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I have several Oracle servers that exhibit a behavior I do not understand. I have identified a two node RAC in which one node exhibits the behavior, but the other node does not. RAC is not involved in the issue, but it dramatically reduces the differences between the servers experiencing the different behavior.

Why is the following output different?
Node 2 (expected behavior):

SQL> select 'a' from dual;


SQL>  select 'abc' from dual;


Node 1 (unexpected behavior):

SQL> select 'a' from dual;


SQL>  select 'abc' from dual;


These nodes are connecting to different instances of the same database. I have done a show all on both and verified that the sqlplus settings are identical.

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I found this just before posting. The difference is the linux environment setting for NLS_LANG. It was set to American_America.UTF8 on the system it added padding to. Unsetting this on one and setting this on the other swapped where the behavior.

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Yeah, the latter will be multibyte hence the padding (increased column length). – Phil Mar 12 '14 at 0:56

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