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Oracle database performance
Updated: 1 hour 58 min ago

Simple MySQL Range Scan Test

Fri, 2024-05-03 15:00

I was trying to tune a MySQL query this week. I ran the same query against Oracle with the same data and got a much faster runtime on Oracle. I couldn’t get MySQL to do a range scan on the column that Oracle was doing it on. So, I just started barely scratching the surface with a simple test of when MySQL will use an index versus a full table scan in a range query. In my test MySQL always uses an index except on extreme out of range conditions. This is funny because in my real problem query it was the opposite. But I might as well document what I found for what it’s worth. I haven’t blogged much lately.

Here is my testcase and its output:

This is on 8.0.26 as part of an AWS Aurora MySQL RDS instance with 2 cores and 16 gigabytes of RAM.

I created a simple test table and put 10485760 rows in it:

create table test 
b integer,

The value of b is always 1 and a ranges from 1 to 10878873.

This query uses a range query using the index:

a > -2147483648;

This query uses a full table scan:

a > -2147483649;

The full scan is slightly faster.

Somehow when you are 2147483650 units away from the smallest value of a the MySQL optimizer suddenly thinks you need a full scan.

There are a million more tests I could do like things with a million variables, but I thought I might as well put this out there. I’m not really any the wiser but it is a type of test that might be worth mentioning.


Categories: DBA Blogs

Archivelog Space Needed Python Script

Tue, 2024-02-20 17:36

I wrote a script called to help size our Oracle archive log filesystems to support replication tools such as Fivetran, DMS, or GoldenGate which need a certain number of hours or days of archive log history at all times. In many cases we had backups that removed all the archive logs after they had been backed up once. So, that is essentially zero hours of history. If we only backed up once per day, it really peaked out at 24 hours of history, but the minimum was zero. Our replication products need 24 hours minimum in some cases. In other cases, we needed different numbers of hours. Also, the log backups and deletes run multiple times a day and on different schedules on some systems.

I based on a simplistic idea which I know is not perfect but so far it has been helpful. So, I thought I would share it here in case others can benefit. I would love any feedback, suggestions and criticism of the approach and implementation. The idea was to query V$ARCHIVED_LOG and see how full the filesystem would get if these same logs came in at the same times but with different retention times and different archive log filesystem sizes. I could try different settings and see the highest percentage that the filesystem hit.

I think this approach is imperfect because the past behavior recorded in V$ARCHIVED_LOG may not represent future behavior very well as things change. Also, the way I wrote it I assumed that the archive logs are laid down instantaneously. I.e. If the row in V$ARCHIVED_LOG has COMPLETION_TIME of 2/24/2024 16:11:15 then I assume that the filesystem gets (BLOCKS+1)*BLOCK_SIZE bytes fuller in that second. I also assume that the backups instantly remove all the logs which are beyond the retention.

I tested the script using the current settings for the archive log filesystem size and log backup run times and retention settings. I just compared the output percent full with reality. It was close but not exact. So, when I went to apply this for real, I padded the filesystem sizes so the expected percent full was less than 50%. So far so good in reality. I would like to build an emergency script that automatically clears out old logs if the filesystem gets full but so far, I have not. We do have alerting on archive log filesystem space getting too full.

If you run the script, you can see the arguments:

Arguments: oracle-username oracle-password tns-name configfile-name

Config file is text file with this format:

archivelog filesystem size in bytes
number of backups per day
one line per backup with 24-hour:minutes:seconds archivlog-retention-hours

for example:

02:15:00 168
06:15:00 168
10:45:00 168
14:15:00 168
18:15:00 168
22:15:00 168

The output is something like this:

2024-02-20 08:55:57 1.67%  
2024-02-20 09:10:02 1.68%  
2024-02-20 10:00:29 1.69%  
2024-02-20 11:00:20 1.7%  
2024-02-20 11:37:32 1.7%  
2024-02-20 12:01:17 1.68%  
2024-02-20 12:09:05 1.68%  
2024-02-20 12:43:53 1.69%  
2024-02-20 12:55:52 1.69%  
Max percent used archivelog filesystem: 46.15%
Date and time of max percent: 2023-12-24 11:52:17

When your archive log filesystem is too small the Max percent is over 100%.

It’s not perfect or fancy but it is available if someone finds it useful.


p.s. The script uses cx_Oracle so you will need to install that.

Categories: DBA Blogs

User Privileges Script

Thu, 2023-10-12 18:53

I keep running into situations on Oracle databases where I need to dump out the privileges an Oracle user has. I have been just manually putting together SQL statements like:

select * from dba_role_privs where grantee='MYUSER';
select * from dba_sys_privs where grantee='MYUSER';
select * from dba_tab_privs where grantee='MYUSER';
select * from dba_users where username='MYUSER';

This captures the three kinds of grants the user could have in the first three queries and the last query just shows if the user exists and things like whether it is locked. Really this simple set of queries is good enough in most cases.

But I had also wrote a script that would show all the system and object grants that were included in the roles. Because you can have roles granted to roles, you must loop through all the roles until you get down to the base system and object privileges. I rewrote this logic from scratch several times until I finally convinced myself to make a script and save it on my GitHub site. The current version of the script is here:


The interesting part of the script is where we keep looping through the roles in table my_role_privs deleting each role and then inserting the role’s system, object, and role privileges into the my_sys_privs, my_tab_privs, and my_role_privs tables. Eventually you run out of roles to delete and the loop finishes. I guess this works because you cannot have a circular role grant situation:

SQL> create role a;

Role created.

SQL> create role b;

Role created.

SQL> grant a to b;

Grant succeeded.

SQL> grant b to a;
grant b to a
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-01934: circular role grant detected

In the past I have put a loop counter in the code just in case there was something circular or a really long chain of roles, but this version does not have it.

To make the output useful I put it in three sections. The first section just has the direct grants and corresponds to the first three queries listed above.

Privileges granted directly to user MYUSER
Role privileges for user MYUSER

System privileges for user MYUSER

Summarized table privileges for user MYUSER

OWNER                PRIVILEGE                                  COUNT(*)
-------------------- ---------------------------------------- ----------
SYS                  EXECUTE                                           1
Detailed table privileges for user MYUSER

PRIVILEGE                                OWNER                TABLE_NAME
---------------------------------------- -------------------- -----------
EXECUTE                                  SYS                  DBMS_RANDOM

I put counts of each type of object grants in case there was a bunch. I called them table privileges because view is named dba_tab_privs but I really should have called them object privileges because they can be grants on objects which are not tables.

The second section has the output of the loop showing all the system and object privileges implied by the role grants as well as those granted directly to the user:

Privileges granted through a role or directly to user MYUSER
System privileges for user MYUSER

Summarized table privileges for user MYUSER

OWNER                PRIVILEGE                                  COUNT(*)
-------------------- ---------------------------------------- ----------
AUDSYS               EXECUTE                                           1
GSMADMIN_INTERNAL    EXECUTE                                           1
OUTLN                SELECT                                            3
SYS                  DELETE                                           11
SYS                  EXECUTE                                         169
SYS                  FLASHBACK                                        14
SYS                  INSERT                                           12
SYS                  READ                                             15
SYS                  SELECT                                         4759

Detailed table privileges for user MYUSER

PRIVILEGE                                OWNER                TABLE_NAME
---------------------------------------- -------------------- ------------------------
DELETE                                   SYS                  AUX_STATS$
DELETE                                   SYS                  DBA_REGISTRY_SQLPATCH
DELETE                                   SYS                  EXPIMP_TTS_CT$
DELETE                                   SYS                  INCEXP
DELETE                                   SYS                  INCFIL

I use this a lot of times to see if a user has CREATE SESSION either directly or through a role so that I will know whether the user can login.

Lastly, I included a couple of details about the user at the end:

Account status, last password change for user ZBL6050

-------------------------------- -------------------
OPEN                             2023-10-10 11:01:01

You need to give the user that runs userprivs.sql SELECT on sys.user$ to get the last password changed date and time. Otherwise, this query returns an error.

