Partial Partition-Wise Joins

Oracle Database can perform partial partition-wise joins only in parallel. Unlike full partition-wise joins, partial partition-wise joins require you to partition only one table on the join key, not both tables. The partitioned table is referred to as the reference table. The other table may or may not be partitioned. Partial partition-wise joins are more common than full partition-wise joins.

To execute a partial partition-wise join, the database dynamically repartitions the other table based on the partitioning of the reference table. After the other table is repartitioned, the execution is similar to a full partition-wise join.

The performance advantage that partial partition-wise joins have over joins in nonpartitioned tables is that the reference table is not moved during the join operation. Parallel joins between nonpartitioned tables require both input tables to be redistributed on the join key. This redistribution operation involves exchanging rows between parallel execution servers. This is a CPU-intensive operation that can lead to excessive interconnect traffic in Oracle RAC environments. Partitioning large tables on a join key, either a foreign or primary key, prevents this redistribution every time the table is joined on that key. Of course, if you choose a foreign key to partition the table, which is the most common scenario, then select a foreign key that is involved in many queries.

To illustrate partial partition-wise joins, consider the previous sales/customers example. Assume that customers is not partitioned or is partitioned on a column other than cust_id. Because sales is often joined with customers on cust_id, and because this join dominates our application workload, partition sales on cust_id to enable partial partition-wise joins every time customers and sales are joined. As with full partition-wise joins, you have several alternatives: