Oracle Tips and Tricks — David Fitzjarrell

February 21, 2008

TEMPORARY (Tablespace) Insanity?

Filed under: General — dfitzjarrell @ 18:24

Some poor soul has the misguided notion that if a true temporary tablespace is 100% allocated it needs attention, that ‘attention’ being dropping and recreating the temporary tablespace. (He’s also posted a number of other ‘items’ regarding Oracle databases which are questionable, if not incorrect.) In the absence of error messages this concept could not be further from the truth. Let’s look at the temporary tablespace mechanism in Oracle 9i and later releases and see why such a recommendation is, well, wrong. [To be fair the author has changed the title of his blog and has rewritten the post which originally triggered this one, removing the text associating this task with 'correcting' a 100% allocated temporary tablespace and replacing it with a better-fitting title.]

Oracle, since version 8.1.5, has provided a true temporary tablespace, utilizing sparse files (or, as Oracle has you declare them, tempfiles). [8i is the last release where a non-sparse file temporary tablespace can be created; in 9i and later releases attempting to create a temporary tablespace using datafiles will produce an error.] These files are, at the operating system level, markers for the maximum size these sparse files can attain. To prove this simply allocate a new tempfile to an existing temp tablespace and see what happens. The allocation takes almost no time and the file system usage does not increase, indicating that, on a UNIX/Linux system, the inode has been allocated and a marker has been set to restrict the size of the file to that specified in the alter tablespace command. [The df command incorrectly shows this file as the requested size; using du instead reveals the actual size of this tempfile (on Solaris, at least).] This file will not begin to increase in size until Oracle needs the additional temp space for transaction or query processing, at which time Oracle will allocate what it needs, then stop. Unless, of course, the underlying file system fills up before the allocation Oracle requested is fulfilled. Or if Oracle needs more space than you ‘allocated’ in the tempfile addition. This temporary tablespace configuration, which is locally managed, changes the allocation/usage mechanism DBAs were used to in prior versions of the database. Simply because segments are allocated in the temporary tablespace does not create a problem since extents, once allocated, can be reused by other processes and sessions, which prevents the tablespace from growing without bound allocating extents only a specific session can use. [I do not personally recommend using AUTOEXTEND for all files in any tablespace, especially in older releases of Oracle. As of 9.2 (I believe) the default MAXSIZE is 32G per file, which makes using autoextend much better than in releases prior to that. And that's a topic for another blog entry.]

Management of the temporary tablespace is afforded the DBA through several V$ views:

V$TEMPFILE
V$TEMPSTAT
V$TEMP_EXTENT_MAP
V$TEMP_EXTENT_POOL
V$TEMP_SPACE_HEADER
V$TEMPSEG_USAGE (Oracle 9i and later releases)
V$SORT_USAGE (Oracle 8.1.7, 8.1.6 and 8.1.5)

V$TEMP_EXTENT_MAP reports all of the allocated extents in the temporary tablespace:

SQL> desc v$temp_extent_map
 Name                                      Null?    Type
 ----------------------------------------- -------- ----------------------------
 TABLESPACE_NAME                           NOT NULL VARCHAR2(30)
 FILE_ID                                            NUMBER
 BLOCK_ID                                           NUMBER
 BYTES                                              NUMBER
 BLOCKS                                             NUMBER
 OWNER                                              NUMBER
 RELATIVE_FNO                                       NUMBER

Note this view doesn’t report if they’re used or not, simply that they are allocated. And allocated extents, in a true temporary tablespace, are not a problem. [For the curious among you the RELATIVE_FNO column provides the relative file number, which uniquely identifies a file within a tablespace. Normally this doesn't differ from the value in the FILE_ID column (which uniquely identifies a file in a database) unless there are more than 1023 datafiles in a database or if the tablespace is a bigfile tablespace, where the RELATIVE_FNO = 1024 (4096 if the database is running on the OS/390 platform).]

