Oracle Notes Part-4


Oracle Memory Architecture:

Oracle memory architecture is divided in following memory structure:-

  1. System Global Area (SGA):- This is a large, shared memory segment that virtually all Oracle processes will access at one point or another.
  2. Process Global Area (PGA): This is memory that is private to a single process or thread; it is not accessible from other processes/threads.
  3. User Global Area (UGA): This is memory associated with your session. It is located either in the SGA or the PGA, depending whether you are connected to the database using a shared server (it will be in the SGA), or a dedicated server (it will be in the PGA).

Description of Figure 8-1 follows



There are five memory structures that make up the System Global Area (SGA). The SGA will store many internal data structures that all processes need access to, cache data from disk, cache redo data before writing to disk, hold parsed SQL plans and so on.SGA is used to store database information that is shared by database processes. It contains data and control information for the Oracle Server and is allocated in the virtual memory if the computer where Oracle resides.

SGA consists of several memory structures:-

1.Redo Buffer:  The redo buffer is where data that needs to be written to the online redo logs will be cached temporarily, before it is written to disk. Since a memory-to-memory transfer is much faster than a memory-to-disk transfer, use of the redo log buffer can speed up database operation. The data will not reside in the redo buffer for very long. In fact, LGWR initiates a flush of this area in one of the following scenarios:
• Every three seconds
• Whenever someone commits
• When LGWR is asked to switch log files
• When the redo buffer gets one-third full or contains 1MB of cached redo log data

Use the parameter LOG_BUFFER parameter to adjust but be-careful increasing it too large as it will reduce your I/O but commits will take longer.

2.Buffer Cache: The block buffer cache is where Oracle stores database blocks before writing them to disk and after reading them in from disk. There are three places to store cached blocks from individual segments in the SGA:
Default pool (hot cache): The location where all segment blocks are normally cached.
Keep pool (warm cache): An alternate buffer pool where by convention you assign segments that are accessed fairly frequently, but still get aged out of the default buffer pool due to other segments needing space.
Recycle pool (do not care to cache): An alternate buffer pool where by convention you assign large segments that you access very randomly, and which would therefore cause excessive buffer flushing of many blocks from many segments. There’s no benefit to caching such segments because by the time you wanted the block again, it would have been aged out of the cache. You would separate these segments out from the segments in the default and keep pools so they would not cause those blocks to age out of the cache.

The standard block size is determined by the DB_CACHE_SIZE, if tablespaces are created with a different block sizes then you must also create an entry to match that block size.

DB_2K_CACHE_SIZE (used with tablespace block size of 2k)
DB_4K_CACHE_SIZE (used with tablespace block size of 4k)
DB_8K_CACHE_SIZE (used with tablespace block size of 8k)
DB_16K_CACHE_SIZE (used with tablespace block size of 16k)
DB_32K_CACHE_SIZE (used with tablespace block size of 32k)

3.Shared Pool: The shared pool is where Oracle caches many bits of “program” data. When we parse a query, the parsed representation is cached there. Before we go through the job of parsing an entire query, Oracle searches the shared pool to see if the work has already been done. PL/SQL code that you run is cached in the shared pool, so the next time you run it, Oracle doesn’t have to read it in from disk again. PL/SQL code is not only cached here, it is shared here as well. If you have 1,000 sessions all executing the same code, only one copy of the code is loaded and shared among all sessions. Oracle stores the system parameters in the shared pool. The data dictionary cache (cached information about database objects) is stored here.Dictionary cache is a collection of database tables and views containing information about the database, its structures, privileges and users. When statements are issued oracle will check permissions, access, etc and will obtain this information from its dictionary cache, if the information is not in the cache then it has to be read in from the disk and placed in to the cache. The more information held in the cache the less oracle has to access the slow disks.The parameter SHARED_POOL_SIZE is used to determine the size of the shared pool, there is no way to adjust the caches independently, you can only adjust the shared pool size.The shared pool uses a LRU (least recently used) list to maintain what is held in the buffer, see buffer cache for more details on the LRU.

4.Large Pool: The large pool is not so named because it is a “large” structure (although it may very well be large in size). It is so named because it is used for allocations of large pieces of memory that are bigger than the shared pool is designed to handle. Large memory allocations tend to get a chunk of memory, use it, and then be done with it. There was no need to cache this memory as in buffer cache and Shared Pool, hence a new pool was allocated. So basically Shared pool is more like Keep Pool whereas Large Pool is similar to the Recycle Pool. Large pool is used specifically by:
• Shared server connections, to allocate the UGA region in the SGA.
• Parallel execution of statements, to allow for the allocation of interprocess message buffers, which are used to coordinate the parallel query servers.
• Backup for RMAN disk I/O buffers in some cases.

5.Java Pool: The Java pool is used in different ways, depending on the mode in which the Oracle server is running. In dedicated server mode the total memory required for the Java pool is quite modest and can be determined based on the number of Java classes you’ll be using. In shared server connection the java pool includes shared part of each java class and Some of the UGA used for per-session state of each session, which is allocated from the JAVA_POOL within the SGA.

6.Streams Pool: The Streams pool (or up to 10 percent of the shared pool if no Streams pool is configured) is used to buffer queue messages used by the Streams process as it moves or copies data from one database to another.

The SGA comprises a number of memory components, which are pools of memory used to satisfy a particular class of memory allocation requests. Examples of memory components include the shared pool (used to allocate memory for SQL and PL/SQL execution), the java pool (used for java objects and other java execution memory), and the buffer cache (used for caching disk blocks). All SGA components allocate and deallocate space in units of granules. Oracle Database tracks SGA memory use in internal numbers of granules for each SGA component.Granule size is determined by total SGA size. On most platforms, the size of a granule is 4 MB if the total SGA size is less than 1 GB, and granule size is 16MB for larger SGAs. Some platform dependencies arise. For example, on 32-bit Windows, the granule size is 8 M for SGAs larger than 1 GB.Oracle Database can set limits on how much virtual memory the database uses for the SGA. It can start instances with minimal memory and allow the instance to use more memory by expanding the memory allocated for SGA components, up to a maximum determined by the SGA_MAX_SIZEinitialization parameter. If the value for SGA_MAX_SIZE in the initialization parameter file or server parameter file (SPFILE) is less than the sum the memory allocated for all components, either explicitly in the parameter file or by default, at the time the instance is initialized, then the database ignores the setting for SGA_MAX_SIZE.


PGA is the memory reserved for each user process connecting to an Oracle Database and is allocated when a process is created and deallocated when a process is terminated.

Image result for uga in oracle database

Contents of PGA:-

  • Private SQL Area: Contains data such as bind information and run-time memory structures. It contains Persistent Area which contains bind information and is freed only when the cursor is closed and Run time Area which is created as the first step of an execute request. This area is freed only when the statement has been executed. The number of Private SQL areas that can be allocated to a user process depends on the OPEN_CURSORS initialization parameter.
  • Session Memory: Consists of memory allocated to hold a session’s variable and other info related to the session.
  • SQL Work Areas: Used for memory intensive operations such as: Sort, Hash-join, Bitmap merge, Bitmap Create.

Automatic PGA Memory Management

Before Auto-Memory management DBA had to allocate memory to:-

  • SORT_AREA_SIZE: The total amount of RAM that will be used to sort information before swapping out to disk.
  • SORT_AREA_RETAINED_SIZE: The amount of memory that will be used to hold sorted data after the sort is complete.
  • HASH_AREA_SIZE: The amount of memory your server process can use to store hash tables in memory. These structures are used during a hash join, typically when joining a large set with another set. The smaller of the two sets would be hashed into memory and anything that didn’t fit in the hash area region of memory would be stored in the temporary tablespace by the join key.

To enable PGA Auto-Mem Management enable the parameter WORKAREA_SIZE_POLICY and allocate total memory to be used for this purpose to PGA_AGGREGATE_TARGET.

NOTE:- From 11gR1 You can set MEMORY_TARGET and auto-mem management for both SGA and PGA is taken care.

I came across several DBAs enquiring about how the PGA Memory is allocated and from their I cam to know about several misconceptions people are having so writing a short note on the same.

The PGA_AGGREGATE_TARGET is a goal of an upper limit. It is not a value that is preallocated when the database is started up. You can observe this by setting the PGA_AGGREGATE_TARGET to a value much higher than the amount of physical memory you have available on your server. You will not see any large allocation of memory as a result. A serial (nonparallel query) session will use a small percentage of the PGA_AGGREGATE_TARGET, typically about 5 percent or less. Hence its not that all of the memory allocated to PGA is granted at the time DB is started and gradually increases with number of user processes. The algorithm that I am aware of, allocates 5% of PGA to the user process until there is crunch on the PGA and then modifies the allocation based on the usage requirement of the user process.

Staring with Oracle 9i there is a new to manage the above settings that is to let oracle manage the PGA area automatically by setting the parameter following parameters Oracle will automatically adjust the PGA area basic on users demand.

  • workarea_size_policy – you can set this option to manual or auto (default)
  • pga_aggregate_target – controls how much to allocate the PGA in total

Oracle will try and keep the PGA under the target value, but if you exceed this value Oracle will perform multi-pass operations (disk operations).

Memory Area Dedicated Server Shared Server
Nature of Session Memory Private Shared
Location of Persistent Area PGA SGA
Location of the part of the runtime area for SELECT statements PGA PGA
Location for the run time area for DDL/DML statements PGA PGA



The UGA (User Global Area) is your state information, this area of memory will be accessed by your current session, depending on the connection type (shared server) the UGA can be located in the SGA which is accessible by any one of the shared server processes, because a dedicated connection does not use shared servers the memory will be located in the PGA

  • Shared server – UGA will be part of the SGA
  • Dedicated server – UGA will be the PGA