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Oracle library cache cursor child generation

This post is about library cache SQL cursors, and how these are managed by the database instance.

Oracle multi-tenant and library cache isolation

This post is the result of a question that I got after presenting a session about Oracle database mutexes organised by ITOUG, as a response to the conference cancellations because of COVID-19. Thank Gianni Ceresa for asking me!

The library cache provides shared cursors and execution plans. Because they are shared, sessions can take advantage of the work of previous sessions of creating these. However, by having these shared, access needs to be regulated not to have sessions overwrite each other’s work. This is done by mutexes.

The question I got was (this is a paraphrased from my memory): ‘when using pluggable databases, could a session in one pluggable database influence performance of a session in another pluggable database’?

Oracle rowcache fastgets

This blogpost is about the Oracle database row or dictionary cache. This is a separate cache that caches database metadata, like database object properties or user properties.

There is surprising little in-depth technical detail about the row cache. To some degree I understand: issues with the row cache are rare.

I noticed a column in V$ROWCACHE called ‘FASTGETS’. Whatever FASTGETS means, in my database it is being used:

When AWR is not enough, a.k.a. Why your app is not cloud-ready. #SMARTDB

In my previous post I described a case of "enq: TX – row lock contention" that was actually a network latency problem.

More and more those kinds of problems (it seems like history happens all over again) caused my friend (Radosław Kut) and me to write a simple tool to analyze SQL performance from a network perspective.

We called this tool STADO (SQL Tracefile Analyzer Designed for Oracle). It parses a tcpdump outout from application server to identify the longest running queries from application and network perspective.

For now it can show you:

What’s new with Oracle database versus

For the difference between Oracle database versions and this too follows the line of a low amount of differences.

There have been two spare parameters that have been changed to named undocumented parameters, and no data dictionary changes.

parameters unique in version versus


parameters unique in version versus


On the C function side, there have been a group of AWR functions that have been removed and a group of SGA management functions, among other functions. There functions that have been added are random and diverse.

How to obtain semaphore information in gdb when the symbols are missing

This post was created when trying to understand how the Oracle executable works. Specifically the logwriter, which, if it is posted by a process, which is done using semop(), signals that process back using semop() if the logwriter happens to be in post/wait mode, and is not using the ‘scalable logwriter mode’, which means it is not using additional worker processes.

To be more specific, I tried investigating something that is not Oracle specific, but specific to the usage of semaphores on linux with an executable for which you do not have the source code and is not compiled with debugging symbols.

I attached to the process using gdb, and put a break on semop:

What’s new with Oracle database 18.8 versus 18.9

For the difference between Oracle database versions 18.8 and 18.9 this too follows the line of a low amount of differences.

As always, there are some parameters that have changed from being undocumented spare to being undocumented with a name.

Also, the DBA and CDB table (DBA|CDB)_REGISTRY_BACKPORTS is back again. The disappearance of this table in 18.8 turned out to be a bug. There is a patch for 18.8 if you need this table.

What’s new with Oracle database 19.6 versus 19.5

As expected, there aren’t any really drastic differences between Oracle database version 19.5 and 19.6. Now that I am doing these series on differences for all the versions every quarter the new release updates are coming out, there is a certain line, and this release does follow that.

As always, there are some parameters that have changed from being undocumented spare to being undocumented with a name. There is one documented parameter that was added: optimizer_session_type, which has gone official from “_optimizer_auto_index_allow”; see bug 29632611.

Advanced usage of gdb for profiling

This post is about how to use gdb, which is a debugger, so very simplistically put an aid for looking at C programs, as a profiler. I use gdb quite a lot for profiling because it’s the easiest way for profiling for me.

Lots of people which I know use other tools like perf, systemtap and dtrace for the same purpose and that’s fine. Each tools has its own advantages and disadvantages. One disadvantage of gdb is that it’s using ptrace to attach to a process, which makes it dead slow from a machine perspective, because everything it then does goes via another process, which is the debugger. That is how the debugger works.

Also lots of people use gdb like I do, and use basic functionality, which is breaking at functions, which makes it possible to find out the sequence of how functions are called, generating backtraces (stack traces) to understand the stack and maybe looking at functions arguments.

Where does the log writer spend its time on?

The Oracle database log writer is the process that fundamentally influences database change performance. Under normal circumstances the log writer must persist the changes made to the blocks before the actual change is committed. Therefore, it’s vitally important to understand what the log writer is exactly doing. This is widely known by the Oracle database community.

The traditional method for looking at log writer performance is looking at the wait event ‘log file parallel write’ and the CPU time, and comparing that to the ‘log file sync’ alias “commit wait time”. If ‘log file parallel write’ and ‘log file sync’ roughly match, a commit is waiting on the log writer IO latency, if it isn’t then it’s unclear, and things get vague.