The V$TEMP_EXTENT_POOL and V$TEMPSEG_USAGE/V$SORT_USAGE views are likely the most helpful for the ongoing management of a temporary tablespace. V$TEMP_EXTENT_POOL lists the allocated, and used, extents in a temporary tablespace by tempfile:

SQL> desc v$temp_extent_pool
 Name                                      Null?    Type
 ----------------------------------------- -------- ----------------------------
 TABLESPACE_NAME                           NOT NULL VARCHAR2(30)
 FILE_ID                                            NUMBER
 EXTENTS_CACHED                                     NUMBER
 EXTENTS_USED                                       NUMBER
 BLOCKS_CACHED                                      NUMBER
 BLOCKS_USED                                        NUMBER
 BYTES_CACHED                                       NUMBER
 BYTES_USED                                         NUMBER
 RELATIVE_FNO                                       NUMBER

V$TEMPSEG_USAGE (9i and later releases) shows the temporary segment usage, by user, for all tablespaces:

SQL> desc v$tempseg_usage
 Name                                      Null?    Type
 ----------------------------------------- -------- ----------------------------
 USERNAME                                           VARCHAR2(30)
 USER                                               VARCHAR2(30)
 SESSION_ADDR                                       RAW(8)
 SESSION_NUM                                        NUMBER
 SQLADDR                                            RAW(8)
 SQLHASH                                            NUMBER
 SQL_ID                                             VARCHAR2(13)
 TABLESPACE                                         VARCHAR2(31)
 CONTENTS                                           VARCHAR2(9)
 SEGTYPE                                            VARCHAR2(9)
 SEGFILE#                                           NUMBER
 SEGBLK#                                            NUMBER
 EXTENTS                                            NUMBER
 BLOCKS                                             NUMBER
 SEGRFNO#                                           NUMBER 

V$SORT_USAGE (8.1.5, 8.1.6, 8.1.7) shows the sort segment usage, by user, for all tablespaces:

SQL> desc v$sort_usage
 Name                                      Null?    Type
 ----------------------------------------- -------- ----------------------------
 USER                                               VARCHAR2(30)
 SESSION_ADDR                                       RAW(8)
 SESSION_NUM                                        NUMBER
 SQLADDR                                            RAW(8)
 SQLHASH                                            NUMBER
 TABLESPACE                                         VARCHAR2(31)
 CONTENTS                                           VARCHAR2(9)
 SEGFILE#                                           NUMBER
 SEGBLK#                                            NUMBER
 EXTENTS                                            NUMBER
 BLOCKS                                             NUMBER
 SEGRFNO#                                           NUMBER 

[In 10.2.0.4 and later releases V$SORT_USAGE and V$TEMPSEG_USAGE have the same definition, with V$SORT_USAGE provided for backward compatibility. It was deprecated in 9.2.0.1 and could go away in any future release of Oracle which is why Oracle recommends using the V$TEMPSEG_USAGE view.]

Monitoring the temporary tablespace is thus a simple task of querying V$TEMPSEG_USAGE or V$SORT_USAGE over time:

--
-- 9i and later
--

select segtype, extents, blocks
from v$tempseg_usage
where tablespace  = 'TEMP';

--
-- 8.1.5, 8.1.6, 8.1.7
--

select segtype, extents, blocks
from v$sort_usage
where tablespace  = 'TEMP';

Presuming no rows are returned your temp space needs no attention. Even if rows are returned it’s likely no effort on the DBA’s part is necessary, regardless of what V$TEMP_EXTENT_MAP reports.

If you’d like to know how many extents are allocated and actually used per datafile the following query will produce a fairly useful report:

select tablespace_name,
       file_id,
       extents_cached extents_allocated,
       extents_used,
       bytes_cached/1024/1024 mb_allocated,
       bytes_used/1024/1024 mb_used
from v$temp_extent_pool
/

Who’s using your temp space, what queries are they executing and how much of that space is each one consuming? That’s also a fairly easy task to complete. In 10g and later releases the following query returns the user, the query, the extents and blocks of temporary space consumed:

select u.username, s.sql_fulltext, u.segtype, u.extents, u.blocks
from v$tempseg_usage u, v$sql s
where s.sql_id = u.sql_id;

For 9iR2 and 9iR1 that use true temporary tablespaces the following modified query returns the information:

select u.username, s.sql_text, u.segtype, u.extents, u.blocks
from v$tempseg_usage u, v$sql s
where s.address = u.sqladdr
and s.hash_value = u.sqlhash;

For 8.1.7, 8.1.6 and 8.1.5 the following query returns the information:

select u.username, s.sql_text, u.extents, u.blocks
from v$sort_usage u, v$sql s
where s.address = u.sqladdr
and s.hash_value = u.sqlhash;

