Beginning Oracle Database 11g Administration

In the ancient Chinese classic text Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu (“Old Master”) says: “The tree which fills the arms grew from the tiniest sprout; the tower of nine stories rose from a (small) heap of earth; the journey of a thousand [miles] commenced with a single step.” I wrote this book to help you take the first steps of your Oracle Database journey. It’s the book I wish I’d had when I first started using Oracle Database so many years ago. It’s the book that I would have liked to have given to the many IT colleagues and friends who, over the years, have asked me to teach them the basics of Oracle Database.

I started my own journey more than ten years ago when my then manager, Bill Schwimmer, gave me the chance to become an Oracle Database administrator back in the days of Oracle 7. Books on Oracle Database were fewer then, and I relied on printed copies of the manuals, which I had to share with the rest of the team; this was in the days before Google, when Netscape Navigator had just appeared on the scene.

Today the Oracle Database manuals can be downloaded for free from the Oracle website. But their size has grown tremendously over the years. The Oracle Database 7.3 SQL reference manual had about 750 pages; the 11g version is twice that size. You definitely don’t want to be carrying a printed copy of that in your backpack!

Beginning Oracle Database 11g Administration is not an exhaustive reference manual by any stretch of the term; it is a more manageable introduction to key Oracle Database administration topics, including planning, installation, monitoring, troubleshooting, maintenance, backups, and performance tuning—to name just a few. You’ll be getting the benefit of my experience not just the party line found in the manuals. For example, for reasons explained inside, I emphasize the Statspack tool instead of Automatic Workload Repository (AWR).

In this book, you’ll find information that you won’t find in other books on Oracle Database. Here you’ll find not just technical information but guidance on the work practices that are as vital to your success as technical skills. The most important chapter in the book is The Big Picture and the Ten Deliverables. If you take the lessons in that chapter to heart, you can quickly become a much better Oracle database administrator than you ever thought possible.

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