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  Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

Function Based Indexes (FBI)

In the examples above, we have used filters on columns to limit the rows returned.  The indexes used those filters to locate the needed rows before accessing the table.  A problem arises when we filter on a column in a function.

where upper(author_last_name) = 'PETTY';

Even if you have an index on the author_last_name column, the database can not use it because you are filtering on upper(author_last_name). 

To use an index, you need to create a function based index (FBI).  A FBI is simply an index that uses the function so that the database can make direct comparisons between the index values and the filter values.

create index auth_last_nm_fbi on
  author (upper(author_last_name));

The FBI, auth_last_nm_fbi, can be used in any query to filter the rows on upper(author_last_name). The key to using FBIs is that the functions in the WHERE clause must exactly match the function in the FBI. 

Like materialized views, FBIs also require that you use the cost based optimizer and enable QUERY REWRITE.  Talk to your DBA concerning these parameters.

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