V$TEMP_SPACE_HEADER provides a ‘rougher’ view of the consumed and available space, although it lists the allocated and non-allocated space in the tempfiles, by file. And, simply because it’s allocated doesn’t mean it’s being used, and you’ll likely find a vast difference between what V$TEMP_SPACE_HEADER reports and what V$TEMPSEG_USAGE displays. I’d prefer to query V$TEMPSEG_USAGE as it reports the space which is actually being used versus that which has been used at some time in the past and remains allocated; if a segment is listed in V$TEMPSEG_USAGE/V$SORT_USAGE it’s active and the temporary tablespace it resides in cannot be dropped. Oh, and you can’t ‘clean’ the V$TEMP_SPACE_HEADER view by doing anything except restarting the database or dropping and recreating the TEMP tablespace. I don’t know why you’d want to do that in the first place, but, hey, people ask some interesting questions.

Being that true temporary tablespaces utilize sparse files allocating all of the extents is a very good idea, to allow that sparse file (or files) to consume all of the intended space on the file system. Such actions prevent surprises later, where the temp file won’t fully allocate on a file system due to a lack of available space. The following query should allocate almost all of your temporary file storage:

select a.*
from dba_objects a, dba_objects b, dba_objects c
order by 1;

The cartesian join creates a huge data set and the ORDER BY ensures the temporary tablespace will extend to its allocated maximum by continually enlarging the sort segment until it simply cannot allocate the next required extent. And, as I said before, simply allocating 100% of your temp tablespace isn’t a cause for concern; it’s when you have errors because you’ve allocated all of your space and need more that the DBA needs to take action. And that action isn’t to drop and recreate the temporary tablespace, it’s to add the necessary space to keep transactions flowing either by resizing the current sparse file:

ALTER DATABASE TEMPFILE 'temp01.dbf' RESIZE 2048M;

or by adding another sparse file to the mix:

ALTER TABLESPACE TEMP ADD TEMPFILE 'temp02.dbf' SIZE 1024M;

Dropping and recreating the temporary tablespace is rarely necessary, and it’s NOT to be done whenever the extent allocation reaches 100%, because, as mentioned previously, extents in such a tablespace can be, and will be, reused. Monitoring V$TEMPSEG_USAGE over a period of time for an active system will prove this, time and again.

So how much space do you need in your temporary tablespace? That would depend upon how active your system is, how many concurrent active sessions there are, the size of the transactions and how much disk space you have. It isn’t a disgrace to increase your TEMP tablespace size over time as usage patterns, number of users and data volumes change. Oracle will also inform you that the temporary tablespace needs to be increased by issuing ORA-01642 errors (unable to extend temp segment by 128 in tablespace TEMP, for example). [ORA-01652 errors can occur for ANY tablespace in the database, and the affected resource will be listed in the error text: "ORA-01652: unable to extend temp segment by 128 in tablespace SYSTEM" indicates that the SYSTEM tablespace is needing to be increased. Again, ANY tablespace in the database can be listed in an ORA-01652, not just the TEMP tablespace. And the transaction which threw the error was rolled back because of it, thereby freeing the space it had already consumed when the error condition was encountered. An interesting side note: simply because an ORA-01652 error is displayed for a non-temporary tablespace doesn't mean that there are temporary objects created there as when tables/indexes are created or extended the extents allocated are listed as temporary until the DDL completes at which time the created extents are given their 'permanent' object name. When regular tablespaces throw this error then there is insufficient space to extend tables and/or indexes and inserts/updates will fail. So when an ORA-01652 error appears look carefully at the tablespace listed in the error text as it may not be a temporary tablespace issue.] The number reported in an ORA-01652 error is in blocks, not bytes, so you’ll need to convert that using the db_block_size value to know how many bytes the temporary tablespace needed to complete the transaction generating the error. There is no ‘rule of thumb’ to size a temporary tablespace because such rules usually create situations where the only tool becomes a hammer and every task ends up as a nail, and, more often than not, you hit that thumb with the only ‘tool’ you’ve been given.

How do you know the current size of your temporary tablespace? Oracle can provide that answer by querying the DBA_TEMP_FILES view:

SQL> select tablespace_name, sum(bytes)/1024/1024 MB
  2  from dba_temp_files
  3  group by tablespace_name
  4  /

TABLESPACE_NAME                        MB
------------------------------ ----------
TEMP                                 1024

SQL>

DBA_TEMP_FILES can also report which files are associated with your temporary tablespace:

SQL> select tablespace_name, file_name, bytes
  2  from dba_temp_files
  3  order by tablespace_name, file_name
  4  /

TABLESPACE_NAME FILE_NAME                                                    BYTES
--------------- ------------------------------------------------------- ----------
TEMP            /u2/orawiz/parlopnett/temp01.dbf                        1073741824

SQL>

This can help in understanding how much space is allocated to your temporary tablespace and where those files are located.