I mainly use this script to validate if a user has the correct permissions and if they can log in, so putting this information at the end in addition to the grant information above just fills in some details I would have to query anyway. I.e., Is the user locked? How long since they changed their password?

I thought about bringing down some statement about CREATE SESSION here. As it is written now, I have to visually scan the system privileges for CREATE SESSION to get the full picture on the user’s ability to login. It might be nice to add a column “Has CREATE SESSION” to this screen.

There are probably fancier scripts and tools to do all this, but this is what I have been using and the reasoning behind it. Maybe it will be useful to others and a reminder to myself to document it here.


Categories: DBA Blogs

MongoDB Atlas LangChain Vector Store

Wed, 2023-08-02 17:00

I was in a short programming contest at work for three days last week. My team got second place! We used a LangChain vector store in a MongoDB Atlas cluster so I thought I would at least document the links we referred to and videos I watched for others who are interested.

First I watched this video about LangChain:

I recommend watching the whole thing but the part about VectorStores starts at 25:22.

I got Python 3.9 setup in an Amazon EC2 instance and ran through these steps with the FAISS database:

Then I watched this video about the new MongoDB Atlas Vector Search feature:

This video is totally worth watching. I got a ton out of it. After watching the video I redid the VectorStore example but with MongoDB Atlas as the database:

I got in a discussion with ChatGPT about why they call them “vectors” instead of “points”. A vector is just an array or list of floating point numbers. In math this could be a point in some multi-dimensional space. ChatGPT didn’t seem to realize that software does use the vectors as vectors in a math sense sometimes. The MongoDB Atlas index we used cosine similarity which must be related to the vectors with some common starting point like all zeroes pointing towards the point represented by the list of numbers in the “vector”.

When I created the search index in MongoDB Atlas I forgot to name it and it did not work since the code has the index name. For the sample the index name has to be langchain_demo. By default index name is “default”.

LangChain itself was new to me. I watched the first video all the way through but there is a lot I did not use or need. I had played with OpenAI in Python already following the Python version of this quick start:

I edited the example script and played with different things. But I had never tried LangChain which sits on top of OpenAI and simplifies and expands it.

The project we worked on for the contest implemented the architecture documented at 28:57 in the MongoDB video above. If you look at the MongoDB Atlas vector store example this “information flow” would take the output from docsearch.similarity_search(query) and send it through OpenAI to summarize. If you take the piece of the President’s speech that is returned by the similarity search and past it into OpenAI’s playground the result looks like this:

So, our programming project involved pulling in documents that were split up into pieces and then retrieve a piece based on a similarity query using the vector store and then ran that piece through OpenAI to generate a readable English summary.

Categories: DBA Blogs

Install MySQL 5.7.38 from source on Oracle Linux 8

Fri, 2023-06-23 11:37

This is a follow up to my earlier post about installing various MySQL versions from source:

So, I am an Oracle database administrator. I have been for about 30 years starting with Oracle 7. But for the past few years we have been supporting MySQL in Amazon Web Services’ RDS version. Unfortunately, we have been forced to embrace the Aurora version of MySQL also which is proprietary to Amazon and does not have the full source code. But we still have several vanilla MySQL RDS instances that we support.

Working with Oracle for so many years I have tried to learn about its internals – how does it really work? This is difficult because I do not have access to Oracle’s source code and even if I did, I probably do not have enough years remaining in my life to ever fully understand it. Still, the idea of working with the MySQL community edition version that we have the full source code to has always intrigued me. This is similar to my fascination with the antique computer game Nethack that I play in a character-based mode exploring a dungeon and fighting monsters. It is a good game, but more importantly, I have the full source code.

Who knows? Maybe when we are working with MySQL we will run across a bug, and I will be able to dig into the part of the code that has the bug and it will help me figure out how to solve the problem. With Oracle it is always a guess what is going on. It can be an educated guess based on what Oracle reveals through various traces and logs. But maybe even though I do not have the time and motivation to be a hardcore MySQL internals developer there could be a situation where having the source code will help.

So, that leads me to want to download the exact version of the MySQL source code that we are using on AWS RDS and compile it, link it, install it on a test VM on the chance that someday I will need a working test MySQL database of the same version as one that is having a problem in production.

Things have changed since my 5/22/2019 post about setting up this kind of environment. At that time, I was working with an Oracle Linux 7 VM running on my work laptop with all its firewalls and Zscaler and all between my VM and the internet. Today I am using Oracle Linux 8 running on a VM on a personal laptop which is on my home network so there is nothing in the way of my downloading things from the internet like Linux rpm packages. One of the side effects of COVID-19 is that I am working from home full time. Also, not due to COVID, my middle daughter moved out leaving her bedroom open to be converted to an office. So, I have two “desks” setup with two laptops and big monitors on both. My home laptop sits to my left and I can run VirtualBox VMs on it without being on our corporate network. This is great for testing where I just need to setup a technology and I do not need or even want access to something on our corporate network.

So, with all this prelude let me tell you some of the things I had to do to get the MySQL 5.7.38 source code compiled on my Oracle Linux 8 VM.

I cloned a OEL 8 VM that I already had and then updated the packages. I think I used yum instead of dnf which was dumb, but it worked.

Once I had an up-to-date OEL 8 environment I had to get the source tree for MySQL with the right commit point for 5.7.38. I was following this document:

I ran these git commands:

git clone

git checkout 5.7

git pull

This gets 5.7.38:

git checkout c94ce78

I installed Boost and Cmake like what I did in the earlier post. I got the rest of the development tools like gcc, make, bison in place using this dnf command:

dnf groupinstall "Development Tools"

Then I had to get the cmake command to work:

cmake . -DWITH_BOOST=/home/bobby/boost_1_59_0

I had to install several packages before I could get this to run without errors. I had to enable the “CodeReady Builder” repository in the file oracle-linux-ol8.repo:

[root@localhost yum.repos.d]# diff oracle-linux-ol8.repo oracle-linux-ol8.repo.06212023
< enabled=1
> enabled=0

name=Oracle Linux 8 CodeReady Builder ($basearch) - Unsupported

Once that repository was enabled, I was able to add the needed packages.

dnf install ncurses-devel
dnf install libtirpc-devel
dnf install rpcgen

Eventually I realized that after messing with adding the new repository and packages I needed to go back and clean everything up and run cmake again:

make clean
rm CMakeCache.txt
cmake . -DWITH_BOOST=/home/bobby/boost_1_59_0
su -
make install

Other than that, it is just the normal steps to create the database and run it, which I think is documented in my earlier post and in the MySQL docs.

I thought it couldn’t hurt to document the things I had to do if nothing else for myself. I use this blog as a reference for myself, so it is not just something for other people to read. Anyway, I’m glad I could get this down and maybe someone else will benefit.


Categories: DBA Blogs

Full Database Restore and Recovery

Mon, 2023-06-12 18:01

Friday, we had to do a full restore and recovery of a production Oracle database. We used a script like this:

rman target / <<EOF

run {
allocate channel 'dev_0' type 'sbt_tape'
 parms 'SBT_LIBRARY=/opt/omni/lib/,ENV=(OB2BARTYPE=Oracle8,OB2APPNAME=MYDB,OB2BARLIST=VTL_myhost_MYDB_oral1)';
allocate channel 'dev_1' type 'sbt_tape'
 parms 'SBT_LIBRARY=/opt/omni/lib/,ENV=(OB2BARTYPE=Oracle8,OB2APPNAME=MYDB,OB2BARLIST=VTL_myhost_MYDB_oral1)';
allocate channel 'dev_2' type 'sbt_tape'
 parms 'SBT_LIBRARY=/opt/omni/lib/,ENV=(OB2BARTYPE=Oracle8,OB2APPNAME=MYDB,OB2BARLIST=VTL_myhost_MYDB_oral1)';
allocate channel 'dev_3' type 'sbt_tape'
 parms 'SBT_LIBRARY=/opt/omni/lib/,ENV=(OB2BARTYPE=Oracle8,OB2APPNAME=MYDB,OB2BARLIST=VTL_myhost_MYDB_oral1)';
allocate channel 'dev_4' type 'sbt_tape'
 parms 'SBT_LIBRARY=/opt/omni/lib/,ENV=(OB2BARTYPE=Oracle8,OB2APPNAME=MYDB,OB2BARLIST=VTL_myhost_MYDB_oral1)';
allocate channel 'dev_5' type 'sbt_tape'
 parms 'SBT_LIBRARY=/opt/omni/lib/,ENV=(OB2BARTYPE=Oracle8,OB2APPNAME=MYDB,OB2BARLIST=VTL_myhost_MYDB_oral1)';

restore database;
recover database
 delete archivelog maxsize 100 G;



We ran it like this:

nohup ./ > restoredb.txt &

The only tricky thing was getting the allocate channel commands right to work with our backup system (HP Data Protector). We had old examples of past recoveries, and we looked in Data Protector to see how the backup job was setup and what output the last backup produced.

