by Cary Millsap with Jeff Holt (O’Reilly 2003)

In 2003, former Oracle Corporation employees Cary Millsap and Jeff Holt wrote a book with the goal in mind to bring some scientific rigor to the practice of Oracle performance. Their book, Optimizing Oracle Performance, started a revolution.

Gone are the days when you had to rely on a bag of random tips and techniques. Intuition, hunches, and trial-and-error are replaced by a deterministic method that leads reliably to the root cause of any perpformance problem. ...Not only can you use the method for identifying perfomrance bottlenecks, you can also use it to reliably predict and quantify the performance improvement that you will get from upgrade activities such as adding more CPUs, or faster CPUs, or more memory to a system.
Optimizing Oracle Performance rear cover

Optimizing Oracle Performance has done well in the world. After a few months of good sales and five-star Amazon reviews, one of the first public indications that the project had gone right was the 2004 Oracle Magazine’s Editor’s Choice award for the best authors of the year.

This book, written a decade ago, continues to change lives today. The authors meticulously left Oracle Database version specifics out of the book, which we’re sure is one of the reasons that the book has remained so popular for so long. Although the Oracle Database has changed profoundly since the book was written, there are still several important things that remain the same:

  • The most important performance measure of a computer system is still the economic value that the system yields to its owner.
  • The Oracle Database is still a computer program whose code path consists of subroutines and operating system calls that can be traced.
  • The most important measure of people’s performance experiences is still response time.

All the things we learned in Optimizing Oracle Performance about prioritizing and targeting and determinism and skew and forecasting and the value of making informed decisions... Those haven’t changed since 2003, nor are they likely to change in the next ten years.

Our friend Dave Ensor—the grand old man of Oracle performance science—once told me in private that Cary Millsap was the best man inside Oracle to disprove theories. True. But he can also create. This book is fantastic. Those who read it will be kings for the next few years.
Mogens Nørgaard
Director, Miracle A/S (Denmark)

Optimizing Oracle Performance is available for purchase at and other fine booksellers.