AUTO_READAHEAD configuration parameter

Use the AUTO_READAHEAD configuration parameter to change the automatic read-ahead mode or to disable automatic read-ahead operations for a query.

onconfig.std value
Not set. If the AUTO_TUNE configuration parameter is set to 1, read ahead is performed automatically in the standard mode.
An integer from 0 - 2 that specifies the mode, optionally followed by a comma and an integer that specifies the number of pages that are automatically requested to be read ahead. For example, the value 1,4096 enables automatic read-ahead in standard mode for 4096 pages at a time.

0 = Disable automatic read-ahead requests.

1 = Enable automatic read-ahead requests in the standard mode. The database server automatically processes read-ahead requests only when a query waits on I/O.

2 = Enable automatic read-ahead requests in the aggressive mode. The database server automatically processes read-ahead requests at the start of the query and continuously through the duration of the query.

number_of_pages = 4 - 4096, indicating the number of pages that are automatically requested to be read ahead. The default is 128 pages.

Separate the mode and the number of pages with a comma.
takes effect
After you edit your onconfig file and restart the database server.
When you reset the value dynamically in your onconfig file by running the onmode -wf command.
When you reset the value in memory by running the onmode -wm command.
If an AUTO_READAHEAD value is not set in your current onconfig file and you edit the AUTO_TUNE configuration parameter and restart the database server


Automatic read-ahead operations help improve query performance by issuing asynchronous page requests when the database server detects that the query is encountering I/O. Asynchronous page requests can improve query performance by overlapping query processing with the processing necessary to retrieve data from disk and put it in the buffer pool.

Generally, the default value of 1 is appropriate for most production environments.

While there are no specific circumstances in which aggressive read-ahead operations perform significantly better than standard read-ahead operations, aggressive read-ahead might be slightly more effective:

  • For some scans that read a small amount of data
  • In situations in which you switch between turning read-ahead off for small scans and on for longer scans
  • For scans that look only at a small number of rows, because the server performs read-ahead operations immediately rather than waiting for the scan to encounter I/O.

For scans that might turn read-ahead operations off and on because the scan hits pockets of cached data, aggressive read-ahead operations do not turn off read-ahead operations.

Use aggressive read-ahead operations only in situations in which you tested both settings and know that aggressive read-ahead operations are more effective. Do not use aggressive read-ahead operations if you are not sure that they are more effective.

You can use the AUTO_READAHEAD environment option of the SET ENVIRONMENT statement of SQL to enable or disable the value of the AUTO_READAHEAD configuration parameter for a session.

The precedence of read-ahead setting is as follows:
  1. A SET ENVIRONMENT AUTO_READAHEAD statement for a session.
  2. The AUTO_READAHEAD configuration parameter value of 1 or 2.
  3. If the value for the AUTO_READAHEAD configuration parameter is not present in the onconfig file, the server performs read-ahead on 128 data pages (which equates to AUTO_READAHEAD mode set to 1), when the server completes a query.

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