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Developing and Implementing Applications

This article, the first of three parts, focuses on the design and creation of applications that use the database. It is excerpted from chapter five of the book Oracle Database 10g DBA Handbook, written by Kevin Loney and Bob Bryla (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2005; ISBN: 0072231459).

  1. Developing and Implementing Applications
  2. Do As Little As Possible
  3. In Your Application Design, Strive to Avoid Trips to the Database
  4. Go Atomic
  5. Store Data Efficiently at the Block Level
  6. Test Correctly
  7. Standard Deliverables
  8. Tuning Goals for Queries and Transaction Processing
By: McGraw-Hill/Osborne
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February 09, 2006

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Managing application development can be a difficult process. From a DBA’s perspective, the best way to manage the development process is to become an integral part of teams involved in the process. In this chapter, you will learn the guidelines for migrating applications into databases and the technical details needed for implementation, including the sizing of database objects.

This chapter focuses on the design and creation of applications that use the database. These activities should be integrated with the database-planning activities described in Chapter 3 and Chapter 4. The following chapters in this part of the book address the monitoring and tuning activities that follow the database creation.

Implementing an application in a database by merely running a series of create table commands fails to integrate the creation process with the other major areas (planning, monitoring, and tuning). The DBA must be involved in the application development process in order to correctly design the database that will support the end product. The methods described in this chapter will also provide important information for structuring the database monitoring and tuning efforts.

The first section of this chapter addresses overall design and implementation considerations that directly address performance. The following sections focus on implementation details such as resource management, using stored outlines, sizing tables and indexes, quiescing the database for maintenance activities, and managing packaged applications.

Tuning by Design: Best Practices

At least 50 percent of the time—conservatively—performance problems are designed into an application. During the design of the application and the related database structures, the application architects may not know all the ways in which the business will use the application data over time. As a result, there may be some components whose performance is poor during the initial release, whereas other problems will appear later as the business usage of the application changes.

In some cases, the fix will be relatively straightforward—changing an initialization parameter, adding an index, or rescheduling large operations. In other cases, the problem cannot be fixed without altering the application architecture. For example, an application may be designed to heavily reuse functions for all data access—so that functions call other functions, which call additional functions, even to perform the simplest database actions. As a result, a single database call may result in tens of thousands of function calls and database accesses. Such an application will usually not scale well; as more users are added to the system, the CPU burden of the number of executions per user will slow the performance for the individual users. Tuning the individual SQL statements executed as part of that application may yield little performance benefit; the statements themselves may be well-tuned already. Rather, it is the sheer number of executions that leads to the performance problem.

The following best practices may seem overly simplistic, but they are violated over and over in database applications, and those violations directly result in performance problems. There are always exceptions to the rules—the next change to your software or environment may allow you to violate the rules without affecting your performance. In general, though, following these rules will allow you to meet performance requirements as the application usage increases.

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