Mastering Oracle Trace Data

Oracle trace files explain in detail where your programs spend your time. With the right understanding and tools, they help you answer questions that you won’t answer any other way:

  • Why do your programs run for so long? Is there a problem in your database? Someplace else?
  • How much time should that program take? Is it efficient? Does it waste resources?
  • What performance changes will your users notice if you change something about your system?
  • How can you know when your optimization work is done?

Whether you’ve bought your software or built it yourself, trace files help you make better informed decisions about performance. They help developers optimize software as they build it, they help DBAs fix unexpected performance problems after you’ve gone live, and they help you avoid surprises during upgrades.

This course, designed and taught by Cary Millsap, is your fast track to becoming a trace file master. The course includes software licenses that you can use to solve real problems after the course.

Cary has the rare ability to teach complex topics in a manner that everyone can understand. He is innovative and entertaining, and he always challenges his audiences to think beyond the status quo.
Andrew Zitelli
Principal Software Engineer with Honors
Thales-Raytheon Systems · Fullerton, California
'I can help you trace it.' Mastering Oracle Trace Data, London 2011-09-08

I can help you trace it. Mastering Oracle Trace Data, London 2011-09-08.

Topics Covered in the Course

  • Fundamentals of computer system performance
  • Using trace data to diagnose and solve problems
  • Using trace data to predict performance
  • Collecting Oracle trace data in different architectures
  • Understanding trace files and what they measure
  • Oracle timed events and their meanings
  • Using Method R Workbench software

What You Get

Method R Software

In class, you will learn how to use Method R Workbench software, which is included with each enrollment. This package includes all of the following software tools:

Method R Trace is our zero-click trace file collector for Oracle SQL Developer.

Method R Tools is a flexible and versatile utility suite that includes a trace file data mining tool, utilities for adjusting trace files, and more.

Method R Profiler shows exactly how your programs spend your time, using color and structure to guide your analysis.

Method R software licenses don’t expire. A maintenance contract ensures that you will have access to design improvements, bug fixes, and upgrades for running with your most current operating systems and Oracle versions.

No other tools (free or commercial) come close to the precision and trustworthiness of Method R software.
Alex Gorbachev
Chief Technical Officer
The Pythian Group · Ottawa, Canada

Optional Follow-Up Labs

Our most successful students are the ones who use the tools and techniques from the course to solve real problems immediately after completing the course. Not all students have the time or the commitment to do this.

You can ensure that your students put their classroom experience to work right away by booking an optional second-day lab. The lab, which we can schedule for half a day or more, gives students extra time with the instructor to install the Method R software and accelerate their learning curve with supervised practice.

We can also offer follow-up labs that we can conduct, depending on logistics, either in person or on the web.


Download the Mastering Oracle Trace Data fact sheet for complete pricing and package details.


Cary Millsap has been an Oracle performance specialist since 1990. He is an Oracle ACE Director, an Oak Table Network founder, and former Vice President at Oracle Corporation. He is the author of Optimizing Oracle Performance (O’Reilly 2003), for which he and coauthor Jeff Holt were named Oracle Magazine’s 2004 Authors of the Year. He is responsible for designing and developing much of the software that you’ll see in class.


The Method R Guide to Mastering Oracle Trace Data, 2nd Edition by Cary Millsap is a detailed, full-color, 253-page textbook that serves as a valuable reference long after you complete the course.

Software Downloads

Click here for details on downloading your software after the course.

Pricing and Discounts

Pricing varies by location, number of students, and other factors. We generally offer discounts for groups of 10 or more registering simultaneously, and some user groups offer discount coupon codes for their members to use. Details for each public event are available on the online registration form for the event itself. Please contact us with any questions.

Locations and Dates

We announce our public courses on our calendar. We also teach private classes that are not publicly advertised, at individual companies. Many of our events are inspired by just one person asking about a course. Contact us if you are interested in scheduling a course for yourself or your group.

Hosting a Public Course at Your Facility

Are you looking for first-class education without the travel costs? By hosting the course at your facility and helping us attract students, we can bring the course right to you.

Public Courses

Hosting a public course saves money and provides the ultimate in convenience for you and your colleagues. Write us if you’re interested in hosting a public course.

Private Courses

A private course taught at your facility ensures that your staff can be completely open with their classroom discussions. The course curriculum fits tightly into the scheduled format, but we can offer an additional day or more of instruction in which your staff can work directly with Cary Millsap on the subject matter in your company’s specific context. Our minimum student count for private courses varies by location and is generally proportional to the time and expense required to reach your facility from our office near the DFW Airport. Write us if you’re interested in hosting a private course.

