Throw out the garbage

February 28, 2013


The garbage in this case is the recycle bin in the database. Just as in any tidy house you should not wait too long before you empty the garbage bin. I’ve come across two reasons to empty it.

One is the ORA-3297 that is thrown when you try to downsize a data file you think have lots of free space at the end. I once wrote this SQL to find the lower limit that I can reduce the data file to:

Select File_Id,ceil(Hb.Min_Red*8192/1024/1024/1024) Minimal_Size_Gb ,round(Df.Blocks*8/1024/1024,2) Total_Gb,  
Round((Df.Blocks-Hb.Min_Red)*8/1024/1024) higher_free_GB  
from dba_data_files df join  
(Select File_Id, Max(Block_Id+Blocks) Min_Red  
From Dba_Extents  
Group By File_Id) Hb Using(File_Id)  
Order By  Higher_Free_Gb Desc;  

On one occasion when I tried to reduce the size of the data file an ORA-3297 was thrown. Of course I could have checked DBA_RECYCLEBIN, but I was checking DBA_SEGMENTS and noticed several segments with names that started with BIN which immediately reminded me about the recycle bin. I purged the recycle bin and the resize operation went through.

The other reason is that certain queries against DBA_FREE_SPACE may actually take much longer when there are segments (tables) in the recycle bin. One third-party monitoring application had a query that took more time to complete than anything else, after a purge dba_recyclebin the query had a reasonable response time.

Some argue that one should not use the recycle bin in production. I think it depends; if your application creates and drops tables frequently, see if you can add PURGE to the DROP TABLE statement, if not turn the recycle bin off by setting the system parameter recyclebin to off. Also after a successful release of a new version empty the recycle bin when everything is verified OK. Accidents do happen, therefore I like to have the recycle bin enabled just in case. Except for the case already mentioned I think that dropping tables should not happen so often in a production environment that it becomes a problem.