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Display System Activity without Enterprise Manager

I regularly use the system-level activity chart available in Enterprise Manager. In my opinion it is a simple and effective way to know how much a specific database is loaded at a specific time. This is for example an interesting way for observing how a specific load is processed (see this post for an example).
Unfortunately it also happens that this possibility is not available. The main reasons I faced in the past are the following:

Analysing Row Lock Contention with LogMiner

Recently I had to analyse a row lock contention problem that can be illustrated by the following test case:

SQL Trace and Oracle Portal

Recently I was involved in a project where I had to trace the database calls of an application based on Oracle Portal 10.1.4. The basic requirements were the following:

  • Tracing takes place in the production environment
  • Tracing has to be enable for a single user only
  • Instrumentation code cannot be added to the application

Given that Oracle Portal uses a pool of connections and that for each HTTP call it can use several database sessions, statically enable SQL trace for specific sessions was not an option.

ITL Waits – Changes in Recent Releases (script)

A reader of this blog, Paresh, asked me how I was able to find out the logic behind ITL waits without having access to Oracle code. My reply was: I wrote a test case that reproduce ITL waits and a piece of code that monitors them.

Since other readers might be interested, here is the shell script I wrote. Notice that it takes four parameters as input: user name, password, SID, and how long it has to wait in the monitoring phase.

ITL Waits – Changes in Recent Releases

In recent releases Oracle has silently changed the behavior of ITL waits. The aim of this post it to describe what has changed and why. But, first of all, let’s review some essential concepts about ITLs and ITL waits.

Interested Transaction List

The Oracle database engine locks the data modified by a transaction at the row level. To implement this feature every data block contains a list of all transactions that are modifying it. This list is commonly called interested transaction list (ITL). Its purpose is twofold. First, it is used to store information to identify a transaction as well as a reference to access the undo data associated to it. Second, it is referenced by every modified or locked row to indicate which transaction it is involved.


IS NULL Conditions and B-tree Indexes

At page 383 of my book I wrote the following sentence (BTW, the same information is also provided by Table 9-3 at page 381):

With B-tree indexes, IS NULL conditions can be applied only through composite B-tree indexes when several SQL conditions are applied and at least one of them is not based on IS NULL or an inequality.

The text continues by showing the following examples (notice that in both cases the IS NULL predicate is applied through an access predicate):

Parallel Full Table Scans Do Not Always Perform Direct Reads

Even though in general parallel full table scans performs direct reads, some exceptions exist. The aim of this post is to show such an exception.
For test purposes I build in my own schema a copy of the SH.SALES table (the one distributed by Oracle with the demo schemas…). On that table I build an [...]

Partition-Wise Join of List-Partitioned Tables

When two tables are equi-partitioned on their join keys, the query optimizer is able to take advantage of partition-wise joins. To make sure that the tables are equi-partitioned, as of Oracle Database 11g reference partitioning can be used. In fact, per definition, with reference partitioning all “related” tables have exactly the same partitioning schema. If [...]

Optimizer Mode Mismatch Does Not Prevent Sharing of Child Cursor!?!?

The aim of this post is to describe a strange (buggy) situation that I observed recently. But before doing that, I shortly summarize what a parent cursor and a child cursor are as well as when they can be shared. By the way, I borrowed this description from the pages 20/21 of my book. Hence, [...]

Bind Variable Peeking: Bane or Boon?

Almost one year ago Iggy Fernandez asked me to write a short text for the Ask the Oracles column of the NoCOUG Journal. The topic was “Bind Variable Peeking: Bane or Boon?”. My text along with the ones of Wolfgang Breitling, Dan Tow and Jonathan Lewis were published in the August issue. For some (unknown) [...]