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Oracle MERGE statement - Features, Enhancements and Logging

The MERGE statement was introduced in Oracle 9i to conditionally insert or update data depending on its presence, a process also known as an "upsert". The MERGE statement reduces table scans and can perform the operation in parallel if required. With different releases of Oracle MERGE has also got enhancements. 

Use the MERGE statement to select rows from one or more sources for update or insertion into a table or view. You can specify conditions to determine whether to update or insert into the target table or view. 

This statement is a convenient way to combine multiple operations. It lets you avoid multiple INSERTUPDATE, and DELETE DML statements.
MERGE is a deterministic statement. You cannot update the same row of the target table multiple times in the same MERGE statement.
Oracle Database does not implement fine-grained access control during MERGE statements. If you are using the fine-grained access control feature on the target table or tables, then use equivalent INSERT and UPDATE statements instead of MERGE to avoid error messages and to ensure correct access control.

Prerequisite:
You must have the INSERT and UPDATE object privileges on the target table and the SELECT object privilege on the source table. To specify the DELETE clause of the merge_update_clause, you must also have the DELETE object privilege on the target table.

Syntax:
Description of merge.gif follows

MERGE [ hint ]
   INTO [ schema. ] { table | view } [ t_alias ]
   USING { [ schema. ] { table | view }
         | subquery 
         } [ t_alias ]
   ON ( condition )
   [ merge_update_clause ]
   [ merge_insert_clause ]
   [ error_logging_clause ] ;


merge_update_clause ::=
Description of merge_update_clause.gif follows

merge_insert_clause ::=
Description of merge_insert_clause.gif follows


error_logging_clause ::=
Description of error_logging_clause.gif follows

LOG ERRORS 
  [ INTO [schema.] table ]
  [ (simple_expression) ]
  [ REJECT LIMIT { integer | UNLIMITED } ]

Initially when MERGE statement was introduced it has the following syntax:
Consider the following example where data from the HR_RECORDS table is merged into the EMPLOYEES table.
MERGE INTO employees e
    USING hr_records h
    ON (e.id = h.emp_id)
  WHEN MATCHED THEN
    UPDATE SET e.address = h.address
  WHEN NOT MATCHED THEN
    INSERT (id, address)
    VALUES (h.emp_id, h.address);
The source can also be a query.
MERGE INTO employees e
    USING (SELECT * FROM hr_records WHERE start_date > ADD_MONTHS(SYSDATE, -1)) h
    ON (e.id = h.emp_id)
  WHEN MATCHED THEN
    UPDATE SET e.address = h.address
  WHEN NOT MATCHED THEN
    INSERT (id, address)
    VALUES (h.emp_id, h.address);

With further Oracle release there was a tremendous enhancement in the way MERGE works.

MERGE Statement Enhancements in Oracle Database 10g

We will be using a test table to explain the Enhancement with example. 

CREATE TABLE test1 AS
SELECT *
FROM   all_objects
WHERE  1=2;

1. Optional Clauses
The merge_insert_clause specifies values to insert into the column of the target table if the condition of the ON clause is false. If the insert clause is executed, then all insert triggers defined on the target table are activated. If you omit the column list after the INSERT keyword, then the number of columns in the target table must match the number of values in the VALUES clause.
The merge_update_clause specifies the new column values of the target table. Oracle performs this update if the condition of the ON clause is true. If the update clause is executed, then all update triggers defined on the target table are activated.
In previous oracle version these two clauses were used together. From 10g the MATCHED and NOT MATCHED clauses are now optional ( can be used without other) making all of the following examples valid.
-- Both clauses present.
MERGE INTO test1 a
  USING all_objects b
    ON (a.object_id = b.object_id)
  WHEN MATCHED THEN
    UPDATE SET a.status = b.status
  WHEN NOT MATCHED THEN
    INSERT (object_id, status)
    VALUES (b.object_id, b.status);

-- No matched clause, insert only.
MERGE INTO test1 a
  USING all_objects b
    ON (a.object_id = b.object_id)
  WHEN NOT MATCHED THEN
    INSERT (object_id, status)
    VALUES (b.object_id, b.status);

-- No not-matched clause, update only.
MERGE INTO test1 a
  USING all_objects b
    ON (a.object_id = b.object_id)
  WHEN MATCHED THEN
    UPDATE SET a.status = b.status;

Conditional Operations

Conditional inserts and updates are now possible by using a WHERE clause on these statements.
Specify the where_clause if you want the database to execute the insert/update operation only if the specified condition is true. The condition can refer to either the data source or the target table. If the condition is not true, then the database skips the insert/update operation when merging the row into the table.
-- Both clauses present.
MERGE INTO test1 a
  USING all_objects b
    ON (a.object_id = b.object_id)
  WHEN MATCHED THEN
    UPDATE SET a.status = b.status
    WHERE  b.status != 'VALID'
  WHEN NOT MATCHED THEN
    INSERT (object_id, status)
    VALUES (b.object_id, b.status)
    WHERE  b.status != 'VALID';