Should you decide that you ‘need’ to reduce your TEMP tablespace size the you can do that with the ALTER DATABASE command:

ALTER DATABASE TEMPFILE '/u02/oracle/data/lmtemp02.dbf' RESIZE 18M;

You can enlarge the file size at any time, but to reduce it it’s best to shutdown the database, open in restricted mode then resize the temporary file to the smaller size, then shutdown and startup the database in normal mode.

How large can you make your temporary tablespace? As large as you want, within the limits of the available disk space. Temporary tablespaces can have multiple files, and those files can be as large as the filesystem allows (some antiquated filesystems restrict the size of a single file to 2 GB). So you CAN fill up all of the available disk space with your temp files, but that’s most likely just wasting space since you don’t normally need a TEMP tablespace in the terabytes. Also there is a 1023 file limit for each tablespace; trust me, I’ve never seen a TEMP tablespace that needed, or contained, 1023 temp files.

If, for some valid reason (such as file corruption), you actually need to drop and recreate your TEMP tablespace you cannot perform such a task with connected users so you’ll need to either shutdown the database and open it in restricted mode to drop and recreate your TEMP tablespace or, if you cannot shutdown the database, create a new TEMPORARY tablespace with a slightly different name, then re-assign the users to this new TEMPORARY tablespace; at the next scheduled shutdown you would then drop the old TEMPORARY tablespace. Also, the database default temporary tablespace (10g and later releases) cannot be dropped so it will be necessary in those releases to create a new temporary tablespace, make that the database default, then drop the original temporary tablespace and recreate it as desired (presuming you want your temporary tablespace to be named TEMP [which isn't a requirement]). As I said before use this method only if you have a valid reason for replacing your existing TEMPORARY tablespace, and 100% extent allocation is NOT a valid reason.

Yes, you can have more than one TEMPORARY tablespace in a database, and you can, in 10g and later releases, create tablespace groups of two or more TEMPORARY tablespaces and assign that group as a user’s temporary tablespace. Tablespace groups are created when specified in the CREATE TEMPORARY TABLESPACE or in the ALTER TABLESPACE commands, as illuatrated:

-- Create second temporary tablespace and
-- assign it to group 1

CREATE TEMPORARY TABLESPACE temp2 TEMPFILE '/u02/oracle/data/temp201.dbf'
     SIZE 50M
     TABLESPACE GROUP group1;

-- Assign existing temporary tablespace temp1 to group 1

ALTER TABLESPACE temp1 TABLESPACE GROUP group1;

Now you have a tablespace group, group1, with two temporary tablespaces in it, temp1 and temp2, and they’ll both be used for sorting and temporary object creation. Assigning the group to a user is also easy:

ALTER USER blorpo TEMPORARY TABLESPACE group1;

(You can even make a tablespace group the default temporary tablespace for a database:

ALTER DATABASE DEFAULT TEMPORARY TABLESPACE group1;

which is a useful option.) So now the user has two temporary tablespaces available which can help alleviate problems where sorts consume large amounts of disk and a single temporary tablespace doesn’t provide the required space. Oracle can, and will, allocate temp space in all tablespaces in the group provided those resources aren’t exhausted. Don’t think, though, that you cannot generate an ORA-01652 error by using a tablespace group as a temporary tablespace, as those errors can, and will, happen under the right conditions. Remember that temporary tablespaces are shared resources, and the sort segment in each is also a shared resource which can be stretched to the limit the files will allow. Once that happens the ORA-01652 rears its head and you may be left wondering why. Querying the temp segment usage (and the sort segment usage) can show who is using the space and how much they are consuming. So, if you do receive an ORA-01652 error you have two ways to fix the problem: add another temp tablespace to the group, or add space to the existing tablespaces in that group either by extending the existing tempfiles or by adding new tempfiles (my choice would be to add space to the existing tablespaces). Of course you can expand this group by adding another temporary tablespace to it (if, for example, you have space limitations on a disk group and need to use another stripe and would prefer to make that a new tablespace), and the users assigned this group will immediately reap the benefits of the additional resources.

Temporary tablespaces do not need to reside on standard disks; they can be created using Solid State Disks (SSDs) or, on Exadata, using flash disks, ‘disks’ created from reallocating the resources available to the Smart Flash Cache. This process starts with dropping the original Flash Cache configuration:

CellCLI> drop flashcache

Flash cache ... successfully dropped.

Next up is allocating a smaller flash cache on the storage cell:

CellCLI> create flashcache all size=256M

Flash cache ... successfully created.

Now it’s time to create the new flashdisks from the remaining flash cache storage:

CellCLI> create griddisk all flashdisk prefix=flash

[Disk information from the create command displayed here]

Once all of that work is done it’s time to login to ASM and create a diskgroup containing the new flash disks:

$ sqlplus / as sysasm

...

SQL> crewate diskgroup flashdg external redundancy
  2  disk 'o/*/flash*'
  3  attribute 'compatible.rdbms'='11.2.0.0.0',
  4  attribute 'compatible.asm'='11.2.0.0.0',
  5  'cell.smart_scan_capable'='TRUE',
  6  'au_size'='4M';

Diskgroup created.

SQL>

Now that we have a flash diskgroup creating one or more temporary tablespaces is an easy task, as is assigning those temporary tablespaces to a tablespace group. Performance can dramatically improve using flash-based (or SSD-based) temporary tablespaces/tablespace groups as the disk latency is next to nothing.

Knowing which tablespaces are in which group is information that is readily available through the DBA_TABLESPACE_GROUPS view:

SQL> select group_name, tablespace_name
  2  from dba_tablespace_groups;

GROUP_NAME                     TABLESPACE_NAME
------------------------------ ------------------------------
GROUP1                         TEMP1
GROUP1                         TEMP2

SQL>

If you have several tablespace groups you’ll know which tablespaces each group contains should the lack of space be an issue, although Oracle will tell you which tablespace received the failing space request when a tablespace group is used:

SQL> select a.*
  2  from dba_objects a, dba_objects b, dba_objects c
  3  order by 1;
select a.*
*
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-01652: unable to extend temp segment by 128 in tablespace TEMP2

Such messages signify that all tablespaces in the group have exhausted their available space and may need to be extended.

The temporary tablespace group is dropped, by default, when all members of that group are dropped or removed from it. The following command removes tablespace temp1 from the tablespace group to which it once belonged:

ALTER TABLESPACE temp1 TABLESPACE GROUP '';

You can continue to assign temporary tablespaces to a null group; if a tablespace didn’t belong to a group nothing changes, and if it did that group is reduced by 1 tablespace. If this is the last tablespace remaining in group1 then after this command completes that group would no longer exist. As such there is no ‘drop tablespace group’ command. And it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that if you’ve assigned a tablespace group as your database default temporary tablespace you’ll need to change that setting BEFORE reassigning the group members thus eliminating the group.

Knowing the overall size of your tablespace group is also fairly easy by using the DBA_TABLESPACE_GROUPS and DBA_TEMP_FILES views. A sample query is shown below; replace ‘GROUP1′ with the name of your tablespace group:

select sum(bytes)
from dba_temp_files
where tablespace_name in (select tablespace_name from dba_tablespace_groups where group_name = 'GROUP1');

Kellyn Pot’Vin has written an excellent blog post on getting the most out of temporary tablespace groups; it provides excellent information for those wanting to use temporary tablespace groups and those already doing so.

Presuming your SYSTEM tablespace is locally managed it’s required that the database have a default temporary tablespace as a locally managed SYSTEM tablespace cannot be used for default temporary storage. Thus, any user not assigned a specific TEMPORARY tablespace gets the database default temporary tablespace. If, perchance, the database has (gasp) a dictionary-managed SYSTEM tablespace then any user not assigned a temporary tablespace will use SYSTEM for temporary object storage (which is not the best idea). Also, a message will be written to the alert log saying such.

Can a user be assigned a regular tablespace as a temporary tablespace? In 8i and earlier releases, yes, but in 9i and later releases you’ll get the following error:

SQL> create tablespace sortatemp
  2  datafile '/u02/oradata/mydb/sortatemp01.dbf' size 100M reuse;

Tablespace created.

SQL> alter user borg temporary tablespace sortatemp;
alter user borg temporary tablespace sortatemp
*
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-10615: Invalid tablespace type for temporary tablespace


SQL>

so for those of you thinking you’d simply love to convert your temporary tablespace to a regular, old tablespace think again, because you can’t, as no one will be able to use it as you intended.

