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 Tracking External Server Metrics with AWR
Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

Advanced Oracle Utilities: The Definitive Reference by Rampant TechPress is written by the top Oracle database experts (Bert Scalzo, Donald Burleson, and Steve Callan).  The following is an excerpt from the book.

Oracle sets several important initialization parameters based on the number of CPUs on the Oracle sever and is now more mindful of the costs of CPU cycles and I/O operations.  Indeed, with each new release of Oracle, the database becomes more tuned to its external environment and more able to gather and report information from both the operating system and the database itself.

Enterprise Manager for Server & Environment

Using the new Oracle 10g Enterprise Manager (OEM) interface, the Oracle professional can now get access to external information that has never before been available in a single interface.  This is important because it removes the need for the DBA to have any experience with the cumbersome OS command syntax that is required to display server-side information.

 

In UNIX, for example, the DBA would need to know the command-line syntax of various UNIX utilities such as sar, glance, top, lsattr, and prtconf to display server metrics.  The Oracle10g OEM screens allow seamless access server-side performance metrics including:

  • Oracle server-side file contents such as ALERT LOG and TRACE DUMPS

  • Oracle archives redo log file performance

  • Server OS kernel performance parameter values

  • Server OS characteristics such as the number of CPUs, the amount of RAM, and the network

  • Historical capture of CPU and RAM activity

A quick look at the Oracle 10g OEM display screens for external information reveals how the DBA is relieved of the burden of having to know and recall hundreds of server-side commands.

 

Oracle 10g OEM allows DBAs to quickly see the status of Oracle server-side file performance and error messages, including the alert log file, archived redo log status and file system status as shown in Figure 4.3.

Figure 4.3: A Partial Listing of the AWR Metrics From Inside Oracle 10g Enterprise Manager

 

The ability of Oracle10g OEM to monitor server-side metrics makes it a one-stop tool for monitoring both Oracle and the server.  In addition, a Systems Administrator may no longer be required to buy separate, expensive tools to monitor the server and the data files.  Best of all, the Oracle professional does not have to worry about a server-side problem, i.e. file-system full, causing an Oracle interruption.

 

The downside of using the AWR statistics is that AWR requires additional cost licensing and can be as expensive as most third party tools. The use of OEM is thoroughly covered in many other sets of documentation, so it will not be covered in this book.

 

Using AWR and STATSPACK for Server Monitoring

The Oracle Statspack utility can be used to capture snapshots showing the differences in system interaction over prespecified periods of time, usually each hour. Information relating to the server that is available inside Statspack includes:

  • Physical disk reads

  • CPUs used by specific transactions

  • RAM memory used by specific transactions

One shortcoming of this Oracle statistics tool is that it does not show the aggregate demand upon the database server. The utility can be used to see resource utilization for a specific task, but the server stress cannot be seen directly. However, even if Statspack can not give all of the information needed, use some native operating system utilities to find out how many resources are consumed by the Oracle databases.  In addition, write new SQL scripts to gather much of the required aggregate server-side information.


Fo
r more details on Oracle utilities, see the book "Advanced Oracle Utilities" by Bert Scalzo, Donald K. Burleson, and Steve Callan.

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


     

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