“Mastering Oracle Trace Data” Online Course

When you want to know where every microsecond of your Oracle-based application’s time has gone, there’s only one way to find out: tracing. This course is your personal guide to squeezing every last drop of value from Oracle’s tracing feature.

“Mastering Oracle Trace Data” is a pre-recorded online course, taught by the author of the course textbooks, Cary Millsap. The course includes detailed instruction on how to use the Method R Workbench software application to accelerate your understanding of how Oracle is spending your users’ time, and to create useful results while you’re taking the course.

“This is the most valuable performance-related course I’ve ever had. With the Method R 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.”

Sergey Demin · Atlanta, Georgia


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:

  • How long? How long does your program take to execute?
  • Why? Why does it run for so long? How much time should it take? Is it efficient? Does it waste resources?
  • What if? What would happen to that duration as a consequence of each of the various changes you might consider for the system?
  • What else? Is there anything else you could do to make this program spend less time?

Whether you’ve bought your software or built it yourself, trace files help you make better informed decisions about performance. They help Oracle developers, DBAs, and decision makers in every phase of the software life cycle.

Quick Reference

Objective:Understand how your Oracle-based applications spend your users’ time
Topics:Detailed curriculum at Thinkific
Software:Requires Method R Workbench and Method R Trace license
Textbooks:The Method R Guide to Mastering Oracle Trace Data
The Method R Guide to Tracing Oracle
Format:Pre-recorded, online, self-paced
Duration:~14 hours (13:49:51)
Instructor:Cary Millsap and guests
Venue:Online at Thinkific
Live Q&A:Available for an extra charge
Price:$1,823 per licensed Method R Workbench user
+ $800 per student for four 1-hour live Q&A sessions on Zoom


The course covers:

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

You can see the detailed curriculum at Thinkific.

Live Q&A (Optional)

Our most successful students are the ones who use the tools and techniques from the course to solve real problems right away. Not all students commit to doing this. You can ensure that your students put their classroom experience to work right away by booking additional time with an instructor.

We offer 60-minute coaching calls via Zoom for an additional fee. These sessions give students extra time to accelerate their learning curve with supervised practice.

Q&A session dateLessons coveredLesson duration
@ 1× speed
TBA– Welcome
– The Motivation for Method R
– Thinking Clearly about Performance
TBA– Case Study – Row Processing
– Tracing Oracle
– Oracle Trace Data
– Scoping
TBA– Method R Workbench
– Case Study – Agile PLM
– Skew Analyzer – mrskew
TBA– Unaccounted-for Time
– Logging and Monitoring
– Capstone
Live Q&A schedule


In class, you will learn how to use the Method R Workbench software package. Method R Workbench is easy-to-use, high-precision time measurement software for software development, code reviews, performance tests, concept proofs, hardware and software evaluations, upgrades, troubleshooting, and more.


The Method R Guide to Mastering Oracle Trace Data by Cary Millsap and Jeff Holt is a comprehensively detailed, full-color, 293-page textbook that serves as a valuable reference long after you complete the course. The Method R Guide to Tracing Oracle, also by Cary and Jeff, is a diminutive yet definitive 77-page guide for controlling Oracle Database’ s tracing features.

Electronic copies of both books are distributed as a part of the Method R Workbench software—just click the button that looks like the book cover. Printed copies are available at Amazon.

Format and Duration

This pre-recorded course is hosted online at the Thinkific educational platform. It includes nearly 14 hours of detailed material that you can watch at your own pace.


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, for which he and coauthor Jeff Holt were named Oracle Magazine’s 2004 Authors of the Year, The Method R Guide to Mastering Oracle Trace Data, and How to Make Things Faster. He and instructional guest Jeff Holt designed and developed the software that you’ll see in class.


To make the most of this course, a student should have SQL*Plus, SQLcl, or Oracle SQL Developer access to an Oracle Database.