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Compression default settings

If you are loading a data warehouse or similar environment where your default approach would probably be to compress all objects because they are predominantly read only, you do not need to head back into your DDL scripts and add a “COMPRESS” clause to every table.

You can set the default compression level at the tablespace level. Here’s an example of that in action

Nulls are not stored in indexes … most of the time

This question got posed on Twitter today


I answered briefly on Twitter, but I thought I should give it some “meat” with a blog post.

Firstly, lets explore the commonly understood mechanism where in a conventional index, nulls are not stored and hence you can have multiple index entries (so to speak) where the value is null.

Here is my simple table T with a standard (ascending) unique index, and we can see immediately that there is no limit to the number of null values, where by “null” I mean that all indexed columns are null, that you can have in the table.

Databases are slow right?

Man, it gets my goat when people start pontificating nonsense on Twitter.

Yeah, I know, I know, I shouldn’t get upset, because 99% of everything on social media is nonsense anyway, but it is when people roll out claims about database tech that I tend to get tetchy Smile

Today it’s that familiar old chestnut: “Constraints in the database make it slow“. And…this one even came with some numbers add some apparent weight!

Exadata storage indexes

We had a question on AskTOM inquiring about how to handle the issue of only 8 storage indexes being possible on an Exadata engineered system. If you are unfamiliar with what a storage index is, they are part of the suite of features often referred to as the “secret sauce” that can improve query performance on Exadata systems by holding more metadata about the data that is stored on disk. You can get an introduction to the concept of storage indexes here.

MIN/MAX Optimization and Asynchronous Global Index Maintenance

In this short post I would like to point out a non-obvious issue that one of my customers recently hit. On the one hand, it’s a typical case where the query optimizer generates a different (suboptimal) execution plan even though nothing relevant (of course, at first sight only) was changed. On the other hand, in this case after some time the query optimizer automatically gets back to the original (optimal) execution plan.

Let’s have a look at the issue with the help of a test case…

The test case is based on a range partitioned table:

Being generous to the optimizer

In a perfect world, the optimizer would reach out from the server room, say to us: “Hey, lets grab a coffee and have a chat about that query of yours”. Because ultimately, that is the task we are bestowing on the optimizer – to know what our intent was in terms of running a query in a way that meets the performance needs of our applications. It generally does a pretty good job even without the coffee Smile, but if we can keep that caffeine hit in mind, we can do our bit as SQL developers to give the optimizer as much assistance as we can.

Take care with automatic indexes

This one came in via an AskTOM question. You need to be careful when disabling constraints that are underpinned by an index, especially when it comes to the storage for that index.

Let’s take a look at a simple example. I’ll explicitly nominate the LARGETS tablespace for my index that will support the primary key.

Partial Indexes–Take Care With Truncate

Partial indexes are a very cool feature that came along with Oracle 12c. The capability at partition level to control index existence allows for a couple of obvious use cases:

1) You index the data in recent partitions only, because small amounts of data are aggressively searched by applications and/or users, but not the older data because the queries for older data are either less frequent or are more analytical in nature.

Text indexes for numbers

We had an AskTOM question recently about being able to search for numbers within a concatenated list. The particular issue was a list of mobile phone numbers, but this is really just about tackling the larger issue of finding numbers within list.

Let’s create a simple example to see where things can break down (and how we can fix them).

Fewer Platform Flags on Indexes from PeopleTools 8.55

It has always been possible in Application Designer to specify upon which databases platforms each index should be built.  This is really a feature that is used by PeopleSoft development, rather than customers to deliver indexes that are more appropriate for a particular platform due to differences in the optimizer.
Over the years, the number of supported PeopleSoft platforms has declined.  In PeopleTools 8.45, it went down from 9 to 6 and in PeopleTools 8.55 it has gone down to just 4, but there are still 9 columns on PSINDEXDEFN that correspond to the original 9 supported platforms.