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12c Enhanced Online Index DDL Operations (Lady Godiva’s Operation) February 17, 2014

Posted by Richard Foote in 12c, Drop Index, Invisible Indexes, Online DDL, Oracle Indexes, Unusable Indexes.
1 comment so far

In my last couple of posts, I discussed how table partitions can be moved online since 12c, keeping all indexes in sync as part of the process.

12c also introduced enhancements to a number of index related DDL statements, removing blocking locks and making their use online and far less intrusive. The following commands now have a new ONLINE option:




So if we look at a little example (initially on 11g R2), where we create a table and associated index on the CODE column:

SQL> create table radiohead (id number, code number, name varchar2(30));

Table created.

SQL> insert into radiohead select rownum, mod(rownum,1000), 'DAVID BOWIE' from dual connect by level <= 1000000;

1000000 rows created.

SQL> commit;

Commit complete.

SQL> create index radiohead_code_i on radiohead(code);

Index created.

If we now insert a new row in one session but not commit:

SQL> insert into radiohead values (1000001, 42, 'ZIGGY STARDUST');

1 row created.

And then attempt any of the following DDL commands in another session:

SQL> drop index radiohead_code_i;

drop index radiohead_code_i
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-00054: resource busy and acquire with NOWAIT specified or timeout expired
SQL> alter index radiohead_code_i invisible;

alter index radiohead_code_i invisible
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-00054: resource busy and acquire with NOWAIT specified or timeout expired
SQL> alter index radiohead_code_i unusable;

alter index radiohead_code_i unusable
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-00054: resource busy and acquire with NOWAIT specified or timeout expired

They all get the well-known “ORA-00054: resource busy” error.

If on the other hand, one of these DDL statements is already running in a session:

SQL> alter index radiohead_code_i unusable;

All DML statements in other sessions will hang until the DDL completes:

SQL> insert into radiohead values (1000002, 42, 'THIN WHITE DUKE');

Once the index is finally made unusable:

SQL> alter index radiohead_code_i unusable;

Index altered.

SQL> select index_name, status from dba_indexes where index_name = 'RADIOHEAD_CODE_I';

INDEX_NAME                     STATUS
------------------------------ --------

SQL> select segment_name, blocks, extents from dba_segments where segment_name = 'RADIOHEAD_CODE_I';

no rows selected

We can see not only is the index now in an unusable state but the index segment has been dropped (in 11g r2) as the storage associated with the unusable index is of no further use.

So these commands prior to the Oracle 12c Database previously had locking related issues.

If we now perform the same setup in 12c and again have an outstanding transaction in a session:

SQL> drop index radiohead_code_i online;

The Drop Index command doesn’t now get the Ora-00054: resource busy, but rather hangs until all prior transactions complete.

However, while the Drop Index command hangs, it doesn’t in turn lock out transactions within other sessions. In another session:

SQL> insert into radiohead values (1000002, 42, 'THIN WHITE DUKE');

1 row created.

And in yet other session:

SQL> delete radiohead where id = 42;

1 row deleted.

SQL> commit;

Commit complete.

These all complete successfully. The Drop Index command itself will eventually complete successfully once all prior transaction have finished.

SQL> drop index radiohead_code_i online;

Index dropped.

Another more subtle difference in behaviour with 12c. If there’s an existing transaction when you decide to make an index unusable:

SQL> insert into radiohead values (1000001, 42, 'ZIGGY STARDUST');

1 row created.
SQL> alter index radiohead_code_i unusable online;

As in the previous demo, the alter index command will hang indefinitely until the previous transaction commits:

SQL> commit;

Commit complete.1

1SQL> alter index radiohead_code_i unusable online;

Index altered.

SQL> select index_name, status from dba_indexes where index_name = 'RADIOHEAD_CODE_I';

INDEX_NAME                STATUS
------------------------- --------

SQL> select segment_name, blocks, extents from dba_segments where segment_name = 'RADIOHEAD_CODE_I';

---------------- ---------- ----------
RADIOHEAD_CODE_I       2176         32

We note the index has eventually been made Unusable, however the segment has not now been dropped (as it was in the 11g R2 demo) due to the use of the ONLINE clause.

