Our manager held a conference call to work the issue. I share a room with the manager, so I overheard some of the talk. My manager was interested in the DBAs looking at the Oracle Alert Log. Now I have heard this term before. But I did not know exactly what it was. Time for a little research.
The alert log is a text file containing messages and errors. Specifically it will contain ORA-00600 deadlock errors. It also contains database startup and shutdown events. The filename itself is alert_
Apparently the alert log is the first place a DBA should look when there are database problems. In fact, a proactive DBA will be monitoring this file a couple times a day. One interesting fact is that you can write your own messages to the alert log using the ksdwrt procedure in the dbms_system package.
If you have Oracle 11g, the alert log can be directly queried using the X$DBGALERTTEXT fixed table. However you must connect as SYSDBA to access this table like you would any other fixed table. Finally I should mention that Oracle itself computes a number of metrics based on the contents of the alert log. Now I am at the beginning of my journey to becoming a DBA. I just don’t know if that is where I want to go.