Classroom Setup Requirements

The course requires a quiet room with good lighting, comfortable classroom-style seating, and desktop space for each student. AC power for each student is nice, but not necessary. For the instructor, we’ll need a digital projector (resolution ≥ 1024×768) and screen, AC power, desktop space, and a chair. An Internet connection (RJ-45 or WiFi) is nice, but not necessary.

Customer Endorsements

“No other tools, free or commercial, come close to the precision and trustworthiness of Method R software.”

Alex Gorbachev

Chief Technology Officer · The Pythian Group · Ottawa, Canada

“Cary has the rare ability to teach complex topics in a manner that everyone can understand. He is innovative and entertaining, and he always challenges his audiences to think beyond the status quo.”

Andrew Zitelli

Principal Software Engineer with Honors · Thales-Raytheon Systems · Fullerton, California

“After last week’s Mastering Oracle Trace Data course, I have a clear understanding how to attack a performance problem, and, most importantly, how to identify the problem. I feel like this course is the most valuable performance-related course I’ve ever had. The wealth of data in the trace files is hugely valuable and daunting at the same time. With the MR set of tools, the trace files make sense now. They make it possible, sometimes just within minutes, to get to the very root cause of a performance problem, pretty much eliminating all the trial-error-guess work. Thank you very much for the tools and for the course!”

Sergey Demin

Oracle Professional · Atlanta, Georgia

“Wow… Just wow. I’m absolutely blown away by how simple yet effective MR Trace is.”

John Scott

Apex Evangelists Ltd. · Halifax, England

“I attended your Mastering Oracle Trace Data one-day seminar in London last year. I have last week, successfully reduced the User I/O Wait times by over 64%, and for one query, reduced the PIO from 15,000,000 per day to 4,000 per day. All this was achieved by analysis using Oracle extended SQL trace files and mrskew. mrskew made the analysis so much easier, processing gigabytes of trace file data in a matter of minutes. This is without doubt, the best £400 my company has spent.”

Tony Sleight

BAE Systems · Warton, England

“The Method R Tools coming with the Mastering Oracle Trace Data course are making analysis of trace files a breeze and very versatile.”

Alain Caron

Database Administrator · Montréal, Canada

“We really like the Method R Profiler. We’ve always had trace files, but most developers do not know how to read them. It makes things very easy and gives me the evidence I need to demonstrate the problem is in the code, not the database.”

Dorrie Keyes

DBA Manager · Indianapolis, Indiana

“The first time I used it, the Profiler helped me reduce the run time of one query from 6½ hours to less than 11 minutes.”

Guðmundur Jósepsson

System Performance Analyst · Reykjavík, Iceland

“With Method R tools, they not only share their know-how and tools they use to tune systems, but they have polished them into solid, clean, tight, professional-level tools that are dependable, high quality, and written with integrity.”

Kyle Hailey

Delphix · Menlo Park, California

“With MR Trace and the Profiler, we’ve been able to turn around fixes with almost no interruptions. We have taken warehouse queries that used to never finish down to less than 10 minutes.”

Bernard Antonuk

Chief Technology Officer · Orion Data Management · Hopkinton, Massachusetts

“I took a 6-day process down to 9 hours using what you taught me about I/O! It is on its way to QA and should be in production by the end of August. This is a great win for the business!”

Nanci Hansen

Senior Developer · Harley-Davidson Financial Services · Plano, Texas

“I’m a firm believer in the Method R strategy for performance tuning, as it has worked well for me countless times over the years.”

Brandon Allen

Database Administrator · Scottsdale, Arizona

“Method R Profiler was designed by someone who really masters the topic of performance analysis. We all want to find quickly and easily where is the time consumed. I totally like Method R. It gives me what I need to diagnose a process performing poorly. Its output is accurate, clear and clean.”

Carlos Sierra

Oracle Support Analyst · Creator of Oracle Trace Analyzer and SQLT · Orlando, Florida

“Within one minute of installation the Profiler exceeded all expectations. We went live with a new warehouse management system this Friday because all the tuning was done ahead of time. The Profiler pointed out all the application inefficiencies which we turned over to the vendor. They were able to fix the ones with the largest impact on the online response times. That gave our management the confidence they needed to make the Go/No-Go decision. Until I got the Profiler we were looking at postponing it until next quarter. I pity the poor souls that have to optimize in mere mortal ways.”

Tony Aponte

Database Administrator · Clearwater, Florida