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MERGE JOIN CARTESIAN: a join method or a join type?

I’ll present about join methods at POUG and DOAG. I’ll show how the different join methods work in order to better understand them. The idea is to show Nested Loops, Hash Join, Sort Merge Join, Merge Join Cartesian on the same query. I’ll run a simple join between DEPT and EMP with the USE_NL, USE_HASH, USE_MERGE and USE_MERGE_CARTESIAN hints. I’ll show the execution plan, with SQL Monitoring in text mode. And I’ll put some gdb breakpoints on the ‘qer’ (query execution rowsource) functions to run the plan operations step by step. Then I’ll do the same on a different query in order to show in detail the 12c adaptive plans.

Direct IOT

A recent (automatic ?) tweet from Connor McDonald highlighted an article he’d written a couple of years ago about an enhancement introduced in 12c that allowed for direct path inserts to index organized tables (IOTs). The article included a demonstration seemed to suggest that direct path loads to IOTs were of no benefit, and ended with the comment (which could be applied to any Oracle feature): “Direct mode insert is a very cool facility, but it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the best option in every situation.”

Truncate upgrade

Connor McDonald produced a tweet yesterday linking to a short video he’d created about an enhancement to the truncate command in 12c. If you have referential integrity declared between a parent and child table then in 12c you can truncate the parent table and Oracle will truncate the child table for you – rather than raising an error. The feature requires the foreign key constraint to be declared “on delete cascade” – which is an option that I don’t see used very often. Unfortunately if you try to change an existing foreign key constraint to meet this requirement you’ll find that you can’t (yet) use the “alter table modify constraint” to make the necessary change. As Connor pointed out, you’ll have to drop and recreate the constraint – which leaves you open to bad data getting into the system or an outage while you do the drop and recreate.

Index Bouncy Scan 4

There’s always another hurdle to overcome. After I’d finished writing up the “index bouncy scan” as an efficient probing mechanism to find the combinations of the first two columns (both declared not null) of a very large index a follow-up question appeared almost immediately: “what if it’s a partitioned index”.

Min/Max upgrade

Here’s a nice little optimizer enhancement that appeared in 12.2 to make min/max range scans (and full scans) available in more circumstances. Rather than talk through it, here’s a little demonstration:

Index Bouncy Scan 3

This is a follow-up to a problem I had with yesterday’s example of using recursive CTEs to “bounce” along a multi-column index to pick out the unique set of combinations of the first two columns. Part of the resulting query used a pair of aggregate scalar subqueries in a select list – and Andrew Sayer improved on my query by introducing a “cross apply” (which I simply hadn’t thought of) which the optimizer transformed into a lateral view (which I had thought of, but couldn’t get to work).


One of my maxims for Oracle performance is: “Don’t try to be too clever”. Apart from the obvious reason that no-one else may be able to understand how to modify your code if the requirements change at a future date, there’s always the possibility that an Oracle upgrade will mean some clever trick you implemented will simply stop working.

While searching for information about a possible Oracle bug recently I noticed the following fix control (v$system_fix_control) in

Index Bouncy Scan 2

I wrote a note some time last year about taking advantage of the “index range scan (min/max)” operation in a PL/SQL loop to find the small number distinct values in a large single column index efficiently (for example an index that was not very efficient but existed to avoid the “foreign key locking” problem. The resulting comments included pointers to other articles that showed pure SQL solutions to the same problem using recursive CTEs (“with” subqueries) from Markus Winand and Sayan Malakshinov: both writers also show examples of extending the technique to cover more cases than the simple list of distinct values.

AMM vs security

Most of us already know that AMM sucks. But usually, we think about disadvantages of AMM in terms of performance. Let’s see why it sucks in the terms of security </p />

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Answer: Anything Wrong With Query Performance? (Red Right Hand)

I of course attract a highly clever readership :). As some have commented, for a single table to require 1000+ consistent gets to retrieve 1000 rows implies that each row needs to be accessed from a different block. This in turn implies the Clustering Factor for this index to be relatively bad and the associated […]