Indexing

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Cluster Nulls

Yesterday’s posting was a reminder that bitmap indexes, unlike B-tree indexes in Oracle,  do store entries where every column in the index is null. The same is true for cluster indexes – which are implemented as basic B-tree indexes. Here’s a test case I wrote to demonstrate the point.

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Bitmap Nulls

It’s fairly well known that in Oracle B-tree indexes on heap tables don’t hold entries where all the indexed columns are all null, but that bitmap indexes will hold such entries and execution plans can for predicates like “column is null” can use bitmap indexes. Here’s a little test case to demonstrate the point (I ran this last on 12.1.0.1):

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Bitmap Nulls

It’s fairly well known that in Oracle B-tree indexes on heap tables don’t hold entries where all the indexed columns are all null, but that bitmap indexes will hold such entries and execution plans can for predicates like “column is null” can use bitmap indexes. Here’s a little test case to demonstrate the point (I ran this last on 12.1.0.1):

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Quiz Night

Okay – so it’s not night time in my home time-zone, but I’m in Singapore at the moment so it’s night time.

A very simple little quiz – so I’ve disabled comments for the moment and will re-enable them tomorrow morning to allow more people to have a chance to see the question without the solution.

Explain the anomaly displayed in the following “cut-n-paste” from a session running SQL*Plus on 11.2.0.4:

SQL> create unique index t1_i1 on t1(v1 desc);
create unique index t1_i1 on t1(v1 desc)
                                *
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-01452: cannot CREATE UNIQUE INDEX; duplicate keys found

SQL> create unique index t1_i1 on t1(v1);

Index created.

Answer

Well it didn’t take long for an answer and several bits of related infomration to show up – as Martin pointed out, all I have to do is insert NULL into the table twice.

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Modify PK – 2

In an earlier posting I described how we can play games with primary key indexes in 12c because you can create multiple indexes on a table for the same (ordered) column list provided they have some differences in attributes and only one of them is visible at a time. But how, if you’re not on 12c, can you a primary key index from unique to non-unique (or vice versa, as this question on OTN wants) without any down-time ?

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Bitmap loading

Everyone “knows” that bitmap indexes are a disaster (compared to B-tree indexes) when it comes to DML. But at an event I spoke at recently someone made the point that they had observed that their data loading operations were faster when the table being loaded had bitmap indexes on it than when it had the equivalent B-tree indexes in place.

There’s a good reason why this can be the case.  No prizes for working out what it is – and I’ll supply an answer in a couple of days time.  (Hint – it may also be the reason why Oracle doesn’t use bitmap indexes to avoid the “foreign key locking” problem).

Answer

As Martin (comment 3) points out, there’s a lot of interesting information in the statistics once you start doing the experiment. So here’s some demonstration code, first we create a table with one of two possible indexes:

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Easy – Oops.

A question came up on OTN today asking for suggestions on how to enforce uniqueness on a pair of columns only when the second column was not null. There’s an easy and obvious solution – but I decided to clone the OP’s example and check that I’d typed my definition up before posting it; and the result came as a bit of a surprise. Here’s a demo script (not using the OP’s table):

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Easy – Oops.

A question came up on OTN today asking for suggestions on how to enforce uniqueness on a pair of columns only when the second column was not null. There’s an easy and obvious solution – but I decided to clone the OP’s example and check that I’d typed my definition up before posting it; and the result came as a bit of a surprise. Here’s a demo script (not using the OP’s table):

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Tweaking

The following question came up on OTN recently:

Which one gives better performance? Could please explain.

1) nvl( my_column, ‘N’) <> ‘Y’

2) nvl( my_column, ‘N’) = ‘N’

It’s a question that can lead to a good 20 minute discussion – if you were in some sort of development environment and had a fairly free hand to do whatever you wanted.

The most direct answer is that you could expect the performance to be the same whichever option you chose – but the results might be different, of course, unless you had a constraint on my_column that ensured that it would hold only null, ‘Y’, or ‘N’.  (Reminder:  the constraint check (my_column in (‘Y’,’N’) will allow nulls in the column).

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Tweaking

The following question came up on OTN recently:

Which one gives better performance? Could please explain.

1) nvl( my_column, ‘N’) <> ‘Y’

2) nvl( my_column, ‘N’) = ‘N’

It’s a question that can lead to a good 20 minute discussion – if you were in some sort of development environment and had a fairly free hand to do whatever you wanted.

The most direct answer is that you could expect the performance to be the same whichever option you chose – but the results might be different, of course, unless you had a constraint on my_column that ensured that it would hold only null, ‘Y’, or ‘N’.  (Reminder:  the constraint check (my_column in (‘Y’,’N’) will allow nulls in the column).

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