3 Keys to Maximizing Oracle Application Performance
October 17, 2013

Sridhar Iyengar

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Judging by the activity at Oracle OpenWorld 2013 — and in businesses around the world — Oracle is quickly emerging as a leading provider of enterprise application infrastructure. From the Oracle E-Business Suite to the Oracle WebLogic Server and Oracle relational database, the company’s software empowers companies to find new and different ways to leverage their data to gain competitive advantage.

In the IT department, meanwhile, the rise of the Oracle-powered business is putting the pressure on IT admins and managers charged with supporting an exploding number of business-critical applications. If you're responsible for the Oracle infrastructure, you've got to ensure that it performs optimally and meets service level standards. When any one of the Oracle components fails or underperforms, your business is immediately and adversely affected.

So, what does it take to optimize an Oracle installation? The trick is to clearly understand the complex interrelationships among the databases and applications. That way, you can quickly reach and troubleshoot the root problem of an underperforming Oracle system. When you know exactly what's running — and how it's running — at the application, database and network level, you can keep Oracle humming. Here are three keys to maximizing your Oracle application performance.

1. Monitor Oracle E-Business Suite

Oracle E-Business Suite is being adopted by large businesses to handle their ERP, CRM and supply chain management needs. To ensure peak performance and availability of this application suite, IT teams should monitor several key performance indicators, including:

- Number of connections

- Active connections

- Active requests

- Completed requests

- Average, minimum and maximum response times

- Process heap size

Of course, you should also configure alarms for the parameters above. Based on the thresholds you configure, you'll receive notifications and alarms when baseline performance standards are not met. These real-time responses provide the information you need to take immediate corrective actions.

You can also use performance graphs and reports to reveal real-time and historical views of Oracle E-Business Suite availability, health and connection time.

2. Measure Oracle Database Performance

Oracle Database is an enterprise-grade RDBMS used to host data for business-critical applications. If you want to manage the availability, performance and capacity of Oracle Database, you've got to monitor:

- Database backup status

- Oracle ASM (automatic storage management) instances

- Block corruption

- PGA (program global area) details

- Processes scheduled jobs

- Objects approaching max extents

You should also monitor performance statistics such as user activity, status, table space, SGA performance and session details — and set alarms and notifications based on those parameters. And if you monitor SQL queries, you'll be able to expose business metrics to line of business managers.

Tracking these key performance attributes in real time and/or via historical reports helps you visualize the health, availability and usage of an Oracle database server farm. When you group your databases according to the business process supported, you can help your operations team prioritize alarms as they are received.

3. Monitor Oracle Application Server and Middleware

Oracle WebLogic Application Server is one of the leading application servers in the marketplace, for both conventional and cloud environments. To diagnose and correct performance and availability problems with Oracle WebLogic application servers, you need to monitor performance statistics, such as:

- Database connection pools

- Servlets

- JVM memory usage

- User sessions

You will also want to analyze web transactions from end to end — that is, from URL to SQL queries of the web application — to see the time taken in the various tiers such as web, Java, EJB and JDBC. That analysis will make it a lot easier to troubleshoot problem areas. All you have to do is obtain the slow URLs and take a look at the trace all the way to the SQL query.

As Oracle expands its enterprise influence, you're bound to run into the company's application infrastructure sooner or later. When you do, adopt the three keys above and you'll be able to monitor the entire Oracle applications stack and gain the performance insight needed to keep your Oracle-driven business solutions running at peak efficiency and maximum performance.

Sridhar Iyengar is VP, Product Management, at ManageEngine
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