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When It REALLY Is the Database to Blame for Bad Performance

A Story About Slow Statements and Resulting Connection Pool Issues

Far too often "the database" is blamed for impacting performance and scalability of applications. In many cases, however, it turns out that it's not the database itself, but the way the database is accessed by the application. Common problem patterns are requesting too much data, inefficient queries, lack of data caching, and waste connection usage, for example.

But, there are cases where the database is to be blamed. This is the scenario of the following story one of our customers shared with me:

The company runs 4 JVMs in a WebLogic cluster with each of them having a connection pool to its Oracle database with 20 max connections. They have setup proper application monitoring which includes both system monitoring and application and real user monitoring. Here is what happened on December 16th at 2PM.

Step 1: Alerting on Connection Pool Exhaustion
As part of its application monitoring, the team members are watching connection pool stats from WebLogic via JMX. They look at measures such as ActiveConnectionsCurrentCount, ActiveConnectionsHighCount as well as ConnectionDelayTime. Besides having these metrics on a dynaTrace dashboard that shows them pool usage per JVM over time they also have an automatic alert configured that triggers when a pool is exhausted. This alert triggered at 2:06PM.

The alert triggered at 2:06PM when the first connection pool was exhausted.

If you would like to read more tips and insights on

Step 2: Identifying Long Running SQL

Step 3: Fixing Database Table Statistics

click here!

And If you are interested in more problem patterns around database I encourage you to read some of our other blogs on database related performance topics and also check out our series of Hibernate blogs as we often see E/R Mappers as performance problems in enterprise applications.

More Stories By Andreas Grabner

Andreas Grabner has been helping companies improve their application performance for 15+ years. He is a regular contributor within Web Performance and DevOps communities and a prolific speaker at user groups and conferences around the world. Reach him at @grabnerandi

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