Nigel Noble's Oracle Blog


10gR2 – 11gR2, ASSM Space Management “Bug”

Filed under: 10gR2, 11gR1, 11gR2, assm — Nigel Noble @ 10:59 am

ASSM (Automatic Segment Space Management) has an issue when trying to re-use “deleted” space created by another session.  There is a very specific set of circumstances which must occur for this issue to show itself, but will result in tables (and I suspect indexes) growing significantly larger than they need to be. I am aware that the problem exists in versions through to the current 11gR2 inclusive although I don’t know which Oracle release first introduced the problem.

The conditions required to cause the issue

My site has a number of daemon style jobs running permanently on the database loading data into a message table. The daemon is managed by dbms_job and is re-started when the database is first started and can run for many days, weeks (or in some cases months) before the job is ever stopped. We only need to keep the messages for a short time, so we have another daemon job whose role is to delete the messages from the table as soon as the expiry time is reached. In one example we only need to retain the data for a few minutes (after which time we no longer need it) and we also wanted to keep the table as small as possible so it remained cached in the buffer cache (helped by a KEEP pool). When we developed the code, we expected the message table to remain at a fairly constant size of 50 – 100MB in size. What we found was the table continued to grow at a consistent rate to many gigabytes in size until we stopped the test. If we copied the table (eg using “create table <new table> as select * from <current table>”) the new table would again be 50MB so most of the space in the table was empty “deleted” space. The INSERT statements were never re-using the space made free by the delete statement (run in another session).


Create a free website or blog at