Some storage work that we were doing accidentally damaged a bunch of data files. Fortunately, our control files and redo logs were intact, so we were able to fully recover and did not lose any data.


Categories: DBA Blogs

LOB Space Scripts

Mon, 2023-02-20 17:08

I said in my previous post that I put LOB space scripts in my GitHub repository and I wanted to explain a little more here. I have two databases that were growing rapidly and the top segment in each was a LOB segment. For one database the top LOB was a CLOB and for the other it was a BLOB. In both cases there were many inserts and deletes against the tables with the largest LOB segment. I was trying to find out if space was wasted and unusable in the LOB segments. Best I can tell these applications are reusing space when LOBs are deleted. These were both BasicFiles LOBs in 11.2 Oracle. And for the CLOB the character set was such that each character used one byte. Also, both databases had an 8192-byte block size.

A lot of this work was inspired by this Oracle support document:

LOB space not released after delete (Doc ID 2285007.1)

The title made me think the LOB space was wasted after the deletes. But this article had an interesting disclaimer highlighted in a box:

“Note: be aware that the unused space after deletion can be reused in the
LOB segment for further insert after retention time is passed.”

As far as I can tell, Oracle’s disclaimer is correct, at least in our situation. Unused LOB space left after a deletion is reused.

Here is a description of the LOB scripts in my GitHub repository:

spacetest.sql – This was my first script. I used various versions of this script to test different metrics that I could find about LOBs. This was helpful because I started very simple and tried to understand what each source of information was telling me. I really struggled to understand what AVG_ROW_LEN from USER_TABLES was telling me until I realized that I was hitting this bug or one like it:

Bug 14651892 AVG_ROW_LEN computed incorrectly on LOB when AUTO_SAMPLE_SIZE is used

It also took me a long time to understand why DBMS_SPACE.SPACE_USAGE only reported full or unformatted blocks for LOB segments. LOBs are all or nothing for a block. Each LOB that is not stored inline for a row fully occupies one or more blocks. With all these observations I throw in the caveat that this is the best I can tell based on my observations on my system.

The database with the CLOB uses this character set: WE8MSWIN1252.

This Oracle document says that character sets like this have a single byte per character in a CLOB:

CLOBs and NCLOBs character set storage in Oracle Release 8i, 9i, 10g and higher (Doc ID 257772.1)

“CLOBs when using fixed width character set NLS_CHARACTERSET are stored in the NLS_CHARACTERSET character set on disk. Examples are WE8MSWIN1252 …”

This matters because dbms_lob.getlength returns the size of a CLOB in characters. In some character sets like AL32UTF8 you have to multiply dbms_lob.getlength’s output by 2 to get the bytes for the CLOB.

Given all the information I got from playing with spacetest.sql I created the next two scripts to feed information into the final space script.

blobinlinecutoff.sql – Takes an integer from 1 to 8191 and creates a row in a table with a LOB of that many bytes in size and it outputs whether that LOB is an inline LOB or not. I used this to find the cutoff point between LOBs that fit in a row and ones that did not. I found the cutoff to be 3964 bytes in all the scenarios I tried. I use this cutoff to ignore inline LOBs when counting the total LOB space in the column’s LOB segment.

inoneblock.sql – Takes an integer from 1 to 8191 and creates a row in a table with a LOB of that many bytes in size and it outputs whether that LOB fits fully in one block. Many LOBs are larger than one block which is only 8K for me so I wanted to calculate exactly how many blocks each LOB would take. I got 8132 in my tests which means 60 bytes per block are unusable for LOB storage. So, I would need to divide the LOB size in bytes by 8132 and round the resulting number up to the next integer to get the number of blocks occupied by the LOB.

I plugged the results from blobinlinecutoff.sql and inoneblock.sql into my final script:

lobspace.sql – Outputs information about LOB space used to show how much is allocated but not used by current LOBs. This space could either be available for reuse by future inserts or it could be wasted due to some bug.

Notice that the top of the script has the input from the previous two:

  inlinecutoff number := 3964;
  usableperblock number := 8132;

You also put the table owner, name, and LOB column name at the top as parameters.

The output looks like this on my BLOB column table:

Table owner = MYOWNER
Table name = MYTABLE
LOB column name = MYLOBCOLUMN
Number of rows in table = 380553608
Number of rows with lob in table row = 338491004
Number of rows with lob in lob segment = 42062604
Total lob segment size = 1496535 megabytes
Total size of full lob segment blocks = 1473933.135288238525390625 megabytes
Total lob space used in lob segment = 1462133.555019378662109375 megabytes
Percentage of full blocks used = 99%

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

Elapsed: 07:46:50.26

I found that this database is not deleting all the rows that it is supposed to, so it is fully using all the space freed by the deletes and is continually adding space.

But the output from the other database (the one with the CLOB) looked different:

Table owner = MYOWNER2
Table name = MYTABLE2
LOB column name = MYLOBCOLUMN2
Number of rows in table = 66360290
Number of rows with lob in table row = 54200592
Number of rows with lob in lob segment = 12159698
Total lob segment size = 913999 megabytes
Total size of full lob segment blocks = 906413.57425689697265625 megabytes
Total lob space used in lob segment = 373804.97021484375 megabytes
Percentage of full blocks used = 41%

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

Elapsed: 00:45:22.57

Notice that the percentage of full blocks used in the first database was 99% but in this one it is 41%. This made me really wonder if deleted space was really being freed for use by inserts. But digging further I found that we only keep 7 days of history on this table and back in November we hit a peak of activity which expanded the LOB segment. Since then, we have stopped adding new space to the LOB segment’s tablespace. It appears that we have plenty of space free for this LOB segment to absorb a new batch of inserts because more than half of the space in the LOB segment is free for reuse.

Here are the settings for the BLOB:

  CHUNK       8192

Here are the settings for the CLOB:

  CHUNK       8192

Some blog posts that I studied for this:

I wanted to put this out there to help others but also myself. I do not want to forget some of the things I learned in the process. Also, if anyone out there has any feedback on this including any errors that I made it would be great to hear it.


Categories: DBA Blogs

LOB Scripts in my GitHub Repository

Wed, 2023-02-01 11:38

I do not have time to write a post explaining these now, but I wanted to note that I am posting LOB space related scripts here:


Categories: DBA Blogs

December 26 Plan Change

Fri, 2023-01-06 17:35

On December 26th, which is a holiday for my company this year, our team got a page that a plan had changed on an important HP Unix platform Oracle database. The new plan was inefficient but did not cause any harm to the application. I added the SQL_ID value for the query to our plan change monitor exception list so that it would not page us again when it changes to slower plans because the slower plans were not a threat to the system. Normally I would just move on but this time I thought I would dig into why the query changed plan and see if there is anything we could do to prevent similar changes. If the new plan was a problem, I typically would force the faster plan with a SQL Profile. I was going to do that this morning, but the system was busy, and the profile script was hung up for a few minutes on a library cache lock, so I just backed it out. I do not really need to intervene since it is not hurting the system. We have enough CPU capacity to handle the slow plan. But I was still curious if I could find the underlying cause of the plan change and learn any lessons from it. That is what this post is about.

