Oracle Performance Tuning – for Software Developers

By  //  May 15, 2023

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This article aims to guide middle-level software developers in understanding and implementing best practices for Oracle performance tuning.

It covers essential topics such as writing efficient SQL queries, managing database interactions from applications effectively, and maintaining regular database monitoring. 

Article also introduces some useful performance tuning tools including Oracle’s SQL Tuning Advisor, Oracle’s SQL Analyze, and dbForge Studio for Oracle. By following the practices and insights shared here, developers can ensure optimal performance and efficiency in their Oracle database operations.

SQL Query Best Practices

When it comes to performance tuning in Oracle, the way we write SQL statements can significantly impact the overall performance. Writing efficient SQL statements is not just about getting the correct result, but also how quickly and resourcefully we can achieve that result.

Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when writing SQL statements:

  • Keep it Simple: Always aim to write simple and straightforward SQL statements. The more complex the query, the harder it is for the Oracle optimizer to generate an efficient execution plan.
  • Use WHERE instead of HAVING: WHERE clause is used before the grouping operation and HAVING is used after the grouping. Therefore, using WHERE is more efficient as it will filter out the rows before the grouping operation.
  • Avoid Using Wildcards at the Start: The use of a wildcard character at the start of a string in a WHERE clause can make the query run slower. It’s because Oracle has to look at all the records for a match.
  • Minimize the use of Subqueries: Subqueries can often be replaced with a join, which is more efficient. If subqueries are necessary, try to use them in the FROM clause, as it’s executed first.
  • Limit the Data You Select: Only fetch the data you need. Using the SELECT * FROM command will slow down the response time, especially when there are numerous columns and records in the table.

Proper Use of Indexes

Indexes are a great tool for enhancing database performance. They allow the database application to find data faster. However, the misuse or overuse of indexes can have the opposite effect.

  • Don’t Over-Index: Each time you modify (insert, update, delete) data in a table, all indexes on that table need to be updated. Having too many indexes can slow down these operations.
  • Use Composite Indexes: A composite index includes multiple columns in the index. It can be beneficial when you frequently run queries that filter or sort by these columns together.
  • Regularly Monitor and Maintain Indexes: Over time, as data is added, updated, and deleted, indexes can become fragmented and less efficient, so regular monitoring and maintenance are required.
  • Understand the Different Types of Indexes: Oracle supports several index types such as B-tree indexes, Bitmap indexes, Function-based indexes, and others. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and understanding these can help you choose the right index for the right situation.

Interpreting Execution Plans

An execution plan outlines the steps taken by Oracle to carry out a SQL statement. Gaining insight into how to decipher and analyze execution plans can assist in pinpointing performance impediments.

  • The EXPLAIN PLAN command can be employed to procure a SQL query’s execution plan.
  • Full table scans might indicate performance issues and should generally be dodged, especially for larger tables.
  • Each operation within the execution plan comes with an associated cost. This cost provides an estimated measure of the resources required for the operation, offering insights into which operations are the most resource-intensive and potentially detrimental to performance.

To sum it up, crafting efficient SQL statements, leveraging indexes optimally, and comprehending execution plans are crucial elements of SQL query best practices for Oracle performance tuning.

Effective Database Interactions from the Application

Connection Management

Proper connection management is crucial to maintaining optimal performance in Oracle database applications. Creating and closing database connections are resource-intensive processes.

  • Connection Pooling: Instead of opening and closing connections for each database operation, use connection pooling. Connection pooling reuses existing connections, thus reducing the overhead of creating new connections.
  • Stateless Interactions: Where possible, design your application for stateless interactions. Holding a connection open for a long session is resource-intensive and can limit scalability.
  • Limit Concurrent Connections: Too many concurrent connections can overwhelm the database. Keep the number of concurrent connections as low as possible.

Transaction Management

Transactions are logical units of work that need to be completed in its entirety. Effective transaction management can significantly improve the performance of your Oracle database application.

  • Use Appropriate Transaction Sizes: Large transactions can lock many resources and strain the database. On the other hand, too many small transactions can increase the overhead as each transaction has a cost. Try to find a balance based on your application’s needs.
  • Manage Locks: Overuse of locks can lead to concurrency issues and reduce the database’s performance. Use locks sparingly and release them as soon as possible.
  • Use Optimistic Concurrency Control: Optimistic Concurrency Control (OCC) assumes that multiple transactions can complete without affecting each other. OCC can be more efficient than Pessimistic Concurrency Control, especially in systems with low contention.

