(06/15/2010: This blog post will be edited multiple times to add reviews for the remaining chapters in the book.
Author: April C. Sims
Target Audience: Oracle Database Administrators
Chapter #1 "When to step away from the keyboard
" starts off with an interesting example, cautions the DBAs to be self-restraint but encourages to do the right thing at the end of the day. I liked the idea of listing out a whole bunch of graphical and command line Oracle tools [with brief descriptions] that an Oracle DBA may need in performing some of the day-to-day activities. Also couple of pages were dedicated to list out various tasks performed by Oracle DBAs on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly & yearly basis. It was interesting. And finally the chapter concludes with a bunch of useful tips for the administrators to avoid making unwanted errors.
The only thing that probably didn't fit in this chapter is the very brief discussion on staying away from dinosaurs
. In my opinion, it is completely off-topic.
Chapter #2 "Maintaining Oracle Standards
" is available for download. Get it from this location
and read it yourself. You be the judge.
Chapter #3 "Tracking the Bits and Bytes
". The first half of the chapter talks about Oracle Data Block
and the methods to view the data at the block level, the finest level of granularity that contains the actual data. The author tried and succeeded with a decent follow up that briefly explains how transaction integrity is maintained in Oracle database. The hands on exercise makes the reader sweat a little, but may help understand the material that was presented earlier, better. The key is to focus and try to understand what is happening when running all those scripts and commands. I would like a much simpler example though. Admittedly this is not something that Oracle administrators do everyday, but it does not hurt to gain some insight into Oracle internal workings and to be prepared to leverage this knowledge when disaster strikes.
The second half of the chapter was dedicated for Log Miner
, a PL/SQL package utility that can be used to extract the database transactions that have been executed over a period of time. April did a nice job briefly explaining why protecting the [physical] redo, undo and the archive log files is very important -- to keep the data & database transactions from falling into the wrong hands. An example using "Flashback Transaction Blackout" method was shown to demonstrate how to use log miner utility to retrieve the changes that were done to the database few minutes ago.
I am not impressed with the example in page 92 in section Identifying data in undo segments by flashing back to timestamp
. There are a bunch of SQL statements in the example with no output from a test environment. I strongly believe that showing the actual output keeps the material interesting and easy to follow.
Also I did not like the idea of pointing to blogs and random web sites, as they may disappear any time without a warning.
To be continued ..