Like many queries that change plan and set off alerts, this problem query uses bind variables. The PL/SQL package that includes the queries passes in values in the where clause instead of using constants. I.e., it looks like this:

    div = p_div
    AND cust_nbr = p_cust_nbr

and not this:

    div = 123
    AND cust_nbr = 456

You can see here where the query changed to the bad plan:

--------------- --------------------- ---------------- ------------------
      504369030 25-DEC-22 04.00.45 AM              838         .478386635
      504369030 25-DEC-22 07.00.40 PM             1599         .669989368
      504369030 25-DEC-22 11.00.15 PM             1044         .595122605
      504369030 26-DEC-22 01.00.16 AM              891         .558159371
      504369030 26-DEC-22 02.00.43 AM              473         .453122622
     2693825138 26-DEC-22 02.00.43 AM              311         3.61250804
     2693825138 26-DEC-22 03.00.07 AM              779         2.91877792
     2693825138 26-DEC-22 04.00.10 AM             1076           7.274671
     2693825138 26-DEC-22 05.00.41 AM             1218         11.1912258

The bad plan is averaging 11 milliseconds instead of less than 1 millisecond so “bad” is relative. It still is not slow enough to affect the users.

I used my plan script to run the problem query with different constants in place of the two variables. I used my optimizer statistics scripts to find what the optimizer thought the range of possible values was for the two columns. Here are the ranges:

----------- ---- --------
DIV         228  5220    
CUST_NBR    1675 74394502

I tried a variety of variable value combinations in and out of this range and most of the values outside these ranges resulted in the bad plan having a lower cost than the good one. It was especially sensitive to the values of DIV. It turns out that there are many possible DIV values outside this range. They are just not on this table. So likely this query is often run with variable values that are out of the range of what the optimizer knows is in the table.

I tried to find a way to make the out-of-range values pick the better plan. I loaded this data on a 19c database but got the same results. I tried different kinds of histograms, including one on (DIV, CUST_NBR), but they didn’t help.

So what?

Maybe when you write a query that takes variables you should try out its performance with atypical values for the variable values. In simple equals conditions like those in my problem query maybe check how the query runs on values that are outside of those found in the table. Since the query’s plan is not fixed you must be prepared for the query to run with all the plans that the data passed into its variables could generate. Also, the database will stick with any of those plans for a long time unless something forces it to be recalculated. So, you would have to test the query with atypical values and once the plan is in memory run all your typical data through that plan to see if it is still fast enough. If the plan from the atypical data is too slow then you would have to change the query or the data to handle those cases or resort to something like a hint to lock in the plan that runs well with the more typical variable values.



I just want to say how hard it is to write a blog post. What a pain. But the interaction with others on the internet is very valuable.

Someone commented that I could look at v$sql_shared_cursor to find why 1anm65yacs6ky changed plan. As expected, it changed plan because statistics were gathered on the table. Often statistics gathering causes plans to be recreated (hard parsing). But it was interesting that the reason from v$sql_shared_cursor was “Rolling Invalidate Window Exceeded”. A quick Google search led me to this article:

It claims that there is a 5 hour window after statistics are gathered for plans to be reparsed. This makes sense because I know statistics are gathered on the table around 22:00 but the plan is flipping between 01:00 and 02:00 the next day. Very cool.

But it does not really explain why the plan changes. It only explains why 1anm65yacs6ky was hard parsed. The plan changed because out of range data was passed into the bind variables during the hard parse and this resulted in a plan that was inefficient for in range data. On December 26th we got unlucky during the hard parse. This morning, January 9th, we got lucky, and we flipped back to the good plan.

What makes blogging about this stuff so hard is that there is so much I want to say about this, but I just don’t know if I have the energy or ability to put it all down. We use bind variables to minimize parsing. With the good plan this query runs in a couple of milliseconds. If it had to be hard parsed every time it runs, 14,000 times per hour, it would be very wasteful and slow. But the cost of using bind variables is that a plan can get locked in that isn’t efficient for many of the values passed into the variables. It is a no-win scenario. The bigger picture is that I think Oracle’s optimizer, and probably any conceivable SQL optimizer, has limits. Somehow all these years Oracle and others have produced SQL RDBMSs that people find useful. But based on my Oracle experience it seems like they are imperfect but useful.

In the case of my December 26th query that changed plan, our business is functioning just fine with the query’s plan flipping back and forth. If I did not have my plan change monitor setup, I would not even know that the plan was changing because it is not causing an issue that is visible to the users. So, it offends my perfectionist tendencies to have a query run an inefficient plan, but from a business perspective the inefficiency and imperfection that is fundamental to the design of Oracle’s optimizer with the tradeoffs of minimizing hard parses with bind variables but suffering with inefficient plans until the next hard parse is acceptable because the business purpose of the application is still being accomplished. Maybe in the bigger picture Oracle’s SQL and SQL in general have been useful to people all these years because they do well enough to meet people’s needs despite their fundamentally imperfect execution of SQL queries.


I found two ways to prevent the SQL statement from changing plans when it is hard parsed with variable values that are out of the range of the column statistics. One is to add a new index, and the other is to add a cardinality hint.

I had no idea if the index would help but I noticed that the query touched the same table 3 times after looking up rows using the only index. I looked at the subselects on the query and picked a new index that would cover all the columns used by the subselects and be efficient. This eliminated all but the one table lookup that we had to have. For some reason this plan is chosen even if the data in the variables is out of range. Maybe the new index made the plan so efficient that out-of-range data would not cause a plan flip.

Just now I got the idea of trying a cardinality hint like this:

/*+ cardinality(PSD 10) */

I put this on every subselect that had the main table. This caused the plan to act as if the table would return 10 rows and it choose the good plan even if the data in the variables was out of range.

These two approaches work but they require some query tuning knowledge when you are rolling out new SQL statements. I think part of the challenge of using SQL databases like Oracle is that you need developers and DBAs who understand the optimizer well enough to understand the challenges of bind variables and plan changes and how to prevent them or fix them.


See this Oracle support document:

Limitations of the Oracle Cost Based Optimizer (Doc ID 212809.1)

There is also this bug which may prevent us from using Adaptive Cursor Sharing on this application which has all its queries wrapped in PL/SQL:


It looks like none of our SQL is using ACS:

  4  count(*) cnt
  5  from
  6  v$sql
  7  group by
 10  order by cnt desc;

I I        CNT
- - ----------
N N      22970

Maybe our application design suppresses the use of ACS which results in more bad plans being locked in on queries with bind variables. If we bypassed PL/SQL and just ran queries against the database from the Java front end, we might use ACS to prevent a bad plan getting locked in based on certain oddball variable values.


Tired of writing PPS and all that. I am probably running out of steam. I cannot find anything that really applies generally to our system based on this example. I found this weird part of the plan when the variable values are out of range:

| Id  | Operation                            | Name            | Rows  |
|   6 |       MERGE JOIN CARTESIAN           |                 |     1 |
|   7 |        TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID   | PROD_ATLN_DTL   |     1 |
|   8 |         INDEX RANGE SCAN             | PROD_ATLN_DTL_0 |     1 |
|   9 |        BUFFER SORT                   |                 |    36 |
|  10 |         TABLE ACCESS FULL            | XYZ_ENT         |    36 |

It seems like for Id 6 the Rows value should be 36 instead of 1. I think the optimizer treats 0 rows as 1 row when it displays the plan so maybe it is multiplying 0 * 36 and then displaying 1 instead of 0 for id 6. But other parts of the plan treat 0 as if it was 1 and add up the cost of the steps of the plan. Both the good and bad plan have costs that are way off for the out of range variable values so maybe when you get down to this level the errors inherent in the optimizer make plan comparisons meaningless. But then what strategy can you use with queries that use bind variables and that have out-of-range data values passed into them? You can use hints, etc. but what can you do without intervening for every query like this?


