Oracle Scratchpad

July 10, 2013

12c First N

Filed under: 12c,Oracle,trace files,Tuning — Jonathan Lewis @ 5:59 pm BST Jul 10,2013

There have been a couple of nice posts about the “Top N” (or First N / Next N)  syntax that has appeared in 12c, here and here, for example. I particularly like the first set of examples because they include some execution plans that give you a good idea of what’s  going on under the covers. “Under the covers” is important, because if you don’t actually have a large data set to test on you might not realise what impact a “Top N” query might have on a production data set.


July 4, 2013

12c Statspack Hack

Filed under: 12c,Oracle,Statspack — Jonathan Lewis @ 10:57 am BST Jul 4,2013

Starting from a comment on an old statspack/AWR page, with a near-simultaneous thread appearing on OTN, (do read both) here’s a quick summary of getting statspack onto 12c with containers. (For non-container databases it’s a standard install).


12c trivia

Filed under: 12c,Infrastructure,Oracle — Jonathan Lewis @ 4:51 am BST Jul 4,2013

Weighing in at a massive 54 characters – the longest parameter name in 12c is:

  • _adaptive_scalable_log_writer_disable_worker_threshold

Followed very closely by (you guessed it)

  •  _adaptive_scalable_log_writer_enable_worker_threshold


July 2, 2013

12c I/O debug

Filed under: 12c,Oracle,Troubleshooting — Jonathan Lewis @ 6:05 pm BST Jul 2,2013

By my count there are 109 new v$ and gv$ dynamic performance views in 12c (so far) – and Glen Fawcett has posted a short note on a group that may be of particular benefit to anyone who finds they really have to delve into esoteric I/O problems from time to time. For the less exotic, there’s v$io_outliers and v$lgwrio_outliers which give details about any very slow I/Os – for the more exotic there’s v$kernel_io_outliers – which is the really fascinating one.

Here’s a short session capture focused on v$io_outliers:


July 1, 2013

12c Determinism

Filed under: 12c,Oracle,Troubleshooting — Jonathan Lewis @ 4:55 pm BST Jul 1,2013

Following a comment from Marcin Przepiorowski on my last post, it crossed my mind to check whether “with” functions can be deterministic – the answer seems to be “not yet”. Here’s a simple script that you can run from end to end to check current and future releases – it compares inline (with) and standalone functions when the “deterministic” keyword has been used.


June 30, 2013

12c Funny

Filed under: 12c,Oracle,Troubleshooting — Jonathan Lewis @ 7:10 pm BST Jun 30,2013

Here’s a quirky little thing I discovered about 5 minutes after installing 12c Beta 1 (cut-n-pasted from SQL*Plus):

create or replace view v$my_stats
        v$mystat        ms,
        v$statname      sn
        sn.statistic# = ms.statistic#
 14  ;
create or replace view v$my_stats
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-00999: invalid view name

You can’t create views with names that start with V$ or GV$ in the sys schema. Presumably to eliminate the risk of someone’s clever view definition from overwriting and disabling one of the distributed dynamic performance views by accident.


June 28, 2013

12c Debug

Filed under: 12c,Bugs,Oracle — Jonathan Lewis @ 8:45 am BST Jun 28,2013

Now that 12c is out, here’s an idea that might save you some time even if you have no intention of migrating to, or even testing, the product for a couple of years. Download the “List of bugs fixed in 12c”: you may find that it’s the best starting point when you’re trying to solve a problem in your current version of Oracle.

A slightly more sophisticated version of the same thing – download and install the product, then take a dump of v$system_fix_control – that may also give you some insight into anomalies (that are not necessarily declared as bugs) in the way Oracle – and the optimizer in particular – behave. I updated the referenced note to add in a couple of figures for 12.1 – but one figure that’s not there is the number of database parameters: now at 368 in the v$ and 3,333 in the x$ (in my Beta 3 release).

Index rebuild 12c

Filed under: 12c,Index Rebuilds,Indexing,Oracle — Jonathan Lewis @ 8:35 am BST Jun 28,2013

Just one of those little snippets about 12c that might help someone.

Further to an earlier post, online rebuild works in 12c even when the key is “too long”. The internal code has changed completely, and there is no sign of the problematic journal table that caused the problem in earlier versions.

