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Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

Advanced Oracle Utilities: The Definitive Reference by Rampant TechPress is written by four of the top Oracle database experts (Bert Scalzo, Donald Burleson, and Steve Callan).  The following is an excerpt from the book.


No database is 100% self-reliant or self-maintaining, which is a good thing for DBA job security. However, the last few major versions of Oracle have greatly increased its self-diagnostic and self-monitoring capabilities. Only database structural reorganization remains one of those tasks best left to the DBA to decide when it is appropriate to perform and when to schedule its execution. That is because data is the life blood of any modern organization, and while doing various database reorganizations, the following possibilities exist:

  • The process could blow-up mid-stream, so data may be left offline

  • The process is resource-intensive and takes significant time to execute

  • Data could be momentarily inconsistent between key steps

  • Probably advisable to consider doing a backup operation just prior to

The key point is that structural reorganizations are generally important events in any database’s life cycle. Even when a reorganization activity can theoretically be performed entirely online with little or no downtime, it is often a safer bet to perform any such activities in a controlled environment. Because the one time something that can not go wrong does, the DBA will be in a better situation to resume or recover if there are not frantic customers breathing down his neck. So schedule any reorganization event with extreme caution and over- compensation.


Now  with all that said, Oracle provides a robust and reliable package for performing many common online table level reorganizations – dbms_redefinition. Much like the dbms_metadata package, dbms_redefinition provides an almost limitless set of use cases or scenarios that it can address. Many people will probably just use the OEM graphical interface, but  here is a very common example that should fulfill as key need as well as serve as a foundation for one’s own modifications. The following are the key basic steps:

1.      Verify that the table is a candidate for online redefinition

2.      Create an interim table

3.      Enable parallel DML operations

4.      Start the redefinition process (and do not stop until step 9 is done)

5.      Copy dependent objects

6.      Check for any errors

7.      Synchronize the interim table (optional)

8.      Complete the redefinition

9.      Drop the interim table

A common question is what is happening behind the scenes here? In other words, how and what is Oracle doing? Essentially, the redefinition package is merely an API to an intelligent materialized view with a materialized view log. So a local replication of the object shows while the reorganization occurs. Then it refreshes to get up-to-date for any transaction that occurred during reorganization.

r more details on Oracle utilities, see the book "Advanced Oracle Utilities" by Bert Scalzo, Donald K. Burleson, and Steve Callan.

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 30% off directly from Rampant TechPress.


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