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Linux timing and scheduling granularity

During investigating how Oracle works with regards to waiting, I discovered an oddity. I was researching for my redo blog posts, and found that in a certain case, Oracle uses the ‘nanosleep’ system call. As the name of this system call suggests, this call allows you to let a process sleep with nanosecond precision.

The oddity that I found, was the following:

Comparing Plans

It can be difficult to find the critical differences when comparing execution plans when you want to find out why the optimizer has changed its choice of plan and what may have happened to cause the change, and even the various diff_plan_xxx() functions in dbms_xplan don’t help very much, so I thought I’d write up an example that appeared recently on the ODC database forum to give people some ideas about how to approach the problem. There is, however, no simple algorithm that you can apply to narrow your focus down to the most probable cause of change, there are simply a few methods that have to be applied with a little flair and imagination.

18c PDB switchover

In multitenant, the recovery and availability are at CDB level. But customers asked for a switchover at PDB level so Oracle has done that in 18c, based on refreshable PDBs.

For this test I have two multitenant database on an Oracle Cloud service in 18c: CDB1 and CDB2. The only special thing I did was disable the mandatory TDE encryption, because I was not able to have the switchover working. With TDE encryption, I got the “ORA-46697: Keystore password required”. But there is no ‘keystore identified by’ option in the ‘alter pluggable database’. Then If you came upon this post from a search on this error, I’ve no solution yet (SR 3-17001228251 opened on the Oracle Cloud Support – see update at the end of the post when solved).

Where in the World Has Goth Geek Girl Been

I’m on track to fly home tomorrow, March 11th after nine days and three events.  I’m pretty exhausted and just ready to go home and catch up on some sleep…:)

I started out last weekend in Victoria BC and was thrilled to be on this emerald island of the Pacific Northwest.  British Columbia is gorgeous as it is, but Victoria is a special place that quickly became one of my favorite places in the world.

Enabled, Accepted, Fixed SQL Plan Baselines

When the documentation is not always clear, I prefer to build a test case to be sure about the behavior in different context and different versions. Here is a test on SQL Plan Management to show which plan is chosen among the different states of SQL Plan Baselines: Enabled, Accepted, Fixed. Thanks to Oracle ACE program, I have some Oracle Cloud credits to quickly provision a database, so I tested that on Oracle 18c.

For this test, I’ve created a table:

create table DEMO as select rownum n from xmltable('1 to 10000');

with 8 indexes:

exec for i in 1..8 loop execute immediate 'create index DEMO'||i||' on DEMO(n,'||i||')'; end loop;

and a procedure to query it several times, setting random costs for the indexes, with only one cheapest:

create or replace procedure runplans(n number) as
dummy number;

Column Groups

There’s a question on the ODC database forum about column groups that throws up an interesting side point. The OP is looking at a query like the following and asking about which column groups might help the optimizer get the best plan:

Match_recognise – 2

In my previous post I presented a warning about the potential cost of sorting and the cost of failing to find a match after each pass of a long search. In a comment on that post Stew Ashton reminded me that the cost of repeatedly trying to find a match starting from “the next row down” could be less of a threat than the cost of “back-tracking” before moving to the next row down.

Taking the example from the previous posting to explain – the requirement was for customers who had executed a transaction in September but not October, and a match_recognize() clause suggested on the ODC (formerly OTN) database forum to implement this requirement was as follows:

A look into Oracle redo, part 6: oracle post-wait commit and the on disk SCN

This is the sixth part in a blog series about Oracle database redo. The previous posts provided information about the log writer writing, this post is about the process that is waiting after issuing commit for the log writer to write it’s redo from the public redo strand. When the database is using post/wait for process commits, the committing process follows the following (simplified) procedure:

18c new Lost Write Protection

There are many layers between the Oracle Database pwrite() calls and the physical sector written on disk: filesystem, logical volume, SAN or NAS, with a lot of smart software running for Virtualisation, Compression, Snapshotting, Synchronisation… Are you sure that the changes you made to your data is actually persisted on disk, completely and without any corruption? In case of bug or crash in the storage layer, it may happen that only part of the changes was written. In the case of crash, Oracle ensures that the datafile headers are written at the end, so that recovery can kick-in after the crash. Then, a partially written block can be detected and restored. With different checksum settings, you can also check block integrity while writing or reading. But that protects only for fractured blocks. What if a block write just did not occur? An old version of the block remains and then is perfectly correct for checksum, RMAN, and DBV.

Conditional SQL – 5

Here’s a note that has been sitting around for more than 3 years (the draft date is Jan 2015), waiting for me to finish it off; and in that time we’ve got a new version of Oracle that changes the solution to the problem it presented. (I also managed to write “Conditional SQL –  6” in the intervening period !)

This posting started with a question on the OTN (now ODC) database forum about an execution plan used by  Here’s a model to represent the data and the query: