I tested this on Oracle 11.2. First I created a table with two columns. The first column, OWNER, had low cardinality i.e. it had only two possible values, PUBLIC and SYS. The second column, OBJECT_NAME, had the names of all objects owned by PUBLIC and/or SYS so it had high cardinality i.e. it had many different values:

SQL> conn system/manager
SQL> create table t1 as
  2  select owner, (more...)


I created a table in an Oracle 11.2 database. I did not specify a pctfree or pctused so it was given the defaults of 10% and 40% respectively:

SQL> conn system/manager
SQL> create table t1 (c1 number)
  2  /

Table created.

SQL> select pct_free, pct_used
  2  from user_tables
  3  where table_name = 'T1'
  4  /

---------- ----------
        10         40 


When Oracle inserts rows into (more...)


I was reading about hints and decided to try out a couple on an Oracle 11.2 database. First I created a table, added some data and created an index:

SQL> create table t1 (c1 varchar2(30))
  2  /
Table created.
SQL> insert into t1 select table_name from dba_tables
  2  /
3159 rows created.
SQL> create index i1 on t1(c1)
  2  /
Index created.

I ran (more...)

Default Size of a CHAR Column

If you do not specify a size for a CHAR column, the default is 1. You can see what I mean in the example below, which I tested on Oracle 11.2:

SQL> create table t1
  2  (c1 char,
  3   c2 char(1))
  4  /
Table created.
SQL> desc t1
Name                       Null?    Type
-------------------------- -------- ------------------
C1                                  CHAR(1)
C2                                  CHAR(1)

However, if you rely on defaults like (more...)


If you create a table with a VARCHAR column in Oracle 11.2, Oracle sets it up as a VARCHAR2:

SQL> l
  1  create table t1
  2  (c1 varchar(1),
  3*  c2 varchar2(1))
SQL> /
Table created.
SQL> desc t1
Name                       Null?    Type
-------------------------- -------- ------------------
C1                                  VARCHAR2(1)
C2                                  VARCHAR2(1)

According to a book I am working through, this has been the case since Oracle 8. However, (more...)

Segment Creation Deferred and ORA-02266

If you try to truncate a table with a primary key which is referenced by an enabled foreign key, you usually get an ORA-02266 error. This happens straight away if the table is set up with segment creation immediate. However, if the table is set up with segment creation deferred, the error is not reported until the segment has been created. You can see what I mean in the example below, which I tested (more...)

Rollback to Savepoint Does Not Release Locks

I read that rolling back to a savepoint releases locks. This sounded reasonable so I decided to check it out in an Oracle 11.2 database. I logged in as user John (in blue) and noted my SID for future reference. Then I created a table, inserted a row, committed the change and created a savepoint. Finally I updated the row but did not commit the change, thus setting up a lock:


I read about this in the book advertised at the end of this post. It was tested on Oracle 11.2. V$SESSION_EVENT holds similar information to V$SYSTEM_EVENT but it is broken down by session (only currently logged in sessions appear - there is no history). There is a MAX_WAIT column which shows the maximum time a session has had to wait for a particular event.There is no timestamp on this so you cannot tell (more...)

How to See the Height of an Index

This example shows where to find the height of an index. I tested it on Oracle 11.2. First I deleted the index's statistics:

SQL> exec dbms_stats.delete_index_stats -
> ('uimsmgr','ubbchst_serv_index');
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.
Then I checked its BLEVEL was null:

SQL> select nvl(blevel,999)
  2  from dba_indexes
  3  where owner = 'UIMSMGR'
  4  and index_name = 'UBBCHST_SERV_INDEX'
  5  /

Worked Examples with the SET ROLE Command

Before I start, I wonder if anybody can help me. Some time ago, I saw several adverts on the Internet similar to the one below:

I am looking for an Oracle DBA (French speaking) - Hampshire (South Coast of England)

Languages: ENGLISH and FRENCH

We are recruiting for a major blue chip company based in the South of English (Hampshire area), where we seek a proven Oracle Database Administrator (HPUX, Linux, and AIX) who can (more...)


