Oracle Scratchpad

October 17, 2013

Virtual date partitions

Filed under: Infrastructure,Oracle,Partitioning — Jonathan Lewis @ 7:40 pm BST Oct 17,2013

I posted this question on twitter earlier on today (It was a thought that crossed my mind during a (terrible) presentation on partitioning that I had to sit through a few weeks ago – no matter how bad a presentation is I always seem to be able to get a couple of interesting questions out of it):

Quiz: if you have a table with a date column date_col and create a virtual column defined as trunc(date_col,’W’) and partition on it – will a query on date_col result in partition elimination?


October 11, 2013

Testing Partitions

Filed under: Oracle,Partitioning — Jonathan Lewis @ 7:47 am BST Oct 11,2013

A quick check-list on testing new partitioning features:

  • Step 1 – test with a small amount of data in place, just to see if it works at all
  • Step 2 – test with a reasonably large amount of data in place so that you can spot any unexpected time being lost
  • Step 3 – test with a few uncommitted transactions from other sessions so that you can spot locking problems easily
  • Step 4 – test with SQL tracing enabled so that you can check the trace files for any recursive SQL threats
  • Step 5 – (optional, and harder to recognise) test with event 10704 set so that you can check the trace files for locking threats

Whatever else you do, though, make sure that you always have some data in every object because Oracle has some special optimisations for dealing with partitions that are known to be empty so, in the absence of data, you may be testing something that will never happen in production.


September 11, 2013

MV Refresh

Filed under: compression,Infrastructure,Materialized view,Oracle,Partitioning,Performance — Jonathan Lewis @ 8:47 pm BST Sep 11,2013

I have a fairly strong preference for choosing simple solutions over complex solutions, and using Oracle-supplied packages over writing custom code – provided the difference in cost (whether that’s in human effort, run-time resources or licence fees) is acceptable. Sometimes, though, the gap between simplicity and cost is so extreme that a hand-crafted solution is clearly the better choice. Here’s an idea prompted by a recent visit to a site that makes use of materialized views and also happens to be licensed for the partitioning option.


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 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.

July 13, 2012

Recursive SQL

Filed under: Infrastructure,Oracle,Partitioning — Jonathan Lewis @ 4:41 pm BST Jul 13,2012

A question came up on the OTN database forum a few days ago asking why a very simple query against a hash partitioned table was doing so much physical I/O to get a very small amount of data from a single partition:

I have table hash-partitioned on an indexed column “id” which is non-unique and part of my primary key. Inside each partition, rows with the same id are located close to each other which is done by dbms_redefinition reorg using orderby_cols. The intention is to reduce the amount of physical reads since there are no queries that don’t filter on the id column.

What I’m seeing is a lot of physical reads though. The first partition has roughly 80K rows, an average row length of 347, block size of 8K and compression … resulting in 821 blocks. And when (after flushing buffered cache and shared pool) submit a query that filters on “id” only and results is 106 selected rows, I see roughly 1400 physical reads.

The poster has clearly applied some careful thought to minimising the work required – so what’s gone wrong ? To help us analyse the problem he posted the results from running a query through autotrace:


June 5, 2012

Truncate Partition

Filed under: Infrastructure,Oracle,Partitioning — Jonathan Lewis @ 5:11 pm BST Jun 5,2012

A recent posting on the OTN database forum (which I didn’t answer correctly on my first attempt) raised the problem of truncating partitions when there are referential integrity constraints in place. Let’s start with a demonstration of the problem:

September 30, 2011

Table rebuilds

Filed under: Oracle,Partitioning — Jonathan Lewis @ 11:06 am BST Sep 30,2011

Here’s a question from the OTN forum that I’ve seen fairly frequently in the last couple of years:

I have a table abc(c_date date, c_id varchr2(20), c_name varchar2);
The table is already range partitoned on “c_date” column and I have lot of data in that table.
Now my task is to create the hash partions under range; hash partiton needs 16 partitons.
I dont want to create another table with range and hash partitons and migrate the data. The amount of data I have is 3 terabytes.