Looks like the cartesian joins were caused by the constants being in the query in two places.

In the innermost subselect it was this:

   WHERE     DIV = 111
         AND CUST_NBR = 222

Then in the final where clause:

 WHERE     PCD.DIV = 111
       AND PCD.CUST_NBR = 222

DIV and CUST_NBR where part of the joins all through the query so these constants were only needed once. Ultimately this query was poorly constructed, so the optimizer had trouble locking down a good plan. Maybe the bigger picture is that the better job we do designing our queries, indexes, etc. the less likely plans are to change for the worse.

Categories: DBA Blogs

US Foods IT Hiring

Wed, 2022-12-14 14:04

US Foods IT Jobs: url

My company is hiring a number of IT positions with more to come soon.


Categories: DBA Blogs

Gold image for 19.16 install on RHEL 8

Wed, 2022-09-21 17:26

On Red Hat 7 Linux VMs we use a zip of a 19c Oracle home with the latest quarterly database release update applied which at the moment in 19.16, the July 19, 2022 version. Our standard deployment script just unzips the gold image zip and then runs the installer silently with a response file. But when I ran the same process on a Red Hat 8 VM I got errors. I found something that said to set this variable to resolve the first error:


And then I got package missing errors which I could ignore about this package:


But I finally hit an error that I could not get around no matter what I did:

[FATAL] Error in invoking target ‘all_no_orcl’ of makefile ‘/oracle/product/db/’.

So, I opened a service request (SR) with Oracle support, and they gave me a series of steps to rebuild my 19.16 gold image zip in a way that would get past this error. There was only once step that I had to add to what they recommended so I want to document that here.

First, they recommended unzipping the base 19.3 install file in my oracle home and then putting in the current opatch. These steps looked like this on my system:

unzip -d $ORACLE_HOME



mv OPatch OPatch.orig


This just left me with the base 19.3 install and the current opatch in the Oracle home but nothing installed.

Through a bunch of trial and error I found that I needed this step before I went further:

cp /etc/oraInst.loc /oracle/product/oraInventory

Our VMs come with an OEM client pre-installed so there is already an inventory. Maybe that is why I needed this step. I have not had a chance to test this on a clean RHEL 8 VM without an OEM client installed.

Next, I had to run the actual install which required an X server with the DISPLAY variable setup. I had fun getting this to work with MobaXterm and its ssh tunnel feature but once I figured it out it worked great. I ended up setting my DISPLAY variable like this:

export DISPLAY=localhost:0.0

I set the tunnel to listen on port 6000 on my RHEL8 vm and connected it to that same port on the ip for my MobaXterm X server. Maybe that needs a separate post, but other people probably do this all the time.

The install uses this patch:


I unzipped this to /oracle/db01/install/34160854

Then I ran the install like this:

./runInstaller -applyRU /oracle/db01/install/34160854/34130714

This spit out some text messages about applying the patch but then went into the normal graphical interactive installation steps through X windows. I did a standalone binary install without RAC.

Next, I had to apply the other part of the combo patch:

$ORACLE_HOME/OPatch/opatch apply /oracle/db01/install/34160854/34086870

This ran like a typical opatch apply.

Now that I had followed Oracle’s instructions to install 19.16 in a way that could be made into a gold image that works on RHEL 8 I did the following to make the gold image:

./runInstaller -silent -createGoldImage -destinationLocation /oracle/db01/install

Then I blew away everything in the oracle home and the inventory directory and redid the install from the new gold image like this:

unzip /oracle/db01/install/ -d $ORACLE_HOME

$ORACLE_HOME/runInstaller -silent -responseFile $ORACLE_HOME/19cresponsefile.rsp

The response file was the same that we always use for 19c on RHEL 7. Also, I did not need to set CV_ASSUME_DISTID=’OL7′ because the gold image has a recent version of the installer that does not require it. I think the main point of installing from patch 34160854 was to get a patched version of the installer that works with RHEL 8. My old gold image zip was made from the base 19.3 zip with the 19.16 database release update applied. Evidently that did not update the installer to make it support Red Hat 8, so I had to build a new gold image using patch 34160854 as described above.

Anyway, I don’t have a ton of time to go back and clean all this up right now but hopefully this basic dump of information will be helpful to someone. If nothing else, it will remind me!


Categories: DBA Blogs

netstat -o shows that (ENABLE=BROKEN) turns on TCP keepalive

Wed, 2022-08-31 18:00

In an earlier post I showed a Java program that will login to an Oracle database and wait for 350 seconds. I also talked about how we set the Linux parameter net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time to 60 seconds but that I needed to add (ENABLE=BROKEN) to the TNS connect string to enable the keepalive. I found a helpful post that said to use netstat -a -n -o to see connections that are using TCP keepalive. So, I tried my Java program with and without (ENABLE=BROKEN) and ran netstat -a -n -o both ways and it showed that keepalive was only working with (ENABLE=BROKEN).


$ netstat -a -n -o | grep
tcp6 0 0 ESTABLISHED keepalive (27.30/0/0)
$ netstat -a -n -o | grep
tcp6 0 0 ESTABLISHED keepalive (41.47/0/0)


$ netstat -a -n -o | grep
tcp6 0 0 ESTABLISHED off (0.00/0/0)

I edited the IP addresses to obscure them and removed spaces to make it fit better, but the important thing is that with (ENABLE=BROKEN) the 60 second keepalive timer is working, but without it the timer is off.

This information might not be that helpful to others if they do not have this kind of timeout, although I have been told that many firewalls have similar timeouts. Certainly, any AWS customer that connects through their Gateway Load Balancer to an on premises Oracle database would need to know this sort of thing. Hopefully, we are not the only ones in the world doing it this way! But at least I documented it for myself which will be helpful no matter what.


P.S. Related Oracle Community discussion

Categories: DBA Blogs

350 Second Timeout Causes ORA-03135 Errors in AWS DMS

Tue, 2022-08-02 16:03

This is a follow up to an earlier post about the 350 second timeout that is built into Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Gateway Load Balancer (GWLB).

The earlier post was about Debezium (DBZ) using its Oracle Connector to pull data from an on-premises Oracle database into Kafka in AWS. DBZ used JDBC to connect to the Oracle database so I built a simple Java program that uses JDBC to mimic the behavior we saw in DBZ. With DBZ we were hanging if any SQL statement that DBZ ran took >= 350 seconds to run. If it did, then the Oracle session hung and Debezium never got past that SQL statement.

But for AWS Database Migration Service (DMS) the symptoms were different. For DMS I could not find any SQL statement that ran for >= 350 seconds. All the SQL statements ran much faster. But we did see ORA-03135 errors in DMS’s log like this:

ORA-03135 Error

DMS seemed to be waiting >= 350 seconds between SQL statements in certain cases, maybe doing a large load, and that seemed to be causing the ORA-03135 errors. I also saw DMS Oracle sessions waiting for more than 350 seconds on “SQL*Net message from client” idle waits. These seemed to eventually go away after 6000 or more seconds. I think that the GWLB was silently dropping the network connection, but the Oracle sessions still existed until at some point they realized that the network connection was gone. But I wanted to recreate the problem in a simple test case to prove that the 350 second GWLB timeout would throw the ORA-03135 error and leave the DMS Oracle sessions hanging for several thousand seconds in the SQL*Net wait that I was seeing in our production DMS sessions.

To recreate this error and the orphaned session behavior and to show that it was due to the GWLB 350 second timeout and not some other weird network problem I did some simple tests with SQL*Plus and Instant Client. I installed these on an AWS EC2 Linux machine that already had the firewall and security group configuration setup to allow a connection from the EC2 to an on-premises Oracle database. Then I just logged into that database and sat idle for different lengths of time before running a select statement. I narrowed it down to about 350 seconds as the cutoff point where the session is lost due to too much idle time.

Here is my test with < 350 second wait:

SQL> connect myuser/mypassword@mydatabase
SQL> host sleep 348

SQL> select * from dual;


Elapsed: 00:00:00.11

Here is my test with > 350 seconds wait:

SQL> connect myuser/mypassword@mydatabase
SQL> host sleep 351

SQL> select * from dual;
select * from dual
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-03135: connection lost contact
Process ID: 1208
Session ID: 57 Serial number: 21111

Narrowing it down to 350 seconds at the cutoff showed that just logging in and waiting for > 350 seconds causes an ORA-03135 error. I also verified that the associated Oracle sessions hung around for > 350 seconds stuck on the “SQL*Net message from client” wait. Sure, DMS could be throwing a ORA-03135 error due to some unrelated network problem, but my SQL*Plus test proved that any Oracle connection from our AWS environment back to our on-premises Oracle databases will throw a ORA-03135 error and leave orphaned Oracle sessions if it sits idle for >= 350 seconds unless we put the fix in place that I mentioned in my earlier post.

The fix is to set the Linux parameter net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time to < 350 seconds and to use (ENABLE=BROKEN) in your connection strings. Once I put these in place for my SQL*Plus test I could wait longer than 350 seconds and then run a select statement with no errors.

Since March when we noticed this timeout with Debezium I have suspected the timeout would also affect DMS, but I did not know that the symptoms would be throwing ORA-03135 errors and leaving orphaned sessions when the time idle between SQL statements exceeded the timeout. It took a few tickets working with AWS support but last week they put net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time < 350 seconds and (ENABLE=BROKEN) in their global DMS configuration for all their customers.

So, from now on anyone setting up a new DMS replication instance version 3.4.5 or later should be able to replicate data from AWS to an on-premises Oracle database through Amazon’s Gateway Load Balancer without facing these ORA-03135 errors. If you created your replication instance before last week you should create a new one >= version 3.4.5 to take advantage of this fix, especially if you are seeing ORA-03135 errors in your logs.


Categories: DBA Blogs

Docker Sample Application behind Zscaler

Fri, 2022-04-15 11:26

I am trying to learn about Docker by installing it on an Oracle Linux 7 VM on top of VirtualBox on my work laptop. My work laptop uses Zscaler. I had a bunch of certificate issues and ended up learning a lot about Docker by working around them. I tried to do the Sample Application – really the simplest first step in the Docker documentation – and had all kinds of trouble getting it to work. Ultimately, I ended up with a Dockerfile that looked like this:

[root@docker ~]# cat Dockerfile
# syntax=docker/dockerfile:1
FROM oraclelinux:7
COPY z.pem /etc/pki/ca-trust/source/anchors/z.pem
RUN update-ca-trust
RUN echo sslverify=false >> /etc/yum.conf
RUN yum install -y oracle-nodejs-release-el7 oracle-release-el7
RUN yum install -y nodejs
RUN npm install -g npm
RUN npm install -g yarn
COPY . .
RUN yarn config set "strict-ssl" false -g
RUN yarn install --production
CMD ["node", "src/index.js"]

By contrast the Dockerfile that was supposed to work looks like this:

# syntax=docker/dockerfile:1
FROM node:12-alpine
RUN apk add --no-cache python2 g++ make
COPY . .
RUN yarn install --production
CMD ["node", "src/index.js"]

I ended up using the oraclelinux:7 image because it had more stuff installed such as update-ca-trust. Because I could not get anything to work with Zscaler I had to start with an image that did not require me to pull more stuff down with yum. Then, after playing with it I still ended up disabling SSL verification on yum and yarn. I had to install node since I was starting with a plain Linux image and not a node image.

I had these instructions for getting Zscaler to work on my Oracle Linux 7 VirtualBox VMs on my company computer:

Had to extract Zscaler .cer root ca from Chrome browser as z.cer. 
Moved to linux and ran:

openssl x509 -inform der -in z.cer -outform der -out z.pem

copied z.pem to /etc/pki/ca-trust/source/anchors/




I do not know if this is really doing anything. It affects curl so that I can use curl without the -k option to disable SSL verification. Maybe things that use curl under the covers are affected by adding z.pem to the trusted certificates.

Anyway, I just wanted to document this for myself. Maybe someone out there will benefit also.


Categories: DBA Blogs

350 second AWS timeout causes JDBC call to hang

Fri, 2022-03-25 17:40

When I run the following Java program on an AWS EC2 Linux virtual machine connecting to an Oracle database in my company’s internal network it hangs forever.

When I run it on a Linux machine on our internal network it runs fine.

Evidently my company uses an AWS feature called “Gateway Load Balancer” to connect our AWS network to our internal on premises network. Evidently the GLB has a 350 second timeout. See this document:

Here is a quote of the relevant paragraph:

Some applications or API requests, such as synchronous API calls to databases, have long periods of inactivity. GWLB has a fixed idle timeout of 350 seconds for TCP flows and 120 seconds for non-TCP flows. Once the idle timeout is reached for a flow, it is removed from GWLB’s connection state table. As a result, the subsequent packets for that flow are treated as a new flow and may be sent to a different healthy firewall instance. This can result in the flow timing out on the client side. Some firewalls have a default timeout of 3600 seconds (1 hour). In this case, GWLB’s idle timeout is lower than the timeout value on the firewall, which causes GWLB to remove the flow without the firewall or client being aware it was dropped.

Best practices for deploying Gateway Load Balancer

This means that my JDBC call using the thin driver will work fine if I sleep for 349 seconds but will hang forever if I try to sleep for 350 seconds. The solution is to update a Linux operating system parameter and to update the JDBC connect string.


sysctl -w net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time=60

add this line to /etc/sysctl.conf:


Evidently our default tcp_keepalive_time value was 7200 seconds which is longer than the 350 second timeout so we had to lower it to 60 seconds to that the Gateway Load Balancer would know that our JDBC call was actually doing something.

You have to add (ENABLE=broken) to the jdbc connect string like this:


Once I did this my Java test program worked fine. It ran for about 350 seconds and finished cleanly.

If you are working in AWS and connecting to a on premises database using JDBC and you have a SQL statement that should run for 350 seconds or more and hangs forever you might check whether you are being affected by this timeout.


p.s. I forgot to mention that the Oracle database session goes away after 350 seconds. It is just the client side JDBC call that hangs apparently forever.

p.p.s. We have a related issue with Putty sessions connecting to Amazon EC2 Linux VMs timing out after 350 seconds. A coworker offered this article as a solution:

The Putty keepalives setting works great!

Another coworker of mine was saying that certain types of firewalls work this way with timeouts. The problem is that the GWLB times out our on-premises side but not our AWS side. So, in the case of using Putty to ssh into an EC2 that does not have keepalives configured my Putty session, which also does not have keepalives configured, times out after 350 seconds of idle time. When I hit enter, I get “Network error: Software caused connection abort” but if I check my BASH shell process id, I see that my shell process was never terminated. So, old processes hang around forever on my EC2 if the ssh connection times out due to the GWLB 350 second timeout.

Maybe it is normal for connections on one side of a firewall to time out and the other side to hang forever? I am not sure.

Categories: DBA Blogs


Fri, 2022-02-04 11:15

This is all old stuff, but I want to record a simple thing I found. I was following Oracle’s support document for setting up audit table cleanup using the DBMS_AUDIT_MGMT package. I used this document:

SCRIPT: Basic example to manage AUD$ table with dbms_audit_mgmt (Doc ID 1362997.1)

This is a very helpful document, but the example script runs DBMS_AUDIT_MGMT.INIT_CLEANUP before it runs DBMS_AUDIT_MGMT.SET_AUDIT_TRAIL_LOCATION and it moves the audit tables SYS.AUD$ first to the SYSAUX tablespace and then to a newly created AUDIT_DATA tablespace. My simple thought is to run SET_AUDIT_TRAIL_LOCATION first to move SYS.AUD$ to AUDIT_DATA and then run INIT_CLEANUP which leaves SYS.AUD$ in AUDIT_DATA. Nothing monumental, but it seems more efficient to move the audit table once.

