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ROWID

Here’s a suggestion to help you avoid wasting time. If you ever include the rowid in a query – not that that should happen very commonly – make sure you give it an alias, especially if you’re using ANSI SQL. If you don’t, you may find yourself struggling to work out why you’re getting an irrational error message. Here’s an example that appeared recently on the OTN forum, with the output cut-n-pasted from a system running 11.1.0.7:

select 
	'1' 
from 
	dual a
left join 
	(
	select	c.dummy, b.rowid
	from	dual b
	join	dual c
	on b.dummy = c.dummy
	) d
on 	a.dummy = d.dummy
;

select
*
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-01445: cannot select ROWID from, or sample, a join view without a key-preserved table

The error doesn’t really seem to fit the query, does it?
If you want to bypass the problem all you have to do is give b.rowid (line 7) an alias like rid.

systimestamp

For your entertainment – there’s nothing up my sleeves, this was a simple cut-n-paste after real-time typing with no tricks:

20:39:51 SQL> create table t1 (t1 timestamp);

Table created.

20:39:55 SQL> insert into t1 values(systimestamp);

1 row created.

20:39:59 SQL> select t1 - systimestamp  from t1;

T1-SYSTIMESTAMP
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
+000000000 04:59:50.680620

1 row selected.

20:40:08 SQL>

My laptop runs Oracle so quickly that it took only 4 seconds for 5 hours to elapse !
11.2.0.3 on 64-bit Linux – the client is running with TZ=EST5EDT, while the server is running UK Time (currently BST (GMT+1))

Lock Bug

Here’s an oddity that I ran into a little while ago while trying to prepare a sample trace file showing a particular locking pattern; it was something that I’d done before, but trace files can change with different versions of Oracle so I decided to use a copy of 11.2.0.2 that happened to be handy at the time to check if anything had changed since the previous (11gR1) release. I never managed to finish the test; here are the steps I got through:

dbms_xplan bug

Here’s a very long post (which is mainly an example) demonstrating a little bug in the “explain plan” functionality. It’s a variation of a bug which I thought had been fixed in 11g, but it still appears in some cases. Take a look at this execution plan, which comes from explaining “select * from dba_tab_cols” – the bit I want to emphasise is in lines 1 to 10:

v$sqlstats

Sometimes you find bugs on MOS (Metalink, OCIS, whatever) that make you feel positively ill. I’ve just been on a customer site where (in passing) they mentioned that one of their historic queries avainst v$sqlstats now tool just over one second (CPU) in 11.2.0.3 when it had previously taken about 200ms on 10.2.0.4***. After a little checking it seemed likely that the change was possibly related to the fact that they had increased the size of the SGA significantly, allowing for a much larger shared pool and library cache; however there have been numerous code changes in the shared pool area on the route from 10g to 11g, so I decided to check MOS to see if anyone else had seen a similar problem. I found this:

Bug 13550185 : QUERIES ON V$SQLSTATS MAY CAUSE CRASH OR HANG

Version 11.2.0.3

Fixed in 12.1

FBI Delete

A recent post on Oracle-l complained about an oddity when deleting through a function-based index.

I have a function based index but the CBO is not using it. The DML that I expect to have a plan with index range scan is doing a FTS. Its a simple DML that deletes 1000 rows at a time in a loop and is based on the column on which the FBI is created.

Bugs

Last week I published some code that demonstrated how a fast refresh of an aggregate materialized view could fail because of the internal use of the sys_op_map_nonnull() function. In some ways it was an easy problem to explain because all you had to do was trace the call to refresh and see what was going on. Today’s bug is completely different – it’s virtually impossible to see the connection between the failure and its cause. Here (as a cut-n-paste) is an example of what happens when the bug appears:

execute dbms_stats.gather_schema_stats(user)
*
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-01760: illegal argument for function
ORA-06512: at "SYS.DBMS_STATS", line 13336
ORA-06512: at "SYS.DBMS_STATS", line 13682
ORA-06512: at "SYS.DBMS_STATS", line 13760
ORA-06512: at "SYS.DBMS_STATS", line 13719
ORA-06512: at line 1

Surprises

I’ve given examples in the past of how you can be suprised by Oracle when a mechanism that has “always worked” in the past suddenly just doesn’t work because some unexpected internal coding mechanism hits a boundary condition. One example I gave of this was rebuilding indexes online – where a limitation on the key size of index organized tables made it impossible to do an online rebuild of an index on a heap table because of an ORA-01450 (maximum key length) error that was raised against the (index-organized) journal table that  Oracle creates internally to support the rebuild.

Debugging

One of my recent assignments involved a company that had run into some performance problems after upgrading from 10.2.0.3 to 11.2.0.2. We had spent half an hour on the phone discussing the system before I had arrived, and I’d made a couple of suggestions that had solved most of their problems before I got on site – but they still wanted me to come in and give them some specific ideas about why the critical part of the solution had helped.

The most critical piece of advice I had given them (after listening very carefully to their description of the system) was to get rid of ALL the histograms they had on their system, and then watch very carefully for any signs that they might need to re-introduce a handful of histograms over the next few weeks.

Unique Fail

As in – how come a unique (or primary key) index is predicted to return more than one row using a unique scan, for example (running on 10.2.0.3 – but the same type of thing happens on newer versions):