What happens if the temporary tablespace doesn’t exist or isn’t available? Oracle will display this:

SQL> select * from mybigtable order by mycoolkey;
select * from mybigtable order by mycoolkey
*
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-01129: user's default or temporary tablespace does not exist 


SQL>

If you see this error message check to see if the temporary tablespace exists and is online. Correct any issues you find (create the missing tablespace or put the tempfiles back online).

If the tablespace exists but no tempfiles are assigned to it then Oracle reports:

SQL> select * from mybigtable order by mycoolkey;
select * from mybigtable order by mycoolkey
*
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-25153: Temporary Tablespace is Empty 

SQL>

so the task is simply to issue ‘alter temporary tablespace … add tempfile …’ commands to make the tablespace no longer empty.

If you’re using raw volumes (devices) you’ll need to allocate a new raw partition to extend your TEMP tablespace, which involves the UNIX or Windows System Administrator; you cannot simply execute an ‘alter tablespace TEMP add tempfile …’ command as that will create a ‘cooked’ sparse file which will not be what you want. Make the request known to your System Administrator and also include the size of the partition you desire. When this person has the new raw device created you’ll be able to add it to the TEMP tablespace and increase the available storage.

So what’s in the temporary tablespace? Transient data which ‘disappears’ when the session ends like sort segment extents, temporary LOB data, results of various hash operations and the rows in local temporary and global temporary tables. [Query execution plans can, in later releases of Oracle, provide an estimate on how much temp space a query can consume, so using 'explain plan' and querying the dbms_xplan.display 'table' can reveal such information.] Nothing anyone would need to keep around for any length of time. (Sort activity can possibly be reduced by increasing the sort_area_size and hash_area_size parameters so that a greater percentage of the sorts are done in memory. With 10g and later releases setting pga_aggregate_target allows Oracle to automatically manage these areas; setting the above mentioned parameters sets the lower size limit to prevent Oracle from possibly undersizing them.) If the global temporary tables are consuming large portions of your temporary tablespace the best course of action is to increase the size of that tablespace. Again, V$TEMPSEG_USAGE is the view to use, as it will report the blocks consumed. Knowing that value makes it easier to adjust the temporary tablespace size.

How can you estimate the amouant of temp space a query may use? V$SQL_PLAN can provide that information if you know the SQL_ID of the query:

select temp_space from v$sql_plan where sql_id = '< some sql_id value >';

As long as the query uses the CBO the column will be populated; it is NULL for queries using the RBO.

Reducing the temporary tablespace usage is not a simple question to answer as it can involve any number of adjustments to the database and the objects contained therein. As mentioned earlier increasing the sort_area_size and hash_area_size parameters can reduce some of the temporary tablespace usage by performing more of the larger sorts and hash joins in memory; tuning queries can also lead to smaller footprints in the temporary tablespace landscape as less data can be returned and thus less filter activity occurs to return the desired results. Some queries cannot be helped by indexing (such as those using subquery factoring [the WITH clause]) but others may. One type of query, involving longitude and latitude where both columns are indexed independently, would benefit from a concatenated index for longitude and latitude, as Oracle will most often choose the latitude index and then filter on longitude, using the temporary tablespace as a dumping ground. Including both in a single index converts the index access/filter operation to a simple index access task, reducing the consumption of temporary tablespace resources. How you reduce your temporary tablespace usage is determined by the types of queries involved, the tables and indexes used and how your memory parameters are configured. No one solution works for everyone, and not all queries can be ‘fixed’ to use less TEMP space. You can use the tools provided here to determine how much TEMP space you’re using and how much of that space you could save by tuning your database in a responsible manner.

It seems that this post has gone a bit astray of the original topic of recreating a temporary tablespace when it’s 100% allocated, but the information presented here has been requested by those using google.com in reference to temporary tablespace usage and management. I’ve tried to answer as broad of a range of questions as I can, but I’m sure I’ve missed something someone, somewhere, wants to know. I monitor the questions that create hits to this page, and when I see something I haven’t presented I’ll do my best to add that to this ever-growing list of temporary tablespace information. And, as we approach the end of this post, remember: if anyone tells you that if your temporary tablespace is 100% allocated you need to drop and recreate it, think again. Unless you’ve reached the end of the available space for a file system (and you’ve set your temporary tablespace files to autoextend which can consume disk resources at an alarming rate if a large number of queries dump sorts and hash activity to disk) you don’t need to drop and recreate anything. And that brings us back to where we began this thread.

