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Index out of range

I’ve waxed lyrical in the past about creating suitable column group statistics whenever you drop an index because even when the optimizer doesn’t use an index in its execution path it might have used the number of distinct keys of the index (user_indexes.distinct_keys) in its estimates of cardinality.

min/max Upgrade

A question came up on the OTN database forum a little while ago about a very simple query that was taking different execution paths on two databases with the same table and index definitions and similar data. In one database the plan used the “index full scan (min/max)” operation while the other database used a brute force “index fast full scan” operation.

Index Compression

Richard Foote has published a couple of articles in the last few days on the new (licensed under the advanced compression option) compression mechanism in 12.2 for index leaf blocks. The second of these pointed out that the new “high compression” mechanism was even able to compress single-column unique indexes – a detail that doesn’t make sense and isn’t allowed for the older style “leading edge deduplication” mechanism for index compression.

Extended Stats

After my Masterclass on indexes at the UKOUG Tech2016 conference this morning I got into a conversation about creating extended stats on a table. I had pointed out in the masterclass that each time you dropped an index you really ought to be prepared to create a set of extended stats (specifically a column group) on the list of columns that had defined the index just in case the optimizer had been using the distinct_keys statistic from the index to help it calculate cardinalities.

Invisible Bug

At this Wednesday’s Oracle Midlands event someone asked me if Oracle would use the statistics on invisible indexes for the index sanity check. I answered that there had been a bug in the very early days of invisible indexes when the distinct_key statistic on the index could be used even though the index itself would not be considered as a candidate in the plan (and the invisible index is still used to avoid foreign key locking – even in 12c – it’s only supposed to be invisible to the optimizer).

Index Sanity

By popular demand (well, one person emailed me to ask for it) I’m going to publish the source code for a little demo I’ve been giving since the beginning of the millennium – it concerns indexes and the potential side effects that you can get when you drop an index that you’re “not using”. I think I’ve mentioned the effect several times in the history of this blog, but I can’t find an explicit piece of demo code, so here it is – starting at the conclusion – as a cut and paste from an SQL*Plus session running against an 11g instance:

Bitmap Counts

A question came up on the Oracle-L list server a few days ago about a query whose plan showed several bitmap operations. The problem was that the A-Rows column reported by a call to dbms_xplan.display_cursor() was showing numbers that semed to be far too small. In fact the query was producing a parallel execution plan, so the “actuals” for the parallel server operations were reporting zeros because the OP had used the “allstats last” formatting option rather than just “allstats” – but the numbers were still far too small even after this error had been corrected.

RI Locks

RI = Referential Integrity: also known informally as parent/child integrity, and primary (or unique) key/foreign key checking.

I’m on a bit of a roll with things that I must have explained dozens or even hundreds of times in different environments without ever formally explaining them on my blog. Here’s a blog item I could have done with to response to  a question that came up on the OTN database forum over the weekend.

What happens in the following scenario:

Index Usage

There are some questions about Oracle that are like the mythical Hydra – you think you’ve killed it, but for every head you cut off another two grow. The claim that “the optimizer will switch between using an index and doing a tablescan when you access more than X% of the data” re-appeared on the OTN database forum a little while ago – it doesn’t really matter what the specific value of X was – and it’s a statement that needs to be refuted very firmly because it’s more likely to cause problems than it is to help anyone understand what’s going on.

Wrong Results

Just in – a post on the Oracle-L mailing lists asks: “Is it a bug if a query returns one answer if you hint a full tablescan and another if you hint an indexed access path?” And my answer is, I think: “Not necessarily”:

SQL> select /*+ full(pt_range)  */ n2 from pt_range where n1 = 1 and n2 = 1;

SQL> select /*+ index(pt_range pt_i1) */ n2 from pt_range where n1 = 1 and n2 = 1;


The index is NOT corrupt.