Oracle SE2 and Instance Caging

At DOAG Exaday 2018 Martin Bach talked about using the Resource Manager. He explained, that Resource Manager is using the CPU_COUNT initialization parameter to limit the CPU utilization of a database instance. This is called instance caging and requires an Enterprise Edition License. Resource Manager is not available in Standard Edtion 2 (SE2) according to the Licensing Guide:


On the other hand, SE2 is limited to 16 threads per database. Franck Pachot did investigate this in his blog post and found out, that internally Resource Manager features are being used to enforce this limitation.

So the question came up, what will happen to a SE2 Oracle Database that has CPU_COUNT set. According to the documentation, CPU_COUNT works only with Resource Manager which is not part of SE2, but SE2 is using Resource Manager internally.

Now, let’s try. I did use the same method to generate load that Franck Pachot used for his tests. A simple PL/SQL block running in several database jobs.  For testing this, I set CPU_COUNT to 4 and did run 10 parallel jobs. Having this, my workload is definitely below the internal maximum of 16 threads. To measure the workload I used top, oratop and Statspack, database version was

And these are the results. My server (ODA X7-2S, 1 CPU, 10 cores hyperthreaded) had an utilization of roughly 20% plus a little overhead. Having 20 cores in the OS and a CPU_COUNT of 4, I end up with a maximum of 1/5th of the server that I can utilize. In other words: 20%. This is what “top” showed:


To see, what the database instance is actually doing, I used “oratop”:


You see, there are 4 session on CPU and some others waiting for Resource Manager. That proofes, that SE2 internal Resource Manager is using the CPU_COUNT parameter to limit the utilization.  Finally, let’s check the Statspack report:


In this overview you can see the 10 sessions that are trying to do something (DB time) and the 4 sessions that are actually doing some work on CPU (DB CPU).

Conclusion / Disclaimer

Instance caging does work in a SE2 Oracle Database. You can limit the database to use even less than 16 threads. But the fact that this works does not necessarily mean that it is allowed. So use in case you use this featuer, you do that on your own risk.

Edit: Dominic Giles stated in the Twitter discussion that it is allowed to do instance caging in SE2.


Transportable Tablespaces, Deferred Segment Creation and SE

Right now I am in the middle of a project which is about moving an old Oracle Enterprise Edition Database of roughly 1.5TB from the US to new hardware in Germany including an upgrade to and a switch the Standard Edition 2. As you see, there are a couple of things to do and I am more than happy to do this challenging project. The basic plan is this:

  1. Create a new database in Standard Edition 2
  2. Get an initial copy of the source database to Germany
  3. Restore that copy on the new hardware with an Oracle Home
  4. Get the archivelogs on a regular basis from the source database in the US
  5. Recover the german copy of the database
  6. Repeat 4 and 5 until cut-over
  7. Open Resetlogs the german copy of the database
  8. Move the data to the new database using transportable tablespace

According to the Licensing Guide it is allowed to plug in transportable tablespaces into a SE2 database. So I am completely happy with my approach.

But during the test phase of this migration I encountered a nasty error when plugging in the tablespace. I obfuscated some identifiers, so don’t be too strict:

Import: Release - Production on Thu May 31 15:32:01 2018

Copyright (c) 1982, 2017, Oracle and/or its affiliates.  All rights reserved.
Connected to: Oracle Database 12c Standard Edition Release - 64bit Production
Master table "SYSTEM"."SYS_IMPORT_TRANSPORTABLE_01" successfully loaded/unloaded
Starting "SYSTEM"."SYS_IMPORT_TRANSPORTABLE_01":  system/******** directory=copy_dump logfile=some_ts.impdp.log dumpfile=some_ts.dmpdp transport_datafiles=/u02/app/oracle/oradata/SOMEDB/SOMEDB/datafile/e*dbf 
ORA-39083: Object type TABLE:"SOME_USER"."SOME_TABLE" failed to create with error:
ORA-01647: tablespace 'SOME_TS' is read-only, cannot allocate space in it

Failing sql is:

Ok, the tablesapce is read only. That is supposed to be. A quick research at MOS revealed a note “ORA-39083 & ORA-01647 during TTS or EXPDP/IMPDP from Enterprise Edition to Standard Edition when deferred_segment_creation=True (Doc ID 2288535.1)” which states, that the deferred segment creation is the root cause. That makes sense somehow. The note further states, the workaround is either to use the version parameter of “impdp” during import TTS or to disable deferred segment creation at the source database before starting the TTS.
To cut a long story short, both workarounds do not work and end up with the exact same error. In my opinion this makes totally sense, because the segment for the table in question is simply not present in the transported tablespace. And it can’t be created during the TTS import since the tablespace is marked read only. It cannot be created when I use the version parameter for impdp nor it is being created when I disable deferred segment creation.
The only feasible solution is to create the segment at the source database before setting the tablespace to read only. A simple

SQL> alter table SOME_USER.SOME_TABLE allocate extent;

Table altered.

does the trick. And that’s it. After creating a segment for this table the TTS import went fine without any further errors.
To make sure all objects do have a segment created, I use these queries:

SQL>  select 'alter table ' || owner || '.' || table_name || ' allocate extent;'
  2   from dba_tables where SEGMENT_CREATED='NO'
  3*  and owner='&USERNAME.';

So when using Transportable Tablespaces to move to a SE2 database and the source is (the version when deferred segment creating was introduced) or higher, you better check that in advance. Hope that helps.