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“Hidden” Efficiencies of Non-Partitioned Indexes on Partitioned Tables Part II (Aladdin Sane) October 9, 2018

Posted by Richard Foote in Global Indexes, Index Internals, Local Indexes, Oracle Indexes, Partitioned Indexes, Partitioning, ROWID.
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In Part I of this series, I highlighted how a Non-Partitioned Global Index on a Partitioned Table is able to effectively perform “Partition Pruning” by reading only the associated index entries to access just the table blocks of interest from relevant table partitions when the table partitioned keys are specified in an SQL Predicate.

Understanding how Oracle achieves this is key (pun fully intended) in understanding the associated advantages of Global Indexes.

Back in time before Oracle introduced Partitioning (pre-Oracle 8 days), the 6 byte ROWID was safely made up of the following components:

  • File Number
  • Block Number
  • Row Number

to uniquely determine the location of any given row.

If we look at a partial block dump of a leaf block from the index based on the Non-Partitioned table:

Leaf block dump
===============
header address 1881436260=0x70247064
kdxcolev 0
KDXCOLEV Flags = – – –
kdxcolok 0
kdxcoopc 0x80: opcode=0: iot flags=— is converted=Y
kdxconco 2
kdxcosdc 0
kdxconro 513
kdxcofbo 1062=0x426
kdxcofeo 1880=0x758
kdxcoavs 818
kdxlespl 0
kdxlende 0
kdxlenxt 29387269=0x1c06a05
kdxleprv 0=0x0
kdxledsz 0
kdxlebksz 8036
row#0[8024] flag: ——-, lock: 0, len=12
col 0; len 2; (2): c1 02
col 1; len 6; (6): 01 c0 1d 68 00 18
row#1[8012] flag: ——-, lock: 0, len=12
col 0; len 2; (2): c1 02
col 1; len 6; (6): 01 c0 24 c8 00 c1
row#2[8000] flag: ——-, lock: 0, len=12
col 0; len 2; (2): c1 02
col 1; len 6; (6): 01 c0 3a 1c 00 96

We notice that the ROWID for each index entry is the standard 6 bytes in size.

With the introduction of Oracle 8 and the Partitioning Option, the File Number was no longer unique, with this number of files (approx. 1K) now possible not for the database at large, but for each Tablespace (thus making Oracle able to cater for very large databases with there now being the option for so many more data files in a database).

This means for a Partitioned Table in which each table partition (or sub-partition) could potentially reside in different tablespaces, the associated file number (RELATIVE_FNO) within the ROWID is no longer unique. Therefore, for Global Indexes in which index entries span across all table partitions, the ROWID is extended to include the 4 byte Data Object Id. A specific object can only live in one tablespace and if Oracle knows the tablespace, Oracle can determine which specific file number the ROWID is referencing. So an extended ROWID is consists of:

  • Data Object Id
  • File Number
  • Block Number
  • Row Number

If we look at a partial block dump of a leaf block from the index based on the Partitioned table:

Leaf block dump
===============
header address 1881436260=0x70247064
kdxcolev 0
KDXCOLEV Flags = – – –
kdxcolok 0
kdxcoopc 0x80: opcode=0: iot flags=— is converted=Y
kdxconco 2
kdxcosdc 0
kdxconro 399
kdxcofbo 834=0x342
kdxcofeo 1652=0x674
kdxcoavs 818
kdxlespl 0
kdxlende 0
kdxlenxt 29385221=0x1c06205
kdxleprv 0=0x0
kdxledsz 0
kdxlebksz 8036
row#0[8020] flag: ——-, lock: 0, len=16
col 0; len 2; (2): c1 02
col 1; len 10; (10): 00 01 57 4a 01 c0 5e cf 00 cc
row#1[8004] flag: ——-, lock: 0, len=16
col 0; len 2; (2): c1 02
col 1; len 10; (10): 00 01 57 4a 01 c0 5f 74 00 e7
row#2[7988] flag: ——-, lock: 0, len=16
col 0; len 2; (2): c1 02
col 1; len 10; (10): 00 01 57 4b 01 c0 5c 32 00 c9

We notice that the ROWID for each index entry is now the extended 10 bytes in size as it includes the Data Object Id.

Storing the Data Object Id as part of the ROWID has various advantages, such as being able to asynchronously maintain index entries following table partition operations such as dropping a table partition (as discussed previously here).

However the key advantage of storing the Data Object Id as part of the ROWID is that this enables Oracle when using Global Indexes to automatically perform “Partition Pruning” (the ability to access only those partitions that can possibly contain data of interest), when the table partition key is specified in an SQL predicate.

When the table partition key is specified in an SQL predicate, Oracle can determine which table partitions can only contain such data and then only access the table blocks via the index ROWIDs that have corresponding Data Object Ids of interest. This is how in the example in Part I Oracle was able to only access just the table block that belongs in the table partition of interest, effectively performing predicate filtering at the index level, without unnecessarily having to access the table blocks at all from partitions that are not of interest.

This enables Global Indexes to have almost Local Index like performance in scenarios where the table partition key is specified in SQL predicates. Local Indexes do have the advantage of potentially having a reduced BLEVEL in that if you have say 100 table partitions, each Local Index would only have to be approx. 1/100 the size of the single, Non-Partitioned Index (although Global Indexes can in turn be partitioned if individual index size were problematic, even if the table were not partitioned). Additionally, Local Indexes don’t have to concern themselves with having to read through unnecessary index entries if index entries associated with a specific subset of table partitions were only of interest.

However, Global Indexes have a key performance advantage over Local Indexes which I’ll discussed in Part III.

 

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