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18c

Read only partitions

The ability for part of a table to be read-only and other parts of the same table to allow full DML is a cool feature in the Oracle Partitioning option.  Perhaps the most common example you will typically see for this is range-based partitioning on a date/timestamp column.  As data “ages”, setting older partitions to read-only can yield benefits such as:

  • moving the older partitions to cheaper, or write-once storage
  • guaranteeing that older data cannot be tampered with
  • shrinking backup times because read-only data only needs to be backed up once (or twice to be sure)

But if you try this in 18c, you might get a surprise:

18c versus 19c

I had someone say to me at an event recently: “We’re are going to upgrade to 18c, because 19c is new and is probably less stable”.

Let me sum up that sentiment simply: It’s Wrong Smile

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not claiming that every Oracle release is perfect, contains zero bugs, never has a regression, will mow your lawn, take your kids to school, clean your house and sort out all the climate change issues in the world.

New Parallel Distribution Method For Direct Path Loads

Starting with version 12c Oracle obviously has introduced another parallel distribution method for direct path loads (applicable to INSERT APPEND and CTAS operations) when dealing with partitioned objects.

As you might already know, starting with version 11.2 Oracle supported a new variation of the PQ_DISTRIBUTE hint allowing more control how data gets distributed for the actual DML load step. In addition to the already documented methods (NONE, RANDOM / RANDOM_LOCAL, PARTITION) there is a new one EQUIPART which obviously only applies to scenarios where both, source and target table are equi partitioned.

UTL_FILE_DIR and 18c revisited

A couple of years back (wow…time flies!) I made a video and a post about the de-support of UTL_FILE_DIR in 18c. This was good thing because the number of people opting for “utl_file_dir=*” in their init.ora file, and hence opening themselves up to all sorts of risks seemed to be large! (The post elaborates on this more with an example of erasing your database with a short UTL_FILE script Smile)

Video : Schema Only Accounts in Oracle Database 18c Onward

Today’s video is a demonstration of schema only accounts, introduced in Oracle Database 18c.

This is based on the following articles.

Group by Elimination

Here’s a bug that was highlighted a couple of days ago on the Oracle Developer Community forum; it may be particularly worth thinking about if if you haven’t yet got up to Oracle 12c as it appeared in an optimizer feature that appeared in 12.2 (and hasn’t been completely fixed) even in the latest release of 19c (currently 19.6).

Oracle introduce “aggregate group by elimination” in 12.2, protected by the hidden parameter “_optimizer_aggr_groupby_elim”. The notes on MOS about the feature tell us that Oracle can eliminate a group by operation from a query block if a unique key from every table in the query block appears in the group by clause. Unfortunately there were a couple of gaps in the implementation in 12.2 that can produce wrong results. Here’s some code to model the problem.

Initialising PL/SQL associative arrays in 18c and later

I can never remember how to initialise PL/SQL associative arrays and thought I’d write a short post about it. This is primarily based on an article on Oracle’s Ask Tom site, plus a little extra detail from Steven Feuerstein. Associative arrays were previously known as index-by tables, by the way.

Associative arrays before 18c

Prior to Oracle 18c, you had to initialise an associative array in a slightly cumbersome way, like so:

Drop Column bug

When I was a child I could get lost for hours in an encyclopedia because I’d be looking for one topic, and something in it would make me want to read another, and another, and …

The same thing happens with MOS (My  Oracle Support) – I search for something and the search result throws up a completely irrelvant item that looks much more interesting so I follow a hyperlink, which mentions a couple of other notes, and a couple of hours later I can’t remember what I had started looking for.

12.2.0.1 And Later Support (Limited) Extended Stats On Virtual columns / Column Groups of Expressions

I do have a demo as part of my optimizer related workshops that shows the restriction / limitation of DBMS_STATS not supporting extended statistics on virtual columns / group of expressions, so for example the combination of both expressions and column groups, like ((TRUNC(COL1)), (TRUNC(COL2))).

Surprisingly, when following a certain sequence of operation, this starts working (to some degree) from 12.2.0.1 on.

Single Value Column Frequency Histogram Oracle 12c and later

It is hopefully in the meantime well known that Oracle has introduced in version 11g a new algorithm to gather statistics on a table that no longer requires sorting for determining the critical Number Of Distinct Values (NDV) figure - it instead uses a clever "approximate NDV" algorithm which always reads 100% of the table data and therefore in principle generates very accurate statistics. This new algorithm gets used only when the ESTIMATE_PERCENT parameter to the DBMS_STATS.GATHER*STATS calls is left at default or explicitly passed as "DBMS_STATS.AUTO_SAMPLE_SIZE". This new algorithm is also required in case other new features like "Incremental Statistics" should be used.

In 12c Oracle improved this algorithm allowing the generation of Frequency and the new Top Frequency histogram types in a single pass. The new Hybrid histogram type still requires a separate pass.