-- No matched clause, insert only.
MERGE INTO test1 a
  USING all_objects b
    ON (a.object_id = b.object_id)
  WHEN NOT MATCHED THEN
    INSERT (object_id, status)
    VALUES (b.object_id, b.status)
    WHERE  b.status != 'VALID';

-- No not-matched clause, update only.
MERGE INTO test1 a
  USING all_objects b
    ON (a.object_id = b.object_id)
  WHEN MATCHED THEN
    UPDATE SET a.status = b.status
    WHERE  b.status != 'VALID';

DELETE Clause

An optional DELETE WHERE clause can be added to the MATCHED clause to clean up after a merge operation. Only those rows in the destination table that match both the ON clause and the DELETE WHERE are deleted. Depending on which table the DELETE WHERE references, it can target the rows prior or post update. The following examples clarify this.
Create a source table with 5 rows as follows.
CREATE TABLE source AS
SELECT level AS id,
       CASE
         WHEN MOD(level, 2) = 0 THEN 10
         ELSE 20
       END AS status,
       'Description of level ' || level AS description
FROM   dual
CONNECT BY level <= 5;

SELECT * FROM source;

        ID     STATUS DESCRIPTION
---------- ---------- -----------------------
         1         20 Description of level 1
         2         10 Description of level 2
         3         20 Description of level 3
         4         10 Description of level 4
         5         20 Description of level 5

5 rows selected.

SQL>
Create the destination table using a similar query, but this time with 10 rows.
CREATE TABLE destination AS
SELECT level AS id,
       CASE
         WHEN MOD(level, 2) = 0 THEN 10
         ELSE 20
       END AS status,
       'Description of level ' || level AS description
FROM   dual
CONNECT BY level <= 10;

SELECT * FROM destination;

         1         20 Description of level 1
         2         10 Description of level 2
         3         20 Description of level 3
         4         10 Description of level 4
         5         20 Description of level 5
         6         10 Description of level 6
         7         20 Description of level 7
         8         10 Description of level 8
         9         20 Description of level 9
        10         10 Description of level 10

10 rows selected.

SQL>
The following MERGE statement will update all the rows in the destination table that have a matching row in the source table. The additional DELETE WHERE clause will delete only those rows that were matched, already in the destination table, and meet the criteria of the DELETE WHERE clause.
MERGE INTO destination d
  USING source s
    ON (s.id = d.id)
  WHEN MATCHED THEN
    UPDATE SET d.description = 'Updated'
    DELETE WHERE d.status = 10;

5 rows merged.

SQL>

SELECT * FROM destination;

        ID     STATUS DESCRIPTION
---------- ---------- -----------------------
         1         20 Updated
         3         20 Updated
         5         20 Updated
         6         10 Description of level 6
         7         20 Description of level 7
         8         10 Description of level 8
         9         20 Description of level 9
        10         10 Description of level 10

8 rows selected.

SQL>
Notice there are rows with a status of "10" that were not deleted. This is because there was no match between the source and destination for these rows, so the delete was not applicable.
The following example shows the DELETE WHERE can be made to match against values of the rows before the update operation, not after. In this case, all matching rows have their status changed to "10", but the DELETE WHERE references the source data, so the status is checked against the source, not the updated values.
ROLLBACK;

MERGE INTO destination d
  USING source s
    ON (s.id = d.id)
  WHEN MATCHED THEN
    UPDATE SET  d.description = 'Updated',
                d.status = 10
    DELETE WHERE s.status = 10;

5 rows merged.

SQL>
  
SELECT * FROM destination;

        ID     STATUS DESCRIPTION
---------- ---------- -----------------------
         1         10 Updated
         3         10 Updated
         5         10 Updated
         6         10 Description of level 6
         7         20 Description of level 7
         8         10 Description of level 8
         9         20 Description of level 9
        10         10 Description of level 10

8 rows selected.

SQL>
Notice, no extra rows were deleted compared to the previous example.
By switching the DELETE WHERE to reference the destination table, the extra updated rows can be deleted also.
ROLLBACK;

MERGE INTO destination d
  USING source s
    ON (s.id = d.id)
  WHEN MATCHED THEN
    UPDATE SET  d.description = 'Updated',
                d.status = 10
    DELETE WHERE d.status = 10;

5 rows merged.

SQL>
  
SELECT * FROM destination;

        ID     STATUS DESCRIPTION
---------- ---------- -----------------------
         6         10 Description of level 6
         7         20 Description of level 7
         8         10 Description of level 8
         9         20 Description of level 9
        10         10 Description of level 10

5 rows selected.

SQL>


Restrictions on the merge_update_clause 
This clause is subject to the following restrictions:
  • You cannot update a column that is referenced in the ON condition clause.
  • You cannot specify DEFAULT when updating a view.
Restriction on Merging into a View 
  • You cannot specify DEFAULT when updating a view.

Advantages of Using MERGE 

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