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15 Comments »

  1. Very useful post. Thanks a lot.But it seems to me that temporary tablespace space usage often runs up to 100% (maximum number of blocks are shown as used in V$TEMP_SPACE_HEADER) without issuing ORA-01642 errors.How can it happen?

    Comment by Anonymous — November 25, 2009 @ 16:21 | Reply

  2. That was mentioned at the beginning of the post; allocated extents are not tied to the session that allocates them, they are common property to be used by any session as long as they are available.

    Comment by d_d_f — November 30, 2009 @ 13:04 | Reply

  3. Thanks for the excellent discussions on the topic of TEMP Tablespace.Now, I know about the 100% allocation. We are told that our TEMP Tablespace contains orphaned extents and the only way to get rid of it is by dropping and recreating it. Have you heard of orphaned extents? We are told via query results generated through the same views that you mentioned here (V$TEMPFILE, V$TEMP_EXTENT_POOL, v$TEMP_SPACE_HEADER, v$TEMPSEG_USAGE, and v$SORT_SEGMENT). Our V$TEMPFILE shows that we have 27GB allocated space from sum(bytes). Our v$TEMPSEG_USAGE shows no rows. However, our sum(bytes_cached) shows 13GB while sum(bytes_used) shows 0GB in v$TEMP_EXTENT_POOL. Yet sum(bytes_used) in V$TEMP_SPACE_HEADER shows 13GB. I wonder how one can come up with the conclusion that the 50% of the extents in TEMP tablespace is orphaned. Thanks.

    Comment by cytodex — January 14, 2010 @ 16:50 | Reply

  4. Thanks for your discussions on the topic of TEMP tablespace.I am wonder if you could talk about the orphaned extents in TEMP.I am told that we have 50% of the extents "orphaned" and therefore we should drop and recreate the temp tablespace. I don't know if this is a "valid" reason. So, long story short, I am presented with the figures from the same views.The sum(bytes) in V$TEMPFILE is 27GB. The query on V$TEMPSEG_USAGE returns no rows. Yet, sum(bytes_cached) and sum(bytes_used) return 13GB and 0GB respectively from v$TEMP_EXTENT_POOL. And, sum(bytes_used) and sum(bytes_free) are 13.6 and 13.4 respectively from v$TEMP_SPACE_HEADER. I have a feeling that the conclusion is based on the result from this view. I wonder if you have any thoughts on it.Thanks.

    Comment by cytodex — January 14, 2010 @ 17:03 | Reply

  5. I wonder who is telling you these allocated but currently unused extents are 'orphaned'. How are they 'orphaned'? Extents are allocated once and reused numerous times between the startup and shutdown of the database. When one session has finished using the extents in the TEMP tablespace that it was assigned those drop out of V$TEMPSEG_USAGE indicating they are available for any other user session; this does NOT make them 'orphaned' in any definition of the word. Drop the TEMP tablespace and recreate it and you'll end up in the 'same boat' again as true temporary tablespaces in Oracle reuse allocated extents. Using V$TEMP_SPACE_HEADER as a source for determining 'orphaned' extents in the TEMP tablespace is wrong as that view reports on allocated extents in the TEMP tablespace regardless of whether or not they are used. I usually run a cartesion join query against DBA_OBJECTS to allocate almost all of the available space in a tempfile, and when I do the report from V$TEMP_SPACE_HEADER is that 99-100% of the extents are allocated; the report from V$TEMPSEG_USAGE is vastly different, reporting 0% of the temporary space as used (I run this query on a new database before any users are created and after I have allocated all of the extents possible in the temporary tablespace). Does that make these extents 'orphaned'? Absolutely not as orphaned extents would be extents no session can make use of and ALL of the allocated extents in a true temporary tablespace can and will be reused by any number of sessions. To better define 'orphaned' structures in an IT realm consider a 'memory leak'; such problems are create by programs which allocate memory, use that memory then destroy the 'handle' used to access that memory without first freeing that memory back to the operating system. Such memory structures are 'orphaned' as the 'parent' which spawned them no longer exists and they have no possibility of reuse because that memory location was not de-allocated before it was discarded by the program. Within Oracle one has sessions and processes and the latter are directy tied to the former; there can be 'orphaned' processes left after a session abnormally terminates and in such cases the only way to remove them is to shutdown and restart the database. That being said in a true temporary tablespace 'orphaned' extents would be those in corrupted blocks of the tempfile, allocated but thoroughly unusable by any session or process. Simply because they are allocated is no cause for concern and certainly NOT a valid reason to drop a perfectly good temporary tablespace.Since V$TEMPSEG_USAGE reports 0 usage you have no 'orphaned' extents, no matter what V$TEMP_SPACE_HEADER reports.

