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Oracle internal_function tips

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

January 28, 2010

Question:  I see a strange item in my SQL execution plan, something called   internal_function: 

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):

---------------------------------------------------

 

   1 - filter("R"=1)

   2 - filter(RANK() OVER ( PARTITION BY "DEPARTMENT_ID" ORDER BY

              INTERNAL_FUNCTION("SALARY") DESC )<=1)

What is this internal_function?  Is the internal_function important for SQL tuning?

Answer:  I have seen the internal_function when Oracle SQL must do an implicit data type conversion, like changing a character to a number.  It is not a significant overhead in SQL execution performance.

While Oracle does not reveal their internals, the Oracle documentation notes that internal_function is used in datatype conversions and gives this example of internal_function when converting a timestamp datatype:

EXPLAIN PLAN FOR
SELECT SUM(quantity_sold)
FROM sales
WHERE time_id = TO_TIMESTAMP('1-jan'2000', 'dd-mon-yyyy');


Because time_id is of type DATE and Oracle needs to promote it to the TIMESTAMP type to get the same datatype, this predicate is internally rewritten as:

TO_TIMESTAMP(time_id) = TO_TIMESTAMP('1-jan-2000', 'dd-mon-yyyy')


The explain plan for this statement shows the internal_function::


Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
3 - filter(INTERNAL_FUNCTION("TIME_ID")=TO_TIMESTAMP('1-jan-2000',:B1))

 
 
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