What's the best book for Oracle DBA

ORACLE book reviews

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On this page I describe my ORACLE books that I have read recently. I work professionally as a DBA and as a system software developer with ORACLE, so I have owned and read a lot of ORACLE books.

The reviews are stored chronologically, with the most recent review at the top.

Oracle9i for the DBA. Configure, optimize and manage efficiently by Uwe Herrmann, Dierk Lenz, G√ľnter Unbescheid, Johannes Ahrends
Rating 5/5 on 11/17/2002
My best German ORACLE DBA basics book

As the title suggests, it is a work for the ORACLE database administrator. The application developer is not so much the target group of this book, although I hope that many ORACLE programmers will also buy this book in order to gain a deeper insight into the functionalities of the ORACLE server.

The authors describe the basics that every ORACLE DBA must master very well, which corresponds exactly to the intention of the authors. The authors do not want to chase after the last new feature, but rather lay the foundations in order to be able to work out these "latest and greatest" features themselves using the documentation. In my opinion, the authors have come very close to this goal.

Even if the volume of the book seems large at first glance, the authors had to be very selective. Because of this need to be brief, this book contains little redundancy. I recommend reading "ORACLE9i for the DBA" slowly and carefully so as not to overlook one of the authors' comments, which are particularly helpful. Since the colleagues could not describe every detail of the features of the ORACLE server, it is only logical to include the ORACLE 9.0.1 server documentation on the CD in the book.

Personally, I liked the chapter on monitoring (Chapter 9) best. I think that monitoring is too often neglected.

I can recommend the book by my colleagues at HL-Services (Dierk Lenz, Uwe Herrmann and Johannes Ahrends) and Mr. Unbescheid to every ORACLE database administrator in the German-speaking area if he / she is looking for a good overview book. In order to learn all the small details about each feature / application, you should always have the ORACLE documentation with you (and if necessary have a detailed book on your desk).

Further information / websites about this book:

Oracle SQL Plus Pocket Reference. A Guide to SQL Plus Syntax. Covers Oracle8i. by Jonathan Gennick
Rating 5/5 on October 31, 2002
Should read "ORACLE SQL and SQL Plus pocket reference"

SQL * Plus and ORACLE SQL users will find a good reference for ORACLE SQL and SQL * Plus features in this book. With this edition, Jonathan Gennick has updated his book to the level of ORACLE 9i (9.0.1 as far as I can tell). The differences between ORACLE 8i and 9i features are highlighted very well (e.g. 8i outer joins and 9i ANSI SQL outer joins).

The title suggests a SQL * Plus Pocket Reference book, but not only SQL * Plus (a command line interpreter for ORACLE SQL) but also ORACLE SQL for a short time is discussed. Of course, at this extent, SQL cannot be described nearly completely. But you can at least find a small syntax "reminder" for each statement type (e.g. I had forgotten the syntax of the MERGE statement, unfortunately not in 8i).

With the second edition of ORACLE SQL * Plus Pocket Reference, the volume has grown from approx. 90 to approx. 115 pages. This time OReilley has donated a search index in this Pocket Reference work, which is why you can give the full number of points this time.

This work is highly recommended for all people who work with ORACLE (and hopefully also with SQL * Plus :-).



Oracle Performance Tuning 101. Learn to tune Oracle 7.x to 8i for maximum efficiency by Gaja Krishna Vaidyanatha, Kirtikumar Deshpande, John A. Kostelac
Rating 4/5 on October 17, 2002
ORACLE basic performance tuning (not so much app tuning)

101 ORACLE Performance Tuning is a good book on ORACLE Performance Tuning. Above all, the database basic tuning is discussed (the different pools, IO behavior, etc.). The book is highly recommended in this area. The authors attach great importance to IO tuning and explanation of techniques in this area, which, in my experience, can have a great influence.

Unfortunately, the more exciting and effective part of ORACLE tuning is only briefly discussed: SQL and application tuning. Unfortunately, there are only two rather short chapters on this.

I find the ORACLE tuning approach to tune ORACLE according to contentions excellent. It certainly makes no sense to have a high hit rate in the block cache and a slow application (very possible). Great importance is attached to the so-called ORACLE Wait Interface (v $ system_event, v $ session_event, v $ session_wait). In my experience, v $ session_wait in particular can sometimes provide important information very quickly.

The approach of making tuning only according to specific specifications and ending the tuning after the specifications have been reached should be adhered to more frequently. The authors are absolutely right that with "my application is too slow, make it faster" one never comes to a result or the end of the tuning.

Great information is that you should / can set all the latch parameters to the maximum allowed by the platform, as this has no negative effects (according to the authors' measurements). So you never have to worry about latch tuning again, as you cannot increase the number of latches any further. The problem with latch contention is not the latches but other parts of the DB / application.

I can highly recommend the book as an ORACLE Performance Tuning book and would buy it again and again. I gave the book to a colleague and he was also enthusiastic.



TOAD Pocket Reference for Oracle by Jim McDaniel, Patrick McGrath
Rating 4/5 on October 12, 2002
It's crazy what TOAD can do and I didn't know

This book is a short description of the features of TOAD. With its approx. 120 pages, short is of course relative.

So far, I've really enjoyed using Toad in my daily work. Now I will probably use Toad more often than before, as the book has taught me a number of additional tricks and functions of the software. I think most TOAD users will learn something from this book, be more productive and maybe sometimes be able to go home earlier (sometimes).

I would give this book 5 stars if it had more information and examples. That was not the intention of this short reference, but I would have liked it.

I can only recommend this book to a Toad user.



Oracle Net8 Configuration and Troubleshooting. Help with Oracle Networking. Covers LDAP. by Hugo Toledo, Jonathan Gennick Rating 4/5 on September 23, 2002
A bit old but still a good foundation
Toledo and Gennick write a good book on ORACLE SQL * NET (Net8). In this book the basics of the ORACLE Net8 architecture are well described, which is very important for troubleshooting problems.

