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Here’s a little note that’s been hanging around as a draft for more than eight years according to the OTN (as it was) posting that prompted me to start writing it. At the time there were still plenty of people using Oracle 10g. so the question didn’t seem entirely inappropriate:

On 10g R2 when I open a sqlplus session how can I know my session SID ? I’m not DBA then can not open as sysdba and query v$session.

Trace Files

A recent blog note by Martin Berger about reading trace files in 12.2 poped up in my twitter timeline yesterday and reminded me of a script I wrote a while ago to create a simple view I could query to read the tracefile generated by the current session while the session was still connected. You either have to create the view and a public synonym through the SYS schema, or you have to use the SYS schema to grant select privileges on several dynamic performance views to the user to allow the user to create the view in the user’s schema. For my scratch database I tend to create the view in the SYS schema.

Script to be run by SYS:

Negative Offload

At the Trivadis Performance Days 2019 I did a presentation on using execution plans to understand what a query was doing. One of the examples I showed was a plan from an Exadata system (using that needed to go faster. The plan was from the SQL Monitor report and all I want to show you is one line that’s reporting a tablescan. To fit the screen comfortably I’ve removed a number of columns from the output.

The report had been generated while the statement was still running (hence the “->” at the left hand edge) and the query had scanned 166 segments (with no partition elimination) of a table with 4,500 data segments (450 range partitions and 10 hash sub-partitions – note the design error, by the way, hash partitioning in Oracle should always hash for a powert of 2).


This is another of the blog notes that have been sitting around for several years – in this case since May 2014, based on a script I wrote a year earlier. It makes an important point about “inconsistency” of timing in the way that Oracle records statistics of work done. As a consequence of being first drafted in May 2014 the original examples showed AWR results from and – I’ve just run the same test on to see if anything has changed.



A recent thread on the Oracle Developer Community starts with the statement that a query is taking a very long time (with the question “how do I make it go faster?” implied rather than asked). It’s (not that that’s particularly relevant to this blog note), and we have been given a number that quantifies “very long time” (again not particularly relevant to this blog note – but worth mentioning because your “slow” might be my “wow! that was fast” and far too many people use qualitative adjectives when the important detail is quantative). The query had already been running for 15 hours – and here it is:


Here’s a problem (and I think it should be called a bug) that I first came across about 6 years ago, then forgot for a few years until it reappeared some time last year and then again a few days ago. The problem has been around for years (getting on for decades), and the first mention of it that I’ve found is MoS Bug 2891576, created in 2003, referring back to Oracle, The problem still exists in Oracle 19.2 (tested on LiveSQL).

Here’s the problem: assume you have a pair of tables (call them parent and child) with a referential integrity constraint connecting them. If the constraint is enabled and not deferred then the following code may fail, and if you’re really unlucky it may only fail on rare random occasions:


Here’s a question to provoke a little thought if you’ve got nothing more entertaining to do on a Sunday evening.  What threats do you think of when you see a statement like the following in (say) an AWR report, or in a query against v$sql ?

update tableX set
        col001 = :1, col002 = :2, col003 = :3, ...
        -- etc. 
        -- the names are supposed to indicate that the statement updates 302 columns
        -- etc.
        col301 = :301, col302 = :302
        pk_col = :303

I’ll be writing up some suggestions tomorrow (Monday, UK BST), possible linking to a few other articles for background reading.


The first three comments have already hit the high points, but I’m going to jot down a few notes anyway.

The first two things that really (should) make an impact are:

Free Space

Several years ago I wrote a note about reporting dba_free_space and dba_extents to produce a map of the space usage in a tablespace in anticipation of messing about with moving or rebuilding objects to try and reduce the size of the files in the tablespace.  In the related page where I published the script I pointed out that a query against dba_extents would be expensive because it makes use of structure x$ktfbue which generates the information dynamically by reading segment header blocks.

Parse Solution

In the “Parse Puzzle” I posted a couple of days ago I showed a couple of extracts from an AWR report that showed contradictory results about the time the instance spent in parsing and hard parsing, and also showed an amazing factor of 4 difference between the DB Time and the “SQL ordered by Elapsed Time”. My example was modelling a real world anomaly I had come across, but was engineered to exaggerate the effect to make it easy to see what was going on.

Parse Puzzle

Here are some details from an AWR report covering a few minutes in the lifetime of an instance of 18.3. It’s a carefully constructed demonstration and all I’ve done is take an AWR snapshot, execute a single SQL statement, then take another snapshot, so the only thing captured by the report is the work done in that brief time interval. The purpose of the exercise is to demonstrate how some Oracle features can make a complete nonsense of the AWR. (I have, as I often do, produced a model that reproduces an affect that can appear in production but exaggerates the effect to make it more clearly visible.)

First the Time Model statistics: