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May 2018

Hybrid Columnar Compression in 12.2 – nice new feature

Oracle 12.2 introduced an interesting optimisation for Hybrid Columnar Compression (HCC). Until 12.2 you had to use direct path inserts into HCC compressed segments for data to be actually compressed. If you didn’t use a direct path insert you would still succeed in entering data into the segment, however your newly inserted data was not HCC compressed. There is no error message or other warning telling you about that, which can lead to surprises for the unaware.

My friend and colleague Nick has pointed out that the official HCC white paper states – somewhat hidden – that this requirement is no longer as strict in 12.2. I haven’t managed to find the document Nick pointed out, but a quick search using my favourite retrieval engine unearthed the updated version for 18c.

Postgres, the fsync() issue, and ‘pgio’ (the SLOB method for PostgreSQL)

That’s a long blog post title, which is actually just a good pretext to play with Kevin Closson SLOB method for PostgreSQL: pgio
I use the beta version of pgio here. If you want to read more about it, you can start on If you are used to the SLOB for Oracle ( you will quickly understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of pgio.

ADWC – System and session settings (DWCS lockdown profile)

The Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud service is a PaaS managed service where we have a PDB and an ADMIN user which has most of the system privileges. For example, we have the privilege to change initialization parameters:
SQL> select * from dba_sys_privs where grantee=user and privilege like 'ALTER S%';
------- --------- ------------ ------ ---------

Still, not everything is allowed for several reasons: ensure that we cannot break the Oracle managed CDB and force us to use only the features allowed in the ‘autonomous’ service. This is limited with a lockdown profile:
SQL> show parameter pdb_lockdown
------------ ------ -----
pdb_lockdown string DWCS

Missing Audit

Here’s a detail I discovered a long time ago – and rediscovered very recently: it’s possible to delete data from a table which is subject to audit without the delete being audited. I think the circumstances where it would matter are a little peculiar, and I’ve rarely seen systems that use the basic Oracle audit feature anyway, but this may solve a puzzle for someone, somewhere, someday.

The anomaly appears if you create a referential integrity constraint as “on delete cascade”. A delete from the parent table will automatically (pre-)delete matching rows from the child table but the delete on the child table will not be audited. Here’s a demonstration script – note that you will need to have set the parameter audit_trail to ‘DB’ to prove the point.

Sneak Preview of pgio (The SLOB Method for PostgreSQL) Part IV: How To Reduce The Amount of Memory In The Linux Page Cache For Testing Purposes.

I hope these sneak peeks are of interest…

PostgreSQL and Buffered I/O

PostgreSQL uses buffered I/O. If you want to test your storage subsystem capabilities with database physical I/O you have to get the OS page cache “out of the way”–unless you want to load really large test data sets.

Although pgio (the SLOB Method for PostgreSQL) is still in Beta, I’d like to show this example of the tool I provide for users to make a really large RAM system into an effectively smaller RAM system.

Linux Huge Pages

Memory allocated to huge pages is completely cordoned off unless a process allocates some IPC shared memory (shmget(1)).  The pgio kit comes with a simple tools called which leverages this quality of huge pages in order to draw down available memory so that one can test physical I/O with a database size that is quite smaller than the amount of physical memory in the database host.

Users, schemas & privileges in #Exasol

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Sneak Preview of pgio (The SLOB Method for PostgreSQL) Part III: Link To The Full README file for Beta pgio v0.9.

If you are interested in a head start on pgio, the following is a link to the full README file which has some loading and testing how-to:

The pgio text README file version 0.9 Beta

Sneak Preview of pgio (The SLOB Method for PostgreSQL) Part II: Bulk Data Loading.

Bulk Data Loading With pgio Version 0.9 Beta

Now that pgio (the SLOB Method for PostgreSQL) is in Beta users’ hands I’m going to make a few quick blog entries with examples of pgio usage. The following are screen grabs taken while loading 1 terabyte into the pgio schemas. As the example shows, pgio (on a system with ample storage performance) can ready a 1 terabyte data set for testing in only 1014 seconds (roughly 3.5TB/h loading rate).

$ cat pgio.conf



Sneak Preview of pgio (The SLOB Method for PostgreSQL) Part I: The Beta pgio README File.

The pgio kit is the only authorized port of the SLOB Method for PostgreSQL. I’ve been handing out Beta kits to some folks already but I thought I’d get some blog posts underway in anticipation of users’ interest.

The following is part of the README.txt for pgio v0.9 (Beta). SLOB users will find it all easy to understand. This is the section of the README that discusses pgio.conf parameters:


The percentage of SQL that will be UPDATE DML

RUN_TIME run duration in seconds


pgio data is loaded into either a big single schema or multiple. NUM_SCHEMAS directs to create and load NUM_SCHEMAS schemas.


For  This parameter controls the number of concurrent
data loading streams.

For  This parameter controls how many sessions will attach to
each NUM_SCHEMAS schema.

Running Code as SYS From Another User not SYSDBA

I have been embroiled in a twitter thread today about the post i made in this blog yesterday around granting privileges to a user and who should do the granting. Patrick today asked a further question: How do you make....[Read More]

Posted by Pete On 22/05/18 At 08:42 PM