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ORACLE_HOME with symbolic link and postupgrade_fixups

Here is a quick post you may google into if you got the following error when running postupgrade_fixups.sql after an upgrade:

ERROR - Cannot open the file from the directory object preupgrade_dir
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-29283: invalid file operation
ORA-06512: at "SYS.DBMS_PREUP", line 3300
ORA-06512: at "SYS.UTL_FILE", line 536
ORA-29283: invalid file operation
ORA-06512: at "SYS.UTL_FILE", line 41
ORA-06512: at "SYS.UTL_FILE", line 478
ORA-06512: at "SYS.DBMS_PREUP", line 3260
ORA-06512: at "SYS.DBMS_PREUP", line 9739
ORA-06512: at line 11

18c runInstaller -silent

You find two different ‘runInstaller’ under an Oracle Home. The old one, the Oracle Universal Installer, in $ORACLE_HOME/oui/bin. And the new one, in $ORACLE_HOME directly. They have the same name but are completely different. The old one was used to install an Oracle Home from the installation media. But in 18c you don’t use it. It has been used by Oracle to build the Oracle Home image. Then you download and unzip directly your Oracle Home. You have only to configure it and re-link the binaries. And this is done by the new runInstaller which is at the root of the Oracle Home. Actually, it is just a shell script that runs the Perl to setup the Oracle Database software. In my opinion, it would be better to have it called rather than rename it to runInstaller, especially given that the same thing for Grid Infrastructure is called since 12cR2. The Perl script finally runs the Java GUI.


When you have a Data Guard configuration, you want the application to connect to the right server, where the primary is, without taking too much time. The default TCP timeout is 1 minute which is too long. When you don’t want to configure a virtual IP address (VIP) you can simply list all the addresses in the client connection string. But then you need to reduce the timeout. A short duration in 1 to 5 seconds will be ok most of the time, but in case of network issue, you want to give a chance to retry with a longer timeout. This post is about the connection string parameters to define this. Of course, all is documented but the goal of this post is also to show how to quickly test it. Because a reliable understanding of how it works relies on both documentation and test.

ATP vs ADW – the Autonomous Database lockdown profiles

The Oracle database has always distinguished two types of workloads: transactional (OLTP) and datawarehouse (VLDB, DWH, DSS, BI, analytics). There is the same idea in the managed Oracle Cloud with two autonomous database services.

To show how this is old, here is how they were defined in the Oracle7 Tuning Book:


The definition has not changed a lot. But the technology behind DSS/DWH has improved. Now, with In-Memory Column Store, Smart Scan, Result Cache we can even see that indexes, materialized views, star transformation, hints,.. are disabled in the Autonomous Datawarehouse cloud service.

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.

How much free space can be reclaimed from a segment?

You have the feeling that your table takes more blocks than it should? Here are the queries I use to quickly check the free space. The idea is to call DBMS_SPACE.SPACE_USAGE and infer the minimum space from the percentages. For example, a block in FS3 (defined as having at least 50 to 75% free space) is supposed to have at least 50% of free space. Of course it can have more, but you don’t know.

CQRS, Event Sourcing and the Oracle Database

By Franck Pachot

This blog post relates my thoughts when reading about Command Query Responsibility Separation and Event Sourcing, in the context of the Oracle Database (but it can probably apply to any database). We see those terms in the new software architecture diagrams, but they are actually quite old:

Command-Query separation

Command-Query separation was defined by Bertrand Meyer 15 years ago, not for the database but for the Eiffel language. See page 22-44 of Eiffel: a language for software engineering.

Oracle 18c preinstall RPM on RedHat RHEL

By Franck Pachot

The Linux prerequisites for Oracle Database are all documented but using the pre-install rpm makes all things easier. Before 18c, this was easy on Oracle Enterprise Linux (OEL) but not so easy on RedHat (RHEL) where the .rpm had many dependencies on OEL and UEK.
Now that 18c is there to download, there’s also the 18c preinstall rpm and the good news is that it can be run also on RHEL without modification.

This came to my attention on Twitter:

Extended Histograms – 2

Following on from the previous posting which raised the idea of faking a frequency histogram for a column group (extended stats), this is just a brief demonstration of how you can do this. It’s really only a minor variation of something I’ve published before, but it shows how you can use a query to generate a set of values for the histogram and it pulls in a detail about how Oracle generates and stores column group values.

We’ll start with the same table as we had before – two columns which hold only the combinations (‘Y’, ‘N’) or (‘N’, ‘Y’) in a very skewed way, with a requirement to ensure that the optimizer provides an estimate of 1 if a user queries for (‘N’,’N’) … and I’m going to go the extra mile and create a histogram that does the same when the query is for the final possible combination of (‘Y’,’Y’).

Extended Histograms

Today’s little puzzle comes courtesy of the Oracle-L mailing list. A table has two columns (c2 and c3), which contain only the values ‘Y’ and ‘N’, with the following distribution:

select   c2, c3, count(*)
from     t1
group by c2, c3

C C   COUNT(*)
- - ----------
N Y       1994
Y N      71482

2 rows selected.

The puzzle is this – how do you get the optimizer to predict a cardinality of zero (or, using its best approximation, 1) if you execute a query where the predicate is:

where   c2 = 'N' and c3 = 'N'

Here are 4 tests you might try: