Oracle Scratchpad

May 23, 2013

Dynamic Sampling – 2

Filed under: CBO,Hints,Oracle,Troubleshooting — Jonathan Lewis @ 12:46 pm BST May 23,2013

I’ve written about dynamic sampling in the past, but here’s a little wrinkle that’s easy to miss. How do you get the optimizer to work out the correct cardinality for a query like (the table creation statement follows the query):

select	count(*)
from	t1
where	n1 = n2
;

create table t1
as
with generator as (
	select	--+ materialize
		rownum id
	from dual
	connect by
		level <= 1e4
)
select
	mod(rownum, 1000)	n1,
	mod(rownum, 1000)	n2
from
	generator	v1,
	generator	v2
where
	rownum <= 1e6 ; 

If you’re running 11g and can changed the code there are a couple of easy options – adding a virtual column, or applying extended stats and then modifying the SQL accordingly would be appropriate.

 -- Virtual Column
alter table t1 add (
 	n3	generated always as ( case n1 when n2 then 1 end) virtual
)
;

execute dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(user,'t1',method_opt=>'for columns n3 size 1')

-- Extended Stats

begin
	dbms_output.put_line(
		dbms_stats.create_extended_stats(
			ownname		=> user,
			tabname		=> 'T1',
			extension	=> '(case n1  when n2 then 1 else null end)'
		)
	);

	dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(
		ownname		 => user,
		tabname		 =>'T1',
		block_sample 	 => true,
		method_opt 	 => 'for columns (case n1  when n2 then 1 else null end) size 1'
	);
end;
/

select	count(*)
from	t1
where	(case n1 when n2 then 1 else null end)= 1
;

If you can’t change the SQL statement, there’s always the option for bypassing the problem by fixing a suitable execution plan with an SQL Baseline, of course. Alternatively, if you can think of the right hint you could create an “SQL Patch” for the statement – but what hint might be appropriate ? I’ll answer that question in a minute.

Here’s another option, though: get Oracle to use dynamic sampling. (You probably guessed that from the title of the post.) So which level would you use to make this work ? Left to its own devices, Oracle would calculate the selectivity of the predicate n1 = n2 as the smaller of the two separate predicates “n1 = unknown” and “n2 = unknown”. So you might hope that level 3 (Oracle is “guessing”) or level 4 (more than one predicate on a single table) might be appropriate. It’s the latter that works. If you execute “alter session set optimizer_dynamic_sampling=4;” before executing this query, Oracle will sample the table before optimising.

The method works, but can you apply it ? Possibly not, if you’re not allowed to inject any extra SQL anywhere – after all, you probably don’t want to set the parameter at the system level (spfile or init.ora) because it may affect lots of other queries – introducing more work because of the sample, and then risking unexpected changes in execution plans. Setting the parameter for a session is often no better. And this brings me back to the SQL Patch approach – if you don’t want to create a baseline for the query then perhaps a patch with the hint /*+ opt_param(‘optimizer_dynamic_sampling’ 4) */ will do the trick. Don’t forget all the doubling of single quotes that you’ll need, though (this is the code fragment I used):

begin
	sys.dbms_sqldiag_internal.i_create_patch(
		sql_text	=>
'
select
	count(*)
from	t1
where	n1 = n2
',
		hint_text	=> 'opt_param(''optimizer_dynamic_sampling'' 4)'

	);
end;
/

For more analysis and commentary on the SQL Patch mechanism, you might like to read Dominic Brooks’ mini-series:

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