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I am piggybacking off of this question, but asking it from the Oracle perspective.

Specifically, how does a DELETE/TRUNCATE affect the size of the table and/or tablespace?

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Lots of material on this here: stackoverflow.com/questions/139630/… –  David Aldridge May 20 '13 at 11:17

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Note: Deletes perform normal DML. That is, they take locks on rows, they generate redo (lots of it), and they require segments in the UNDO tablespace. Deletes clear records out of blocks carefully. If a mistake is made a rollback can be issued to restore the records prior to a commit. A delete does not relinquish segment space thus a table in which all records have been deleted retains all of its original blocks.

Truncates are DDL and, in a sense, cheat. A truncate moves the High Water Mark of the table back to zero. No row-level locks are taken, no redo or rollback is generated. All extents bar the initial are de-allocated from the table (if you have MINEXTENTS set to anything other than 1, then that number of extents is retained rather than just the initial). By re-positioning the high water mark, they prevent reading of any table data, so they have the same effect as a delete, but without all the overhead. Just one slight problem: a truncate is a DDL command, so you can't roll it back if you decide you made a mistake. (It's also true that you can't selectively truncate -no "WHERE" clause is permitted, unlike with deletes, of course).

By resetting the High Water Mark, the truncate prevents reading of any table's data, so they it has the same effect as a delete, but without the overhead. There is, however, one aspect of a Truncate that must be kept in mind. Because a Truncate is DDL it issues a COMMIT before it acts and another COMMIT afterward so no rollback of the transaction is possible.

Note that by default, TRUNCATE drops storage even if DROP STORAGE is not specified.

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RE truncates - Though if you have FLASHBACK DATABASE setup you can recover the DB to a previous SCN and get the data, but it requires a database bounce. See gavinsoorma.com/2009/08/using-flashback-to-rollback-a-truncate as an example –  Phil May 16 '13 at 15:17

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