Someone posted a very pertinent question about blocks splits and index rebuilds on the OTN Database forum yesterday covering a detail of the cost/benefit equation that I don’t think I’ve mentioned before.
Since I answered the question on the forum I’ve posted a link here to make it available to a wider audience.
(This is a strategy I may adopt more frequently in the future – there’s a lot of useful material of mine all over the internet, and I really ought to make sure I don’t spend time repeating myself when simple pointer would do).
[Updated May 2009: The forum item has since gone missing - so maybe linking to notes I've written in public groups is not so smart after all]. Fortunately I happen to have been saving copies of the thread as it progressed, and the little point that I wanted to highlight was just the following:
“When you create or rebuild an index Oracle does not honour the pctfree setting in the branch blocks. Since the branch blocks are effectively 100% packed, the very first leaf block split in each branch block (except the last one) will almost certainly result in a branch block split. This means a single row insert into an 8KB block could result in 16KB+ of redo for the leaf block plus 16KB+ for the branch block split.”