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Resetting High Water Mark in Oracle10g

April 8, 2013

We have traditional ways to reset the HWM prior to Oracle10g. We might need Table downtime when we use below traditional methods….

1. Imp/exp
2. Alter tablespace move
3. Truncate and insert
4. user dbms_redefinition package to copy the table

Okay… Let us talk about resetting HWM in Oracle10g. The tablespace should be ASSM(Automatic segment space Management) enabled to leverge this feature. In oracle10g, we do not need table downtime to reset the HWM. It would be easy to reset the HWM in 24/7 environment.

What does Oracle do while using Oracle10g feature to reset the HMW?

Oracle split this process as two phases. Let me explain what is happening in each phase.

Phase I. Oracle move the rows which are located in the middle or at the end of a segment further more down to the beginning of the segment and make the segment more compact. This shrinking process is kind of delete and insert. But it is not really!!!. This process is moving the data row by row. It acquires a row level lock when the row is moved down to the begining of the segment. The corresponding index data will be handled like any other row level DML. So we do not need to worry about rebuilding the indexes for the row. Also row level lock will happen for very short moment. Before we start this phase, we need to enable row movement. Here is the command to complete the phase I. Here i am using the table called bookings.

SQL> alter table bookings enable row movement;

Table altered.

SQL> alter table bookings shrink space compact;

Table altered

Phase II This step will reset the high water mark. This will acquire table level lock for very short moment while resetting the HWM. Here is the command to accomplish this task.

SQL> alter table bookings shrink space;

Table altered

SQL> alter table bookings shrink space cascade; (it is for all dependent objects as well)

Table altered

If we want to reset the HWM in one go, then below command will accomplish the task. The below command moves the rows and reset the HWM.

SQL> alter table bookings shrink space;

Table altered

What are the advantages of using Oracle10g new feature to reset the HWM?

There are serveral advantages over traditional methods. Let me list the advantages here.

1. It can be done in online. There is a table level lock for very short moment. Traditional methods are not supporting to reset the HWM in online.

2. It does not take extra space while resetting the HWM. If we use traditional method, DBMS_REDEFINITION package use double the amount of space.

3. It does acquire only row level lock while performing majority of the shrinking(moving rows) work. It acquires table level lock only when it resets the HWM which is in phase II. But traditional methods requires table down time for resetting the HWM except using dbms_redefinition package.

4. Index will be maintained and remain usable. But in traditional methods, we need to rebuild the index. Especially when we use ALTER TABLESPACE MOVE command.

5. It can be made in one command(alter table emp shrink space). In traditional method, there are multiple steps.

6. If you are not sure that you can afford table level lock at specific time, then you can do the majority of the shriniking work and later we can reset the HWM. Since table level lock is required only while resetting the HWM. The whole process can be done in two steps as i explained above. This advantage is not available in traditional methods.

What are the restriction of using Oracle10g new feature to reset the HWM?

1. It is only possible in ASSM tablespace
2. Not supporting for clustered tables, tables with column data type LONG

What circumstances we can reset the HWM as two phase?

The table is not frequently used(insert/update/delete) and it can afford to have table level lock, then we can reset the HWM in one go. We can reset the HWM as two steps when the table is used by several people and it is always busy and it does not permit the table level lock even for short moment at specific time. This scenario, we can move the rows to shrink the table. Then in the night time or off peak hours, we can reset the HWM.

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Categories: 10g
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