ProTop Newsletter April 2021

Welcome to our monthly ProTop newsletter, where you’ll find out what’s new, tips and tricks and other cool ways to use both the free and commercial versions of ProTop.

Today we’re releasing the latest version of ProTop, so read on to find out about some cool new features in pt3.14159.

Custom Startup Screens

ProTop RT has always started with 4 panels: Dashboard, Table Activity, Index Activity and User IO Activity. The startup can now be customized through the XTRASTART environment variable in the localenv file. Place any startup key commands that you would like automatically processed in this variable. For example, if you set XTRASTART=”cuwa”, this will simulate starting ProTop RT, then hitting “c”, “u”, “w” and “a”, effectively replacing the Dashboard panel with the Configuration panel, dismissing the User IO Activity panel, and adding the Latches panel and Areas panel.


New Information in the Active Transaction Panel

The “notes” section of ActiveTRX (the “x” screen) was updated to show table name being waited for (if known) and CSC info (if available).


Screen Repaint

A “screen refresh” function was assigned to the “Z” key. This clears and then redraws the screen. It is useful if some external function messes up your screen or if you are one of those “nervous mouse” people who incessantly shuffles the mouse around randomly clicking stuff and occasionally inadvertently resizes your window. The window size cannot be changed after ProTop starts (this is a Progress limitation) but at least you can restore it to normal and then refresh it with “Z”.


Silly <Help> Buttons in Dialogs

The -debugalert parameter was removed from our ProTop RT startup scripts as it wasn’t providing any value. What it was doing was adding that silly “help” button to message dialogs which only confused people by offering a stack trace rather than anything that might be mistaken for help.


_ActBuffer vs _ActSummary Use in Calculations

An option was added to replace references to _actBuffer with near equivalents from _actSummary in dc/dashboard.p OE11.7+ have some new fields in _actBuffer that are calculated by scanning -B. If you have a very large buffer pool this can take several seconds. Add “export USEACTBUFF=no” to the localenv file to switch to _actSummary fields. You will lose “logical writes” and “lru writes” (aka “evicted buffers”) if you do this. dc/b2.p and dc/bigb.p will continue to use _actBuffer but they are not active by default.


Numeric Support in Alert Filters

Alert filters were updated to support numeric fields. This change also removes the “quoted string” requirement for filters. If you are using filters in your alerts, you will need to modify any existing alerts by removing the enclosing quotes.


Improved SyncioMB

syncIOMB was improved to agree better with what you would report by executing the “dd” method. Basically this was just a matter of changing from dividing the time in seconds into 96MB to 100.7 to reflect that MB <> MiB (IOW, the age-old issue of 1024 vs 1000).


Pro2 Monitoring Enhancements

The Pro2 data collector was enhanced to break out individual replication queues and configuration variables were added to the localenv file to customize behavior:

export PRO2QSKIP2SEQ=0 # Skip to replQueue sequence#
                       # IOW skip orphans, 0 = don't skip any

export PRO2QCOUNTLIM=1000 # Do not count every record in the
                          # replication queue if it is deeper
                          # than this

export PRO2QESTIMATE=yes # Estimate queue depth proportionally
                         # when queues get too deep to count

If Pro2QEstimate is set to “no” then the values that Pro2 occasionally stores in replControl will be used (these tend to be very stale because they are not updated very often).

If you have previously used the “Pro2Activity” data collector for alerting you should change to use “Pro2Queues”. The “Pro2Activity” data collector will be removed in a future release.


Enhanced DB Parameters Report

The “db parameters” report (R) was enhanced to include remote servers and non-parameter physical characteristics such as block sizes, enabled features, and db structure.


New OSInfo Data

“Swappiness”, “committed_as” and power management indication were added to OSInfo. This is currently specific to Linux. A power management indicator should be possible for Windows in the next release.


Connection Timeout

An optional localenv file parameter CNXPARAM was added to be passed to the portal connection. This might be useful if networking issues necessitate the use of “-clientConnectTimeout” or similar options.


New Comparison Operators

Applies to the commercial version of ProTop Monitoring and Alerting: in addition to the existing character comparison operators such as “matches” and “begins”, new character comparison operators “longer” and “shorter”  were added to the alerting engine. These may be useful for checking things like the length of the hostname.


Configurable DB Shutdown Alert

Applies to the commercial version of ProTop Monitoring and Alerting: database log file message “(9438) CTRL_SHUTDOWN_EVENT” was added to the exception list for db down events. If this message is present the shutdown is presumed to be deliberate and, therefore, an ALARM (orange), rather than a PAGE (red), will be generated (messages 2248 and 542 are also on the exception list).


Configurable Shutdown Nag Interval

Applies to the commercial version of ProTop Monitoring and Alerting: An environment variable was added to the localenv file to control the shutdown nag period, example: export DBSHUTNAG=3600. This controls the period between reminders that the db has been shutdown or crashed.


What’s Next?

Would you like to suggest a cool new feature for ProTop? Have any questions or comments? Head over to our community page at

Interested in learning more about the free ProTop RT (Real-Time)? The help pages at contained detailed instructions on how to install and configure ProTop RT.

Intrigued by the monitoring and alerting aspect of ProTop? Install the free version first, then reach out to us to activate a free trial and show you around the commercial features.

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