You have to love software marketing.
Imagine buying a new car. In the new car comes leather seats, A/C, and a killer sound system. After driving it around for a few days, you get a reminder from the dealership:
The leather seats, A/C, and sound system are separately licensed products. Please pay the license fees or remove these add-ons from your vehicle.
Ouch! Thank goodness this doesn’t happen in the auto industry. There are, however, two industries where this type of marketing occurs every day: drug dealing and software sales. We’ll focus on software.
This time’s on me
You’ve downloaded your Oracle version of choice and run the installer. You ran DBCA, set up a listener, and you’re good to go. But what’s this? This automatic workload repository is amazing! So much historical data, right at your fingertips! Historic views via detailed reports that resemble Statspack on steroids, stunning visuals in the Performance tab of OEM!
Not so fast, buddy. After your initial taste, you might be hooked. But if you want to keep using these features, it comes with a cost. And that cost is going up, up, up.
This one’s going to cost you extra
As this article notes, the cost of these built-in packs are going up. The diagnostic, tuning, and database configuration packs are going up in price from $3,500 to $5,000.
Interesting…is it coincidence this change comes around the same time as announcements regarding the killer whale modeled Oculus or inifinity loop modeled Infinitas?
Just kidding Larry, you know I love you.
Going through withdrawal
If you can’t get the managerial approval to purchase these packs, the Performance tab will have to be grayed out in OEM and you won’t be able to use any AWR-powered features (AWR, ADDM, ASH). This article has a better breakdown.
However, you’re not left without options. You’ve still got Statspack, which DBAs have been loving since Oracle 8i. Statspack is not as intensive as AWR, but it is still getting better by version and is free to use without purchasing extra packs. You also have the trusty V$ and DBA_ views to aid in your tuning efforts. While not as comprehensive for real-time tuning as ASH, you can glean a great deal of information from them.
If you still find you can’t survive without the pretty graphs and in-depth information provided by the tuning packs, there are other possibilities. Third-party tools exist which allow you to delve into your system’s performance woes. Unfortunately many of these tools require AWR, meaning you still have to pay for the Oracle packs to use them. One tool which allows both AWR and Statspack use is Ion for Oracle; I’m a bit partial to it, as I helped write the software.
With Ion, both AWR and Statspack (when possible) can be used to visualize important data:
If you’re interested in looking into Ion, visit the website (not via the contact form on this site).
Don’t take this post to mean I disapprove of Oracle’s methods. It’s an absolutely brilliant marketing method, and most of the shops I’ve worked with were hooked on AWR after the first try. One DBA I met went hardcore on his manager and said (and I quote), “you can have my diagnostics pack when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.”
However, for those of you stuck without AWR, you’re not alone. And with the increase in price for these packs, you might have a few new friends soon.