Dienstag, Oktober 11, 2016

OTN Appreciation Day: Instrumentation

And now to something completely different: an entry in english. Some days ago Tim Hall suggested the introduction of an "OTN Appreciation Day" (did I miss some important letters?):
So taking that as the basis, and considering OTN is all about community, I figured it would be fun if we got as many people as possible to write a small blog post about their favourite Oracle feature and we all post them on the same day.
Today my feedly reader is flooded with articles of the naming pattern 'OTN Appreciation Day%' and so I came to the conclusion that adding some lines here should not hurt.

What is my favorite Oracle feature? There are many great things I could mention, but since I have worked frequently with other RDBMS it's quite easy to name the element which makes the main difference to me: Oracle's superior instrumentation. To make it clear: there are many very good relational database management systems available and they all have their strengths. And I would not at all claim that Oracle's database is better than any competitor in every given area (- since this would be complete nonsense...); but there is one thing that Oracle got right long before the competition: the instrumentation of database operations, the awesome wait interface and the large number of instructive trace events (Ok, maybe two things; maybe three things - and of course "fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope"). In Oracle there is no need to guess if switching parameter X could make something more efficient, no need to claim that in "real world systems it is always a good idea to...". Oracle's instrumentation makes it simple to measure the effects: we can build different test cases and check what differences the internal statistics show. To me this instrumentation made the difference between Oracle and many other RDBMS for many years. Nowadays the difference is not as big as it used to be, since other vendors started to add good instrumentation to their code too - but as far as I can see Oracle's advantage is still there. And in my opinion the instrumentation of RDBMS is also a big advantage in comparison to all the new shiny NoSQL solutions out there: without doubt they have their areas - but I guess they do not have the kind of instrumentation our good old legacy databases can provide.

That's it: now I promise to stop my mistreatment of the english language...

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