Understanding Oracle CLUSTER Joins

By Richard Niemiec on April 20, 2013

A CLUSTER join in Oracle is really just a special case of the NESTED LOOPS join that is not used very often. If the two row sources being joined are actually tables that are part of a cluster, and if the join is an equijoin between the cluster keys of the two tables, then Oracle can use a CLUSTER join. In this case, Oracle reads each row from the first row source and finds all matches in the second row source by using the CLUSTER index.

CLUSTER joins are extremely efficient because the joining rows in the two row sources will actually be located in the same physical data block. However, clusters carry certain caveats of their own, and you cannot have a CLUSTER join without a cluster. Therefore, CLUSTER joins are not very commonly used.

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