Book review: Brian Peasland, Oracle RAC Performance Tuning


Excellent book - I've just posted this review on Amazon:

This book gives you what it says on the cover: Oracle RAC Performance Tuning.You will not, for example, find much detail of using Flex Clusters (though he does de-bunk one of the common myths) nor any real mention of policy management, ACFS, or QoS. Perhaps Brian will cover them in his next book. No problem - what you will find is four hundred pages about performance tuning, and they are all worth reading. The author follows similar techniques to those I use, and formalizes them wonderfully. The general methodology is that you cannot tune anything unless you understand it. So most of the book is about how to work out what the hardware, the operating system, and Oracle, are doing; how they are doing it; and why. Understand all that, and the tuning is obvious.
The content will be useful for all DBAs, though the level of assumed knowledge is such that this is not for absolute beginners. You do need to be familiar with SQL, PL/SQL, and DB admin; you need to know how to read an execution plan. To put it in Oracle Uni terms, ideally you need to be at OCP level and studying for the OCM and the RAC Specialization. The material goes far beyond what Oracle Uni teaches for those qualifications. Those not yet so familiar with RAC will appreciate the way in which each chapter begins with an exposition of the architectural concept, and those of us who think we know it all will learn from the detail. For example, chapter two starts with a nice description of how the global cache service and global enqueue service work, and then WHAM! A bunch of scripts that show how to track exactly which blocks are being transferred across the interconnect when you select a particular row. The result is a nice combination of architectural detail with plenty of what one might call "tips and tricks". There are chapters on tuning specific elements of a GI environment that are very practical: the interconnect; storage; memory; parallel processing. The chapter "RAC Support Tools" is, for me, the highlight in this category. Other chapters are more theoretical: cache fusion; wait events; AWR, ADDM, ASH.
I wish he had written this ten years ago, it would have saved me (and my clients) incalculable hours. I don't agree with everything he says - but that doesn't mean that he is wrong, it just means that I have to do some more research. Whatever your skill level, you will learn from this book. I've seen RAC since release 9.x, and parallel server before that. Even so, Brian has taught me a lot.

Here's the Amazon link,

John Watson
Oracle Certified Master DBA