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. (more...)

Interval Partition Problem

Assume you’ve got a huge temporary tablespace, there’s plenty of space in your favourite tablespace, you’ve got a very boring, simple table you want to copy and partition, and no-one and nothing is using the system. Would you really expect a (fairly) ordinary “create table t2 as select * from t1” to end with an Oracle error “ORA-1652: unable to extend temp segment by 128 in tablespace TEMP” . That’s the temporary tablespace that’s out of (more...)

Taking Notes – 2

[Originally written August 2015, but not previously published]

If I’m taking notes in a presentation that you’re giving there are essentially four possible reasons:

  • You’ve said something interesting that I didn’t know and I’m going to check it and think about the consequences
  • You’ve said something that I knew but you’ve said it in a way that made me think of some possible consequences that I need to check
  • You’ve said something that I think (more...)


Here’s a note I’ve just re-discovered – at the time I was probably planning to extend it into a longer article but I’ve decided to publish the condensed form straight away.

In a question to the Oak Table a couple of years ago (May 2015) Cary Millsap asked the following:

If you had an opportunity to tell a wide audience of system owners, users, managers, project leaders, system architects, DBAs, and developers “The most important (more...)


As the years roll on I’ve found it harder and harder to supply quick answers to “simple” questions on the Oracle-L list server and OTN/ODC forum because things are constantly changing and an answer that may have been right the last time I checked could now be wrong. A simple example of the consequences of change showed up recently on the OTN/ODC forum where one reply to a question started:

Just why do you need (more...)

Join Factorization

This item is, by a roundabout route, a follow-up to yesterday’s note on a critical difference in cardinality estimates that appeared if you used the coalesce() function in its simplest form as a substitute for the nvl() function. Connor McDonald wrote a followup note about how using the nvl() function in a suitable predicate could lead to Oracle splitting a query into a UNION ALL (in version 12.2), which led me to go back (more...)

Coalesce v. NVL

“Modern” SQL should use the coalesce() function rather than the nvl() function – or so the story goes – but do you always want to do that to an Oracle database ? The answer is “maybe not”. Although the coalesce() function can emulate the nvl() function (in many cases) there are significant differences in behaviour, some that suggest it’s a good idea to use the substitution and others that suggest otherwise. Different decisions may be appropriate (more...)

Histogram Threat

Have you ever seen a result like this:

SQL> select sql_id, count(*) from V$sql group by sql_id having count(*) > 1000;

------------- ----------
1dbzmt8gpg8x7	   30516

A client of mine who had recently upgraded to RAC, using DRCP (database resident connection pooling) for an application using PHP was seeing exactly this type of behaviour for a small number of very simple SQL statements and wanted to find out what was (more...)

Case Study – 1

It has been some time since I wrote an article walking through the analysis of information on an AWR report, but a nice example appeared a few weeks ago on Twitter that broke a big AWR picture into a sequence of bite-sized chunks that made a little story so here it is, replayed in sync with my ongoing thoughts. The problem started with the (highly paraphrased) question – “How could I get these headline (more...)

gc buffer busy

I had to write this post because I can never remember which way round Oracle named the two versions of gc  buffer busy when it split them. There are two scenarios to cover when my session wants my instance to acquire a global cache lock on a block and some other session is already trying to acquire that lock (or is holding it in an incompatible fashion):

  • The other session is in my instance
  • The (more...)