Hotsos Symposium Speaker – Kerry Osborne

Kerry Osborne is a returning Hotsos Symposium presenter.


Kerry OsborneKerry Osborne began working with the first public release of Oracle (version 2) in 1982. For the past several years, he has been focused on understanding Oracle internals and solving performance problems. He is an Oracle Ace Director and is a proud member of the OakTable network. He has also co-authored two books (Pro Oracle SQL and the recently released Expert Oracle Exadata).

Mr. Osborne is also a co-founder of Enkitec, an Oracle-focused consulting company headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Keep up with Kerry at his blog,




Presentation Titles

Session 1: Exadata Optimization – Case Studies

Session 2: Controlling Execution Plans (without Touching the Code) 2012


Session 1: Exadata Optimization – Case Studies — Exadata has created a paradigm shift. Over the last year, the wave of adoption of this relatively new technology has begun in earnest. This presentation will discuss experiences gained in several real world Exadata implementations. One common characteristic of these projects is that "Fork Lift" migrations rarely get the most out of Exadata. When we hear that an application is running twice as fast or three times as fast after migration to Exadata, we are often left wondering why the improvement wasn't greater. For that reason, a large portion of the presentation will focus on techniques that will allow you to know for sure that you are getting the most out of the platform. This portion of the presentation will be very hands-on with detailed discussion of tools (scripts) for analyzing Exadata performance. Other points of focus will include:

  • common migration strategies
  • recommended parameter/configuration settings
  • suitability for various workloads (OLTP vs. DW vs. mixed)
  • indexing strategies
  • compression strategies
  • organizational challenges presented by Exadata (i.e., who should manage these integrated systems)

This presentation should give you some insight into how Exadata is being used by several companies that already have production systems running on the platform and provide you with tools that can be used as you evaluate whether the platform is appropriate for your specific application.

Session 2: Controlling Execution Plans (without Touching the Code) 2012 — One of the most frustrating problems we face as DBAs is not being able to fix bad code. Our inability to change the code occurs for many reasons. In some cases we are dealing with packaged applications where the code is just not available. In other cases, the politics of an organization can dictate lengthy delays in making changes to code. And finally, Oracle sometimes just can't make up its mind about how best to deal with a specific SQL statement. Regardless of the reasons, Oracle specialists often find themselves in the unenviable position of being asked to make things better without touching the code.

Fortunately, Oracle provides many options for doing just that. Among the most effective approaches are techniques that focus on modifying execution plans of individual statements. Oracle has provided various mechanisms for accomplishing this over the years including Outlines, SQL Profiles, and SQL Baselines. These techniques provide laser-like specificity, by limiting their effect to a single statement. While these constructs are extremely powerful, they are not well documented and therefore not particularly well understood. Also, they suffer from some "quirkiness". For example, despite what the documentation implies regarding Outlines locking execution plans, there are situations where creating an Outline on an existing statement will actually cause the plan to change. This "quirk" is not limited to the older Outline construct. It has been carried forward to the newer SQL Profiles and SQL Baselines as well. But nevertheless, these tools are the closest thing to magic that we have in tool belt.

This presentation provides a general overview of the basic methods available as well as the underlying hint-based mechanism that they rely on. It also gives a historical perspective as to how we got where we are. Examples will be provided with specific scripts for making use of them, modifying them, and reporting on them. The presentation addresses where these techniques are appropriate and where they are not, and finally, offers some ideas on how to pitch the use of these features to others within your organization.

Note that this is an updated version of the original paper that was presented at Hotsos in 2010 (and I've learned a lot since then). ;) This version is more in depth on SPM and Baselines than the original version. It also shares some cautionary tales with regards to overusing these magic pills.

Presentation Materials

Presentation materials are available online to attendees only.


The speaker schedule is as follows: