Oracle 11g Semantic Hints

Hi All!
I was reviewing some features in Oracle and, basically, every single time I review them I find something new. Seems Oracle Databases’ features are near to infinite and we frequently find some that can really add value to our solutions.

Here is a quick summary I did for a client regarding new Semantic Hints on 11g..

11g New Semantic Hints

In Database version, Oracle introduced three new hints: IGNORE_ROW_ON_DUPKEY_INDEX, CHANGE_DUPKEY_ERROR_INDEX and RETRY_ON_ROW_CHANGE. They have different working ends but they all tries to avoid ORA-0001 in some specific situations. An important note is that, unlike almost all other hints, this hint has a semantic effect: it changes the actual behavior – not just the optimization – of the SQL. Oracle Docs says about this Hint:

“The CHANGE_DUPKEY_ERROR_INDEX, IGNORE_ROW_ON_DUPKEY_INDEX, and RETRY_ON_ROW_CHANGE hints are unlike other hints in that they have a semantic effect. The general philosophy explained in “Hints” does not apply for these three hints.”

Some specifics about each one:

  • IGNORE_ROW_ON_DUPKEY_INDEX: “When a unique key violation is encountered, a row-level rollback occurs and execution resumes with the next input row.”
  • CHANGE_DUPKEY_ERROR_INDEX: “The CHANGE_DUPKEY_ERROR_INDEX hint provides a mechanism to unambiguously identify a unique key violation for a specified set of columns or for a specified index. When a unique key violation occurs for the specified index, an ORA-38911 error is reported instead of an ORA-001.”
  • RETRY_ON_ROW_CHANGE: “When you specify this hint, the operation is retried when the ORA_ROWSCN for one or more rows in the set has changed from the time the set of rows to be modified is determined to the time the block is actually modified.”

The use of those hints, however, is only recommended for pretty specific ends and should be avoided if possible. Not only for having some related bugs, but to add some complexity to known operations like bulk inserts and similar.

Other important hint is the Result Cache Hint, mentioned some months ago, under Result Cache Post.


Regular Expressions with SUBEXPR

Hi All!

Did you know since 11g the REGEXP_INSTR and REGEXP_SUBSTR functions include a new SUBEXPR parameter that limits the pattern match to a specific subexpression in the search pattern?

Also, a new function, REGEXP_COUNT, returns the number of times the search pattern appears in source string.

Below a simple example of each one:

SQL> SELECT REGEXP_INSTR('1234567890', '(123)(4(56)(78))', 1, 1, 0, 'i', 3) FROM dual;


SQL> SELECT REGEXP_SUBSTR('1234567890', '(123)(4(56)(78))', 1, 1, 'i', 3) FROM dual;


SQL> SELECT REGEXP_COUNT('123 123 123 123', '123', 1, 'i') FROM dual;



Oracle SQL Join Factorization Transformation (JFT)

Hi All!
Following the line of last week post, let’s talk today about the JFT…

Oracle SQL Join Factorization Transformation (JFT)

The UNION operator is great for merging the results of multiple queries that return similar rowsets, essentially executing each query separately and merging the results together into a single result set. Oracle 11g release 2 come with improvements for SQL optimizer on how Oracle handles UNION ALL performance with the new join factorization transformation (JFT). The Join Factorization Transformation applies only to UNION ALL queries.

The following example show how the optimizer improves the performance of UNION ALL by dynamically re-writing a UNION ALL query into a more efficient form using an in-line view:

Original Query:

select t1.c1, t2.c2     
    from t1, t2, t3     
    where t1.c1 = t2.c1 and t1.c1 > 1 and t2.c2 = 2 and t2.c2 = t3.c2    
union all     
    select t1.c1, t2.c2     
    from t1, t2, t4     
    where t1.c1 = t2.c1 and t1.c1 > 1 and t2.c3 = t4.c3;

Re-Written Query:

select t1.c1, VW_JF_1.item_2
     from t1, (select t2.c1 item_1, t2.c2 item_2
                    from t2, t3
                    where t2.c2 = t3.c2 and t2.c2 = 2
               union all
                    select t2.c1 item_1, t2.c2 item_2
                    from t2, t4
                    where t2.c3 = t4.c3) VW_JF_1
     where t1.c1 = VW_JF_1.item_1 and t1.c1 > 1;

Nice, right?

