Oracle Insights: Tales of the Oak Table


Announcing a new book from Apress and the OakTable Network:

Oracle Insights: Tales of the Oak Table presents 11 world-renowned industry specialists proffering their own highly experienced views, input, and insights on Oracle—where it's been, where it's going, how (and how not) to use it successfully, the software and techniques that theyve introduced to help people achieve their goals, and some frightening tales of what can happen when ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $6.49   
  • New (9) from $17.76   
  • Used (9) from $6.49   
Sending request ...


Announcing a new book from Apress and the OakTable Network:

Oracle Insights: Tales of the Oak Table presents 11 world-renowned industry specialists proffering their own highly experienced views, input, and insights on Oracle—where it's been, where it's going, how (and how not) to use it successfully, the software and techniques that theyve introduced to help people achieve their goals, and some frightening tales of what can happen when fundamental design principles are ignored.

The collaborating authors have solved many of the worst Oracle performance problems in the world, and they've each saved at least one doomed flagship project. Over many years, they've been sharing their unique knowledge with each other at conferences, around the OakTable, and in coffee shops, restaurants, and bars on five continents. Now they want to share their key insights with you.

A major focus of this book concerns the ways in which you can avoid common and debilitating mistakes when building Oracle software projects. From these stories, you'll learn the simple steps that will help you avoid real pain on your next (or current) Oracle project.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Imagine yourself sharing a late-night beer with 11 of the world’s leading Oracle experts. You’ve just imagined Oracle Insights: Tales from the Oak Table. The “OakTable Network” is an elite, invitation-only organization of consultants, architects, and developers who are determined to delve more deeply and scientifically into Oracle technology than anyone else ever has. When it comes to Oracle, they’ve seen it all, done it all. These are their stories.

Here are stories of failed projects and resurrected ones, of superior methodologies and major disasters. Best of all, these tales offer direct lessons for your next project. (There are some patterns. One is the urgent importance of application design -- as crucial now as it was when the relational database was first invented. Another is what happens when folks fail to understand the technology and create “brick walls” that make scalability difficult or impossible.)

We especially liked Connor McDonald’s discussion of optimizing databases by making sure the database isn’t wasting time on work that it needn’t be doing. Along the way, McDonald discusses everything from read consistency to lookup functions, domain loss to XML parsing. Also worth noting: Cary Millsap’s insider’s look at using extended SQL trace data; David Ruthven’s views on testing and risk management in large Oracle projects; and not least, Gaja Krishna Vaidyanatha’s wry discussion of “compulsive tuning disorder.”

Oh, and if you haven’t spent decades in the trenches, you’ll also appreciate the book’s “brief history of Oracle,” which tells you exactly how we got here and pulls no punches along the way. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2003 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590593875
  • Publisher: Apress
  • Publication date: 7/30/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 0.92 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 7.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Cary Millsap is the former vice president of Oracle's System Performance Group and the cofounder of Hotsos (, a company dedicated to Oracle system performance. Hotsos provides performance-improvement tools for Oracle environments and also delivers training in the form of clinics and the very successful Hotsos symposiums.

Anjo Kolk worked for over 16 years at Oracle and now runs He is the inventor of the YAPP technique (

Connor McDonald has worked with Oracle since the early 1990s, cutting his teeth on Oracle versions 6.0.36 and 7.0.12. Over the past 11 years, Connor has worked with systems in Australia, the U.K., southeast Asia, western Europe, and the United States. He has come to realize that although the systems and methodologies around the world are very diverse, there tend to be two common themes in the development of systems running on Oracle: either to steer away from the Oracle-specific functions or to use them in a haphazard or less-than-optimal fashion. It was this observation that led to the creation of a personal hints and tips website ( and more, presenting on the Oracle speaker circuit in an endeavor to improve the perception and usage of PL/SQL in the industry.

Tim Gorman began his information technology career in 1984 as a C programmer on UNIX and VMS systems, working on medical and financial systems as an application developer, systems programmer, and systems administrator. He joined Oracle Corporation in 1990 as a consultant, then became an independent consultant in 1998, and has worked for SageLogix since 2000. Gorman is the coauthor of Essential Oracle8i Data Warehousing and Oracle8 Data Warehousing. He specializes in performance tuning applications, databases, and systems, as well as data warehouse design and implementation, backup and recovery, architecture and infrastructure, and database administration. Gorman still considers himself a pretty good coder, although the market for C programs has dried up somewhat lately.

