As mentioned in Parts 1
there are several relatively easy steps you can take to improve performance. One
of those steps involves using an automated tool to "guide" you in writing SQL
statements. There are several vendors who manufacture analysis or performance
tuning tools, and in the next two articles, we will look at one of them.
Many DBAs and developers use
a tool named Toad, produced by Quest Software. According to a statement at
Quest Software's Web site, the Toad user community numbers around 500,000
users. One of Toad's features is its ability to optimize SQL queries. In other
words, Oracle Corporation does not own the market on tuning advisor type of
Knowing that you have
several choices with respect to advisory tools, and understanding what it is
they do, what do you use them on if you are not working in a production or
development environment? And perhaps just as likely, even if you are in a
development environment, you may not have any bulk data to use. Generating bulk
or large amounts of data is the focus of this article, and the tool we will
look at for this purpose is another Quest Software product: DataFactory® for Oracle.
The purpose of DataFactory
is to "quickly create meaningful test data for multiple database platforms."
The platforms include Oracle, DB2, Sybase and any ODBC compliant database.
Normally retailing at $595 per server, a free 30-day version is available for
download at Quest Software's Web site.
To obtain the software
(current version of 5.5.0), you must register using a "real" email address. Hotmail
and Gmail addresses were rejected, but Comcast went through just fine. Once you
register, you will receive an email that contains a key to unlock the
application and start the 30-day free trial clock.
The installation process is
quick and straightforward. If you are running Microsoft AntiSpyware, you may
receive one or more errors. Disable the real time protection and attempt to
Creating Tutorial Objects
An excellent way to get to
know the application is to use its tutorial objects. The general process is to:
Create a project
Create tables in a schema
Run a script to load data
Unfortunately, an excellent
way to get a refresher on disabling system-named referential constraints is to
use the built-in tutorial objects. Using an iterative process, you can disable
constraints one at a time until the load script runs through without error. However,
while Quest is working on fixing this bug, we can take a short excursion into
identifying and disabling a constraint.
After starting DataFactory,
you can choose to start the tutorial. The instructions on how to load the
tutorial objects (as is all help) are in HTML files.
The instructions from the
help system state that the tables are populated. That is not correct. The
tables (15 in all, named using a "DF_" prefix) are populated after an
Prior to creating the
tables, you may want to create a separate schema in your database. Using
Oracle10g, I created a user/schema owner named quest (granting connect and
resource will be sufficient). You will be prompted for a username/password
combination and database information.
Tools>Create Tutorial Obects
- the Tutorial Setup Wizard
appears (with its own version of the Oracle logo).
A list of tables appears on
the Finish Page.
Upon successful creation, DataFactory
tells you so.
The project folder appears
in the left frame
Click the Run button on the
main menu. The ORA-02291 integrity constraint violated error will appear quite
a few times (some tables more than once) because the loaded data in a foreign
key-designated column does not correspond with data in a parent table. Almost
all of the constraints use the SYS_Cxxxxxx naming structure, meaning they are
not explicitly named.
To work around the integrity
constraint violation, you can disable the constraint (once you know which table
to alter). The query and ALTER TABLE statement below show one method to
identify and disable the problem constraint.
SQL> select owner, constraint_name, table_name, column_name
2 from all_cons_columns
3 where constraint_name like '%9814%';
OWNER CONSTRAINT_NAME TABLE_NAME COLUMN_NAME
----- ------------------------------ -------------------- ------------
QUEST SYS_C009814 DF_ORDERS CUSTID
SQL> alter table df_orders
2 disable constraint sys_c009814;
The Results window showing
that your project-named script has completed successfully means we are ready to
start looking around at what was created.
Instead of analyzing each
table one at a time, use the DBMS_STATS built-in (which Oracle recommends to
use for most analyze operations). If you are using Oracle10g, you may want to
add a WHERE dropped='NO' to prevent dropped tables from appearing in queries on
user_tables or tab (as an example).
SQL> execute dbms_stats.gather_schema_stats('QUEST');
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.
SQL> select table_name, num_rows
2 from user_tables
3 where dropped='NO';
15 rows selected.
Back in the project
hierarchy or list of tables, selecting a table in the list will show its
columns and their datatypes (you may have to toggle between the Children and
Results tabs at the bottom of the application).
Using the DF_MOVIE_CUSTOMER
table as an example, how does its data look? The "random characters" option
definitely produces exactly that.
