Eye on Oracle

Jun 18 2008   8:38AM GMT

My top five Oracle 11g features

Shayna Garlick Shayna Garlick Profile: Shayna Garlick

Oracle’s 11g database has received some less-than-stellar press recently — The Pythian Group accused Oracle of releasing misleading adoption rates, and some Eye on Oracle readers don’t see many compelling reasons to upgrade.

The new database does, however, have plenty of new tools. And while they may be costly and time-consuming at first, many users are finding these features very valuable.

So, you ask…what are they?

In no particular order, here is my list of the top five features in 11g that make your upgrade worthwhile, along with some resources to help get you started.

1. Database Replay Tool: This tool provides users with a new way to test database changes and “works like a DVR inside the database,” according to Oracle Corp. in its step-by-step instructions. Before making a change (such as debugging, applying a patch or switching platforms), a user can use Database Replay to capture a database workload and replay it in a test system. Oracle ACE Lutz Hartmann calls it an 11g highlight, and Tim from ORACLE-BASE also provides a thorough explanation on how to use it.

2. SQL Performance Analyzer: This new feature shows the user how a database change, such as an upgrade, would affect SQL performance and allows one to compare different results. Check out SearchOracle.com’s chapter download from the book “Oracle Database 11g SQL” to learn about the optimizer in more detail. Also, you can find some more examples in Tyler Muth’s blog and Oracle’s Database Performance Tuning Guide.

3. Real Application Testing: Real Application testing is the product that combines the Database Replay Tool and SQL Performance Analyzer.  The best part of this feature is the ability to detect potential problems with database changes, and see how these changes will affect performance, before actually putting them into production. Read Oracle’s description of Real Application Testing and SearchOracle.com’s conversation with Oracle executives about the product.

4. Data Recovery Advisor: This is one of the new backup and recovery features of 11g. The Data Recovery Advisor automatically diagnoses a problem (such as a physical corruption or datafile inconsistency) and gives repair advice, which the DBA can then choose whether or not to execute. Both Oracle and DBA Ben Prusinski give thorough descriptions of this and other 11g backup and recovery tools.

5.  Oracle Data Guard: This tool protects Oracle data by creating and maintaining standby databases that are synchronized with the original production database. If the production database goes down, the standby database can prevent data loss by taking over its role. Data Guard is not a new feature but is certainly enhanced in 11g. This includes failover enhancements, an Active Data Guard option, enhanced security and more — all of which can be read about here.

What are your favorite tools? If you’ve upgraded, what have your experience been like with these tools? If you haven’t upgraded, are these features enough of a reason to do so?

3  Comments on this Post

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  • Robert
    Sounds like great features but I would have liked an inclusion of whether they were provided out of the box or an add on feature. We recently implemented a DRP solution and had to ditch Oracle's Datagard because the cost was out of this world. Instead we went with a much cheaper solution called Mimix.
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  • Brian Fedorko
    Some of these tools are really excellent, given the correct situation and the availability of an appropriate test bed. Some of the tools seem like a slippery slope to problems. The Data Recovery Adviser should simply ask you how current and robust your RMAN chops are and when the last time you've performed a DR drill on your system. Sadly, some of the best parts of 11g are NEVER publicized! Oracle has ramped up the default user role security right from the get-go in 11g. Exponential step-off for multiple login attempts, AES Encryption for passwords, case sensitivity for passwords (About time!), and out of the box complexity checking. All of this makes for one huge step up for out-of the box security posture, but you never hear a thing mentioned about it.
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  • Les
    Does 11G have a built in exporter of table to text? It has always annoyed that Oracle does not have this feature, and that you need to use a third party tool or write your own code to do that. The so called data pump produces data in an Oracle proprietary format, which is not what I want.
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