I did a couple of quick tests on an 18c database to demonstrate that SYS.AUD$ only moves once with SET_AUDIT_TRAIL_LOCATION first.

Test1: Follow the order in the Oracle document:

Before starting:

SQL> select
  2  tablespace_name
  3  from dba_tables
  4  where
  5  owner='SYS' and
  6  table_name='AUD$';


Create tablespace:

DATAFILE '/oracle/db01/DBA18C/dbf/audit_data_1.dbf'
AUTOEXTEND OFF;  2    3    4

Tablespace created.


  4  THEN
  5  dbms_output.put_line('Calling DBMS_AUDIT_MGMT.INIT_CLEANUP');
  7  audit_trail_type => dbms_audit_mgmt.AUDIT_TRAIL_AUD_STD,
  8  default_cleanup_interval => 24*7);
  9  else
 10  dbms_output.put_line('Cleanup for STD was already initialized');
 11  end if;
 12  end;
 13  /

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

Table in SYSAUX:

SQL> select
  2  tablespace_name
  3  from dba_tables
  4  where
  5  owner='SYS' and
  6  table_name='AUD$';


Set the new table location:

SQL> begin
  3  audit_trail_type => dbms_audit_mgmt.AUDIT_TRAIL_AUD_STD,
  4  audit_trail_location_value => 'AUDIT_DATA') ;
  5  end;
  6  /

Table is in AUDIT_DATA (moved twice SYSTEM->SYSAUX->AUDIT_DATA):

SQL> select
  2  tablespace_name
  3  from dba_tables
  4  where
  5  owner='SYS' and
  6  table_name='AUD$';


Test2: Reverse the order in the Oracle document:

First, I restored my database to its original condition:

SQL> select
  2  tablespace_name
  3  from dba_tables
  4  where
  5  owner='SYS' and
  6  table_name='AUD$';


After creating the tablespace again, I ran set the trail location and the table is now in AUDIT_DATA:

SQL> select
  2  tablespace_name
  3  from dba_tables
  4  where
  5  owner='SYS' and
  6  table_name='AUD$';


Next, I do the init and the table does not move:

SQL> select
  2  tablespace_name
  3  from dba_tables
  4  where
  5  owner='SYS' and
  6  table_name='AUD$';


So, I am not sure why Oracle’s document has you do INIT_CLEANUP before SET_AUDIT_TRAIL_LOCATION but it seems more efficient to do them in the reverse order and move SYS.AUD$ once, from SYSTEM to AUDIT_DATA.


Categories: DBA Blogs

Oracle 21c Laptop Install

Wed, 2022-01-26 16:07

Finally got around to installing Oracle 21c on my laptop. I installed it on Oracle’s Linux version 7 running in VirtualBox. There are other posts out there, so I won’t get too detailed. I noticed this post:

But I mainly went by the manual:

I stopped the firewall:

service firewalld stop
systemctl disable firewalld

I used the preinstall yum package:

yum install oracle-database-preinstall-21c

As root setup the directories with the right ownership and permission:

mkdir -p /u01/app/oracle
mkdir -p /u01/app/oraInventory
chown -R oracle:oinstall /u01/app/oracle
chown -R oracle:oinstall /u01/app/oraInventory
chmod -R 775 /u01/app

As oracle unzipped the zip:

cd /u01/app/oracle/product/21.0.0/dbhome_1
unzip -q /home/oracle/

I was annoyed by the -q option of unzip. If I did it again, I would leave it off so that I could see the list of files as they were unzipped.

From the console I ran this:

cd /u01/app/oracle/product/21.0.0/dbhome_1

I got a warning about the clock source being kvm-clock and not tsc. I tried Oracle’s instructions to fix this warning, but they did not work for me. It was just a warning apparently coming from the cluster verification utility. Since I am not using RAC, I didn’t see how this could matter so I ignored it. The install was very simple. Forced to use a CDB this time as I already knew.

The only interesting part for me was the read only Oracle home. Evidently the files that are updatable are stored under ORACLE_BASE_HOME instead of ORACLE_HOME.

I ended up adding these lines to .bash_profile:

export ORACLE_SID=orcl
. oraenv
export ORACLE_BASE_HOME=/u01/app/oracle/homes/OraDB21Home1

To add a new tnsnames.ora entry for the pdb I had to go to $ORACLE_BASE_HOME/network/admin instead of $ORACLE_HOME/network/admin:

[oracle@orcl21 ~]$ ls -altr $ORACLE_HOME/network/admin
total 4
-rw-r--r--.  1 oracle oinstall 1624 Feb 18  2020 shrept.lst
drwxr-xr-x.  2 oracle oinstall   61 Jul 27  2021 samples
drwxr-xr-x. 10 oracle oinstall   98 Jul 27  2021 ..
drwxr-xr-x.  3 oracle oinstall   37 Jan 26 13:45 .
[oracle@orcl21 ~]$ ls -altr $ORACLE_BASE_HOME/network/admin
total 16
drwxr-x---. 5 oracle oinstall  40 Jan 26 12:52 ..
-rw-r-----. 1 oracle oinstall 190 Jan 26 12:53 sqlnet.ora
-rw-r-----. 1 oracle oinstall 329 Jan 26 12:53 listener.ora
-rw-r-----. 1 oracle oinstall 397 Jan 26 13:49 tnsnames.ora.01262022
-rw-r-----. 1 oracle oinstall 586 Jan 26 13:49 tnsnames.ora
drwxr-x---. 2 oracle oinstall  89 Jan 26 13:49 .

I added this entry to $ORACLE_BASE_HOME/network/admin/tnsnames.ora:

orclpdb =
      (ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = orcl21)(PORT = 1521))
        (SERVICE_NAME = orclpdb)

Pretty simple. The hard part is understanding what is new in 21c.


Categories: DBA Blogs

Dropping sequences whose name starts with ISEQ$$

Tue, 2022-01-25 15:58

We had an application that created 500,000 tables and 500,000 sequences and the vendor sent us a cleanup script that we thought would drop the tables but not the sequences. It took us a few attempts to get a cleanup script that looked like it would work with the tables, but the sequences seemed totally wrong. The tables had dashes in their names and a bunch of random characters between the dashes and the cleanup script looked for that pattern. But the sequence names all started with ISEQ$$ and they were trying to drop sequences whose names were like the tables’ names. Confusing. Finally, they convinced us to run the script whether it looks like it would work or not. After tweaking it a bit it did run and dropped both the tables and the sequences. What in the world? Then I had a vague memory of something called “identity columns” probably from my 12.1 certification. I do not think I have seen them in a real system, so I checked the tables and sure enough they all had a single identity column and each sequence matched up with each table. So, when we dropped the tables, the sequences went with them. I do not know why I did not clue into the fact that the sequences have dollar signs $$ in their name which means they were probably system generated. Duh!

I thought about not posting anything about this because I was sure there were several good posts out there about this and there are. So, I will link some of them below and not try to recreate them. The funny thing is that the DBAs at the vendor kept talking about flushing the recycle bin to drop the sequence and that also made no sense at the time. Why would flushing the dropped tables out of the recycle bin have anything to do with the sequences? But as you will see in the posts it does.

One thing that probably is not in the posts is that if you turn off the recycle bin with a parameter then dropping the table drops the sequence that is associated with its identity column without having to clear the recycle bin or do a drop table purge. We have this parameter set:

SQL> show parameter recyclebin

NAME                                 TYPE        VALUE
------------------------------------ ----------- -----------------
recyclebin                           string      OFF

Here is my simple test script and its output: zip

I used drop table purge in the test script, so it works even if the recycle bin is enabled. If you run the blog.sql script in the zip, be sure to run it as a user that does not have any tables.

