As Published In
Oracle Magazine
March/April 2008

From the Editor

Trying Times

By Tom Haunert

Sometimes you need all the information.

I got called for jury duty in San Francisco recently and was selected to serve. Over the years, I've been on several juries, and even though there is never an ideal time for jury duty, I do enjoy being able to listen to testimony, test it against the charges in a case, and reach a verdict with a group of people (who may have initially disagreed).

In each trial for which I've served on a jury, I've always had a lot of my own questions about the testimony—especially questions about things mentioned for which the jurors only heard some part of a larger story and were not able to hear more because of an attorney's targeted presentation or objection. These trials have presented a small, key set of testimony about a small, key set of information—it's just not all the information available.

I genuinely appreciate that these trials are limited and focused and allow the attorneys to pick and choose what they consider the best content to present. But because the trials I have seen have been limited in testimony and evidence, my favorite part of being a juror has always come after the verdict—because that's when the jurors get to ask the attorneys questions. During this questioning, the attorneys have directly shared additional information about their cases. (And for their own purposes, they've asked the jurors questions about the effectiveness of their presentations and the choices of testimony and evidence presented.) This debriefing has always provided the additional answers I needed.

Business Trials

In business, a small, key set of information may be all that's needed for a slide presentation, a proof-of-concept demonstration, or even preliminary testing of a software development project. But testing only a small, key set of data and processes for a major platform or system upgrade or modernization project has never been ideal. A lot of software testing can and will reduce all of the available information and processes into a few representative tests. But the best testing for a complete system platform change, upgrade, or application modernization project is complete testing of all the data and application processes from the old system running on the new system.

Oracle Real Application Testing includes the database replay and SQL performance analyzer components, and together these components provide a comprehensive and flexible testing solution. Database replay and SQL performance analyzer are complementary—they will test your actual production system workload and the key processes you need or want to test.

Next Steps

READ more about
Oracle Real Application Testing
Better Workload, Better Testing"
Oracle Wiki

Database replay allows you to test the overall impact of system changes by capturing and replaying the complete production workload (not a subset or synthetic approximation) on a test system and identifying negative results and regressions. SQL performance analyzer answers questions about individual SQL statements; it provides fine-grained testing of system changes by allowing you to capture sets of SQL statements (SQL tuning sets) and run them serially in before-change and after-change environments. SQL performance analyzer identifies SQL statements whose performance has regressed, provides execution plan information, and offers tuning recommendations (through the SQL tuning advisor).

Oracle Magazine featured database replay in the January/February 2008 issue, in Arup Nanda's "Better Workload, Better Testing." In this issue, Nanda covers SQL performance analyzer in "Performing Through Changes."

Community Trials

Collaborate 08 is coming to Denver, Colorado, April 13 to 17. At the event, the Independent Oracle Users Group, Oracle Applications Users Group, and Quest International Users Group present education sessions and networking opportunities. Some of the best Oracle technology sessions I've attended have been at past Collaborate shows. If you haven't been to Collaborate, why not give it a try this year?

Many members of the Oracle community have tried the Oracle Wiki ( Community members are asking and answering questions, agreeing and disagreeing, and making their cases about Oracle and Oracle technologies. If you haven't already, try the wiki, and give the Oracle community your fully informed verdict.

Tom Haunert, Editor in Chief

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