The other day I was studying a SQL statement that was performing poorly, when I noticed a peculiar syntax that I have not come across before :

FROM   customer
WHERE  annual_spend > ALL (
  SELECT spend_threshold
  FROM   promotion
  WHERE  promo_name = 'Summer 2015'

The only time I’d ever come across the keyword ALL in SQL was in UNION ALL. However, a quick check of the manual led me to the Group Comparison (more...)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the EXPLAIN PLAN Part 38: Utilizing Shakespearean wisdom in database upgrades

“ Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel; But do not dull thy palm with entertainment Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade.” —the advice of Polonius, counselor to King Claudius, to his son Laertes who is leaving for France in Act 1, Scene 3 of The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare Every new version of Oracle Database comes—this should be no (more...)

Query existing HBase tables with SQL using Apache Phoenix

Spending a bit more time with Apache Phoenix in my previous post I realised that you can use it to query existing HBase tables. That is NOT tables created using Apache Phoenix, but HBase - the columnar NoSQL database in Hadoop.

I think this is cool as it gives you the ability to use SQL on an HBase table.

To test this, let's say you login to HBase and you create an HBase table like (more...)

Apache Phoenix, SQL is getting closer to Big Data

Here is a post about another project in the Big Data world, like Apache Hive from my previous post, enables you to do SQL on Big Data. It is called Apache Phoenix.

Phoenix is a bit different, a bit closer to my heart too, as I read the documentation on Apache Phoenix, the word 'algebra' and 'relational algebra' came across few times, and that mean only one thing, SQL! The use of (more...)

Hive (HiveQL) SQL for Hadoop Big Data

In this  post I will share my experience with an Apache Hadoop component called Hive which enables you to do SQL on an Apache Hadoop Big Data cluster.

Being a great fun of SQL and relational databases, this was my opportunity to set up a mechanism where I could transfer some (a lot)  data from a relational database into Hadoop and query it with SQL. Not a very difficult thing to do these days, actually (more...)

Deadlock with a Virtual Column

Virtual Columns are really cool. I like them a lot. If you've never heard of them, shame on you, learn about them.
In short: a Virtual Column is not a real column, it's an expression that looks like a column... more or less.
While using the Virtual Columns, we ran into a little oddity with them.

First of all let's start with the version of the database that I tested this on. Yes, I know (more...)

The Fundamental theorem of arithmetic – SQL version

Every positive integer (except the number 1) can be represented in exactly one way apart from rearrangement as a product of one or more primes, see for example Wolfram MathWorld or Wikipedia.

Here is the SQL-Version, we compute this for all integers up to 100

with bound as
select 100 as bound from dual
n_until_bound as (
select level+1 n
from dual
connect by level <= (select bound.bound from bound)
primes_under_bound  (more...)

A Greedy Algorithm using Recursive subquery factoring

Today is friday and I like the twitter-hashtag #FibonacciFriday,
so I tweeted


Don’t be afraid of having a look at the wikipedia-site, the math is not complicated at all ( you don’t need more than adding natural numbers smaller than hundred ), nevertheless the theorem is nice from a (more...)

Fourth International NoCOUG SQL Challenge

The Fourth International NoCOUG SQL Challenge has been published in the May issue of the NoCOUG Journal available at Shakespeare’s story of Romeo and Juliet plays out in an American setting. In the NoCOUG version, Romeo sings American songs to Juliet and gives her gourmet dipped swizzled strawberries for her birthday. The bard of Avon must be rolling in his grave.

Entries should be attached as a comment to this announcement. (more...)

LoggerUtil: Create a Custom Template

Since I have written about my pet project about a month ago, I have made some major changes to the functionality of it.
If you haven't read that blog about my pet project, here's the synopsis:

I love Logger to instrument my code, I just don't like to type in all the bits and pieces to register all the input arguments when I write a new procedure or function. To solve this problem I have (more...)

Strategies for Minimising SQL Execution Plan Instability

Execution Plan Instability – What is the problem?

The Oracle Optimizer is a complex piece of software and with every release it becomes more complex.


In the beginning, the Optimizer was rule-based.

The Optimizer had a ranked list of heuristics used to optimize a query, picking the lowest ranked rule available.

