Design question: too many SQLs differ by updated columns

From: Yong Huang <>
Date: Sat, 31 May 2008 16:30:13 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <>

One schema in our database have 40,000 SQLs in v$sql taking 1.5GB sharable memory. A small number of them are due to not using bind variables. But many are insert and update statements like this:

UPDATE PATIENT SET MRN=:MRN,Last_Name=:Last_Name,First_Name=:First_Name,... Occupation=:Occupation,Original_Reg_Date=:Original_Reg_Date,AD_Living_Will=:AD_Living_Will...

Thousands of these SQLs differ by different columns in the SET clause. The columns seem to be listed in their order in the patient table. Since one SQL updates one set of columns, another updates another set, the permutation is huge.

I told the developer to consider changing the insert, listing all columns and setting the inserted value to null if that column is missing. But for these update statements we can't think of a good way to corect them. We either have to redesign the data model, normalizing some columns into their own tables (e.e. occupation shouldn't belong in patient table), or query the row first and list all columns in the update set clause filling in the selected value for those columns that don't need to be updated. The first method is not doable financially and administratively. The second method raises buffer gets and probably causes worse overall performance. I also thought of MERGE. But the app already knows whether to insert or update rather than let the database decide. Besides, it still has the column list problem in the update part of merge.

Any comments are welcome.

Yong Huang       

Received on Sat May 31 2008 - 18:30:13 CDT

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