Oracle performance on RAW or VxFS with QIO/ODM.

The RAW vs COOKED debate that has been going on for some time. You will find little argument which is more efficient at caching DB buffers. If and Oracle process can get a block by doing a block get, this uses much less code than issuing an IO and getting it from the UFS cache. If this is the case, why have I ran into numerous DBAs that have tried Raw once but saw worse or no performance improvement from RAW?

Further investigation usually reveals that the FS cache was providing caching benefit, that was not able to be realized within Oracle. Without modifying the SGA size and possibly storage parameters on active tables/indexes, it is hard to realize any benefit with Raw.

A good place to start is by looking at your largest objects. If your statistics are current, you can use the following SQL. OEM also does a good job of showing table sizes.
SQL> select table_name, CACHE, num_rows, BLOCKS/128 MB 
     from all_tables
     order by MB desc
/
TABLE_NAME                     CACHE   NUM_ROWS         MB
------------------------------ ----- ---------- ----------
BIGACTIVETABLE                     N   20000000 13258.2891
LOOKUP                             Y      50000   150.5703
...
Also, You need to know the index sizes so..
SQL> select index_name,
            num_rows,
            leaf_blocks/128 MB ,
            BUFFER_POOL
     from all_indexes
     where owner = 'STSC'
     order by MB desc
/
INDEX_NAME                       NUM_ROWS         MB BUFFER_
------------------------------ ---------- ---------- -------
BIGACTIVETABLE_PK                20000000  9245.6875 DEFAULT
....
Since we now know what the largest tables and indexes are, we should expect to see them in the buffer cache. This can be done by querying the v$bh table.
SQL> SELECT object_name, count(\*)/128 MB 
     FROM v$bh, all_objects
     WHERE object_id=objd
     GROUP BY object_name
     ORDER BY MB desc
/

OBJECT_NAME                            MB
------------------------------ ----------
LOOKUP                          120.09375
BIGACTIVETABLE                  100.98438
BIGACTIVETABLE_PK                75.23438
....
Notice that "BIGACTIVETABLE" and it's index are not being cached very well. This is due to the fact that the storage parameter on the table and index are set to "NO CACHE". This causes Oracle to not actively try to cache these blocks. By alter these storage parameters
"alter table BIGACTIVETABLE cache;"
and increasing the SGA, these tables and indexes can use more Oracle buffer cache. Note, that you can also separate objects into the DEFAULT, KEEP, and RECYCLE buffer pools. Statspack reports calculate hit ratios for the DEFAULT, KEEP, are RECYCLE buffer pools separately. I tend to put all objects I am actively trying to KEEP into the KEEP pool so I can figure my caching efficiency via statspack.

I hope this helps inspire you to give this a try. It is not black magic, give it a try.

Take Care,
Glenn
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This blog discusses performance topics as running on Sun servers. The main focus is in database performance and architecture but other topics can and will creep in.

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