With the Oracle 12c Database, the locking implications and concurrency issues associated these index related DDL commands have been reduced with these new ONLINE options.

Visible Invisible Indexes (The Invisible Band) November 20, 2008

Posted by Richard Foote in 11g, Invisible Indexes.

After spending the last few weeks traveling throughout Europe, it’s about time I wrote a new post on the Blog !!

I’ve previously posted a simple demo on Invisible Indexes, a new 11g feature that allows you to quickly make an index “invisible” to the CBO.

Recently, a comment on the above post by Michael Sorensen mentions a nice post by Christian Antognini in which he demonstrates how so-called Invisible Indexes on Foreign Keys can still be used by Oracle to prevent locking and performance related issues when delete/update operations are performed on the parent records.

I previously posted how Index Monitoring on FK indexes doesn’t pick up the fact so-called “Unused Indexes” can actually be “used” by Oracle for exactly this reason, quickly determining whether there’s an existing FK record that needs to prevent the update or delete operation on the parent record from proceeding.

I also previously discussed how the 11g CBO can now use index statistics to determine the appropriate cardinality of a query and how Index Monitoring doesn’t detect an index being “used” in this context as well.

It should therefore come as no surprise that Invisible Indexes might not be so invisible after all when it comes to the CBO potentially using the index statistics of an Invisible Index to determine the correct cardinality of a query.

This demo on Invisible Indexes and Index Statistics clearly shows that Oracle can still use the statistics of an index, even after they’ve been made invisible, to determine a more accurate cardinality for a query.

This means you need to be very careful how you use and apply Invisible Indexes and have a clear understanding on how Invisible Indexes are implemented by Oracle and the purpose for their use.

As I explain in my Indexing Seminar, Invisible Indexes are primarily intended to be applied when an application has suddenly and inexplicably started to use an index inappropriately and the database has significant performance issues as a result. The scenario is such that the performance of the database or application is so bad, it has caused the drain of resources to such an extent that normal business functions can’t continue and drastic action is required to address the issue.

The drastic action is to make the problematic index invisible so that the CBO can no longer see and use the index within an execution plan. This is drastic because it means other queries that could currently be using the index appropriately will also be prevented from using the index but performance is so bad that such a consequence can’t make matters any worse. By making the index invisible at least the resource drain can be prevented and hopefully most of the other business activities can now continue within the database.

By making the index invisible rather than simply dropping it, it means some sessions can investigate what the problem might be that’s causing the inappropriate use of the index (by altering sessions to OPTIMIZER_USE_INVISIBLE_INDEXES = true). Once the issue has been solved and addressed, the index can quickly be made visible again, rather than having to recreate the index from scratch.

Invisible indexes could prove to be a handy option in such scenarios.

Invisible indexes are also often viewed as being a useful method of determining whether it’s safe to drop an existing index that may not actually be used by an application. An unused index is a waste of both storage and resources in maintaining the thing but it’s often difficult to determine what the ramifications might be if an index were to be dropped. By making an index invisible, it may be possible to “test the waters” so to speak and determine how an application may suddenly behave without the index.

However, making an index invisible may not necessarily provide an accurate determination of the ramifications of dropping such an index because as has already been demonstrated, there are a number of important and key areas in which invisible indexes are still being used by Oracle. Dropping such an index is not the same as simply making an index invisible and may result in the application suddenly behaving in an unexpected manner that could cause significant performance issues.

Invisible indexes are not entirely invisible if you see what I mean ;)

Invisible Indexes December 11, 2007

Posted by Richard Foote in 11g, Index Access Path, Invisible Indexes, Oracle Cost Based Optimizer, Oracle Indexes, Performance Tuning.

New in 11g are “Invisible Indexes”, which are basically indexes that exist and are maintained by Oracle but are “invisible” to the CBO. Specific sessions can be set to see these invisible indexes as necessary.

Potentially useful if one has a problematic (and very large) index causing performance issues that you want to make invisible until the specific issue is addressed without the expensive of having to drop and latter recreate the index. Also useful if you want to introduce a new index but want it to be invisible until it’s been given a workout first in a specific “test” session.

Here’s a bit of a demo: Invisible Indexes


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