    Comment by d_d_f — January 18, 2010 @ 04:38 | Reply

  6. Very useful, I was recreating the temporary tablespace in the DB, whenever I got an error, Now I have learned that's not necessary.Thanks a lot-Siddhu

    Comment by Siddhu — August 4, 2010 @ 16:49 | Reply

  7. I have a little more insanity. The temp tablespace is nearly full and when i look at the contents using the v$tempseg_usage the biggest consumer is SYS but the sqladdr is '00' and the sql_id is NULL so I cannot tell why the space is being used. Any ideas? Thanks

    Comment by Anonymous — September 2, 2010 @ 08:44 | Reply

  8. Without knowing the relesae of Oracle you're using I could only make a wild, unqualified guess.If you could provide that information it would be helpful in answering your question.

    Comment by d_d_f — September 3, 2010 @ 10:56 | Reply

  9. Hi,What will happen if one of the member of temporary tablespace group is filled ? Will it go for other members of group if space is available in other members of temporary tablespace group or it will throw error ORA-01652.Will it work as sequential instead of concurrent working of tablespaces?e.g. I have 2 tablespaces in group 1 of 5GB & other of 50GB.if 1 got filled will a single sort operation use 2nd tablespace?

    Comment by Anonymous — September 19, 2010 @ 03:02 | Reply

  10. Had you executed this query mentioned in the post:select a.*from dba_objects a, dba_objects b, dba_objects corder by 1;and then queried V$TEMP_EXTENT_MAP your question would have been answered. In short the ORA-01652 will not appear until there is no available space in the group. So, the answer to your other question is yes, Oracle will continue to use space in every temporary tablespace assigned to that group until the last available tablespace in that group has no more space to give.

    Comment by d_d_f — September 20, 2010 @ 07:23 | Reply

  11. Thanks for wonderful information.. My problem is my temporary table space is increasing rapidly. It became 32 GB and some of my reports taking too long .. Can some on suggest me…

    Comment by Tyagi — December 14, 2010 @ 16:38 | Reply

  12. Several areas are mentioned in the post such as checking the sort_area_size and hash_area_size parameters; also check on the number of sorts in memory and the number of sorts that spill to disk and see if you can shift that back to memory-resident sort activity. Again, as mentioned in the post query V$TEMPSEG_USAGE to see who is using the temp tablespace and why; the view reports which segment is being used so you can better determine your memory parameters to put more of the hash or sort activity into memory.You give no real information on your situation so it's difficult to provide any specific advice.

    Comment by d_d_f — December 19, 2010 @ 16:03 | Reply

  13. Greetings,oracle 10.2.0.4suse linux 9we have a group temporary tablespace called ATEMP which contains 9 tablespaces ATEMP01 – ATEMP09but the in the alert log we have this warningWARNING: the following temporary tablespaces contain no files.this condition can occur when a backup controlfile has been restored.it may be necessary to add files to these tablespace. that can be done using SQL…..alternatively, if these temporary tablesapces are no longer needed, thenthey can be dropped. Empty temporary tablespace: ATEMPthen I know that…in this case oracle is using SYSTEM tablespaceas a temporary tablespace and this has a performance impact and the system may hung if SYSTEM tbs getsfull. and my question ishow can I show to somebody that the current temp segments are in SYSTEM tablesapce because as I runthe query ON V$tempseg_USAGEthe return show the tablespaces are ATEMP01,ATEMP02….instead of SYSTEM which was my expectation.thanks

    Comment by Mattias — April 6, 2011 @ 12:50 | Reply

  14. "then I know that…in this case oracle is using SYSTEM tablespaceas a temporary tablespace…"No, it isn't. Oracle 8.1.x was the last release where a regular tablespace could be used as a temporary tablespace.My suggestion is that you query DBA_TEMP_FILES to see if there are any tempfiles available for your tablespace group and, if not, add them.

    Comment by d_d_f — April 6, 2011 @ 20:37 | Reply

  15. Awesome Article!!!!!

    Comment by Anonymous — February 18, 2012 @ 17:14 | Reply


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