11g SQL transformations (CBQT, CNT, JE, JPPD)

Hi All!
Let’s save some time to review those?
They usually very important when analysing query performance, specially on 10046 traces. I separated those were included on 11g, to have it as subset. Here it goes:

New 11g SQL transformations (CBQT, CNT, JE, JPPD)

The Oracle cost-based optimizer CBO is constantly being improved in its ability to re-write and transform sub-optimal SQL queries. In general way, CBO work by replacing operations by equivalent optimal when possible, changing clauses or re-grouping to take advantage on in indexes, eliminating subqueries by replacing with joins and not null tests and similar. In 11g new SQL transformations were implemented looking to continue improving this process. They are:

  • Cost-Based Query Transformation (CBQT): This is one of the core mechanisms in CBO, that tries different transformed and untransformed variants of the query and runs them through the costing algorithm. Improvements were done in 11g, specially related to clauses NOT IN into NOT EXISTS.
  • Count Transformation (CNT): If all rows have a value on this column (not null), Oracle CBO can simply count the number of rows. There is no need to actually retrieve the column value. This transformation changes count(col) to count(*).
  • Join Elimination (JE): Join elimination is a query transformation of the Oracle optimizer to remove joins that are not required in a query. Released on 10g, Join Elimination got several improvements and new mechanisms in 11g and even more in 12c.
  • Join Predicate PushDown (JPPD): Allows a view to be joined with index-based nested-loop join method, which may provide a more optimal alternative. The following types of views supports predicate pushdown: UNION ALL/UNION view, Outer-joined view, Anti-joined view, Semi-joined view, DISTINCT view and GROUP-BY view.


Hope you enjoy it!

Oracle 11g / 12c identified by values – set an Oracle password to its current value without knowing the password

This post will be a quick one. I needed to set a Oracle password as it was about to expire but the client did not want to change the password itself.

The simplest way to get the encrypted password was:

select name, password from sys.user$ where name=‘USER’;

But after Oracle 11g/12c seems a better option for security ends to use DBMS_METADATA.get_ddl or select the spare4 column on sys.user$

select name, spare4 from sys.user$ where name=‘USER’;


set long 9999999
set longc 9999999
select dbms_metadata.get_ddl('USER','DBSNMP') from dual;

And how to set this password back to the user?

alter user [USER] identified by values '[encrypted password]';


Hope it helps!

Statspack top queries script by elapsed time

Hi all,

I was engaged on a report request that I needed to gather to get the TOP SQL by elapsed time and using Statspack. I got those and than I was asked to it on the following week and on the following, and you may see when this is going. So I created a script which would give is a report and I would not have to do it manually ever again 🙂

Usage: [-h ] [ -r 

If no parameters are used 120 minutes and 7 days will be used as default for History, 5 minutes for current running
-r = Set the time in minutes for the current running SQLs
-o = Specifies the minutes to be used for the long running SQLs History
-d = set the time period wanted for the execution history, default is 7 days
-h = Shows this help message

Might still have some bugs but it well enough to share here 🙂

You have some parameters that you need to change at the top, to suite your environment and of course have Statspack working and change the sqlplus connection line

Some tweaks are required as no 2 environments are never 100% alike. But still forth the work.

# Creates a report, using statspack, of the long running sqls from database
# History:
# Feb-21-2018 - Elisson Almeida - Created.
### Environment setup
### Global variables
DATE=$(date +%Y%m%d_%H%M%S)
#tns-admin if needed otherwise comment out
echo "Usage: [-h ] [ -r 

Hope it helps!

Elisson Almeida

Oracle SQL: Aggregate List – LISTAGG

Know this command?

I think it’s very useful, but not so often I see that in use… More about it:

It was introduced in Oracle 11g Release 2, as an analytic function to make the life easier fot the PLSQL Dev, specially when working to aggregate strings. The nice thing about this function is it also allows us to order the elements in the concatenated list. If you are using 11g Release 2 you should use this function for string aggregation.

In case WM_CONCAT is in use for this end, be aware that WM_CONCAT is an undocumented function and as such is not supported by Oracle for user applications (MOS Note ID 1336219.1). Also, WM_CONCAT has been removed from 12c onward, once it was completely replaced by LISTAGG.

More info and examples can be found here:

Hope you enjoy it. Cheers!

