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12c Release 2, set feedback enhancement in SQL PLus

There’s a nice little touch to the “set feedback” command in SQL PLus in 12.2. There is a new “only” clause in the SET FEEDBACK command, so you can run queries but the resulting rows are not shown in the display. They are still queried, fetched and “returned”, but just rendered to the screen. Here’s an example

$ sqlplus hr/hr

SQL*Plus: Release Production on Tue Mar 14 22:59:15 2017

Copyright (c) 1982, 2016, Oracle.  All rights reserved.

Last Successful login time: Sat Mar 11 2017 01:59:20 -04:00

Connected to:
Oracle Database 12c Enterprise Edition Release - 64bit Production

SQL> select * from regions;

---------- -------------------------
         1 Europe
         2 Americas
         3 Asia
         4 Middle East and Africa

So that’s normal behaviour. Let’s now use the new ONLY option.

SQL> set feedback only 
SQL> select * from regions;

4 rows selected.

So why would you want that ? Well, sometimes you just want to run the query so that you can use a subsequent DBMS_XPLAN.DISPLAY_CURSOR call to see the true execution plan. Or perhaps, you just to want to examine some options with regard to the fetch performance. For example, here’s a demo of fetching from a large table called EMP

SQL> show arraysize
arraysize 10

SQL> set timing on
SQL> select * from emp;

1753088 rows selected.

Elapsed: 00:00:26.27

So that took 26 seconds, with an arraysize of 10. Let’s see if we can do better than that – we’ll bump up the arraysize to 200

SQL> set arraysize 200
SQL> select * from emp;

1753088 rows selected.

Elapsed: 00:00:04.65

Wow, thats pretty cool. Six times faster just by tweaking the batch size of the fetch. Surely then we can just keep bumping it up.

SQL> set arraysize 5000
SQL> select * from emp;

1753088 rows selected.

Elapsed: 00:00:04.43

Apparently not. There is a “sweet spot” for arraysize, and diminishing returns on performance when you go higher and higher (at the cost of consuming memory and resources on your client machine to drag all those rows down at once). But this post isn’t about arraysize, it’s merely a conduit for the nice cool feature SET FEEDBACK ONLY which lets us now test out such things without having to see all the rows presented back.