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Row Migration

There’s a little detail of row migration that’s been bugging me for a long time – and I’ve finally found a comment on MoS explaining why it happens. Before saying anything, though, else I’m going to give you a little script (that I’ve run on with an 8KB block size in a tablespace using [corrected ASSM]  manual (freelist) space management and system allocated extents) to demonstrate the anomaly.

Oracle Index compression for range scan on file names

A new blog post on the Databases at CERN blog about tables storing long file names in a table, with full path, and index range scan on a prefixed pattern:


The 12cR1 advanced index compression does not help here as all values are unique. Only partial prefix is redundant.


The advanced algorithm ‘high’ introduced in 12cR2 can reduce better. But there’s no magic. Redundancy should be addressed at design. Full test:

Index rebuild bug

I tweeted a reference yesterday to a 9 year old article about index rebuilds, and this led me on to look for an item that I thought I’d written on a related topic. I hadn’t written it (so there’s another item on my todo list) but I did discover a draft I’d written a few years ago about an unpleasant side effect relating to rebuilding subpartitions of local indexes on composite partitoned tables. It’s probably the case that no-one will notice they’re suffering from it because it’s a bit of an edge case – but you might want to review the things your system does.

Here’s the scenario: you have a large table that is composite partitioned with roughly 180 daily partitions and 512 subpartitions (per partition). For some strange reason you have a couple of local indexes on the table that have been declared unusable – hoping, perhaps, that no-one ever does anything that makes Oracle decide to rebuild all the unusable bits.

Counting Rows

Here’s another little utility I use from time to time (usually for small tables) to check how many rows there are in each block of the table, and which blocks are used. It doesn’t do anything clever, just call routines in the dbms_rowid package for each rowid in the table:

Enhanced “validate” commands in Oracle’s Data Guard Broker 18c

If you are using an Oracle Database Enterprise Edition chances are that there is at least one environment in your estate making use of Data Guard. And if you are using Data Guard, why not use the broker? I have been using Data Guard broker for a long time now, and it has definitely improved a lot over the first releases, back in the day. I like it so much these days that I feel hard done by if I can’t make use of it. This is of course a matter of personal preference, and I might be exaggerating a little :)

One of the nice additions to the broker in Oracle 12.1 was the ability to validate a database before a role change. This is documented in the Data Guard broker documentation. I certainly don’t solely rely on the output of the command, I have my own checks I’m running that go over and above what a validate can do.

Oracle Adaptive Plan info in OTHER_XML

DBMS_XPLAN displays the operation ID with no gap, even for Adaptive Plans where the inactive operations are skipped. Did you ever wonder where the information of skipped rows is stored?

Here is a simple query (but please, remember that natural join is bad ;)

SQL> set feedback on sql_id
SQL> select * from dept natural join emp natural join bonus;
no rows selected
SQL_ID: 3q7fbwk91v4ra

The execution plan shows that the plan is adaptive:

Dump logfile

Here’s a little procedure I’ve been using since Oracle 8i to dump the contents of the current log file – I’ve mentioned it several times in the past but never published it, so I’ll be checking for references to it and linking to it.

The code hasn’t changed in a long time, although I did add a query to get the full tracefile name from v$process when that became available. There’s also an (optional) called to dbms_support.my_sid to pick up the SID of the current session that slid into the code when that package became available.

Shrink Space

I have never been keen on the option to “shrink space” for a table because of the negative impact it can have on performance.

I don’t seem to have written about it in the blog but I think there’s something in one of my books pointing out that the command moves data from the “end” of the table (high extent ids) to the “start” of the table (low extent ids) by scanning the table backwards to find data that can be moved and scanning forwards to find space to put it. This strategy can have the effect of increasing the scattering of the data that you’re interested in querying if most of your queries are about “recent” data, and you have a pattern of slowing deleting aging data. (You may end up doing a range scan through a couple of hundred table blocks for data at the start of the table that was once packed into a few blocks near the end of the table.)

Table order

Over the last few days I’ve highlighted on Twitter a couple of older posts showing how a change in the order that tables appear in the from clause could affect the execution plan of a query. In one case the note was purely theoretical describing a feature of the way the optimizer works with simple query blocks, in the other case the note was about an anomaly with table elimination that could appear with both “ANSI” and “traditional” Oracle syntax.


The title is the name of an Oracle hint that came into existence in Oracle and made an appearance recently in a question on the rarely used “My Oracle Support” Community forum (you’ll need a MOS account to be able to read the original). I wouldn’t have found it but the author also emailed me the link asking if I could take a look at it.  (If you want to ask me for help – without paying me, that is – then posting a public question in the Oracle (ODC) General Database or SQL forums and emailing me a private link is the strategy most likely to get an answer, by the way.)

The question was about a very simple query using a straightforward index – with a quirky change of plan after upgrading from to Setting the optimizer_features_enable to ‘’ in the system re-introduced the 10g execution plan. Here’s the query: