December 2008

December 2008
We do hope you enjoy reading The Specialist newsletter. Here are the most viewed articles of the old year and, from all of us here at Database Specialists, very best wishes for the new year.
Database Administrator Builds Database Using Nose

Who says database administrators don’t have a funny bone? Watch this YouTube video of a database administrator building an Oracle database with his nose. We’re sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.
From the March 2008 issue of The Specialist newsletter.
Got More Books?This month’s question came to us from a colleague:

“In a previous issue, you recommended a couple of introductory Oracle books? Can you recommend some advanced Oracle books?”

Iggy Fernandez of the Database Specialists team responds:

Mark Twain stated the obvious when he said: “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” But who has the time to read?

Books to the ceiling, books to the sky;
My piles of books are a mile high.
How I love them!
How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them.

If I had the time, these are the books I would read twice, from cover to cover.

  1. Oracle Database Concepts by Oracle Corporation: If you have time to read only one book, then this is the book you should read. As Leonardo da Vinci said: “Those who are in love with practice without science are like the sailor who boards a ship without rudder and compass, who is never certain where he is going. Practice must always be built on sound theory.” This book is the rudder and compass for your journey through the world of Oracle. And you can’t quarrel with the price; it’s free.
  2. Effective Oracle By Design by Tom Kyte: Instead of scrambling to improve performance after you have deployed your database and application, why not design them right?  This book was written in the days of Oracle 9i but it is still one of the best Oracle books that money can buy.
  3. Practical Oracle 8i: Building Efficient Databases by Jonathan Lewis: Don’t be misled by the title. Mogens Norgaard reports that when Jonathan Lewis was asked if his book would ever be published in an updated 9i version, his response was to suggest that you put a sticker with a “9” over the “8” on the cover because the advice, methods and techniques described in the book were still very valid with Oracle 9i.
  4. The Art and Science of Oracle Performance Tuning by Chris Lawson: This book was written for Oracle 8i and Oracle 9i but is one of my favorites. It describes a systematic five-step method for solving any performance tuning problem. Oracle Database versions may change and specific tools and techniques may change but the five steps always remain the same. A problem may be simple and require only a few minutes of your time or it may be tremendously complex and require weeks of your time but the five steps always remain the same.
  5. Oracle Wait Interface: A Practical Guide to Performance Diagnostics & Tuning by Richmond Shee et al: Oracle performance tuning is all about analyzing where the database is spending its time and this is the best book you can find on the subject.
  6. SQL Tuning by Dan Tow: Dan Tow has spent a lifetime studying how to write SQL that is both correct as well as efficient and this book summarizes knowledge accumulated over many years.
  7. SQL Programming Style by Joe Celko: This is not the easiest book to read but it will appeal to those who are working towards their black belt in SQL.
  8. Oracle PL/SQL Best Practices by Steven Feuerstein: Steven Feuerstein’s mastery of PL/SQL is positively transcendent and this book is worth its weight in gold.
  9. Database System Concepts by Abraham Silberschatz et al: This book, now in its fifth edition, is a well-known college textbook. Its main focus is the theory of database management systems e.g. relational algebra, relational calculus, normal forms, transaction management, query optimization, etc. but it also has great discussions of the big three database systems i.e. Oracle, DB2, and SQL Server.
  10. Expert Oracle Database 10g Administration by Sam Alapati: A rollicking good read on many topics and a wonderful gift for your favorite database administrator.

I hope this answer helps you. Best of luck to you.

From the May 2008 issue of The Specialist newsletter.

P.S. Reader Mark Harrison from Northern California commented: “Nice list… and at 6,020 pages, it’s only half again as long as the 4,195 pages in Harry Potter.” Congratualations, Mark. You win the accuracy prize. We clicked on the links for each book in the list and came up with the same total. We also noticed that used copies of some of the books in the list can be purchased for just a few dollars. Get them while they last.

SQL Magic Trick

Chip Dawes has invented a view that makes it possible to query the Oracle alert log using SQL commands. You’ve got to see it to believe it. We are in awe.
The view is constructed using external tables and analytic functions.
From the June 2008 issue of The Specialist newsletter.

Why did anyone think that a page size of 14 was a good default value for SQL*Plus? Why do we have to change the page size to a more useful value every time we use SQL*Plus? Arrgh!
From the August 2008 issue of The Specialist newsletter.

Call Database Specialists when you need remote DBA services or onsite support for your mission-critical Oracle database systems. Arrange a free consultation with a senior Database Specialists team member to find out how we can help increase your uptime, improve performance, minimize risk, and reduce costs. Visit our website for no-cost resources, white papers, conference presentations and handy scripts.

David Wolff
CEO, Database Specialists, Inc.
(415) 344-0500 x48

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