Here are the blog posts:

This is from Tim Hall’s Oracle Base which has a fantastic amount of detail about various Oracle features and versions. It shows the ISEQ$$ sequence names. Why didn’t I just google ISEQ$$?

This talks about how to drop the sequence by dropping the table and either clearing the recycle bin or using drop table purge.

This SO question has a nice answer similar to the previous post.

Covers a lot of ground but talks about the recycle bin.

Anyway, I wanted to note these posts/links as well as my experience. If you want to drop sequences with names starting with ISEQ$$ you need to drop the associated table with an identity column and be sure to purge the table from the recycle bin if you have it enabled.


Categories: DBA Blogs

latch: shared pool waits after patching to 19.13

Tue, 2021-12-14 14:17

I have been working hard on an issue that happened after we patched an Oracle database to the 19.13 patch set which just came out in October. The application experienced a ton of latch: shared pool waits, and the patch set had to be backed out. Currently the database is running on the 19.5 patch set and running fine. I have been trying to figure this out on my own and I have been working with Oracle support but so far, I have not come up with a proven resolution. But I thought I would document what I know here before I go off on vacation for two weeks around the Christmas and New Year holidays.

It all started on October 26th when we were still on 19.5 and our application hung up with alert log messages consistent with this bug:

Bug 30417732 – Instance Crash After Hitting ORA-00600 [kqrHashTableRemove: X lock] (Doc ID 30417732.8)

Here were the error messages:

One of these:

ORA-00600: internal error code, arguments: [kqrHashTableRemove: X lock], [0x11AA5F3A0]

Then a bunch 0f these:

ORA-00600: internal error code, arguments: [kglpnlt]

I found that the fix for bug 30417732 is in the 19.9 and later patch sets. So, I, perhaps foolishly, decided to apply the latest patch set (19.13) after testing it in our non-production databases. In retrospect I probably should have found a one-off patch for 30417732 but I wanted to catch up to the latest patch set and be on the current and hopefully most stable version of Oracle.

So after applying 19.13 in our lower environments and testing there we applied it on production on November 13th and we had poor performance in the application Monday through Thursday and finally backed out the patch set Thursday night. It has been fine ever since and the original problem, bug 30417732, has fortunately not happened again.

I generated an AWR report during an hour when the problem was occurring, and it showed latch: shared pool as the top foreground event. Like this:

Top Foreground Events

I was able to use my and to show a correlation between the number of connected sessions and the number of latch waits.

Latch waits:

latch: shared pool waits

Number of connected sessions:

Number of sessions

This database uses shared servers which uses memory in the shared pool and large pool so it makes sense that a bunch of logins might cause some contention for the shared pool. I tried to recreate the high latch: shared pool waits on a test database by running a Java script that just creates 1000 new sessions:

This did result in similar or even worse latch: shared pool waits during the time the Java script was running:

So, I have been able to recreate the problem in a test database but now I am stuck. This is not a minimal reproducible example. The test database is actively used for development and testing. I have tried to create my own load to apply to a small database but so far, I cannot reproduce the exact results. If I run 10 concurrent copies of I can get latch: shared pool waits on a small database, but I get the same behavior on 19.5 as I do on 19.13. So, something is missing. Here is a spreadsheet of my test results:

Results from running 10 Java processes

19.5, 19.12, and 19.13 have the same results but 18.14 is a lot better. I was trying to come up with a test that was a lot better on 19.5 than 19.13 but I have not succeeded.

I have looked at a boatload of other things not listed here but I am running out of steam. Friday is my last day working until January 4th, so I hope to put this out of my mind until then. But I thought it was worth using this blog post to document the journey. Maybe at some point I will be able to post a positive update.



Made some progress working with Oracle support on this yesterday. I did not mention in this post that the latch behind all the latch: shared pool waits was

kghfrunp: alloc: wait

Here is the top latch from the AWR report:

Top Latch Name

An Oracle analyst noted that this bug also involves the same latch:


I had noticed bug 33406872 but I did not know that it was on the kghfrunp: alloc: wait latch because that information is not visible to Oracle customers.

The same analyst had me rerun the Java script listed above but with a dedicated server connection. I did and it did not have the latch waits. So, this is a shared server bug.

Oracle development is working on it so there is no fix yet but here is the situation as it seems to be now: If you are using shared servers on 19.12 or 19.13 and have high latch: shared pool waits on the kghfrunp: alloc: wait latch you may be hitting a new bug that Oracle is working on.


After getting back from 2 weeks vacation I took another crack at this and I think I have come up with a useful test case for the SR. Time will tell, but it looks promising. I added a second Java script to the MaxSessions one listed above. Here it is:

This opens 1000 shared server sessions and then runs unique select statements on each of the 1000 sessions one at a time looping up to 1000 times. After about 60 loops I get the latch: shared pool waits. I tried this on both 19.13 and 19.5 and I get the waits in both but with differences.

19.13 after 100 loops:

19.5 after 100 loops

Avg Wait, % DB time, and sleeps for the kghfrunp: alloc: wait latch were all higher on 19.13.

Note that I had to keep the script running while I ran and I took AWR snapshots around the MaxSessions run to get these AWR report outputs.

Maybe this will be enough to help Oracle recreate this behavior internally.



Back from a weeklong cruise vacation and Oracle support says that they opened bug 33801843 for this issue and that it will be fixed in a future release. I would not use shared servers going forward after 19.11.

Categories: DBA Blogs

Outline Hint from dbms_xplan does not contain PARALLEL hint

Fri, 2021-09-03 12:36

I was tuning a parallel query and was a little surprised to find that an outline hint from EXPLAIN PLAN and dbms_xplan.display did not contain a PARALLEL hint. So, a query I was testing did not run in parallel with the outline hint. I had to add the PARALLEL hint. It is surprising because I think of an outline hint as a full set of hints.

I built a testcase to demonstrate this. Here is a zip of its script and output on a 19c database:

I created a small test table and got the outline for the plan of a select statement with a parallel hint:

drop table test;

create table test noparallel as select * from dba_tables;

explain plan into plan_table for 
select /*+ parallel(test,8) */ sum(blocks) from test;

set markup html preformat on

select * from table(dbms_xplan.display('PLAN_TABLE',NULL,'ADVANCED'));

The outline hint looks like this:

      FULL(@"SEL$1" "TEST"@"SEL$1")

Notice that it just has a FULL hint and nothing about running the query in parallel.

Next, I ran the query with the outline hint but without any parallel hint like this:

select   /*+
      FULL(@"SEL$1" "TEST"@"SEL$1")
  */ sum(blocks) from test;

It ran with a serial (non-parallel) plan:

| Id  | Operation          | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT   |      |       |       |    27 (100)|          |
|   1 |  SORT AGGREGATE    |      |     1 |     3 |            |          |
|   2 |   TABLE ACCESS FULL| TEST |  1785 |  5355 |    27   (0)| 00:00:01 |

Then I ran the query with both a parallel hint and the same outline hint:

select   /*+ parallel(test,8)
      FULL(@"SEL$1" "TEST"@"SEL$1")
  */ sum(blocks) from test;

It ran the desired parallel plan:

| Id  | Operation              | Name     |...|IN-OUT| PQ Distrib |
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT       |          |...|      |            |
|   1 |  SORT AGGREGATE        |          |...|      |            |
|   2 |   PX COORDINATOR       |          |...|      |            |
|   3 |    PX SEND QC (RANDOM) | :TQ10000 |...| P->S | QC (RAND)  |
|   4 |     SORT AGGREGATE     |          |...| PCWP |            |
|   5 |      PX BLOCK ITERATOR |          |...| PCWC |            |
|*  6 |       TABLE ACCESS FULL| TEST     |...| PCWP |            |

In other tuning situations with plans that did not execute in parallel the outline hints from dbms_xplan.display_cursor did a great job of capturing all the details of the plan. But when extracting an outline hint from a query that has a parallel hint in it, I needed both the outline hint and the parallel hint to get the same plan.


Categories: DBA Blogs