Frequently Asked Questions
This page lists frequently asked questions along with their answers from the zztat developer.
Q: Why should I use zztat?
A: If you care about your database and like to see it perform well and stable, then zztat is for you. zztat differs from other Oracle "monitoring software" in many aspects. zztat was written by someone who has been dealing with Oracle database performance for the majority of his IT career. It is the result of well over a decade of working with a variety of monitoring tools, on most of the platforms that Oracle supports. Many of those monitoring tools suffer from inconsistencies, lack Oracle-specific knowledge and are written in a very generic fashion. zztat is tailored for Oracle. It's written 100% in Oracle SQL and PL/SQL. It runs right where the data is - inside the database. On top of that, zztat is not just a monitoring tool - zztat also provides a full-featured reaction framework that can automatically act when a specified condition arises.
Q: What is this reaction stuff?
A: A reaction in zztat is any kind of action that the database can perform. It can be report production, data file addition, blocking session termination - anything that can be written in SQL or PL/SQL. Throughout the years, I have seen too many DBAs get woken up in the middle of the night to perform a simple tasks that could easily be automated. That's where zztat's reactions come in.
Q: So will zztat just randomly start killing stuff when I install it?
A: No. Not at all. After a fresh installation, any potentially intrusive functionality is disabled and must first be configured according to your environment. zztat provides you with the default metrics, gauges and reactions that can do all these things. It's then up to you to decide on the exact conditions.
Q: This is all too complicated for me. Can you just install this thing for me?
A: Yes, we can. Installation can be performed via remote access, or on premise world-wide. Please contact us for details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: How does zztat store time?
A: All dates and times zztat stores in its internal tables which are produced by zztat's code are always stored in UTC. Any dates or timestamps taken from Oracle's dictionary views or tables are taken as-is.
Q: Is zztat free?
A: No, zztat must be licensed in order to use the software.
Q: Can I get a trial version?
A: Yes, you can. Contact us and we can provide you with a license key that will activate zztat for 30 days, free of charge and without obligations. After those 30 days, the software will no longer function, and a valid license must be purchased to continue using zztat.
Q: What does zztat cost?
A: zztat comes with a highly flexible licensing model, to allow you to choose which components you want to use, and only pay for those. The official zztat price list is here: https://www.zztat.net/pricelist
Q: Where can I download zztat?
A: zztat is not available for public download. Contact us, and we will provide a copy of the software bundled with a license key (either a free trial version, or a full license).
Q: Does zztat require DBA privileges?
A: No. zztat uses the principle of least privilege from the ground up. Nothing that isn't required is granted. The core set of privileges that zztat requires to operate is listed in the installation prerequisites.
Q: How does zztat access performance data in my database? That data is generally accessible only to DBAs?
A: It depends on the data. zztat uses several different sources to get the performance data:
- Dynamic performance views. The V$-views are accessible to regular database users by granting the select privilege on the public synonym that references them. For example, to grant access to the V$SESSION view, the zztat user is granted the select privilege on V_$SESSION.
- Data dictionary views. Whenever possible, zztat uses the USER_* views to access the data it needs. In cases where the DBA_*-version is required, the zztat user is granted the select privilege directly on the view.
- Data dictionary tables. zztat does not access any data dictionary tables (such as user$, tab$, etc) directly.
- Fixed tables. The X$-tables are only accessible to the SYS user. For details on how zztat implemented access to those tables, see here.
Q: Can I just grant the DBA role to the zztat user and be done with it?
A: No. And you really shouldn't. Granting the DBA role to any application user is a security incident waiting to happen.
Q: Does zztat collect PSI (Personally Identifying Information) from my data?
A: In general, no. If, for example, your application uses poorly written SQL that contains plain text values of personally PSI data (for example select * from t where last_name='SMITH' and SSN='123456'), this data may end up in many places in your database, including zztat's tables. zztat however will never export or dump such data to anywhere outside the database, including when you are submitting diagnostics data to zztat support.