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Don Burleson Blog 







Oracle ROWNUM and ROWID difference

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonOctober 28, 2015

Question:  Does Oracle make a distinction between a ROWID and ROWNUM?  If so, what is the difference between ROWNUM and ROWID?

Answer:  Just as your home address uniquely identifies where you live, an Oracle ROWID uniquely identifies where a row resides on disk.  The information in a ROWID gives Oracle everything he needs to find your row, the disk number, the cylinder, block and offset into the block. 

The ROWNUM is a "pseudo-column", a placeholder that you can reference in SQL*Plus.  The ROWNUM can be used to write specialized SQL and tune SQL.

For example, to only display the first-10 rows, you might apply a ROWNUM filter:

select *
from (
   select * from my_view where alert_level=3 order by alert_time desc)

 In sum, the difference between ROWNUM and ROWID is that ROWNUM is temporary while ROWID is permanent.  Another difference is that ROWID can be used to fetch a row, while ROWNUM only has meaning within the context of a single SQL statement, a way of referencing rows within a fetched result set.

If you like Oracle tuning, you may enjoy my new book "Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference", over 900 pages of BC's favorite tuning tips & scripts. 

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 30%-off and get instant access to the code depot of Oracle tuning scripts.



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Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

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