The Oracle error ORA-04031: unable to allocate nn bytes of shared memory is telling us that Oracle tried to allocate a specific amount of memory for a process and it was unable to do so.

I see this more often with legacy or very large and complex ETL processes. The quick fix for the error is simple, add more RAM to the database and or server if needed for the process to complete successfully.

After the problem is fixed however, I would take a step back and ask myself if this process needs to be re-written/optimized to help improve performance and lesson resource utilization. Can this package be broken into smaller pieces and make it more manageable by the database?

Often enough senior DBAs are asked to perform this task and a well seasoned DBA in a lot of cases can quickly identify slow complex processes that are consuming too many resources or taking too long to execute.

Pinning is also another option to try if the process can not be rewritten. I don’t see this being used as much these days, however it does have its place in the Oracle DBA’s toolbelt.

If you would like some help from one of our Oracle DBA experts fixing your ORA-04031: Unable to Allocate nn Bytes of Shared Memory get in touch with us today!

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