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Mike Ault on rebuilding Oracle indexes

Mike Ault, noted Oracle author (add link) recently spoke-out about his thoughts on rebuilding Oracle indexes:


Indexes shouldn't be rebuilt on a whim, only when it is determined they have a problem. The ratio of deleted blocks to full blocks is a simple measure that can indicate this, is it a 100% indication? No. However it is a valid tool.


I also agree that the ultimate fix is to fix the code in many cases. Unfortunately over half the client sites I visit have 3rd party code they can't fix. In that case we have to treat the symptoms.  I do condone reordering of the index columns for a concatenated index to achieve better clustering factors and then apply that reorder to the appropriate SQL.


As to hardware fixes verses SQL fixes, it may be better money spent on older releases and third-party software to use the judicial application of specific technology to fix performance issues, especially if the only fix is to re-write a massive amount of SQL that could cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost time and productivity. Remember, many companies have bought into poorly designed software that they cannot easily discard. Again, in this case we have to treat the symptoms again.


I wish Oracle would take your practices to heart in all of its applications. I hate to take assignments on Oracle Apps sites because of the complex self joins, bad indexes, poor use of bind variables and cryptic use of undocumented parameters with no explanation or reasoning provided.


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