June 25, 2013


Filed under: 12c,Infrastructure,Oracle,Partitioning,redo — Jonathan Lewis @ 11:43 pm BST Jun 25,2013

The news is out that 12c is now available for download (Code, Docs and Tutorials). There are plenty of nice little bits in it, and several important additions or enhancements to the optimizer, but there’s one feature that might prove to be very popular:

SQL> alter table p1 move partition solo ONLINE;

Table altered.


October 17, 2012

Pluggable 12c

Filed under: 12c,Oracle — Jonathan Lewis @ 9:03 am BST Oct 17,2012

For anyone looking for information on 12c, there are several posts about OpenWorld at the dbi Services blog (see links at right). In particular there’s a summary post about the “pluggable database” describing how you could plug a database into a “container” database, clone it inside the container database, then unplug it and put it somewhere else.

When I heard about the feature, it crossed my mind that there were two “obvious” targets for this technology that Oracle had in mind – in no particular order:

  • Consolidation onto Exadata – I’ve seen an Oracle presentation about a customer who moved 18 databases from 14 servers onto 2 Exadata quarter racks; that’s a lot of processes that have to be running per rack simply to keep the many instances idling. If you plugged all the database into a single instance you should get no application interference between databases and a minimal set of background processes.
  • Applications as a Service (or should that be Software as a Service – SaaS): if a 3rd party wants to run your Peoplesoft system for you, they would probably prefer to run one database with multiple Peoplesoft databases plugged into it.

Currently “real” consolidation means lots of work to change multiple databases into multiple schemas in a single database, and worrying about public synonyms; running multiple copies of the same application in the same database demonstrates the most extreme example of how pluggable databases bypass the problem. Just think how nice it would be, as a service provider, to keep a single “empty” Peoplesoft pluggable database in your container database which you clone whenever you sign up with a new customer. And, as a customer, if you want to change your service provider, perhaps you could insist that you supplier unplugs your Peoplesoft database so that you can plug it in at your new service provider.

October 4, 2012

Indexing 12c

Filed under: 12c,Indexing,Oracle — Jonathan Lewis @ 2:43 pm BST Oct 4,2012

Another little detail that Hermann Baer mentioned in his presentation yesterday was the ability to create multiple indexes with the same column definition – something which currently gets you Oracle error “ORA-01408: such column list already indexed.” 

No details, and there’s always the “safe harbour” slide of course – the one which says seomthing about the presentation being only an indication of current thinking and nothing is guaranteed to appear.

Having said that, this looks like an interesting option for those (possibly rare) occasions when you want to change a unique index into a non-unique index (for example, to change a unique constraint to deferrable). Rather than having to drop the index and create a new one – leaving the table unindexed while the index builds, you appear to have the option to: “create new index online”, “drop old index”. Moving a primary key constraint from one index to the other might not be so easy, of course, especially if there are foreign keys in place – but this certainly looks like a helpful step. [Update: actually it’s easy to move the constraint – as I subsequently found in this post.]

Details to follow when 12c becomes available.

Update Sept 2013

Although you can create multiple indexes with the same column definition, only one of them can be visible at any time – so this should remove the temptation that Richard describes in his comment below. It won’t stop people creating “duplicates”, though, and leaving some of them invisible for a while just in case they need to change their minds.  Always keep firm control of your indexing.


October 2, 2012

Partitioning 12c

Filed under: 12c,Oracle,Partitioning — Jonathan Lewis @ 8:11 pm BST Oct 2,2012

Most useful presentation of OOW so far, from Hermann Baer of Oracle on improvements in partitioning features in 12c – and there are lots of useful ones, including:

Online move of a partition – so easy to compress a partition when it has reached its final “read-only” state

multiple partition maintenance in one operation – e.g. merge 3 monthly partitions into one quarterly partition, or split one partition into 24 (think about “how do I partition a non-partitioned table”, and 12c has just made it easier and quicker – exchange it into an empty partitioned table, then do one massive split).

partial indexing – define which partitions of a partitioned table should be included in the indexes you create on the table – and the optimizer also knows that different partitions need different plans (an enhancement of “table expansion”.

interval-reference partitionining – you can create an interval partitioned table, and use ref-partitioning to create child (and further decendent) tables, and their partitions will automatically be generated, truncated, and dropped as the parent is extended, truncated or dropped (needs enabled foreign key constraints).

Lots more details – and lots of stress-testing to be done – but I’m off to hear “the optimizer lady” talk about hints.


Oracle has a “safe harbour” slide at the start of all presentations about future developments pointing out that the information presented is an indication of direction, but not guaranteed to make it into production.

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