Hotsos Symposium 2008 Day One

Day One is in the books for the 2008 Hotsos Symposium. It was pretty crazy getting here. I arrived around mid-night last night after 9 hours of airplane madness. Who would think that Dallas would have massive thunderstorms the first week of March? Certainly not me…

The conference started off somewhat uneventful. There was no crazy welcome with smoke and flashing lights…just Gary Goodman, the CEO of Hotsos kicked-off the presentation covering logistics and welcomed the keynote speaker, [Cary Millsap|]. For those of you who do not know Cary, well he’s one of the best performance engineers in the world. He wrote Optimizing Oracle Performance back in 2003. This book continues to be my most read performance book in my library. It’s quite frankly my favorite performance engineering book ever.

Cary’s Key Note was a retrospective of his keynote from 2003. Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, “Oracle Tuning” was based on trial and error. The old way of thinking was to study the system as an aggregate, make a change (single change), observe the new performance characteristics and start the process again. Much of this process was based on improving percentages and ratios that had nothing to do with how users were actually perceiving performance. That’s where Method-R comes into play. Method-R is about focusing on the operations/transactions that are most important to the business. With Method-R, the idea of tuning is replaced by the process of optimization.

Method-R forces the performance engineer to ask better questions:

* Are the tasks fast? (Quantify/Measure)
* Are the tasks efficient?
* Is the system efficient?
* What would happen if?

Semantic Query Optimization
The first presentation I attended was about Semantic Query Optimization by Toon Koppelaars. SQO is when you have two queries that are semantically equivalent if they return the same answer for any database state satisfying a given set of integrity constraints. The overall point about the presentation is to identify weaker predicates and replace them with more sound/stronger predicates. Definitely take a look at the presentation. It includes tons of example scripts in the zip archive.

Leveraging Oracle’s Extended SQL Trace
The next presentation I attended was [Leveraging Oracle’s Extended SQL Trace Data to Expedite Software Development. The idea behind this presentation is to use the 10046 Oracle trace as an instrumentation tool for software developers. Included in the archive are a bunch of perl scripts to parse the 10046 trace data. The premise of the presentation is to use 10046 to identify software anti-patterns that are not completely obvious, or are incredibly obvious, but don’t make sense for performance.

Dealing with Software Agoraphobia
The third presentation I attended was a Solaris focused system performance engineering presentation on software agoraphobia. This was a heavily sun-focused presentation with an emphasis on prstat, lockstat and d-trace. The emphasis of the presentation was to focus on CPU latency rather then aggregate measures. Take a look at the speaker’s blog.


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