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Donald K. Burleson
Advanced Oracle Tips and Tricks for the Oracle DBA

Debugging Oracle 11g Applications
by Ben


Oracle 11g: Backup and Recovery (RMAN) New Features

Oracle 11g provides a new tool for backup and recovery called the Data Recovery Advisor. The Data Recovery advisor provides an automated process to perform backup and recovery with Oracle 11g RMAN from either Oracle 11g Enterprise Manager or command line options with RMAN. Further details on how to use this new feature for backup and recovery are available in the Oracle 11g documentation.

New Features for Oracle 11g: ASM enhancements

Among the new enhancements to Automatic Storage Management (ASM) with Oracle 11g include the following:

  • New ASM command line utilities for ASM disk block repair, backup and restore options with ASM and copy options.

  • Fast rebalance for ASM

  • Preferred Mirror Read for ASM

  • New SYSASM Privilege for ASM administration

  • Enhancements to ASM scalability and performance

Oracle 11g: Automatic Memory Management

Prior to Oracle 11g, memory configuration was a complex task that required hours of tuning to perfect the optimal solution for database performance. In the past, Oracle DBA staff would need to tune settings for many initialization parameters for the shared pool and many other settings for the SGA and PGA memory areas within Oracle database. Release 10g improved matters quite a bit with the sga_target and pga_target initialization parameters. Now with 11g, there are two new parameters called memory_max_target and memory_target to manage the SGA and PGA memory areas for Oracle 11g on an instance wide basis.

Rapid Application Testing (RAT)  Oracle 11g

Oracle 11g expands greatly upon the tuning features introduced in Oracle 10g with SQL tuning advisors and flashback functionality with comprehensive testing and tuning tools. In the past, DBAs would need to use complex third party test load simulation tools to simulate load tests between production, development and QA environments. With the new features in 11g for Database Replay for Oracle 11g, SQL Performance Analyzer (SPA) that are part of the test suite, the busy DBA staff can develop excellent load testing scenarios without the need for expensive third party tools.

Undocumented Tools

Among the many undocumented tools within the Oracle 11g release, we will cover the BBED utility for analysis and problem resolution events with Oracle. One note of caution: when using undocumented tools such as BBED, it is critical that extreme care be exercised or database corruption and/or data loss can result. The prudent usage of these utilities should be taken in a non-production environment for testing as well as use with guidance from Oracle Customer Support.

Poorly Documented Tools

Oracle provides many excellent tools for analysis, monitoring and performance tuning. However, many of these utilities are poorly documented or unknown by most Oracle DBAs.  Internal database issues and problems such as the infamous ORA-0600 errors can be investigated and diagnosed with tools such as oradebug.

Among these poorly documented tools that we will cover: oradebug, tkprof, autotrace, and the DBMS_SQLTUNE packages for Oracle 11g. In addition, we will discuss how to utilize the DBMS_STATS package within the context of Oracle 11g to best tune our database environments.


In this chapter, we have introduced the following topics about the new features and tips for Oracle 11g:

  • Essential new features for Oracle 11g

  • Overview of undocumented and hidden features for Oracle

In the following chapters, we will dig deeper into the nuts and bolts of how to diagnose, tune, and resolve complex Oracle database problems using these undocumented and hidden Oracle features.




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