Choose one: High throughput or fast response time

Many people assume that the defaults for the Oracle parameters are just-right for their systems, not realizing the incompatible goals of optimizing for throughput vs. optimizing for fast response time.

The default in Oracle 11g for the optimizer_mode is all_rows, an optimizer mode that has the goal of maximizing total throughout by choosing SQL access plans that minimize server resources.  While this is a worthy goal, optimizing for maximum system throughput is not the same as optimizing for the fastest response time, a goal set with optimizer_mode=first_rows.

- Response time – This is a “selfish” goal; minimizing response time for individual queries, regardless of the expense to other tasks on the system.  Fast response time is often associated with index access.

- Throughput – This is a holistic system-wide optimizer goal that is concerned with optimizing your entire workload to maximize total throughout as a whole.  High throughput is often associated with parallelized large-table full-table scans.

To get the fastest response time we often need to use the first_rows optimizer_mode, a setting that directs the SQL optimizer to choose plans that start returning rows back to the calling application as quickly as possible.  Optimizing for the fastest response time often involves using indexes, an access technique that returns rows quickly but incurs more I/O operations.

The optimizer_mode is a “silver bullet” parameter, case where a single change will have a profound impact on the entire database. 

Follow the link to read more about optimizing for fast response time vs. optimizing for high system throughput:

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