Friday, November 28, 2014

Oracle 12c Performance Certification Released to Beta

The first of the new expert exams that I wrote about back in May has just entered beta.  1Z1-064: Oracle Database 12c: Performance Management and Tuning is the 12c update to the legacy exam 1Z0-054: Oracle Database 11g: Performance Tuning. The beta is currently scheduled to run until late February. Betas are often extended if not enough candidates take the exam by the original deadline to provide a good statistical sample. However, I expect this exam will be popular enough that the exam may close on its original deadline.

I compared the topics of 1Z0-064 with 1Z0-054. Not surprisingly, the two lists are closely related, with the 12c exam being largely a refinement of the 11g incarnation.  Some of the difference between the two exams include:

Added topics:

  • Implement Real-Time Database Operation Monitoring
  • Understand and configure the Database Resource Manager

Removed Topics:

  • Identify performance issues & set tuning priorities
  • Interpret tuning diagnostics  
  • Tune for life cycle phase 
  • Using Statspack
  • Use Enterprise Manager Monitoring  
  • Identify the key tuning components of the alert logs 

I find it interesting that Statspack was removed. Obviously AWR is Oracle's preferred performance tuning solution. However, unless that stops being a separately licensed option, a significant number of Oracle DBAs will continue to use Statspack for diagnosing performance problems.  Ignoring this popular tuning option comes across as petty to me.

The 12c exam has considerably fewer topics than the 11g version (32 vs 54). Much of this comes in the form of topic consolidation. In several instances there are subjects that were split into several separate topics in 1Z0-054 that have been rolled into a single topic in 1Z0-064. Some examples include:

  • Configure and manage services 
  • Use services with client applications, Database Resource Manager and Scheduler 
  • Configure services aggregation, tracing, and set performance-metric thresholds

Rolled into:

  • Configure and use services to monitor database performance

  • Describe the buffer cache architecture
  • Explain the symptoms that indicate a buffer cache problem   
  • Tune the buffer cache for performance issues 
Rolled into:
  • Diagnose and resolve performance issues related to the buffer cache
I consider it unlikely that the information being tested on these consolidations has changed significantly. Most likely the questions have all simply been consolidated into a large bucket.

Performance is always a major factor for enterprise databases. No organization ever objects to their applications running faster or data being available more rapidly. This certification provides one more way for Oracle Database administrators to expand on their skill set.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Finally! The revised version of my 1Z0-047 Study Guide is complete and published.

When I found out about the changes being made to the 1Z0-047 exam (and reported on it in this blog), I pulled up the master document for my SQL Expert study guide and outlined the changes that needed to be made in order for it to be comprehensive enough for the new exam. It really should not have taken me this long to complete the revisions, but it did. I had originally hoped to get an updated book into print before the revised topics even made it to production. That plan went out the window two months ago...

Be that as it may, the guide is done now.  Part of what took so long was that the deeper I got into the revision process, the further I went beyond my original intent. Ultimately, a hefty percentage of the guide ended up being revised and expanded. This was one of the earliest study guides in the Oracle Certification Prep series. Since creating it, I have gotten much better at the process. In addition, I have created a standard set of formatting rules used in creating books in the series -- which this guide did not follow at all.

While this project took longer than I planned, I am very happy with the result. The organization is cleaner. I have added more examples and reworded some paragraphs that I felt were not clear enough in the original. The guide published this afternoon is 40% larger than the original and none of the new content is 'fluff'. I hope that anyone who purchases the revised guide will find that it is a valuable resource in preparing for the exam.