Dropping sequences whose name starts with ISEQ$$

We had an application that created 500,000 tables and 500,000 sequences and the vendor sent us a cleanup script that we thought would drop the tables but not the sequences. It took us a few attempts to get a cleanup script that looked like it would work with the tables, but the sequences seemed totally wrong. The tables had dashes in their names and a bunch of random characters between the dashes and the cleanup script looked for that pattern. But the sequence names all started with ISEQ$$ and they were trying to drop sequences whose names were like the tables’ names. Confusing. Finally, they convinced us to run the script whether it looks like it would work or not. After tweaking it a bit it did run and dropped both the tables and the sequences. What in the world? Then I had a vague memory of something called “identity columns” probably from my 12.1 certification. I do not think I have seen them in a real system, so I checked the tables and sure enough they all had a single identity column and each sequence matched up with each table. So, when we dropped the tables, the sequences went with them. I do not know why I did not clue into the fact that the sequences have dollar signs $$ in their name which means they were probably system generated. Duh!

I thought about not posting anything about this because I was sure there were several good posts out there about this and there are. So, I will link some of them below and not try to recreate them. The funny thing is that the DBAs at the vendor kept talking about flushing the recycle bin to drop the sequence and that also made no sense at the time. Why would flushing the dropped tables out of the recycle bin have anything to do with the sequences? But as you will see in the posts it does.

One thing that probably is not in the posts is that if you turn off the recycle bin with a parameter then dropping the table drops the sequence that is associated with its identity column without having to clear the recycle bin or do a drop table purge. We have this parameter set:

SQL> show parameter recyclebin

NAME                                 TYPE        VALUE
------------------------------------ ----------- -----------------
recyclebin                           string      OFF

Here is my simple test script and its output: zip

I used drop table purge in the test script, so it works even if the recycle bin is enabled. If you run the blog.sql script in the zip, be sure to run it as a user that does not have any tables.

Here are the blog posts:


This is from Tim Hall’s Oracle Base which has a fantastic amount of detail about various Oracle features and versions. It shows the ISEQ$$ sequence names. Why didn’t I just google ISEQ$$?


This talks about how to drop the sequence by dropping the table and either clearing the recycle bin or using drop table purge.


This SO question has a nice answer similar to the previous post.


Covers a lot of ground but talks about the recycle bin.

Anyway, I wanted to note these posts/links as well as my experience. If you want to drop sequences with names starting with ISEQ$$ you need to drop the associated table with an identity column and be sure to purge the table from the recycle bin if you have it enabled.


About Bobby

I live in Chandler, Arizona with my wife and three daughters. I work for US Foods, the second largest food distribution company in the United States. I have worked in the Information Technology field since 1989. I have a passion for Oracle database performance tuning because I enjoy challenging technical problems that require an understanding of computer science. I enjoy communicating with people about my work.
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