AppSleuth: A tool for database tuning at the application level

Wei Cao, Dennis Shasha

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Excellent work ([1]-[6]) has shown that memory management and transaction concurrency levels can often be tuned automatically by the database management systems. Other excellent work ([7]]-[14]) has shown how to use the optimizer to do automatic physical design or to make the optimizer itself more self-adaptive ([15]-[17]). Our performance tuning experience across various industries (finance, gaming, data warehouses, and travel) has shown that enormous additional tuning benefits (sometimes amounting to orders of magnitude) can come from reengineering application code and table design. The question is: can a tool help in this effort? We believe so. We present a tool called AppSleuth that parses application code and the tracing log for two popular database management systems in order to lead a competent tuner to the hot spots in an application. This paper discusses (i) representative application "delinquent design patterns", (ii) an application code parser to find them, (iii) a log parser to identify the patterns that are critical, and (iv) a display to give a global view of the issue. We present an extended sanitized case study from a real travel application to show the results of the tool at different stages of a tuning engagement, yielding a 300 fold improvement. This is the first tool of its kind that we know of.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Database Technology - EDBT 2013
Subtitle of host publication16th International Conference on Extending Database Technology, Proceedings
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2013
Event16th International Conference on Extending Database Technology, EDBT 2013 - Genoa, Italy
Duration: Mar 18 2013Mar 22 2013

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Other16th International Conference on Extending Database Technology, EDBT 2013


  • application-level optimization
  • database tuning
  • performance tool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'AppSleuth: A tool for database tuning at the application level'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this