis they're published by Oracle Press and written by a friend of mine. You know who you are!
2) The cover says Oracle Data Guard 11g so you'd be forgiven for thinking you're getting a book on Oracle Data Guard 11g. Not so. The reader has to endure countless meanderings about how it worked in 10g and in some cases even 9i. Even some errors you used to get in 10g are reproduced with explanation about why they occurred, how to get around them and which version of 10g fixed it! I just want to know about 11g! Please not let's confuse the subject matter with irrelevant historical material. I found this aspect of the book VERY distracting and made it more difficult to focus on what you're actually trying to learn and understand. Surely that's the whole point of such a book!
3) When setting things up manually (i.e. you're not mindlessly pointing and clicking the OEM GUI to do the job for you) it's extremely important that you execute the correct SQL statement in the correct environment. In many cases, the book doesn't make that immediately and abundantly clear. So when you need to look something up, you have to read the prior paragraph or two to ascertain the context to know which environment (Primary or Standby) the SQL command relates to. I found that annoying and frustrating in equal measure.
4) Somewhat related to point #2, the superfluous material was sometimes off the scale. For example, the title of Chapter 9 is Active Data Guard. So you'd be forgiven for thinking you're getting a 27 page chapter on Active Data Guard, right? Wrong! What you actually get is 23 pages on Physical Standbys open in read-only mode, snapshot standbys and Real Application Testing including a multi-page worked example of Database Replay. Seriously! The final 4 pages are about the chapter's title, Active Data Guard. My point is, there is quite a lot of material fleshing out over 500 pages which shouldn't even be in this book.
So there you have it. Should you buy a different book on Data Guard instead? Probably not since Larry Carpenter is 'Mr Data Guard'. All I'd say is, tackle this book knowing how it's written and what you're getting into. One can but hope the 12c Data Guard book, if it ever materializes, will have improved.
Happy Data Guarding!