Mohamed Houri’s Oracle Notes

November 14, 2013

Expert Oracle Database Architecture: buy your Oracle job insurance

Filed under: Book review — hourim @ 3:42 pm

Oracle Database ArchitectureIn the process of reviewing books I have bought almost a decade ago (first edition), today is the turn of Tom Kyte Expert Oracle Database Architecture.

The review of this book, and a couple of others that will follow I hope in a near future, will not be a classical review in which I will explain what I learnt in Chapter 1 and what I’ve most appreciated in Chapter 4 and so on. However, what I prefer to emphasize is what this book procured me in my daily Oracle consultancy work. It is like if I was shooting in the dark before reading this book and the light came up after I have started investigating the content of this book.

I remember a performance meeting crisis where I have been invited as one of the Oracle suffering application developers. The application was inadequately range partitioned by a partition key that was never invoked in the client business queries in which there were practically no partition elimination. All partitioned tables have been given a composite primary key (id, partition key) policed via a unique locally partitioned index. Few days before the crisis meeting, I was religiously reading Chapter 13 about Partitioning in which, among other interesting things, Tom Kyte explained the relationship between Local Indexes and Unique Constraints which should absolutely include the partition key in their definition to be allowed to exist. Oracle enforces uniqueness only within an index partition—never across partitions.

To trouble shoot this performance issue, the newly recruited DB -Architect suggested with authority to (a) transform all global (or b-tree) indexes into locally partitioned ones and (b) to get rid of the partition key from the primary local index.

I am against advises that say ”transform all”. In Oracle there are always  ”It depends” situations that make the ”change all” advice very often if not always a bad one. But the Tom Kyte words about local Indexes and unique constraints were still ringing in my ears so that I couldn’t resist the temptation to stop by and say to the architect ”You need to review your partitioning skills before suggesting such an impossible unique index change”. I would have never said that if I haven’t been in touch with this book.

This book gave me the necessary self-confidence I was lacking to develop performant scalable and available Oracle applications. It gave me a good picture of how Oracle works. I learnt via the content of this book how to model and test a situation before jumping to a hurried conclusion.

I need no effort to persuade you to have this book with you. Just go to ask tom web site and see the enormous work the author has done and you will realize how intelligent you could be by buying this book. 

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