Blog Posts

Newsletter 2022-08-31

Here are some of the things we’ve been been working on.

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New Book: Faster

Recently, I published a new book called Faster: How to Optimize a System. This one’s different from anything I’ve ever written. Faster is a book about how to make things go faster—mostly computers, but actually just about anything.

Faster is the single most concise material on the topic of performance analysis and optimization out there.

Jonah H. Harris, director of AI & ML at The Meet Group

Faster is a how book and a why book, but mostly, it’s a story book. It’s a personal journey that connects the dots about pretty much everything I’ve ever learned since becoming a consultant in 1989.

Cary Millsap has a gift. Yes, he’s brilliant at making things run faster, but his true genius is translating complex problems into simple, powerful ideas.

Liz Wiseman, New York Times bestselling author of Multipliers and Impact Players

Faster is meant to appeal not just to techies, but to anyone who comes into contact with technology. I wrote it in a style that company leaders and project teams and all their users can follow. It contains dozens of short chapters that you can read serially, or that you can enjoy at random.

Cary is one of the best presenters—technology or not—that you will come across, and this clearly comes through in Faster. It’s both satisfying and refreshing to see him explain effortlessly, in normal English, these topics that so many people stumble over.

Guðmundur Jósepsson, director and performance specialist at Inaris

I hope you’ll give Faster a try. If you have a copy, I’d love to hear from you. If you feel good about doing it, I hope you’ll help me spread the word and post a review at Amazon.

I can’t believe I was in my forties the first time I saw how to optimize a system the way Cary and Jeff do it. Now it doesn’t even make sense to me that anyone would try it any other way.

Richard Russell, former 7-Eleven enterprise architect

P.S.: Let me know if you’re interested in an online or live Faster workshop. I can help your whole department think clearly about performance.

New Course: Mastering Oracle Trace Data

Do you have training budget, but you’re tired of the traditional stuff?

We have what you need: nearly 14 hours of material—packaged in a way that’s perfectly suited to our post-apocalyptic travel-prohibited metaverse—it’s our course at Thinkific called Mastering Oracle Trace Data, based on the book of the same name.

It’s got tons of helpful video material, with lots of worked examples, and even a guest speaker or two.

WARNING: You’ll get the most out of this course if you have access to our Method R Workbench software product.

UN-WARNING: The course actually includes a limited-time license for Method R Workbench (and Method R Trace!), so you can experiment and solve problems while you’re experiencing the course.

MORE-WARNING: For the ultimate training experience, consider adding in some online office hours or an on-site visit (not available everywhere).

New Partner: Insum

A few months ago, I reconnected with one of my favorite Method R course alumni, Richard Soule. His employer, Insum, is a world leader in everything Oracle APEX. A few great conversations later, I’m proud to announce a new partnership between Method R Corporation and Insum.

Method R will provide software and training for Insum employees; Insum will promote Method R and help us develop new trace data collection software for APEX developers! I’m really eager to see where this partnership takes us.

New Service: Coaching

Jeff and I are experimenting with a new coaching type of service offering.

For a fixed monthly fee, we can coach your staff and help you solve problems. Of course, we can work with you through Zoom without racking up travel costs. We’re also happy to come see you every once in a while if it makes sense.

Most of our clients get everything they need from us without even having us log into their system. In other situations, we’ll work independently from time to time as a player-coach. Regardless of how the work gets done, we’re happy to teach your team everything we know.

Jeff and I have a lot of experience. We know where a lot of the traps are, and the optimization methods and tools we use give us an unfair advantage over anything else you’ve probably ever seen. Also, we have a comprehensive professional network that spans the globe.

Have a look at if you’re interested in the details.

That’s All for Now

That’s all for now; thank you for letting me catch up with you.

—Cary Millsap, President of Method R Corporation

Blog Posts

Troubleshooting a Complex Network of Overnight Batch Jobs

On Oracle-L this week is a discussion about buying Dynatrace vs. Oracle Enterprise Manager. Both tools work harmoniously together, but there’s a third choice you should consider, too: Method R Workbench. Our Workbench helps you mine unbelievable detail from Oracle trace files, even if you’re getting thousands of trace files at a time. Workbench works harmoniously with both Dynatrace and OEM and fills a gap that no other tool can fill.

Blog Posts

Quantifying Buffer Cache Pressure

A few months ago, we received two trace files representing two executions of the same program. One execution took almost 14 times longer than the other. The cause of the difference was dominantly the number of “db file sequential read” calls made by the two executions. Why would two executions of the same program, processing approximately the same amount of data, present radically different “db file sequential read” call counts? One guess is that it’s pressure on the database buffer cache that’s causing the problem, but how can you prove it?

Oracle Monographs

Making Sense of Thousands of Trace Files

If you do it right, the overhead incurred by Oracle tracing is imperceptible, so more sites than ever are using trace data as a source for detailed performance data. But what can you do when you end up with thousands of trace files? With Method R Workbench, it’s not a problem.

This is article number seven in the Method R Oracle® Performance Monograph series. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Oracle Monographs

Making Your Application Easier to Diagnose

It’s easy these days to mine interesting user experiences out of enormous trace data collections. But there’s still value in being able to trace that one user or that one program, right when you need it.

This is article number five in the Method R Oracle® Performance Monograph series. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Blog Posts Videos

Some things you probably didn’t know about Oracle tracing (Dallas edition)

It really is OK to trace everything—even your whole database if you want to. But you have to do it right. This session explains how to safely trace anything you want, and why you’d want to trace your programs in the first place. This is a Dallas Oracle Users Group (DOUG) webinar presentation, recorded on 7 May 2020.

Some things you probably didn’t know about Oracle tracing
Oracle Monographs

Preventing the Post-Production Performance Problem

Preventing the Post-Production Performance Problem

How confident are you that those new features you’re adding to your production application will be fast and efficient? What if they’re not? You need a process that finds inefficient code earlier, and a process to fix the inefficiencies that evade early detection. One process can accomplish both goals.

This is article number two in the Method R Oracle® Performance Monograph series. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Blog Posts Videos

Method R Workbench: The Pesky, Intermittent Performance Problem

New Method R Workbench features are always inspired by needs discovered on real projects. Two new features of the soon-to-be-released Workbench 9—the radically faster mrskew utility, and a new trace file cropping utility called mrcrop—make it faster and easier than ever to shred through millions of lines of Oracle trace data to find exactly what you need. In this video, I tell the story of how to get to the bottom of a pesky, intermittent performance problem within just a couple minutes of receiving your trace files.


Cary Millsap it42it Interview

On January 27, my dear friend Mogens Nørgaard hosted me for a 1:39:13 chat, which he flatteringly called “Cary Millsap—the master thinker of application performance and more.” It’s a long, wandering conversation that I really enjoyed.

Oracle Monographs

Solving the Unsolvable Performance Problem

Solving the Unsolvable Performance Problem

How do you solve production performance problems? The method you use may be structurally incapable of helping you find certain types of performance problems. Changing how you look at your system makes all the difference.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been writing some short articles in a new series that I’m calling the Method R Oracle® Performance Monograph series. Today, I am releasing the first monograph, called “Solving the Unsolvable Performance Problem.” It’s a fast introduction to understanding why my team and I do what we do. I hope you’ll enjoy it.