The Blackboard AcademicSuiteTM and Quest SoftwareMonitor and DiagnoseDatabase Performance Issuesof Your High-performancee-Learning ApplicationsBlackboard Performance Engineering
BLACKBOARD PERFORMANCE ENGINEERINGAcademic IT professionals who work with the Blackboard Academic Suite™ spend a great deal of timemaintaining control over their deployment environments due to constant change. The Blackboard AcademicSuite is an enterprise application supporting several deployment environments running Microsoft® Windows®operating systems with a Microsoft SQL Server™ database or Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® and Sun Solaris™operating systems running with an Oracle® database. There are many factors that impact the environmentincluding hardware upgrades and maintenance, software upgrades and service packs, as well as changes inadoption and growth. The database and its underlying code are at the core of your Blackboard AcademicSuite solution. The assignment of managing an enterprise database can be daunting to database and systemadministrators alike.A primary function of a database administrator is to maintain the health and stability of the database,ensuring optimum efficiency and performance while managing the impact of database changes. Databaseadministrators are responsible for: • Installing and configuring databases • Maintaining the database—managing back-ups, extending data files and storage, adding and removing database users, auditing, and reviewing the database for security problems • Ensuring the performance of the environment and keeping database response times within required service levels • Installing new software, service packs and patches specifically for the database and testing these installations before deploying to production • Imposing standards and procedures for data storage and growth • Acting as a liaison to systems administrators, analysts, and programmers to add new applications or upgrades to the databaseQuest Software’s Spotlight® discovers performance bottlenecks in your database environment both in real-time and historically. Spotlight is extremely flexible and capable of providing performance diagnostics onthe Oracle, Oracle RAC and SQL Server database platforms, as well as DB2, Sybase and MySQL. Spotlightcuts through the complexity of the database environment and graphically portrays the performance statusfor administrators, enabling familiarity with the environment regardless of experience level. Spotlightautomatically sets a baseline of normal activity for each database environment and calibrates its displaysaccordingly. You can also set thresholds and alarms relative to these baselines. Blackboard’s PerformanceEngineering and Architecture team uses Spotlight in house daily, including Spotlight on Oracle, Spotlight onOracle RAC and Spotlight on SQL Server.The responsibilities of database administrators are becoming more and more diversified with the additionof technologies to the IT business unit. Business-critical databases include more than just Oracle with theexpansion of Oracle RAC and the rapid growth of Microsoft SQL Server in the production environment. Eachof these environments comes with its own specific performance concerns, which can be overwhelming withoutthe proper tools to quickly diagnose performance issues and empower administrators to bring issues toresolution with minimal impact on service levels.For the Oracle environment, Spotlight on Oracle: • Provides a visual representation of process flows within Oracle instances, allowing observation of database activity in real time. • Displays all important information in one place, including actual database and operating system activity. • Allows historical playback of Oracle performance to understand and troubleshoot past performance issues. • Visually identifies bottlenecks and provides extensive drill-down capabilities to understand the root of a performance issue. • Increases the effectiveness of staff with expert help delivered with the product. • Enables you to see all critical database components on one screen. • Displays the details of problem areas including top sessions, inefficient SQL, locks, latches, wait events and disk I/O. • Measures the performance and efficiency of ASM (Automatic Storage Management). • Provides detailed performance metrics and alarming for Oracle performance issues.
BLACKBOARD PERFORMANCE ENGINEERINGOracle databases existing in a Real Application Cluster environment offer another layer of complexity tomonitoring performance of the database by including cluster-related performance concerns. Spotlight onOracle RAC removes this layer of complexity.Spotlight on Oracle RAC provides all the functionality of Spotlight on Oracle, as well as additionalfunctionality specifically for RAC: • Provides a visual representation of process flows within Real Application Clusters, allowing observation of activity in real time. • Displays everything important in one place, including actual database and operating system activity on each node. • Diagnoses RAC performance from three key perspectives: o Individual node o Cluster as a single database o Interconnect load, latency and overhead • Visually identifies bottlenecks and provides extensive drill-down capabilities to understand the root of a performance issue. • Increases the effectiveness of staff with expert help for RAC that’s delivered with the product. • Enables you to see all critical RAC components on one screen. • Provides an historical record of performance of the cluster for analysis and playback of past performance problems. • Provides detailed performance metrics and customized alarming for RAC environments.