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Index Hash

You might think from the title that this little note is going to be about the index hash join – you would be half right, it’s also about how the optimizer seems to make a complete hash of dealing with index hash joins.

Let’s set up a simple data set and a couple of indexes so that we can take a closer look:

Autotrace Polluting The Shared Pool?


Another random note that I made during the sessions attended at OOW was about the SQL*Plus AUTOTRACE feature. As you're hopefully already aware of this feature has some significant shortcomings, the most obvious being that it doesn't pull the actual execution plan from the Shared Pool after executing the statement but simply runs an EXPLAIN PLAN on the SQL text which might produce an execution plan that is different from the actual one for various reasons.

Now the claim was made that in addition to these shortcomings the plan generated by the AUTOTRACE feature will stay in the Shared Pool and is eligible for sharing, which would mean that other statement executions could be affected by a potentially bad execution plan generated via AUTOTRACE rather then getting re-optimized on their own.

Incremental Partition Statistics Review


Here is a summary of the findings while evaluating Incremental Partition Statistics that have been introduced in Oracle 11g.

The most important point to understand is that Incremental Partition Statistics are not "cost-free", so anyone who is telling you that you can gather statistics on the lowest level (partition or sub-partition in case of composite partitioning) without any noticeable overhead in comparison to non-incremental statistics (on the lowest level) is not telling you the truth.

Although this might be obvious I've already personally heard someone making such claims so it's probably worth to mention.

In principle you need to test on your individual system whether the overhead that is added to each statistics update on the lowest level outweighs the overhead of actually gathering statistics on higher levels, of course in particular on global level.

Index Organized Tables – An Introduction Of Sorts (Pyramid Song)

Thought it was high time that I covered in a little detail the subject of Index Organized Tables (IOTs). When used appropriately, they can be an extremely useful method of storing and accessing data. Hopefully by the end of this series, you’ll have a better understanding of IOTs, their respective strengths and weaknesses and so perhaps [...]

Dynamic Sampling On Multiple Partitions - Bugs

In a recent OTN thread I've been reminded of two facts about Dynamic Sampling that I already knew but had forgotten in the meantime:

1. The table level dynamic sampling hint uses a different number of blocks for sampling than the session / cursor level dynamic sampling. So even if for both for example level 5 gets used the number of sampled blocks will be different for most of the 10 levels available (obviously level 0 and 10 are exceptions)

2. The Dynamic Sampling code uses a different approach for partitioned objects if it is faced with the situation that there are more partitions than blocks to sample according to the level (and type table/cursor/session) of Dynamic Sampling

Note that all this here applies to the case where no statistics have been gathered for the table - I don't cover the case when Dynamic Sampling gets used on top of existing statistics.

I wish

A few days ago I published an example of the optimizer failing to handle an updateable join view because it didn’t recognise that a particular type of aggregate subquery would guarantee key-preservation.  Here’s another example where the human eye can see key-preservation, but the optimizer can’t (even in As usual we’ll start with some sample data – in this case two tables since I want to update from one table to the other.

create table t1 (
	id1	number,
	id2	number,
	val	number,
	constraint t1_pk primary key (id1, id2)

insert into t1 values (1,1,99);

create table t2 (
	id1	number,
	id2	number,
	id3	number,
	val	number,
	constraint t2_pk primary key (id1, id2, id3)

insert into t2 values (1,1,1,200);
insert into t2 values (1,1,2,200);


A recent comment on a note I wrote some time ago about faking histograms asked about the calculations of selectivity in the latest versions of Oracle. As I read the question, I realised that I had originally supplied a formula for calculating cardinality, rather than selectivity, so I thought I’d supply a proper example.

We’ll start with a script to create some data and stats – and I’m going to start with a script I wrote in Jan 2001 (which is why it happens to use the analyze command rather than dbms_stats.gather_table_stats, even though this example comes from an instance of

I wish

Here’s a simple update statement that identifies a few rows in a table then updates a column where a matching value can be derived from another table – it’s an example of an update by correlated subquery:

update	t1
set	small_vc = (
		where =
	mod(id,100) = 0
and	exists (
		select null
		from t2
		where =

All Things Oracle

Last year I wrote a few articles for Simpletalk, a web service created by Redgate for users of SQL Server. This year, Redgate is setting up a similar service called “All things Oracle” (I’ve added a link in my blogroll) for Oracle users, and I’ve volunteered to write articles for them occasionally.

Some of the stuff they publish will be complete articles on their website, some will be short introductions with links to the authors’ own websites. My first article for them has just been posted – it’s an article that captures a couple of key points from the optimizer presentation I did at the UKOUG conference a couple of weeks ago.

FBI trouble

In our application we extensively use a function-based index on an important table. Couple of days ago I’ve seen an interesting issue associated with this FBI, view and a GROUP BY query. I have to say I don’t have an explanation what exactly it is and how I should call it properly, hence just “trouble” in the subject line.