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December 2017

Visualize PostgreSQL index file with pgdfv


In the previous blog post pgdfv (PostgreSQL data file visualizer) has been introduced. At that time the utility was able to display data file. It is now able to display index file. If you are not familiar with PostgreSQL block internals I would suggest to read Frits Hoogland study in this series of blogposts.

The utility usage is:

$ ./pgdfv
-df     Path to a datafile (mandatory if indexfile is used)
-if     Path to an indexfile
-b      Block size (default 8192)

As you can see you can now specify an indexfile. In that case the following information will be displayed:

ODBVv2 – ghostdata busters

Some time ago I wrote a simple tool to learn about Oracle data block internals – ODBV.
The series of articles can be found here: and the github repo is here:

This is not a production tool but during the last session in Birmingham at UKOUG_TECH17 – where I was doing a presentation using this tool – I came to the conclusion that with a little bit of work it could be used to trace ghost data in a database.

What is ghost data? This is very simple – each time we delete something or truncate or move, Oracle database is not removing data from our datafile – the blocks are "marked" for reuse and are not associated with any logical object in a database, but our data is still there.

nVision Performance Tuning 12: Hinting nVision with SQL Profiles

This blog post is part of a series that discusses how to get optimal performance from PeopleSoft nVision reporting as used in General Ledger.  It is a PeopleSoft specific version of a posting on my Oracle blog.

Little things worth knowing: redo transport in Data Guard 12.2 part 2

In the first part of this article I looked at a number of views and some netstat output to show how redo is transported from the primary database to its standby systems. The long story short is that TT02 (“async ORL multi”) was found sending redo to CDB3 asynchronously whilest NSS2 (“sync”) transferred redo to the synchronised target – CDB2. Unlike v$dataguard_process wanted me to believe, it really wasn’t LGWR sending redo over the network.

In this little article I would like to show you how the standby databases CDB2 and CDB3 receive redo and how you can map this back to the primary database, closing the loop.

Early Bird Extension – UK February Dates: “Oracle Indexing Internals and Best Practices” Seminar

As a Christmas present to those in the UK looking at attending my “Oracle Indexing Internals and Best Practices” seminar in February next year, the Early Bird rates are now available until 19th January 2018. Take this opportunity to attend this highly acclaimed seminar that is packed full of information designed to significantly improve the […]

That demned elusive PQ slave

With apologies to Emma Orczy for stealing a line from “The Scarlet Pimpernel” … </p />

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Content- My Year in Review, 2017

So where did 2017 go?!?!?  I really, really would like to know…  Needless to say, it’s time to do a year in review already and I actually have time to do it this year!

DBAKevlar Blog

I wrote over 100 blog posts this year between DBAKevlar, Delphix and partner sites, but I’ve enjoyed sharing with the different communities.  There’s significant changes going on in the IT world regarding the future of the Database Administrator.

2017–what grabbed your attention

Here are the blog posts that you hit on most this year.  Thanks for supporting the blog, and always, there will be more content next year !

Seasons greetings from the AskTOM team

This year we’ve answered over 2800 of your questions and followed up on 3500 reviews. It’s been a great and busy year! We’ll see you all in 2018

Hints, Patches, Force Matching and SQL Profiles

Sometimes, when all else fails, it is necessary to add hints to a piece of SQL in order to make the optimizer use a particular execution plan. We might directly add the hint to the code. However, even if it is possible to access the code directly, that may not be a good idea. In the future, if we need to change the hint, possibly due to a change in optimizer behaviour on database upgrade, then we would again need to make a code change.
Instead, we could look at Oracle's plan stability technologies.  There are 4 plan stability features in the database. They are different, but conceptually they all involve associating a set of hints with a statement that will be picked up by the optimizer at runtime.