Now that 12c is out, here’s an idea that might save you some time even if you have no intention of migrating to, or even testing, the product for a couple of years. Download the “List of bugs fixed in 12c”: you may find that it’s the best starting point when you’re trying to solve a problem in your current version of Oracle.
A slightly more sophisticated version of the same thing – download and install the product, then take a dump of v$system_fix_control – that may also give you some insight into anomalies (that are not necessarily declared as bugs) in the way Oracle – and the optimizer in particular – behave. I updated the referenced note to add in a couple of figures for 12.1 – but one figure that’s not there is the number of database parameters: now at 368 in the v$ and 3,333 in the x$ (in my Beta 3 release).
A couple of weeks ago I posted a reference list of links to the bug fix notes for several of the most recent versions of Oracle – and several of the links recorded a surprisingly large number of clicks very rapidly, especially the 220.127.116.11 link. As a follow-up on the difficulties of upgrading, then, and with an insight into the number of enhancements and fixes to the optimizer that take place I decided to take a look at recent developments in the “fix control” list, and the “optimizer environment” parameters. Here’s a breakdown of the number of entries in recent versions of Oracle.
Here’s an example of how a bug-fix can create problems. It’s a code change in 11.2.x.x and (I believe) 10.2.0.5 relating to the costing of queries involving (but perhaps not restricted to) composite partitioned tables. I first saw this change in an email from Doug Burns, who sent me the 10053 traces from a very simple query that had started using the wrong index after an upgrade from 10.2.0.4 to 18.104.22.168.
As part of his testing he had set the optimizer_features_enable parameter back to 10.2.0.4 and found that not only did the choice of index change back to the expected index, but the costs of the two indexes changed dramatically. (The cost of using the “right” index changed from 15 to something in excess of 9,000 on the upgrade!)
There’s a very useful posting from Coskan Gundogar about tracking down a problem to do with an 11g upgrade.
The method basically revolves around a quick check for “known issues” that might be relevant by looking at the dynamic performance views v$system_fix_control.
When I read Coskan’s notes I had forgotten that I had written a short item about this myself about a year ago where I listed the relatively small number of items available in 10.2.0.3. The list is up to 1070 items in 22.214.171.124.
Each time you upgrade the Oracle server (even with a patch release), you may find that some strange things happen to a few execution paths. Every release carries some changes to the optimizer code – sometimes enhancements, sometimes bug fixes – and every change might be one that just happens to do something nasty with your existing code.
A little feature that may help when you upgrade is the view v$system_fix_control. This is a view which lists a number of bug fixes that you can disable with the _fix_control parameter. (The parameter and view appeared 10.2.0.2, I believe).