Real Application Testing Certified With E-Business Suite

Like Advanced Compression, Oracle Real Application Testing is one of the new Oracle Database 11gR1 Enterprise Edition options that's generating a lot of excitement amongst E-Business Suite users.  This separately-licenced 11gR1 Database option has real potential to streamline and accelerate testing cycles for database upgrades.

I'm pleased to announce that Oracle Real Application Testing is certified with Oracle Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i and 12.  E-Business Suite users can follow the standard database documentation for implementing Real Application Testing in their environments.

Diagram showing how Database Replay can be used to capture a workload and then replay it on a different test database

What's Real Application Testing?

Real Application Testing combines Database Replay, a workload capture and replay feature, with a SQL performance analyzer to help you test database tier changes.

Of the two components in Real Application Testing, I find the Database Replay module to be especially compelling, since this is where some real benefits are to be had. The SQL Performance Analyzer is interesting too, but I'll be focusing on the Database Replay part for the remainder of this article

From the official Database Replay documentation:

When workload capture is enabled, all external client requests directed to Oracle Database are tracked and stored in binary files—called capture files—on the file system. You can specify the location where the capture files will be stored. Once workload capture begins, all external database calls are written to the capture files. The capture files contain all relevant information about the client request, such as SQL text, bind values, and transaction information. Background activities and database scheduler jobs are not captured. These capture files are platform independent and can be transported to another system.

... Once the workload is replayed, in-depth reporting is provided for you to perform detailed analysis of both workload capture and replay.

The report summary provides basic information about the workload capture and replay, such as errors encountered during replay and data divergence in rows returned by DML or SQL queries. A comparison of several statistics—such as database time, average active sessions, and user calls—between the workload capture and the workload replay is also provided. For advanced analysis, Automatic Workload Repository (AWR) reports are available to enable detailed comparison of performance statistics between the workload capture and the workload replay.

How Could Apps Customers Use This?

E-Business Suite customers can use Database Replay to record all database traffic from the EBS applications tier to the database tier during a standard User Acceptance testing cycle.  This recorded session can then be "played back" on another snapshot of the pre-testing database.  One particularly cool aspect of being able to "replay" the captured database traffic is that no application tier is needed for the second test environment.  Important note:  capture files can only be replayed on 11gR1 or higher databases.

One possible scenario for testing an EBS database upgrade from the 10.2.0.4 Database to 11.1.0.6:

A. Record a Database Replay session against a "known good" reference environment:

  1. Take a snapshot of your E-Business Suite 11.5.10.2 + 10.2.0.4 Database testbed.
  2. Turn on Database Replay and ask your end-users to run their usual User Acceptance Tests on your testbed.

B. Now you're ready to replay that recorded session against the new testbed:

  1. Upgrade your snapshot to the 11.1.0.6 Database
  2. Run the recorded Database Replay session against the upgraded database

In this scenario, the upgraded database was tested without either an application tier or the involvement of your end-users.

Other scenarios where this would be useful include:

  • Applying Critical Patch Updates to your E-Business Suite database
  • Applying emergency patches to your E-Business Suite database
  • Testing whether a new database server configuration works the same as the previous one
  • Testing a database tier server migration from one platform to another
  • Benchmarking the performance of one database server configuration against another

Workload Capture Restrictions

The Real Application Testing documentation notes that the following types of client requests are not captured in a workload:

  • Direct path load of data from external files using utilities such as SQL*Loader
  • Shared server requests (Oracle MTS)
  • Oracle Streams
  • Advanced replication streams
  • Non-PL/SQL based Advanced Queuing (AQ)
  • Flashback queries
  • Oracle Call Interface (OCI) based object navigations
  • Non SQL-based object access
  • Distributed transactions (any distributed transactions that are captured will be replayed as local transactions)

Your Feedback Requested

Some Oracle technologies require special interoperability patches before they can be used in E-Business Suite environments.  Real Application Clusters (RAC) is a good example of this.  We provide best practices papers and interoperability patches for those technologies as needed.

Like our eagerly-anticipated 11gR1 Advanced Compression certification, Real Application Testing is transparent to the running application.  In other words, Real Application Testing does not require any special interoperability patches or special implementation steps when used with E-Business Suite environments.

That said, our certification and QA teams within Oracle E-Business Suite Development are in the early stages of trying out this technology internally.  If we come across any special "gotchas" or useful tips specific to Apps testing, we'll put together a Metalink Note with the details. 

Likewise, if you come up with any special tips for using Real Application Testing with Apps, please feel free to post them as comments or email them to me directly.

References

Related Articles

Comments:

Hi Steven,

Rapid Applications Testing is a feature in 10.2.0.4 also as per http://download.oracle.com/docs/cd/B19306_01/server.102/b14211/wcr.htm#CJGFEBAE.

Does that mean we can use it on 10.2.0.4 and 11i also ?

- Vikram

Posted by Vikram Das on November 12, 2008 at 06:45 AM PST #

Hi Vikram,

You can use Database Replay to record a workload capture on 10.2.0.4. You can replay this recorded session on the 11.1.0.6 database and higher. It isn't possible to replay that on 10.2.0.4 databases.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on November 13, 2008 at 03:31 AM PST #

We were advised that the DB Replay will encounter errors in certain areas with Ebusiness Suite due to the synchronization of the Concurrent Manager routed transactions.

is the above statement correct?
Manoj

Posted by guest on June 30, 2011 at 06:04 PM PDT #

Hi, Manoj,

In our internal testing of older releases of this tool, we found that a small percentage of transactions recorded with Database Replay would not play back. Some of those are due to the issue you've noted. If memory serves, there may be other potential issues, too. The number of transactions that couldn't be replayed was a very small percentage of the total transactions.

The Database Replay team has been steadily working through those issues. I don't know where they stand on that. It's possible that the small number of "unplayable" transactions has become even smaller today.

I think it really depends upon your environment and transactional mix that you're trying to test. I would recommend giving it a try to see how this works for you.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on July 01, 2011 at 02:38 AM PDT #

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