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  11g Real Application Testing (RAT)

Oracle 11g New Features Tips by Burleson Consulting
June 27, 2008

Oracle 11g SQL New Features Tips

Applying any change to a production system is the biggest challenge to administrators. This could be hardware changes, patches applied to the OS, adding nodes to a cluster, migrating from single instance to RAC or simply changed parameters in the instance or different behavior of the optimizer after the installation of Oracle Patches. It normally needs thorough testing for weeks or even months before going live can be considered. The three big “Ts” as Tom Kyte preaches are TESTING, TESTING, and TESTING! The testing must happen under conditions which are as close as possible to the real life conditions. If an application is needed to serve 100 concurrent sessions, then it is necessary to test with a concurrency of 100 and not with a scaled down workload but with a real life workload.

This is exactly where the problems come in real life. It is not that easy to create a realistic workload with all the real time waiting and locking, concurrency and all in the right sequence. There are workload simulators which are normally used for benchmark testing like Benchmark Factory or even freeware like Swingbench. The problem is that these tools run a fictive, user defined workload in multiple sessions at the same time but not a realistic workload with all its concurrency and locking problems as they would occur on a production system. This issue is one of the most important fields for improvement in Oracle’s Database Release 11g. It is something that a lot of customers have been demanding for a long time.

The marketing expression for a number of new functionalities is Real Application Testing, or RAT. Under this name, Oracle has again subsumed two completely different technologies:

  • Database Replay

  • SQL Performance Analyzer

Real Application Testing is only available with Enterprise Edition ($ 40,000/Processor). It requires an EXTRA COST LICENSE ($ 10,000/Processor).  The Real Application Testing Suite includes:

  • SQL Performance Analyzer - including the command line API DBMS_SPA

  • Database Replay - including the command line APIs
    - DBMS_ WORKLOAD_ CAPTURE
    -DBMS_WORKLOAD_REPLAY

  • SQL Tuning Sets

  • The package DBMS_SQLTUNE

M     The Oracle Real Application Testing license is required on both capture and replay systems for Database Replay and is charged by the total number of CPUs on those systems.

In this chapter these two features, as well as new possibilities for the maintenance of SQL plan stability by using SQL Plan Baselines, will be covered beginning with the command line and then taking a look at the graphical interface OEM.

This is an excerpt from the new book Oracle 11g New Features: Expert Guide to the Important New Features by John Garmany, Steve Karam, Lutz Hartmann, V. J. Jain, Brian Carr.

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 30% off.

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