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Fill the Glass

Today, Cary Millsap hosted the inaugural episode of his new weekly online session, called “Fill the Glass.” Episode 1 was an ask-me-anything session, covering topics including how to access the Method R workspace in Slack, advice about being your own publisher, and our GitHub repository (available now) for Cary’s and Jeff’s new book, “Tracing Oracle” (available soon).

Visit our “Fill the Glass” page for access to past recordings and future live sessions.

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Insum Insider: How to Optimize a System with Cary Millsap

Today, Michelle Skamene, Monty Latiolais, and Richard Soule of Insum chatted with me for an hour on their live stream. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

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Newsletter 2022-08-31

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

Click here to subscribe.

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.

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Fetching Oracle Trace Data from, Say, Amazon RDS

Last week, a Method R Workbench customer was having a hard time downloading Oracle trace files from Amazon RDS. The code that Amazon recommends doesn’t quite work right; it fails to copy trace file lines that are longer than 400 characters. So I wrote a replacement fetcher for him. This method should work for any Oracle implementation that permits you to access your trace data.

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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?

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

Today, I had the honor of speaking online to the Chicago Oracle Users Group in their “20 in 2020” webinar series. In this presentation, I talk about why it’s OK to trace everything on your system and how to do it safely, and I explain why you’d want to do that in the first place.

Some things you probably didn’t know about Oracle tracing
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Example of resetting user session handle attributes in JDBC

Earlier, Mark Williams showed us how in Java to clear the session handle attributes to enable our code to be more easily traced. Because I had not seen the trace data produced when using his method, I decided to construct a test to see the trace data produced when the code does and does not execute the Connection.isValid method.

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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
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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.