Temporary tables that the database server creates

The database server sometimes creates temporary tables while running queries against the database or backing it up.

The database server might create a temporary table in any of the following circumstances:
  • Statements that include a GROUP BY or ORDER BY clause
  • Statements that use aggregate functions with the UNIQUE or DISTINCT keywords
  • SELECT statements that use auto-index or hash joins
  • Complex CREATE VIEW statements
  • DECLARE statements that create a scroll cursor
  • Statements that contain correlated subqueries
  • Statements that contain subqueries that occur within an IN or ANY clause
  • CREATE INDEX statements

When the process that initiated the creation of the table is complete, the database server deletes the temporary tables that it creates.

If the database server shuts down without removing temporary tables, the database server removes the temporary tables the next time it is started. To start the database server without removing temporary tables, run the oninit command with the -p option.

Applications and analytic tools can define queries in which a derived table contains multiple views joined with base tables, potentially including hundreds of columns. The database server attempts to fold views or derived tables into the main query. Any such views or derived tables that cannot be folded are materialized into a temporary table. The temporary table excludes all the columns that are not referenced in the main query. The temporary table is created with only the columns referenced in the Projection clause and in other clauses of the parent query, including the WHERE, HAVING, GROUP BY, and ON clauses.

By excluding from the system-generated temporary table any columns that are not referenced in the main query, this reduced schema can improve query performance by conserving storage resources, and by avoiding unnecessary I/O of data in the unused columns.

In a nested query, however, projected columns from views and derived table are checked only in the parent query, but not in the levels above the immediate parent query.

Important: In addition to temporary tables, the database server uses temporary disk space to store the before images of data records that are overwritten while backups are occurring, and for overflow from query processing that occurs in memory. Make sure that you have correctly set the DBSPACETEMP environment variable or the DBSPACETEMP configuration parameter to specify dbspaces with enough space for your needs. If there is not enough room in the specified dbspaces, the backup fails, root dbspace is used, or the backup fails after filling the root dbspace.

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