Oracle Pivot and Unpivot Operators

Hi All!
I was reviewing some features in Oracle and, basically, every single time I review them I find something new. Seems Oracle Databases’ features are near to infinite and we frequently find some that can really add value to our solutions.

So I decided to make a serie of posts with really quick notes about each one of them.
You can see all posts in this serie in my page of posts and some others more.

Ready? Here it goes:

Pivot and Unpivot Operators

Pivoting tables are now possible in 11g through PIVOT clause. The PIVOT operator takes data in separate rows, aggregates it and converts it into columns. Prior to 11g new functions it was possible to accomplish by using DECODE combined with some aggregate function like SUM.

Also, Adding the XML keyword to the PIVOT operator allows us to convert the generated pivot results to XML format. It also makes the PIVOT a little more flexible, making possible to replace the hard coded IN clause with a subquery, or the ANY commands.

In same way, the UNPIVOT operator converts column-based data into separate rows. Some important considerations about feature:

  • Column names are required. These can be set to any name not currently in the driving table.
  • The columns to be unpivoted must be named in the IN clause.
  • By default the EXCLUDE NULLS clause is used. To override the default behavior use the INCLUDE NULLS clause.
  • The following query shows the inclusion of the INCLUDE NULLS clause.

For more information and examples:


Oracle: Easily Decoding ROWID

Hi all,
Recently I needed to decode the rowid so I could find some information about it, I found this bit of code that I thought useful:

v_rid VARCHAR2(20) ;
v_type NUMBER;
v_obj NUMBER;
v_rfno NUMBER;
v_bno NUMBER;
v_rno NUMBER;
dbms_output.put_line('Row_ID = "'||v_rid||'"');
dbms_rowid.rowid_info(CHARTOROWID(v_rid), v_type, v_obj, v_rfno, v_bno, v_rno);
IF v_type = 0 THEN
dbms_output.put_line('RowID Type -> Restricted');
ELSE dbms_output.put_line('RowID Type -> Extended');
dbms_output.put_line('Object ID = "'||v_obj||'"');
dbms_output.put_line('Relative File Number = "'||v_rfno||'"');
dbms_output.put_line('Block Number = "'||v_bno||'"');
dbms_output.put_line('Row Number = "'||v_rno||'"');

Note that I have hard-coded the rowid but it is relatively easy to either edit this or indeed to incorporate this into a procedure.

Here’s the sample output

RowID Type -> Extended
Object ID = "18"
Relative File Number = "1"
Block Number = "241"
Row Number = "27"

Hope this helps!

Identifying the top segments

Hello readers! My name is Bruno Kremer, this is my first post from a series, and I will be talking about how we can identify the top segments of the database.


It’s well known that we can create automated tasks to collect and save the space used/allocated by the database objects, such as saving snapshots of the DBA_SEGMENTS view. But what if this is your first contact with a specific database and you need to identify the top segments, estimate their growth ratio, check the history of space allocated, or even to perform some kind of capacity planning? There are some alternatives to answer these questions, but on this post I will share the starting point. Please feel free to customize the scripts to your own need.

Checking the top sized segments

round(sum(nvl(s.bytes,0))/1024/1024) size_mb
from dba_segments s
where s.bytes > 1048576 -- higher than 1MB
group by s.owner, s.segment_name, s.segment_type
order by size_mb desc
fetch first &TOP rows only;

Input values: &TOP – limit the number of rows returned.

Filters you might want to use: and s.segment_type in ('&OBJECT_TYPE') – ‘TABLE’, ‘TABLE PARTITION’, ‘INDEX’…

Return example:

Note: the scripts used in this series were tested on databases. Some of these use the “FETCH FIRST” clause to limit the number of rows returned, but if you are using older versions of Oracle Database, you can still use the old fashion like “ROWNUM”.


select * from (
select s.owner, s.segment_name, s.segment_type, round(sum(nvl(s.bytes,0))/1024/1024) size_mb
from dba_segments s
where s.bytes > 1048576 -- higher than 1MB
group by s.owner, s.segment_name, s.segment_type
order by size_mb desc
) where rownum <= &TOP;

Now that you already have an idea regarding the size of the largest database segments, you might want to check the top growing segments… On next publications we will talk about how we can use AWR data dictionary views and some DBMS_SPACE procedures to estimate space usage history and top growing segments.