Lab128 : secret DBA performance tool

September 12th, 2013

I’ve mentioned lab 128 before but I have to mentioned it again. Every DBA should know about this tool. It’s the fastest way to connect to an Oracle database and get some hard core performance information nicely visualized graphically.

Lab 128 starts up in seconds, like 1 or 2 seconds. Its super fast and light weight but powerful.  My older version only took 10M of RAM. The newest version is about 47M but still as fast as ever.

Lab128 can be used to monitor 15-20 instances. Lab 128 keeps  13-14 hours of performance data in memory, and last 60 days on the disk. Monitoring that many instances for that long takes around 800-900 MB of RAM and well less than  10% of the CPU on a laptop.

Below is my favorite screen, the “Activity Explorer” page which is somewhat like the top Activity screen in OEM but it shows both the data from ASH and the data from wait events, so you can compare the two. The ASH data can be collected by the tool avoiding the diagnostics and performance pack license or if you have the license it can connect to ASH from the database views.

You can monitor several databases at a time

Here is the top session screen showing session state, session types and for active queries, the estimated completion % for the query.

Cool maraige of  unix top and v$sessions:

Lab128 Top Processes window

buffer cache explorer

Lab128 Buffer Explorer window

lock monitor

Lab128 Locks and Locked Objects window

  • Alert File Viewer
  • 10053 trace viewer
  • Clusterware monitor

Much more.

Check out the website at



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  2. | #1

    This is my 1st favorite tool for perf troubleshooting! it’s just fast. easy to install and use. I love that you can save your perf data to a file and preview it back later which is very useful for performance reports. Especially for 8i,9i back then.

    Did you know that they adopted the pstack sampling technique of Tanel here:

    automated the pstack sampling, os_explain, & reporting. Good tool to know where the query was spending time

    and there are others more on the reference guide and new features

  3. khailey
    | #2

    @Karl – awesome info. I didn’t know about the pstack integration. Thanks for pointing this out

  4. Richard Owusu
    | #3

    Hello ,

    My organization wants to purchase the tool, lab128 latest version but the website is not helping. We have contacted them by mail to no avail.

    Kindly help with the procurement process so we can get the license version to use.

    thank you

  5. khailey
    | #4

    Not sure what is happening with lab128. Sadly, the creator of the product passed away a couple years ago.

four × = 20