A bio is not available for this author.

Dave Ensor spent over 35 years in IT, almost all of it in a hands-on role as a programmer, a designer, or a researcher into the performance characteristics of specific pieces of software. He worked with Oracle databases for 15 years in all three of these roles, also building a worldwide reputation for his ability to present technical material with clarity and humor. He is coauthor of the books Oracle Design and Oracle8 Design Tips, and he's an Honorary Oracle9i Certified Master. Dave holds undergraduate degrees in both mathematics and law.

Jonathan Lewis has been working in the information technology industry for nearly 25 years, and has been using the Oracle relational database management system for more than 20. For the past 16 years, he has worked as a freelance consultant, often spending only one or two days at a time with any client to address critical performance problems. He also advises on design and implementation problems, and on how to make best use of the most appropriate Oracle features for a given project. Jonathan is also renowned throughout the world for his tutorials and seminars about the Oracle database engine and how to make best use of it. Having visited 42 countries at last count, his exceptional ability has earned him an O1 visa from the United States, allowing him to do consultancy and lecture work there. Jonathan has written two books about Oracle (Practical Oracle8i, Addison-Wesley, 2000; Cost-Based Oracle Fundamentals, Apress, 2005), and has contributed to two others (Oracle Insights, Apress, 2004; Oracle Database 10g New Features, Oracle Press, 2004). He also writes regularly for the UKOUG magazine, and occasionally for other publications around the world. In the limited amount of time he has leftover, Jonathan also publishes high-tech Oracle articles on his blog at

Gaja Vaidyanatha has more than 12 years of technical expertise, with over 11 years of industry experience working with Oracle systems. His key areas of interest include performance architectures, scalable storage solutions, highly available systems, and system performance management for data warehouses and transactional systems. He holds a master's degree in computer science from Bowling Green State University, Ohio. He has presented many papers at various regional, national, and international Oracle conferences, and is the coauthor of Oracle Performance Tuning 101 from Oracle Press.

A bio is not available for this author.

With 15 years of experience in professional computing, James Morle has been personally responsible for the architecture and implementation of some of the world's largest and most complex business systems, including a 3-node Oracle Parallel Server configuration that services 3,000 online users. James is a well-respected member of the Oracle community and is the author of the critically acclaimed book Scaling Oracle8i. He is the cofounder of Scale Abilities (, a specialist consulting and training company focusing on aspects of system engineering related to building very large and complex computer systems.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 A brief history of Oracle 1
Ch. 2 You probably don't tune right 71
Ch. 3 Waste not, want not 95
Ch. 4 Why I invented YAPP 139
Ch. 5 Extended SQL trace data 155
Ch. 6 Direct memory access 183
Ch. 7 Compulsive tuning disorder 209
Ch. 8 New releases and big projects 257
Ch. 9 Testing and risk management 297
Ch. 10 Design disasters 337
Ch. 11 Bad CaRMa 377
App Join the BAARF party (or not) 397
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2004

    No content on mystic Oracle or Oak table cult

    This is a database book!!!!! It is not a book on the Oracle of Apis or the mysticism of the talking Oak table. Fe forewarned that the deities of Apollo will shun this title as misleading and offensive to the Oaken trilogy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2004

    Excellent first chapter

    The book is aimed squarely at an existing Oracle user. It offers idiosyncratic viewpoints devoted to filling in gaps in the official Oracle documentation. The authors are longtime Oracle experts who offer advice on how to optimally use various Oracle versions, and how to avoid potential pitfalls in usage. Being a mostly MySql user myself, there was little here germane to my database operations. But the first chapter stands well apart from the rest of the book. A behind the scenes history. Presumably unfettered by Oracle's corporate lawyers. A fascinating warts and all technical commentary on the development of the Oracle database. [And there are plenty of warts.] It can and probably should be read by anyone in the database field. Enough technical details are given to illustrate the best and worst features of each major Oracle release. Yet during all this 25 years, Oracle rose from nothing to being the world's largest database company. They must have been getting crucial capabilities implemented correctly. The first chapter is a good complement to other books on Oracle that are written for a general audience. Those books describe more of the business/corporate side of Oracle. Of necessity, they had to go easy on the technical details. This chapter helps fill in those gaps. Also makes one wonder what a similar description of IBM's dB2 history would say.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)