July 6, 2011


Filed under: Indexing,Oracle,Partitioning,Tuning — Jonathan Lewis @ 5:39 pm BST Jul 6,2011

A question about partitioning came up on OTN a few days ago – but the really interesting part of the thread was about the choice of indexes, and how the choice of partitioning, combined with the data patterns, could make a big difference to the choice of indexes. I think the comments I made about indexes are worth seeing, so I’ve linked to the thread.

July 1, 2011

Partitioned Bitmaps

Filed under: Index Joins,Indexing,Oracle,Partitioning — Jonathan Lewis @ 5:19 pm BST Jul 1,2011

The following question appeared in a comment to an earlier posting on multi-column bitmap indexes and the inability of Oracle to create a bitmap index join when (to the human eye) the strategy was an obvious choice.

I have a query which is using 2 indexes both are bitmap indexes (sizes are 37 and 24 Mbs) and table size is 17gb. While i ran the following query which can very well get the index itself, it takes around 6-8 minutes and using pga around 3 gb.

could you please explain me why ?


May 26, 2011

Interval Partitions

Filed under: Infrastructure,Oracle,Partitioning — Jonathan Lewis @ 12:07 pm BST May 26,2011

Here’s a little gem from the OTN database forum – why should the CPU usage of querying an “interval partitioned” table depend on the size of something that’s missing ?

(The most significant symptom is identified in a reply I wrote to the thread – but that’s only a step in the right direction).

February 28, 2011


Filed under: Indexing,Partitioning — Jonathan Lewis @ 6:12 pm BST Feb 28,2011

From time to time the question about whether local indexes on partitioned tables should be prefixed or non-prefixed appears on the Oracle forums and mailing lists.

It’s possible that I’m wrong – although no-one has come up with a counter-example to the statement I keep repeating – but the whole prefixed/non-prefixed thing for local indexes dates back to a limitation in the optimizer somewhere in the 8.0 time line where Oracle couldn’t do partition elimination on indexes properly but the overhead due to this limitation could be dramatically reduced (in most cases) by sticking the partition key at the start of the index.

The guidelines for local indexes are the same as they would be for a non-partitioned index on a non-partitioned heap table – the partitioning column(s) are just columns in the table that might be worth including in the index, and the order of the index columns is dictated by the important queries that have to access the table.

For further comments, there’s a note I wrote (which I’ve just been reminded of) on the OTN database forum that adds a little detail to this argument.

February 3, 2011

Upgrade issues

Filed under: CBO,Oracle,Partitioning,Troubleshooting,Upgrades — Jonathan Lewis @ 6:41 pm BST Feb 3,2011

Here’s an example of how a bug-fix can create problems. It’s a code change in 11.2.x.x and (I believe) relating to the costing of queries involving (but perhaps not restricted to) composite partitioned tables. I first saw this change in an email from Doug Burns, who sent me the 10053 traces from a very simple query that had started using the wrong index after an upgrade from to

As part of his testing he had set the optimizer_features_enable parameter back to and found that not only did the choice of index change back to the expected index, but the costs of the two indexes changed dramatically. (The cost of using the “right” index changed from 15 to something in excess of 9,000 on the upgrade!)


November 14, 2010

Local Indexes – 2

Filed under: CBO,Partitioning,Performance — Jonathan Lewis @ 5:42 pm BST Nov 14,2010

In the previous note on local indexes I raised a couple of questions about the problems of different partitions holding different volumes of data, and supplied a script to build some sample data that produced the following values for blevel across the partitions of a list-partitioned table.


November 11, 2010

Local Indexes

Filed under: CBO,Infrastructure,Partitioning — Jonathan Lewis @ 10:45 pm BST Nov 11,2010

In a recent article about list partitioned tables I raised some questions about the cases where the optimizer can’t (yet) do partitioning pruning even when the opportunity is clearly visible to the human eye. The most important example was the case where each partition was defined to hold rows for just one partition key value – but the optimizer could not prune out the redundant partition for a query like: “partition_key != {constant}”.

I recently came across a situation where this really made a big difference. The system had a huge table that had been list partitioned as follows (with some camouflage):


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