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A look into Oracle redo, part 1: redo allocation latches

This will be a series of posts about Oracle database redo handling. The database in use is Oracle version, with PSU 170814 applied. The operating system version is Oracle Linux Server release 7.4. In order to look into the internals of the Oracle database, I use multiple tools; very simple ones like the X$ views and oradebug, but also advanced ones, quite specifically the intel PIN tools ( One of these tools is ‘debugtrace’, which contains pretty usable output on itself (a indented list of function calls and returns), for which I essentially filter out some data, another one is ‘pinatrace’, which does not produce directly usable output, because it provides instruction pointer and memory addresses.

Identity columns in 12c … just a sequence ?

This question came to me over Twitter, so I thought I’d whip out a quick post on it



Yes, we do implement the IDENTITY column via a sequence.  (Digression – I think this is a smart thing to do.  After all, we’ve had sequences for 20 years, so we know how they work, they are mature, tested, and rock solid, so why invent something new?)

Licensed for Advanced Compression? Don’t forget the network

We often think of Advanced Compression being exclusively about compressing data “at rest”, ie, on some sort of storage device.  And don’t get me wrong, if we consider just that part of Advanced Compression, that still covers a myriad of opportunities that could yield benefits for your databases and database applications:

  • Heat maps
  • Automatic Data Optimization
  • XML, JSON and LOB compression (including de-duplication)
  • Compression on backups
  • Compression on Data Pump files
  • Additional compression options on indexes and tables
  • Compressed Flashback Data Archive storage
  • Storage snapshot compression

However, if you are licensed for the option, there are other things that you can also take advantage of when it comes to compression of data on the network.

iASH–my “infinite ASH” routine

I love Active Session History (ASH) data because a lot of the work I’ve done in my consulting life was “after the fact” diagnosis.  By this I mean that many of us have been in a similar circumstance where the customer will contact you not when a problem is occurring, but only when you contact them for some other potentially unrelated reason.  At which point you hear will that dreaded sentence:

“Yeah, the Order Entry screen was really slow a couple of hours ago

And this is where ASH is an awesome resource.  With the ASH data available, there is a good chance you will be able to diagnose the issue without having to make an embarrassing request for the customer to repeat the task so that you can trace the underlying database activity.  Because no-one likes to be the person that says:

“Yeah that performance must have really sucked for you … Hey, let’s do it again!”

Oracle 12.1 big table caching IO code path

Recently I was triggered about the ‘automatic big table caching’ feature introduced in Oracle version with Roger Macnicol’s blogpost about Oracle database IO and caching or not caching ( If you want to read something about the feature in general, search for the feature name, you’ll find several blogposts about it.

nVision Performance Tuning: Table of Contents

This post is an index for a series of blog posts that discuss how to get good performance from nVision as used in General Ledger reporting.

Overloaded Indexes (for ODC Appreciation Day)

ODC Appreciation Day is an idea that Tim Hall (aka Oracle-Base) came up with, to show out appreciation for the Oracle Technology Network (OTN)/Oracle Developer Community.

Free Webinar – How Oracle Works!

Next Tuesday (19th September) I am doing a free webinar for ProHuddle. It lasts under an hour and is an introduction to how some of the core parts of the Oracle RDBMS work, I call it “The Heart of Oracle: How the Core RDBMS Works”. Yes, I try and explain all of the core Oracle RDBMS in under an hour! I’m told I just about manage it. You can see details of the event and register for it here. I’ve done this talk a few times at conferences now and I really like doing it, partly as it seems to go down so well and people give me good feedback about it (and occasionally bad feedback, but I’ll get on to that).

The full table scan direct path read decision for version 12.2

This post is about the decision the Oracle database engine makes when it is using a full segment scan approach. The choices the engine has is to store the blocks that are physically read in the buffercache, or read the blocks into the process’ PGA. The first choice is what I refer to as a ‘buffered read’, which places the block in the database buffercache so the process itself and other processes can bypass the physical read and use the block from the cache, until the block is evicted from the cache. The second choice is what is commonly referred to as ‘direct path read’, which places the blocks physically read into the process’ PGA, which means the read blocks are stored for only a short duration and is not shared with other processes.