fritshoogland's picture

How Exadata smartscans work

I guess everybody who is working with Oracle databases and has been involved with Oracle Exadata in any way knows about smartscans. It is the smartscan who makes the magic happen of full segment scans with sometimes enormously reduced scan times. The Oracle database does smartscans which something that is referred to as ‘offloading’. This is all general known information.

But how does that work? I assume more people are like me, and are anxious to understand how that exactly works. But the information on smartscans is extremely scarce. Of course there is the Oracle public material, which looks technical, but is little/nothing more than marketing. On My Oracle Support, I can’t find anything on the inner working. Even in the ‘Expert Oracle Exadata’ book (which I still regard as the best source of Exadata related information) there is no material on the mechanics of smartscans.

fritshoogland's picture

Linux strace doesn’t lie after all.

strace is a linux utility to profile system calls. Using strace you can see the system calls that a process executes, in order to investigate the inner working or performance. In my presentation about multiblock reads I put the text ‘strace lies’. This is NOT correct. My current understanding is that strace does show every system call made by an executable. So…why did I make that statement? (editorial note: this article dives into the inner working of Linux AIO)

fritshoogland's picture

When the Oracle wait interface isn’t enough, part 2: understanding measurements.

In my blogpost When the oracle wait interface isn’t enough I showed how a simple asynchronous direct path scan of a table was spending more than 99% of it’s time on CPU, and that perf showed me that 68% (of the total elapsed time) was spent on a spinlock unlock in the linux kernel which was called by io_submit().

This led to some very helpful comments from Tanel Poder. This blogpost is a materialisation of his comments, and tests to show the difference.

First take a look at what I gathered from ‘perf’ in the first article:

marco's picture

Oracle 12c: Database Parameters…

For those in a desperate need to learn all 3351 database parameter variations… x_ksppi.txt …if you break it, then… …please let me remind you some info mentioned on my “About”-page: The content presented has been tested as good as humanly possible. But be warned: always properly test it before you use them yourself… Applying ideas,


mwidlake's picture

Row Level Security Part 2 – permissions

<..Part 1, introduction..
..Part 3 summary in pictures..>

In this second post on the topic of “an introduction to Row Level Security” I want to cover a few things about what permissions you need to implement RLS and some of the consequences. In my introduction in part one I just said my main user has “DBA type Privileges”.

{NB This is all on Oracle V11.2 and I believe everything below is applicable to V10 as well. Also, I should point out that I am not an Oracle security expert – but despite repeatedly saying this, it seems like at least once a year I am asked to improve a system’s security on the grounds of “more than we have now is an improvement”}.

mwidlake's picture

Dropped Tables, Hiding Extents and Slow DBA_FREE_SPACE Queries

My last post was on slow dictionary queries caused by having many, many thousands of extents in your database. This post is about a special case of this problem, which I encountered recently. It was on an Exadata box – Exadata is not particularly relevant to the issue, but I’m curious to see if mentioning Exadata will make this post more popular :-)

I was querying the used and free space on a very small database on the client’s X2-2 1/4 rack Exadata machine. The query was really slow, taking about 30 seconds. This is a FAST box, what is going on?

I quickly realised that the problem was specific to one tablespace:

tanelpoder's picture

Oracle Core: Essential Internals for DBAs and Developers book by Jonathan Lewis

In case you didn’t know, Jonathan Lewis’es new Oracle Core: Essential Internals for DBAs and Developers book is out (for a few weeks already).

I was the technical reviewer for that book and I can say it’s awesome! It will likely be the best Oracle internals book out there for the coming 10 years, just like Steve Adams’es Oracle Internal Services book was in the last decade :) 

Jonathan does a very good job explaining complex things in a simple enough way – and the book is not just dry listing of how things work inside Oracle database, but also why they work like they do and what are the benefits, limitations and side effects of the behavior.

tanelpoder's picture

What the heck is the SQL Execution ID – SQL_EXEC_ID?

Ok, I think it’s time to write another blog entry. I’ve been traveling and dealing with jetlag from 10-hour time difference, then traveling some more, spoken at conferences, drank beer, had fun, then traveled some more, trained customers, hacked some Exadatas and now I’m back home.

Anyway, do you know what is the SQL_EXEC_ID in V$SESSION and ASH views?

Oh yeah, it’s the “SQL Execution ID” just like the documentation says … all clear. Um … is it? I’d like to know more about it – what does it actually stand for?! Is it session level, instance level or a RAC-global counter? And why does it start from 16 million, not 1?


tanelpoder's picture

V8 Bundled Exec call – and Oracle Program Interface (OPI) calls

So, what he hell is that V8 Bundled Exec call which shows up in various Oracle 11g monitoring reports?!

It’s yet another piece of instrumentation which can be useful for diagnosing non-trivial performance problems. Oracle ASH has allowed us to measure what is the top wait event or top SQLID for a long time, but now it’s also possible to take a step back and see what type of operation the database session is servicing. 

I am talking about Oracle Program Interface (OPI) calls. Basically for each OCI call in the client side (like , OCIStmtExecute, OCIStmtFetch, etc) there’s a corresponding server side OPI function (like opiexe(), opifch2() etc). 

tanelpoder's picture

Full scans, direct path reads and ORA-8103 error hacking session video here (plus iTunes podcast address!)

I have uploaded the latest hacking session video to I have edited it a little, I cut out the part where I spilled an entire Red Bull onto my desk, with some onto my laptop (some keys are still sticky:)

Also, I do upload all these sessins into iTunes – so you can subscribe to my podcast! That way you can download the videos into your computer, phone or iPad. I have deliberately used 1024×768 resolution so it would look awesome on iPad screen! (so hopefully your commute time gets a bit more fun now ;-)



iTunes video-podcast:



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