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on 22 November 2005
It's my favourite Oracle book of the many I've read and I'm not expecting it to be surpassed any time soon.
This book takes takes a complex and essential component of the Oracle architecture, the Cost Based Optimiser, and teaches it from the basics up to the complex using an elegant tutorial style. Jonathan doesn't stint on the deep detail that's necessary to understand the subject but he doesn't baffle you with science either. You might need to read it a little more slowly and carefully than you would some third-party Oracle books and play around with the plentiful small examples (which are all available online) but that's because you're getting enough information to justify the purchase cost (and much more) and you know when you get to the end that you'll understand the subject *properly*. With that understanding, it'll be much easier to work out why the CBO is doing something that you've never seen it do before. As always with technical subjects, everything springs from the fundamentals.
No matter what your involvement with Oracle is, you can not avoid the optimiser. I bet you there'll be plenty of people in Oracle Support with this book on their desk!

If you think you're a serious Oracle professional, you should
own this book, devour the contents and experience plenty of those moments when the lights go on and you think - 'Oh, right, so *that's* why it does that'. That includes DBAs who'll learn something new about how their decisions on free lists, block sizes and so on can affect application performance. I can't imagine that there is anyone out there who won't learn something new from this book and you'll finally be able to take a *structured approach* to solving CBO problems instead of just guessing.
I think this book is an absolute classic among books about Oracle and that it’s the only book you'll ever need to truly understand the cost based optimiser (apart perhaps for Volumes Two and Three that will cover more specialised subjects).
Buy it - you won't be disappointed.
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on 12 June 2006
Outstanding and excellent book - and I'm saying this after six months of reading and re-reading, and running and studying the provided scripts, and even performing my own investigations starting from the book's test cases.

It has been surprisingly easy to understand the material, even if I didn't know most of the things discussed. Reading has flown seamlessly, not exactly like reading a novel, but close enough for a technical book about the very complex CBO - and that was something I didn't expect at all, a very very nice surprise.

The most fundamental topics (the first ones are selectivity, cardinality, etc) being right at the beginning, I didn't need to read the whole book to start using the new knowledge effectively in practice, thus getting the "morale boost" that motivated me to read the next chapter, and then the next ... adding layer after layer of knowledge.

I also *loved* the high level of detail, which is absolutely necessary to understand the complex CBO, and the precise and succinct writing style as well, which makes for an easier and quicker learning. When speaking about mathematical subjects (since the CBO is just that of course - a mathematical model), it's mandatory to be precise and detailed: vague statements would only add confusion or, worstly, misunderstanding.

To recap - I've got home a vastly improved understanding of the CBO - and for a fraction of the effort I thought it would have taken.
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on 12 December 2005
As a DBA I was really looking forward to reading this book and I wasn't disappointed. It is perhaps, a little hard-going in places, but this is not at all surprising as the subject it covers is complex.
I thought the book was well structured and very well written. Each chapter contained lots of detailed information, plenty of interesting examples and a list of downloadable scripts to illustrate the text.
All in all, I thought this was an excellent book and a very useful and comprehensive reference. It comes highly recommended and definitely deserves a place on my Oracle bookshelf.
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on 14 December 2005
As a DBA I was really looking forward to reading this book and I wasn't disappointed. It is perhaps, a little hard-going in places, but this is not at all surprising as the subject it covers is complex.
I thought the book was well structured and very well written. Each chapter contained lots of detailed information, plenty of interesting examples and a list of downloadable scripts to illustrate the text.
All in all, I thought this was an excellent book and a very useful and comprehensive reference. It comes highly recommended and definitely deserves a place on my Oracle bookshelf.
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on 24 May 2007
If you are an Oracle DBA interested in Oracle performance, then this is the book for you. I have been a DBA for more than 9 years, and have read many books on the subject of Oracle performance. I can honestly say that "Cost-Based Oracle Fundamentals", along with the Tom Kyte books, are a clear cut above the rest.

Amazingly, more than 400 pages of in depth technical coverage is described as the fundamental level - this serves as a reminder that this book is the first in a series of three, all to be written by Jonathan Lewis.

As you work your way through the book, and examine the test scripts and examples provided, it becomes apparent that Jonathan Lewis has spent many years investigating and testing Oracle, enabling him to be able to share this level of depth and knowledge.

I found that one of the shortest sections - "Appendix A, Upgrade Headaches" was very helpful for my particular day to day role as a DBA. I have always found that there is a fear of what the Optimizer has in store for you, as you upgrade from one version of Oracle to the next. Jonathan Lewis manages to cover off many Optimizer specific changes between the versions that may catch you out. This serves as a very good checklist for any DBA.

Finally, I will be reading this book again, as I need to make sure I have not overlooked anything before the second instalment arrives in the shops!
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on 8 December 2011
The book's been out a while now - but for those of us still supporting old versions of the Oracle Database, and trying to get them through upgrades, it's an invaluable tool for understanding what's going on inside the query optimizer.

It's well laid-out, the examples are clear and useful, and the source code is still available online. For anyone who's interested in how the database does what it does, it's a seriously useful resource. Even if you're working on the newer versions of Oracle (it mainly covers 8 & 9i) the principles and methods used in the book are still applicable.
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on 19 May 2007
The title of this book may lead some to believe this is a book for beginners. Think again! This is the most advanced and detailed Oracle book I have read. At points I thought that much of the material was unlikely to be of use in real life. However, within a couple of months of reading the book I was able to diagnose and resolve at least two problems that had completely stumped my predecessors. Diagnosing and resolving these problems required an understanding of material found exclusively in this book. As long as you are prepared to invest plenty of time in reading (and rereading) this book your understanding of this most important Oracle component will be transformed.
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on 10 October 2007
This is the best ever oracle book I have read. What was interesting for me the way the test scripts where written down isolating each and every aspects that make up complex task of building the execution plan. I am no DBA but as a developer hard pressed to deliver reports that needs to be running at reasonable time (sometimes ridiculously quick) this book has been a boon for me. My understanding of oracle has gone leaps and bonds. Thanks Jonathan I have recommended this to all my colleagues.
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on 15 October 2008
If you want to understand and I mean really understand the oracle CBO, beg borrow or steal this book.

It's an engaging book and very technical in places, which is absolutely how it should be. Any book that discusses the CBO and is not technical, and could be read it whilst watching `Match of the Day' is probably not worth the paper.

Every Oracle Developer, DBA, Data Architect etc should own a copy.
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on 6 July 2007
Great book for anyone looking for a deeper understanding of how Oracle chooses the best access path to the data.
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