SQL Oracle 10g Essentials

Motivation: New Book on Oracle 10g is Timeley Arrival

Oracle Essentials by Rick Greenwald et al, O'Reilly Press - 373 page $39

Oracle Essentials is one of those delightful books that can be recommended to a broad range of readers. Top Management will appreciate the overviews and can dive in without trepidation on specific topics. Developers will appreciate the thorough yet approachable discussion of all the ... well Oracle Essentials. And DBAs will love it because they can give it to the other 2 parties.

This book arrives at a timely juncture - when Oracle's newest version of its database gets off to a fairly smooth start while one of its major rivals, Microsoft SQL Server, suffers another 8-12 month delay in delivery. Oracle has taken advantage of this and is offer a 25 user license on DELL Server under Linux for $3700 versus $5100 for a 25user SQL Server license on Windows. Also from a technical standpoint, Oracle 10g completes a suite of parallel processing, clustering and management of DBMS capabilities that are very compelling.

Unfortunately, technical documentation direct from Oracle can be too detailed. So readers looking for a balanced yet comprehensive intro to Oracle 10g have to dig into the Oracle tech pubs and/or wander the net links piecing together a story on the state of the Oracle art.

However, Oracle Essentials provides a dispassionate and thorough executive summary of Oracle 10g database. This book is pitched above the details of SQL syntax and PL/SQL coding but right at the level of Oracle design, architecture and maangement that will be of interest to DBAs, project managers and CIOs. But developers should not shy away - because there is a strong overview of how Oracle is structured with ample details of indexing, query optimization strategies, object and spatial datatype support. As well the book does not stint on describing operations and management support - replication, warehousing, conflict reolution, journaling and backup/recovery, tuning and process management support. The coverage is thorough and makes the distinction between features available on say 9i and 10g but not available on 8i versions. Also notable changes in syntax or retired features (such as the rules-based optimizer in 10g) are highlighted.

The other feature which stands out in this book is the judicious use of diagrams and drawings to illustrate the shape of relations between tables, disks, client and server participants in a database world. In addition there is the usual O'Reilly features such as indented tips and traps that help to highlight key points along the way. But most notable, this book passed the "what to read next" test - Harry Potter and Stephen Pinker took second fiddle to Oracle Essentials.

by Jacques Surveyer, April 13,2004

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