The important ORACLE Config files are discussed in detail:
  • listener.ora
  • sqlnet.ora
  • tnsnames.ora
  • ldap.ora
  • names.ora
Each of these files has an appendix with a full explanation of the syntax. This can be very useful when troubleshooting these files.

The individual chapters address the various areas of the Net8 configuration (architecture, name resolution, client configuration, server configuration, MTS, LDAP, ORACLE names, failover and load balancing, connection manager, troubleshooting).

I was particularly impressed by the troubleshooting chapter. In the troubleshooting chapter, the most common errors that one finds again and again are addressed.

Unfortunately, this book is up to date with ORACLE 8.1.6. A new edition would be quite good in the meantime. Nevertheless, I can highly recommend the book if you want to venture into the lowlands of Net8.

Further information / websites about this book:

Mastering Oracle SQL. Putting Oracle SQL to Work by Sanjay Mishra, Alan Beaulieu
Rating 5/5 on 09/05/2002
Great book to learn the intricacies of ORACLE SQL

This book describes the intricacies of ORACLE SQL. It is not an introductory book on SQL, but an advanced book. You should be reasonably good at SQL by reading this book. The book is aimed at ORACLE SQL only. Other SQL dialects are not considered.

Mastering ORACLE SQL mainly deals with DML (insert, update, delete and select) with a focus on the selects. For every problem / command there are a number of great examples that are easy to understand and understand.

The following features, among others, are discussed very well:
  • ORACLE 9i join syntax
  • ORACLE analytic functions (now I finally understand the ROLLUP and CUBE story)
  • ORACLE 9i timestamp functions (concepts class explained with examples)
  • SQL with partitions (select ... from ... partition xxx)
  • the new CASE statement in SQL
  • INLINE VIEWS (super great features, which I have used far too rarely so far)
The tips on the respective features mentioned in the book are also great.

If you have to / want to deal intensively with ORACLE SQL, you should buy this book and you will learn while reading. I would buy this book again and again.

Further information / websites about this book:

So You Want to Be an Oracle DBA ?: Some More Useful Information, Scripts and Suggestions for the New and Experienced Oracle DBA by Stephen C. Ashmore
Rating 3/5 on 08/19/2002
Simple DBA scripts for the beginning DBA

In my opinion, this book is suitable for the beginning DBA for ORACLE databases.

This edition (2nd edition) contains scripts for ORACLE up to version 8i. The 3rd edition also has a few enhancements for ORACLE 9i (9.0.1).

The book focuses on introducing DBA scripts. The aim of this book is to help the DBA create his personal scripting toolbox.

Personally, I found that the book - for me - brought a little bit too little new. Of course, it didn't make me more stupid.

The scope is not that great. You can read the book in a few hours and type (or download) the scripts for the exercise.

Maybe the book is just fine for a beginner. I will lend it to a colleague. I'm curious what he has to say about it.



Learning Oracle PL / SQL. Covers Oracle 9i by Bill Pribyl, Steven Feuerstein
Rating 4/5 on 08/08/2002
Good PL / SQL learning book but also as a reference class

I think this book is well suited for learning PL / SQL.

Since I've been working with PL / SQL for a little longer, I've been able to use this book as a reference.

The scope of this book is not as large as the classic flint on PL / SQL. But this work is on the 9.0.1 level of PL / SQL, which the thick tome by Mr. Feuerstein is not.

I found the examples in this book very practical and I was able to directly reuse a number of code snippets.

I would buy this book again and again. As far as I have seen, there is now a German edition.



Oracle SQL Tuning by Mark Gurry
Rating 5/5 on 07/26/2002
Great quick reference on the subject of ORACLE SQL Tuning

I like this book because it is a quick reminder for various things that I have read in other books.

This booklet has already saved my client and me 2 hours of execution time and about 4 GB of TEMP tablespace because I used a tip from the book. I also liked the attempt to persuade myself to use the Cost Based Optimizer, which helped me a lot with the customer problem together with a few INIT.ORA settings (also described in the book).

The volume already describes some of the features of the ORACLE 9i R1 that I only recently read about.

If you work with ORACLE SQL and want to get fast applications, you should definitely buy this book.



Oracle DBA checklists. Short and good.
Rating 4/5 on 07/18/2002
You always forget something - maybe not now

As the name suggests, the book has, among other things, a checklist with standard DBA activities. I had thought that I wouldn't be able to learn so much there, but you always forget something. As a DBA you can't really afford that, so I can recommend the book from this point of view.

In the second part, backup and recovery are discussed intensively and well.

The third part discusses installation and the fourth part SQL * NET configuration and troubleshooting.

I don't like the name DBA checklists. In my opinion, "DBA Quick Reference" would make things better.



expert one-on-one Oracle from Thomas Kyte
Rating 5/5 on May 18, 2002
My best ORACLE book

Thomas Kyte wrote the best ORACLE book for me. You can tell that people have a lot of experience with ORACLE and ORACLE projects. I also fully agree with his opinion that as a developer you should know the development environment you are working with (in this case ORACLE) very well.

Not only the technical hints in this book are great, but also the "project management" hints are very good (e.g. don't build anything new that you can already buy).

I think it's great that there are a number of examples for the theses. I was particularly impressed by the example of the performance difference between dynamic SQL and SQL with bind variables (even with me on the DB I get a factor of about 8 from static to dynamic SQL).

I will hand this book into the hands of all developers at my own expense in my next ORACLE development project. I am convinced that the money will definitely pay off.

Further information / websites about this book:
  • The author's Asktom pages at ORACLE, really to be recommended