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Just a quick revisit on an old topic so I could link to this post in a Stack Overflow discussion.

Choose your names wisely

It all seems simple enough.  You pick a name for an object…and that is the only object that have than name right ?  For example:

18c merge partition online

One of the cool things in 18c is the ability to merge partitions without causing a service interruption.  Here’s a video demonstration of that in action:

This is just an accompanying blog post to let you grab the scripts for the demo so that you can try this yourself on, or any of the Oracle Cloud services that will be running 18c in the near future.

18c–If you can’t wait

You’ve seen the tweet !!


but perhaps the accompanying blog post has tempered your enthusiasm Sad smile


You might be thinking:

Huge Pages

A useful quick summary from Neil Chandler replying to a thread on Oracle-L:

Topic: RAC install on Linux

You should always be using Hugepages.

They give a minor performance improvement and a significant memory saving in terms of the amount of memory needed to handle the pages – less Transaction Lookaside Buffers, which also means less TLB misses (which are expensive).

You are handling the memory chopped up into 2MB pieces instead of 4K. But you also have a single shared memory TLB for Hugepages.

Execution plans on LiveSQL

To protect the integrity of people’s data, and isolate sessions on LiveSQL, we lock down the environment.  Clearly if you are doing some testing with sensitive data, you don’t want an anonymous member of the user community mining V$SQL to see what commands you have been running.  Conversely, we want to allow people to perform most of the tasks that would do on a standard database installation without having to install or configure anything.  That’s the great thing about LiveSQL.

So for that reason, you don’t get access to all of the features of DBMS_XPLAN.  But since we do provide access to a limited set of V$ view access, you can get execution plan details by going back to first principles.  Here’s some scripts you can use

Oracle Database 18c

Yup…it’s arrived!

New name obviously, because we’ve jumped to our new naming model to align with the calendar year as opposed to version number.  You might be thinking “So what?” but it’s a significant change in the way we getting software to customer.  Mike Dietrich blogged about this at length here so I won’t repeat what has been said, but in TL;DR form:

More frequent releases, with smaller amounts of change per release

In this way, the approach lets us focus more of solidifying existing features, and being able to quickly respond to bugs that arise.

So 18c is more an incremental release on 12.2 (in fact, internally it was referred to as “” for most of it’s build cycle) focussed on stability and hardening of existing features.

AskTOM Office Hours for DBA’s

We had the first AskTOM Office Hours Q&A for Database Administrators yesterday.  Thanks to everyone that showed up, and thanks for the questions.

If you missed it, you can catch a replay here


Jonathan Lewis just published a blog post about NVL and COALESCE and the optimizer costings for each.

There is also perhaps a significant difference between NVL and COALESCE in that the former seems to have an in-built optimization for handling bind variables and nulls. 

Consider an application where users optionally pass in search criteria and you have to query a table based on that criteria.  You have three natural choices here to implement that:

WHERE column = :search_criteria or :search_criteria is null


WHERE column = nvl(:search_criteria ,column)


WHERE column = coalesce(:search_criteria,column)

Functionally they are identical*, but the implementation detail shows a nice little optimizer trick that only works with NVL.

NULL’s vs NOT NULL’s and Performance

When it comes to giving the cost based optimiser the best possible chance to make the “right” decisions, many DBA’s are diligent in keeping statistics up to date, using histograms where appropriate, creating more indexes (or removing surplus indexes).

However one often neglected area is that the the null-ness of columns also impacts the optimiser decisions. NULL and NOT NULL do more than just act as constraints, they also add (or detract) to the value of indexes on those columns. Here’s an example of how the null-ness of a column impacts optimizer decisions. I have a table T which is a copy of DBA_OBJECTS, indexed on OBJECT_ID.