The OpenEdge DBA Files

Secrets of Database Startup Parameters – Part One of Two

Many are the secret societies in the human race: the Knights Templar, The Masons, The Department of Motor Vehicles…all carry a rich history of secrets and rituals both mysterious and inscrutable. One of the most secretive of such groups is that of the OpenEdge Database Administrators. Follow us, and you too may join their ranks.

So many parameters – what do they mean? Which should I use? Which shouldn’t I use? What are the secret magic values?

Database Buffers (-B)

The DBA equivalent of buying flowers for your wife – more is better…to a point. You want it to be big enough to hold the “working set” of data: the orders, invoices, pick-lists, etc. that your business needs right now to function efficiently.

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Video Series: Monitoring Part 4 – Transaction Scope

Poor transaction scope and BI growth: the evil twins conspiring to crash your database! Take our word for it…we know.

Sometimes it’s bad code, sometimes it’s bad luck, but either way, Tom shows you how to protect your business against the potentially disastrous effects of out-of-control transactions.

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BogoMIPS Saves the Day

It all started on Monday evening when the Out Of Memory (OOM) killer decided to kill the database broker process, _mprosrv. Given the circumstances, it was suggested that we “just” reboot. “Just” is a four-letter word. Whenever you hear “just,” you should prepare yourself…

So we rebooted…

… and, of course, it took longer than expected. Forty-five minutes to shut down (mostly to “deactivate” swap), and then, since the server hadn’t been rebooted for 2 years, the filesystems needed another 45 minutes for an fsck. Ok, that was painful, but at least we have a nice clean system to restart the db.

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The Smoking Gun

We got a call from a company that had been trying for months to find out how, where and why their system was slow. They had already spent thousands of dollars with system and OpenEdge consultants, all to no avail. ProTop found and reported the root cause in the first hour.

First thing first: record statistics

As we always do (and so should you!), we installed and configured ProTop to record as many statistics as possible for Progress and the operating system. As the first data points were coming in to the web portal, ProTop was already showing a few things worth digging into. (Quick note: most of the data shown below are available in the free version of ProTop, but this was a paid services engagement so some of the data and graphs shown below were provided by the commercial version of ProTop).

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SuperGeek Video Series: the -hash Parameter

The -hash parameter is one of those little-known, often misunderstood parameters that can cause you a LOT of pain if set incorrectly. Trust us, we’ve seen it kill performance on numerous occasions!

Check out the video below and JC’s blog post “The Smoking Gun” (2021-07-05) where he talks about a real-world production environment where they just couldn’t figure out why performance was sooooo bad!



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User Died, DB Crashed, Business MAD!

Anyone who has been around the OpenEdge world for a while has had to face the dreaded “User died holding shared memory latch. ABNORMAL SHUTDOWN” crash. While this sometimes happens as a result of a Progress OpenEdge bug, more often than not it’s a human error. Here are three key points to understand in order to minimize the chance of crashing your database when trying to terminate a shared memory client.


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