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26 performance tuning questions and solutions, #1-10

I have 1-1/2 years experience as a DBA and I have an interview next week. What are the top performance questions...

to be aware of?

The following list includes questions 1 through 10. Click for 11 through 19 or 20 through 26.

I have an old list of tuning questions that I found on the Web, perhaps some may be helpful. Each question is followed by the level (low, intermediate, high) of difficulty and expected answer.

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1. A tablespace has a table with 30 extents in it. Is this bad? Why or why not?
Level: Intermediate
Expected answer: Multiple extents in and of themselves aren't bad. However if you also have chained rows this can hurt performance.

2. How do you set up tablespaces during an Oracle installation?
Level: Low
Expected answer: You should always attempt to use the Oracle Flexible Architecture standard or another partitioning scheme to ensure proper separation of SYSTEM, ROLLBACK, REDO LOG, DATA, TEMPORARY and INDEX segments.

3. You see multiple fragments in the SYSTEM tablespace, what should you check first?
Level: Low
Expected answer: Ensure that users don't have the SYSTEM tablespace as their TEMPORARY or DEFAULT tablespace assignment by checking the DBA_USERS view.

4. What are some indications that you need to increase the SHARED_POOL_SIZE parameter?
Level: Intermediate
Expected answer: Poor data dictionary or library cache hit ratios, getting error ORA-04031. Another indication is steadily decreasing performance with all other tuning parameters the same.

5. What is the general guideline for sizing db_block_size and db_multi_block_read for an application that does many full table scans?
Level: High
Expected answer: Oracle almost always reads in 64k chunks. The two should have a product equal to 64 or a multiple of 64.

6. What is the fastest query method for a table?
Level: Intermediate
Expected answer: Fetch by rowid

7. Explain the use of TKPROF? What initialization parameter should be turned on to get full TKPROF output?
Level: High
Expected answer: The tkprof tool is a tuning tool used to determine cpu and execution times for SQL statements. You use it by first setting timed_statistics to true in the initialization file and then turning on tracing for either the entire database via the sql_trace parameter or for the session using the ALTER SESSION command. Once the trace file is generated you run the tkprof tool against the trace file and then look at the output from the tkprof tool. This can also be used to generate explain plan output.

8. When looking at v$sysstat you see that sorts (disk) is high. Is this bad or good? If bad, how do you correct it?
Level: Intermediate
Expected answer: If you get excessive disk sorts this is bad. This indicates you need to tune the sort area parameters in the initialization files. The major sort are parameter is the SORT_AREA_SIZe parameter.

9. When should you increase copy latches? What parameters control copy latches?
Level: high
Expected answer: When you get excessive contention for the copy latches as shown by the "redo copy" latch hit ratio. You can increase copy latches via the initialization parameter LOG_SIMULTANEOUS_COPIES to twice the number of CPUs on your system.

10. Where can you get a list of all initialization parameters for your instance? How about an indication if they are default settings or have been changed?
Level: Low
Expected answer: You can look in the init.ora file for an indication of manually set parameters. For all parameters, their value and whether or not the current value is the default value, look in the v$parameter view.

Click for 11 through 19 or 20 through 26.
 

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