Use of Stored Procedures and Functions

Stored procedures and functions are stored on the database server. They are precompiled and allow for efficient execution of SQL code.

  • Reduce Network Traffic: As stored procedures and functions are executed on the server, they can reduce the amount of information sent over the network, enhancing performance.
  • Reuse of Code and Resources: Stored procedures and functions can be reused across multiple applications. They can encapsulate logic and hide complexity, making applications simpler and more efficient.
  • Enhance Security: Stored procedures and functions provide a layer of security, protecting the database from SQL injection attacks. They can also enforce data integrity and business rules.

Remember, managing connections effectively, handling transactions appropriately, and leveraging stored procedures and functions are all critical to optimizing interactions with your Oracle database from your application.

Regular Monitoring and Maintenance

Vitality of Database Statistics

Oracle uses database statistics to construct efficient execution plans for SQL queries. Statistics provide vital information regarding the distribution and storage characteristics of the database’s data.

  • Oracle collects statistics automatically during normal database operations. Nevertheless, it is also possible to compile statistics manually using the DBMS_STATS package.
  • Review database statistics frequently to comprehend your database’s performance. Outdated or inaccurate data can result in ineffective execution plans.
  • Oracle offers automated statistics collection through its Auto Task infrastructure. This function is enabled by default and is sufficient for the vast majority of database environments.

Periodic Evaluation of SQL Performance

Due to changes in data, workload, and system resources, SQL performance can vary over time. Regular evaluation of SQL performance can aid in early detection of performance issues and maintain database health.

  • Identifying High-Load SQL Statements: To identify high-load SQL statements, use Oracle’s Automatic Workload Repository (AWR). SQL statements with a high burden are those that consume a great deal of CPU or I/O resources.
  • Oracle’s SQL Tuning Advisor: can provide recommendations to improve the performance of SQL statements with significant load. These recommendations may involve the creation of indexes, the modification of SQL statements, or the collection of statistics.
  • SQL Plan Management: aids in maintaining the performance consistency of SQL statements. SPM records and evaluates plans of execution over time. If a plan change results in a decline in performance, SPM can revert to an earlier plan.

Regular monitoring and maintenance are essential to preserving the optimal performance of a database. By monitoring database statistics and reviewing SQL performance on a regular basis, you can proactively resolve performance issues and keep your Oracle database operating at peak efficiency.

Leveraging dbForge Studio for Oracle in Performance Tuning

In addition to the best practices and Oracle’s native tools mentioned above, there are third-party tools available that can significantly enhance the process of performance tuning. One such tool is dbForge Studio for Oracle, a comprehensive solution for Oracle database development, management, and administration.

  1. SQL Profiler: dbForge Studio includes an SQL Profiler, which aids in locating bottlenecks and visually optimizing slow SQL queries. It provides an easy-to-use visual interface to interpret extended SQL trace data, which is particularly useful for spotting performance issues.
  2. Database Project: The Database Project feature is a tool for tracking changes in the database structure, which can have a direct impact on performance. It allows you to compare different versions of the database structure, analyze the effects of structural changes on performance, and roll back changes if they are found to negatively impact performance.
  3. Database Design: dbForge Studio’s Database Design tool allows you to visually design, create, edit, and manage databases. An efficient database structure can significantly improve query performance. By using this tool, you can ensure that your database structure is optimized for performance.
  4. Data Import/Export: Efficient data import/export can also impact database performance. dbForge Studio for Oracle supports a wide variety of formats for importing and exporting data, ensuring that data can be moved efficiently and without causing unnecessary load on the database.
  5. Reporting and Data Analysis: The Reporting and Data Analysis tools in dbForge Studio help you understand your data better, enabling you to optimize your queries accordingly. You can design data reports, charts, pivot tables, and dashboards to interpret and visualize data. This aids in detecting performance impacting data anomalies and outliers.

In conclusion, by combining the best practices for Oracle performance tuning with the advanced features of dbForge Studio for Oracle, you can ensure optimal performance and efficiency in your Oracle database operations. These tools and practices will help you write efficient SQL queries, manage database interactions from applications effectively, and maintain regular database monitoring.

Try dbForge Studio for Oracle –