I have known about the first_rows optimizer mode for some time. This tells Oracle to use an execution path which will return the first few rows as quickly as possible. However, I recently read about the first_rows_n optimizer mode, which apparently appeared first in Oracle 9. This tells Oracle to use an execution path which will return the first n rows quickly, where n can be 1, 10, 100 or 1000. I decided to try (more...)


I tested this on Oracle 11.2. I created a profile called FOR_ANDREW with PASSWORD_REUSE_MAX set to 1. This meant that I could not reuse a password until I had used one other password first:
SQL> conn / as sysdba
SQL> create profile for_andrew
  2  limit password_reuse_max 1
  3  /
Profile created.
I created a user called ANDREW and gave him the FOR_ANDREW profile:


I was reading through an old book recently and it said that you could not put a tablespace into hot backup mode if the database was in NOARCHIVELOG mode. This seemed reasonable to me but I wondered what might happen if you tried to do this so I ran the following SQL in an Oracle 11.2 database:  

SQL> l
  1* alter tablespace users begin backup
SQL> /
alter tablespace users (more...)

How to See When Your Database Was Opened

This was tested on Oracle 11.2: 

SQL> l
  1* select startup_time from v$instance
SQL> /

A Simple Example with Indexes

I did this worked example on Oracle 11.2. First I created a table:

SQL> create table t1
  2  as select * from dba_segments
  3  /
Table created.
…then I made sure it contained enough data:
SQL> begin
  2  for a in 1..8 loop
  3  insert into t1 select * from t1;
  4  end loop;
  5  end;
  6  /
PL/SQL procedure (more...)


This was tested on Oracle 11.2. If you need to look at the ORDER column in the above-mentioned table, there only seems to be one way to do it i.e. in upper case and surrounded by double quotes as shown below. I guess this is because ORDER is a reserved word:
SQL> desc mdsys.sdo_coord_axes
Name                       Null?    Type
-------------------------- -------- ------------------
COORD_SYS_ID               NOT NULL NUMBER(10)
COORD_AXIS_NAME_ID                  NUMBER(10)

SQL Monitor details for later tuning.

Tuning has always being good fun and something like a challenge for me.

From time to time we are being asked to find out why something did run slow while you are sleeping; answering this question is, in most cases, a challenge.

The problem:

My batch did run slow last night, can you let us know why? Or why did this query run slow? Are questions we, as DBAs, have to answer from time to (more...)

Extending Oracle Enterprise Manager (EM) monitoring.

I always found Oracle Enterprise Manager (EM) to be an interesting tool for different reasons. The only thing I missed was an easy way to create my own alerts.

It is very simple to create a KSH, Perl, etc script to do some customised monitoring and notify you by email, Nagios, NetCool, etc.

By integrating your scripts with OEM, you will have an easy way to enhance your monitoring and still have notification by email, SNMP traps, etc. as you would currently have if your company is using OEM for monitoring your systems.

The problem:
Develop an easy way to (more...)

How to list files on a directory from Oracle Database.

Couple of days ago I had an interesting request, “How can I see the contents of nfs_dir”?

The problem:

We were using DBFS to store our exports. This was the perfect solution as the business could “see” the files on the destination folder, but it did not meet our requirements performance wise on our Exadata.

We have decided to mount NFS and performance did improve, but we had a different problem. NFS is mounted on the database server and business do not have access for security reasons and segregation of duties.

Since then, the export jobs run, but business could (more...)

ORA-16072: a minimum of one standby database destination is required

This is a quick post regarding the error on the subject. This is the second time it happens to me, so I thought I will write a bit about it.

The problem:

I am refreshing one of my UAT environments (happens to be a Full Rack Exadata) using Oracle RMAN duplicate command. Then the following happens (on both occasions).

1.- Duplicate command fails (lack of space for restoring archivelogs, or any other error). This is can be fixed quite easy.

2.- following error while trying to open the database after restore and recover has finished:

SQL> alter database  (more...)