Monday, June 15, 2009

compliments to metalink support

Metalink is a very positive experience.

My compliments to Oracle for their state-of-the-art 3rd generation pro-active Support system.

The good old metalink interface was Snappy and Fast and the new flash(?) interface is so clever it is just a doddle (albeit a bit obese, I do alway request for a mega-size hi-res screen, and a 3Ghz Dual-core machine, just in case).

You will notice that I cram in as much positive words as I possibly can, just to make it look like I really am a fantastic supporter of this excellent metalink support system. The search engine will love this. And may the gods of google and Redmond reward me with oodles of Good Karma, and lunches, and plane-tickets, for all this forward-facing and link-enhancing Feedback. if only I wasnt so lazy with links...

Anyway, the Rant...

Last week I had one of those refreshingly positive Metalink experiences.

An issue with "system statistics". The details are rather client/app specific, hence no further details (yet).

You know, the stats that replace Multi-block-read-count and ind_cost_adjust_perc. The stats that tell the Cost-Based-Optimizer about the underlying hardware.

System stats are the stats that get stored in SYS.AUX_STATS$ with items like CPUSPEED, MBRC, SREADTIM and MXTHR (another great feat of engineering-in-progress, the CBO). For those of you who think I'm talking about stats on the SYS schema, or just the auto-gather job: Get the Book By Christian Antognini. He has what I think is a good explanation, and the Best Strategy (best practice, if you want management speak) for gathering system-stats.

OK, so we have an Issue with this gather_system_stats. And nor metalink nor google came up with a satisfactory answer. Even a phone-call to an ACE director didnt give me a resolve (but at least we agreed on possible approaches, Thx Anjo!)

So what is a consultant to do ? I reluctantly opened an SR...

Keep Smiling, after all it is a state of the art, 4th generation, community-based, high-tech, user-driven, web 69-dot-oh support systemAfter two polite and cheerful acknowledgements (Hi I'm Joe and I will help you.... Hi I'm Tom and I will help you....) but no answer whatsoever, the third "Support Analyst" had actually searched metalink and typed (pasted) some reply. Thank you.

His first reply was to read 10 or so notes on Metalink, all related to "object stats", e.g. gather_schema and gather_table stats. My colleages had already read all of those, and I had read most. I sacrificed my time on a double-check but our answer wasnt in there.

So I had to update the SR and politely point out that my question was about SYSTEM statistcs. The ones stored in SYS.AUX_STATS$, and gathered by dbms_stats.gather_SYSTEM_stats. The stats that represent the underlying hardware configuration.

Next reply from the analyst (more metalink searching on his part) was that the gathering of stats on the SYS schema was explained in ML notes Eeeeeeh.1, Grrrrr.1 and Zzzz.1... with some obviously sensible and MC (Metalink-Correct) caveats and version-dependency remarks.

I then Icey-Politely stated I did not want to offend him, but that I would really appreciate it if he read the question and my replies again, carefully. Please-pretty-please.

Maybe the question was not that trivial, after all. I had spent a full evening in an Ice-cold shopping centre with wifi trying to find the answer myself on both metalink and google.

One Weekend further, a support analyst called my mobile number. Relief. This person at least knew approximately what system-statistics were. And he called mainly to confirm and assure that he actually understood the question (Yay - Progress!). He Did understand the Issue. And the question. And he is now looking for an answer inside Oracle.

The secret of using the CBO is to not let it eat up your time and effort. And in writing this, the CBO just cost me another 30min of my life. My mistake.

Am I Positive about Metalink ?
You Bet !

That fact alone that someone now read and understood the question, and the actual effort he displayed to now find an answer is Refreshing. It restores my faith in online-support.

And metalink-alone justifies the flat-screen TV I've requested on my desk.

Irony anyone ?
(I never was good at jokes)


Martin said...

Oh dear pdv - I notice one of your tags is "paracetamol".

Don't worry about the system stats Piet, Oracle will gather what stats it needs every night, including the ones on the sys and system user objects. It''s be fixed in the morning

PdV said...

Thanks Martin, I'll have a good night sleep on it then.

If that doesnt fix it, a painless upgrade to the latest version should do it. Our Certifiables assure me that should work and will have no side-effects.

Sort of renders my experience osolete, but hey, that is progress.

Coskan Gundogar said...

IMHO, a good presenter needs sense of humour and you got it deeply Piet :)

Thank you for sharing this funny experience.

One special thanks goes to Martin for pointing this post.

PdV said...

Hey Thanks Goskan. Nice to see you around here.

Humour needs to be shared though, and it takes readers who "get it".

And a lot of my jokes are actually trying to convey a message - of some sort. I hope.


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