More on the Tutorial Tables
Are there any indexes on the
foreign key columns?
SQL> select index_name, table_name, column_name, column_position
2 from user_ind_columns;
INDEX_NAME TABLE_NAME COLUMN_NAME COLUMN_POSITION
------------ -------------------- -------------------- ---------------
SYS_C009823 DF_MOVIE_DISTRICT DISTRICTID 1
SYS_C009827 DF_MOVIE_STORE STOREID 1
SYS_C009830 DF_MOVIE_EMPLOYEE EMPID 1
SYS_C009837 DF_MOVIE_CUSTOMER CUSTID 1
SYS_C009841 DF_MOVIE_MOVIE MOVIEID 1
SYS_C009845 DF_MOVIE_TAPE TAPEID 1
SYS_C009850 DF_MOVIE_RENTAL TAPEID 1
SYS_C009850 DF_MOVIE_RENTAL CUSTID 2
SYS_C009850 DF_MOVIE_RENTAL RENTDATE 3
SYS_C009810 DF_CUSTOMERS CUSTID 1
SYS_C009813 DF_ORDERS ORDERID 1
SYS_C009816 DF_PRODUCTS PRODUCTID 1
SYS_C009819 DF_ORDERDETAILS ORDERID 1
SYS_C009819 DF_ORDERDETAILS PRODUCTID 2
14 rows selected.
What does the output
suggest? You can immediately identify the fact that for one, not every table
has a primary key. There are 15 tables, but only 14 rows (or 11 distinct tables
as some indexes are composites). Why do we know this? Because one of the
benefits of creating a primary key is that you get an index for free. If you
disabled all of the referential integrity constraints that arise in the load
script, what else might you suspect?
Oracle recommends indexing
foreign key columns as they are frequently used in joins, and the general rule
is to index columns used in WHERE clauses (which is obviously where joins are
listed). Given the lack of indexes, your suspicion should be that the "create
table" component of the tutorial tables does not index foreign key columns.
The query below shows the
table name/column name foreign keys (they all have position 1 meaning only a
single column was used).
SQL> select a.constraint_name, b.constraint_type,
2 a.table_name, a.column_name
3 from user_cons_columns a, all_constraints b
4 where a.constraint_name=b.constraint_name
5 and constraint_type = 'R';
CONSTRAINT_NAME C TABLE_NAME COLUMN_NAME
---------------- - -------------------- -------------
SYS_C009831 R DF_MOVIE_EMPLOYEE SUPERVISORID
SYS_C009828 R DF_MOVIE_STORE DISTRICTID
SYS_C009821 R DF_ORDERDETAILS PRODUCTID
SYS_C009820 R DF_ORDERDETAILS ORDERID
DFMOVIESTOREFK2 R DF_MOVIE_STORE MANAGERID
SYS_C009852 R DF_MOVIE_RENTAL TAPEID
SYS_C009851 R DF_MOVIE_RENTAL CUSTID
SYS_C009838 R DF_MOVIE_CUSTOMER STOREID
SYS_C009814 R DF_ORDERS CUSTID
SYS_C009846 R DF_MOVIE_TAPE MOVIEID
DFMOVIEEMPFK2 R DF_MOVIE_EMPLOYEE STOREID
11 rows selected.
The end result? Suspicion
confirmed; the foreign keys were not indexed.
From a management or
maintenance perspective, why are only two of the referential integrity
constraints explicitly named while the rest are system named? As it turns out,
of the 51 constraints in this schema, these happen to be the only two user
The key point to take away
from this exploration of a tool such as DataFactory is that while the tool (or
a script you create) can generate millions of rows of test or sample data, what
good is any of it if it misses the boat on referential integrity or other best
practices with respect to data modeling? If you are trying to tune queries for
an application, the test data needs to reflect how the application uses it. If you
are relying on referential integrity, your test data needs to support and honor
parent table-child table relationships.
From a design standpoint, two
best practices that were violated include failure to index foreign key columns,
and failure to explicitly name three major items (primary keys, foreign keys,
and indexes). A possible third violation concerns not having a primary key on
every table. Does every table in a schema require a primary key? No, but for
the most part, every table (to support normalization) should, and if not, you
should at least know why. Put another way, to not normalize a table should be a
conscious decision, not an oversight.
See All Articles by Columnist Steve Callan