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It’s all downhill past 30

Yes, it sounds like a lamentation of the aging process, and from my own experience, it is definitely true that the wheels started falling off for my knees, back and plenty of other body parts once I turned 30. But that is perhaps a legacy of too much alcohol, not eating well in my youth and failing to stretch rather than any particular chronological milestone Smile.

But this post is not about that. This one is about the magical 30 character limit on identifiers that we finally lifted in version 12c. For static SQL, this is obviously a no impact change – you either define your tables and columns with longer names or you don’t, and the static SQL you write reflects that position.

CLI for Amazon RDS Performance Insights

Installing CLI on LINUX

1. install PIP

curl -O
python --user

2. install AWS CLI

pip install awscli --upgrade --user

3. configure

aws configure

For “aws configure” you will need

  • AWS Access Key ID:
  • AWS Secret Access Key:

Which you can get by going to the AWS console, going to IMS and creating access key.

Running example

Once “aws” is configured you can run the CLI like

Plans and Trees

Prompted by a question on the ODC database forum – and also because I failed to get to the “Bonus slides” on my presentation on basic execution plans at both the DOAG and UKOUG conferences, here’s a small of slides demonstrating how to convert a text execution plan into a tree that you can read using the mechanism described in Oracle’s white paper by the phrase: “start from the bottom left and work across and then up”.

The file is a Microsoft Powerpoint file (early version).



A recent post on the ODC database forum prompted me to write a short note about a trap that catches everyone from time to time. The trap is following the obvious; and it’s a trap because it’s only previous experience that lets you decide what’s obvious and the similarity between what you’re looking and your previous experience may be purely coincidental.

The question on OTN (paraphrased) was as follows:

When I run the first query below Oracle doesn’t use the index on column AF and is slow, but when I run the second query the Oracle uses the index and it’s fast. So when the input starts with ‘\\’ the indexes are not used. What’s going on ?

Automatic sequences not being dropped

One of the nice new things in 12c was the concept of identity columns. In terms of the functionality they provide (an automatic number default) it is really no different from anything we’ve had for years in the database via sequences, but native support for the declarative syntax makes migration from other database platforms a lot easier.

Under the covers, identity columns are implemented as sequences. This makes a lot of sense – why invent a new piece of functionality when you can exploit something that already has been tried and tested exhaustively for 20 years? So when you create a table with an identity column, you’ll see the appearance of a system named sequence to support it.

The phantom tablespace

(Cueing my deep baritone Morpheus voice…) What if I told you that you can reference non-existent tablespaces in your DDL?

OK, it sounds like a gimmick but there is a real issue that I’ll get to shortly. But first the gimmick Smile

I’ve created a partitioned table called “T” (I’ll pause here for your applause at my incredible imagination skills for table naming Smile) and to show you the complete DDL, I’ll extract it using the familiar DBMS_METADATA package.

IRR function in PLSQL

We had an AskTOM question recently about how to calculate the IRR, ie, the Internal Rate of Return. To be honest, I had not really heard of the function, but readers were quick to point out to me that it was a commonly used function in the most “popular” database on earth, namely Microsoft Excel Smile

You need 10 minutes! Not 5, not 15, not 7

What follow is just my opinion….Well duh, it’s a blog, of course it’s just my opinion, but I’ll try back up my rantings and pontificating with some reasoned arguments. Whether at the end of it, you still call my claims total BS is of course entirely within your rights and your opinion </p />

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick blog post from Wellington New Zealand where we have just wrapped up the 2018 APAC Groundbreakers tour. It was a great way to finish the event with a small but enthusiastic crowd here in New Zealand.


18c and the ignoring of hints


One of the new features in 18c is the ability to ignore any optimizer hints in a session or across the entire database. A motivation for this feature is obviously our own Autonomous Data Warehouse, where we want to optimize queries without the potential “baggage” of user nominated hints strewn throughout the code.

This would seem a fairly easy function to implement, namely, as we parse the SQL, simply rip out anything that is a comment structured as a hint. At the Perth Oracle User Group conference yesterday, I had an interesting question from an attendee – namely, if all optimizer hints are being ignored, then does this mean that every hint will be ignored. In particular, what about the (very useful) QB_NAME hint? If we are just stripping out anything that is in a hint text format, we will lose those as well?

So it’s time for a test!