Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Why is it always the database?

When something is slow, why do we always point to the database? A computer system is so much more than "the application" and "the database". It's networks, routers, disks, memory, array controllers, middle-tiers, JDBC Drivers, Operating Systems, and client versions (which, usually comes round to "It's Oracle/MySQL, fix it"). Come to think of it, it's pretty amazing that we get decent performance at all.

Everybody is guilty of it from the novice to the experience person who knows better. Heck, I am sometimes guilty of it myself.

I'll get a call, "Application XYZ is slow, is the database OK?"

"Let me check."

A couple minutes later I indicate everything is fine on my end. I hear three days later that "XYZ was slow because of the database". Argh. Next time that person needs help tuning a query he'll get pointed to the documentation for EXPLAIN PLAN.

Why do we always point to the database first? Is it because the database is usually the guilty party? Or do we point fingers at what we don't understand?

Friday, June 15, 2007


Got a spike in hits on the blog in the last couple of days. I dug through the hits and found that a lot of people were coming from I followed the most frequent URL and discovered that my post on Multiple Listeners had been linked to an article by Bill Cullen.