OSWatcher integration in Trace File Analyzer (TFA)

Some time ago I wrote a post about using OSWatcher for system analysis. Neil Chandler (@ChandlerDBA) rightfully pointed out that although OSWatcher was cool, TFA was the way to go. TFA can include OSWatcher, but more importantly it adds a lot of value over and above what OSWatcher does.

I guess it depends on what you want to do-I still think that OSWatcher is a good starting point and enough for most problems on single instance systems. When it comes to clustered environments, TFA looks a lot more appealing though.

In this article I am taking a closer look at using TFA – which is part of the Oracle and TFA is automatically updated as part of the quarterly patches, which is nice because the default/base release does not seem to be working properly. Thankfully TFA can be patched outside the regular patch cycle.

What is TFA?

Using OSWatcher for system diagnostics

OSWatcher is a superb tool that gathers information about your system in the background and stores it in an (optionally compressed) archive directory. As an Oracle DBA I like the analogy with statspack: you make the tool available on the host in a location with – very important – enough available disk space and then start it. Most users add it to the startup mechanism their O/S uses- SysV init, upstart, or systemd for example on Linux to allow it to start in the background. OSWatcher will then gather a lot of the interesting O/S related statistics that you so desperately need in an “after the fact” situation. There are plenty of reasons where you might want that information.

Example use cases