This rule-based mode, whilst still in use with some internal Oracle dictionary queries, has been unsupported since version 10.1.

This means that (more...)

Little quiz: Ordering/Grouping – Quess the output

How many times have you guessed the right answer? :)

select * from dual order by -1;
select * from dual order by 0;


select *                   from dual                                     order by -(0.1+0/1) desc;
select 1 n,0 n,2 n,0 n,1 n from dual group by grouping sets(1,2,3,2,1,0) order by -(0.1+0/1) desc;


select 1 n,0 n,2 n,0 n,1 n from dual group by grouping sets(1,2,3,2,1,0) order by 0;
select 1 n,0 n,2  (more...)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the EXPLAIN PLAN Part 37: POISED: A problem-solving method

P.O.I.S.E.D. is the acronym I invented for the performance tuning method described by Chris Lawson in The Art and Science of Oracle Performance Tuning; it stands for Problem, Observation, Interpretation, Solution, Execution, and Documentation. The Observation and Interpretation phases feed each other. The Interpretation phase concludes with a determination of root cause. If we are investigating poor performance a single SQL statement, the tool of choice for the observation phase (more...)

Overview of all time changes this year via SQL

inspired by Laurent Schneider’s remark concerning special time changes in Lord Howe Island

with dates as
trunc(sysdate, 'year') + level - 1 as day
connect by
extract(year from trunc(sysdate, 'year') + level - 1) = extract(year from trunc(sysdate, 'year'))

timezones as
vtn.TZNAME, listagg(vtn.TZABBREV, ', ') within group(order by vtn.tzabbrev) tzabbrevs
v$timezone_names vtn
group by

offsets as
v.*, d. (more...)

What’s this ‘WHERE 1=1′?

Since some time I have been adding WHERE 1=1 to all my queries.
I get queries like this:

  FROM emp e
 WHERE 1=1
   AND e.ename LIKE 'A%'
   AND e.deptno = 20

Lots of people ask me what’s the use of this WHERE 1=1.

You know I like to type as little as possible but here I am typing a lot of extra characters. And yet, it makes my development life a (more...)

Visualizing Statspack Performance Data in SQL Developer

If you run Oracle Standard Edition or haven’t licenced Diagnostics Pack for Enterprise Edition, then you don’t have AWR and ASH Data available. This is when Statspack, the predecessor of AWR, comes in handy to keep a history of database performance metrics. But although Oracle still deliver Statspack with their recent DB releases (yes, even in […]


In this post I will try to show you how I used the Oracle Apex and the APEX_WEB_SERVICE  PL/SQL package to quickly send a request to a public Internet API and how I handled the response. The code below was written during a 'Hackday' and hasn't been extensively tested.

My use case is integrating Oracle Apex with the public Mendeley REST API for Mendeley Catalog Search.

The idea was to build an (more...)

To N or Not to N, is SYS_OP_C2C the Question; Oracle NVARCHAR Slow?

February 8, 2015 I was recently contacted about an odd performance issue with a software product named TDM, where certain SQL statements submitted to an Oracle 9.2.x database required roughly 30 seconds to execute when a nearly instantaneous response was expected.  The person who reported the issue to me provided a sample SQL statement that […]

Share your interesting SQL or PL/SQL experience on stage, on camera, or in print

If you have had interesting experiences with SQL or PL/SQL in your career, here’s your opportunity to share them on stage, on camera, or in print. Send your stories to and we’ll forward them to the SQL evangelists team headed up by Steven Feuerstein. You may be selected to tell your stories on stage at the YesSQL! presentation at the winter conference next Tuesday or your stories may be recorded on camera or (more...)

How to avoid a salted banana! (SQL tuning)‏

Dear NoCOUG members and friends,

You’re going to enjoy the new issue of the NoCOUG Journal. Click here to download it.

  • Lothar Flatz talks about the biggest issue in SQL tuning: the “salted banana.” We predict that the phrase “salted banana” will become as widely known in the Oracle community as “compulsive tuning disorder.” Click here to go directly to Lothar’s article.
  • Janis Griffin—a.k.a. the Looney Tuner—explains why the Oracle (more...)