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Best size for SORT_AREA_SIZE

How do I determine the best size for SORT_AREA_SIZE?

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Prior to Oracle9i, one would issue queries similar to the following:
SELECT value AS memory_sorts FROM v$sysstat
WHERE name='sorts (memory)';

SELECT value AS disk_sorts FROM v$sysstat
WHERE name='sorts (disk)';

The idea is to keep the ratio of disk sorts to total sorts (disk + memory) very low, or even at zero. If this ratio was high (i.e. over 10%) then increase SORT_AREA_SIZE.

In Oracle9i, one would now use the PGA_AGGREGATE_TARGET instead of individually tuning the four *_AREA_SIZE parameters. I have more information on my Web site ( in a white paper titled "Tuning PGA in Oracle 9i." Feel free to download this paper to see how manually tuning the SORT_AREA_SIZE is a thing of the past!

This was first published in March 2004

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