Oracle Scratchpad

May 18, 2018

Bitmap Join Indexes

Filed under: bitmaps,CBO,Execution plans,Indexing,Oracle,Statistics — Jonathan Lewis @ 2:29 pm GMT May 18,2018

I’ve been prompted by a recent question on the ODC database forum to revisit a note I wrote nearly five years ago about bitmap join indexes and their failure to help with join cardinalities. At the time I made a couple of unsupported claims and suggestions without supplying any justification or proof. Today’s article finally fills that gap.

The problem is this – I have a column which exhibits an extreme skew in its data distribution, but it’s in a “fact” table where most columns are meaningless ids and I have to join to a dimension table on its primary key to translate an id into a name. While there is a histogram on the column in the fact table the information in the histogram ceases to help if I do the join to the dimension and query by name, and the presence of a bitmap join index doesn’t make any difference. Let’s see this in action – some of the code follows a different pattern and format from my usual style because I started by copying and editing the example supplied in the database forum:


rem
rem     Script:         bitmap_join_4.sql
rem     Author:         Jonathan Lewis
rem     Dated:          May 2018
rem
rem     Last tested 
rem             12.2.0.1
rem             12.1.0.2
rem             11.2.0.4
rem
rem     Notes:
rem     Bitmap join indexes generate virtual columns on the fact table
rem     but you can't get stats on those columns - which means if the
rem     data is skewed you can have a histogram on the raw column but
rem     you don't have a histogram on the bitmap virtual column.
rem

drop table t1;
drop table dim_table;

create table dim_table (type_code number, object_type varchar2(10));

insert into dim_table values (1,'TABLE');
insert into dim_table values (2,'INDEX');
insert into dim_table values (3,'VIEW');
insert into dim_table values (4,'SYNONYM');
insert into dim_table values (5,'OTHER');

alter table dim_table add constraint dim_table_pk primary key (type_code) using index;

exec dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(user,'dim_table',cascade=>true);

create table t1 
nologging
as 
select 
        object_id, object_name, 
        decode(object_type, 'TABLE',1,'INDEX',2,'VIEW',3,'SYNONYM',4,5) type_code 
from 
        all_objects
where
        rownum <= 50000 -- > comment to bypass wordpress format issue
;

insert into t1 select * from t1;
insert into t1 select * from t1;
insert into t1 select * from t1;


create  bitmap index t1_b1 on t1(dt.object_type)
from    t1, dim_table dt
where   t1.type_code = dt.type_code
;

exec dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(null, 't1', cascade=>true, method_opt=>'for all columns size 254');


select
        dt.object_type, count(*)
from
        t1, dim_table  dt
where
        t1.type_code   = dt.type_code
group by
        dt.object_type
order by
        dt.object_type
;

I’ve started with a dimension table that lists 5 type codes and has a primary key on that type code; then I’ve used all_objects to generate a table of 400,000 rows using those type codes, and I’ve created a bitmap join index on the fact (t1) table based on the dimension (dim_table) table column. By choice the distribution of the five codes is massively skewed so after gathering stats (including histograms on all columns) for the table I’ve produced a simple aggregate report of the data showing how many rows there are of each type – by name. Here are the results – with the execution plan from 12.1.0.2 showing the benefit of the “group by placement” transformation:


OBJECT_TYP   COUNT(*)
---------- ----------
INDEX           12960
OTHER          150376
SYNONYM        177368
TABLE           12592
VIEW            46704

5 rows selected.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation             | Name      | Rows  | Bytes | Cost  |
-------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT      |           |       |       |   735 |
|   1 |  SORT GROUP BY        |           |     5 |   125 |   735 |
|*  2 |   HASH JOIN           |           |     5 |   125 |   720 |
|   3 |    VIEW               | VW_GBF_7  |     5 |    80 |   717 |
|   4 |     HASH GROUP BY     |           |     5 |    15 |   717 |
|   5 |      TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1        |   400K|  1171K|   315 |
|   6 |    TABLE ACCESS FULL  | DIM_TABLE |     5 |    45 |     2 |
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   2 - access("ITEM_1"="DT"."TYPE_CODE")

Having established the basic result we can now examine some execution plans to see how well the optimizer is estimating cardinality for queries relating to that skewed distribution. I’m going to generate the execution plans for a simple select of all the rows of type ‘TABLE’ – first by code, then by name, showing the execution plan of each query:


explain plan for
select  t1.object_id
from
        t1
where
        t1.type_code = 1
;

select * from table(dbms_xplan.display(null,null,'outline'));


--------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation         | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT  |      | 12592 |    98K|   281   (8)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1   | 12592 |    98K|   281   (8)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter("T1"."TYPE_CODE"=1)

Thanks to the histogram I generated on the type_code table the optimizer’s estimate of the number of rows is very accurate. So how well does the optimizer handle the join statistics:


prompt  =============
prompt  Unhinted join
prompt  =============

explain plan for
select  t1.object_id
from
        t1, dim_table  dt
where
        t1.type_code   = dt.type_code 
and     dt.object_type = 'TABLE'
;

select * from table(dbms_xplan.display(null,null,'outline'));

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation          | Name      | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT   |           | 80000 |  1328K|   287  (10)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  HASH JOIN         |           | 80000 |  1328K|   287  (10)| 00:00:01 |
|*  2 |   TABLE ACCESS FULL| DIM_TABLE |     1 |     9 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   3 |   TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1        |   400K|  3125K|   277   (7)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - access("T1"."TYPE_CODE"="DT"."TYPE_CODE")
   2 - filter("DT"."OBJECT_TYPE"='TABLE')

Taking the default execution path the optimizer’s estimate of rows identified by type name is 80,000 – which is one fifth of the total number of rows. Oracle knows that the type_code is skewed in t1, but at compile time doesn’t have any idea which type_code corresponds to type ‘TABLE’, so it’s basically using the number of distinct values to dictate the estimate.

We could try hinting the query to make sure it uses the bitmap join index – just in case this somehow helps the optimizer (and we’ll see in a moment why we might have this hope, and why it is forlorn):


prompt  ===================
prompt  Hinted index access
prompt  ===================

explain plan for
select 
        /*+ index(t1 t1_b1) */
        t1.object_id
from
        t1, dim_table dt
where
        t1.type_code   = dt.type_code 
and     dt.object_type = 'TABLE'
;

select * from table(dbms_xplan.display(null,null,'outline'));

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                           | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT                    |       | 80000 |   625K|   687   (1)| 00:00:01 |
|   1 |  TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID BATCHED| T1    | 80000 |   625K|   687   (1)| 00:00:01 |
|   2 |   BITMAP CONVERSION TO ROWIDS       |       |       |       |            |          |
|*  3 |    BITMAP INDEX SINGLE VALUE        | T1_B1 |       |       |            |          |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   3 - access("T1"."SYS_NC00004$"='TABLE')

The plan tells us that the optimizer now realises that it doesn’t need to reference the dimension table at all – all the information it needs is in the t1 table and its bitmap join index – but it still comes up with an estimate of 80,000 for the number of rows. The predicate section tells us what to do next – it identifies a system-generated column, which is the virtual column underlying the bitmap join index: let’s see what the stats on that column look like:


select
        column_name, histogram, num_buckets, num_distinct, num_nulls, sample_size
from
        user_tab_cols
where
        table_name = 'T1'
order by
        column_id
;


COLUMN_NAME          HISTOGRAM       NUM_BUCKETS NUM_DISTINCT  NUM_NULLS SAMPLE_SIZE
-------------------- --------------- ----------- ------------ ---------- -----------
OBJECT_ID            HYBRID                  254        50388          0        5559
OBJECT_NAME          HYBRID                  254        29224          0        5560
TYPE_CODE            FREQUENCY                 5            5          0      400000
SYS_NC00004$         NONE

4 rows selected.

There are no stats on the virtual column – and Oracle won’t try to collect any, and even if you write some in (using dbms_stats.set_column_stats) it won’t use them for the query. The optimizer seems to be coded to use the number of distinct keys from the index in this case.

Workaround

It’s very disappointing that there seems to be no official way to work around this problem – but Oracle has their own (undocumented) solution to the problem that comes into play with OLAP – the hint /*+ precompute_subquery() */. It’s possible to tell the optimizer to execute certain types of subquery as the first stage of optimising a query, then changing the query to take advantage of the resulting data:


explain plan for
select
        /*+
                qb_name(main)
                precompute_subquery(@subq)
        */
        t1.object_id
from
        t1
where
        t1.type_code in (
                select
                        /*+
                                qb_name(subq)
                        */
                        dt.type_code
                from    dim_table dt
                where   dt.object_type = 'TABLE'
        )
;

select * from table(dbms_xplan.display(null,null,'outline'));

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation         | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT  |      | 12592 |    98K|   281   (8)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1   | 12592 |    98K|   281   (8)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter("T1"."TYPE_CODE"=1)

Oracle hasn’t optimized the query I wrote, instead it has executed the subquery, derived a (very short, in this case) list of values, then optimized and executed the query I first wrote using the constant(s) returned by the subquery. And you can’t see the original subquery in the execution plan. Of course, with the literal values in place, the cardinality estimate is now correct.

It’s such a pity that this hint is undocumented, and one that you shouldn’t use in production.

 

May 11, 2018

Skip Scan 3

Filed under: CBO,Index skip scan,Indexing,Oracle — Jonathan Lewis @ 2:26 pm GMT May 11,2018

If you’ve come across any references to the “index skip scan” operation for execution plans you’ve probably got some idea that this can appear when the number of distinct values for the first column (or columns – since you can skip multiple columns) is small. If so, what do you make of this demonstration:


rem
rem     Script:         skip_scan_cunning.sql
rem     Author:         Jonathan Lewis
rem     Dated:          May 2018
rem

begin
        dbms_stats.set_system_stats('MBRC',16);
        dbms_stats.set_system_stats('MREADTIM',10);
        dbms_stats.set_system_stats('SREADTIM',5);
        dbms_stats.set_system_stats('CPUSPEED',1000);
end;
/

create table t1
nologging
as
with generator as (
        select 
                rownum id
        from dual 
        connect by 
                level <= 1e4 -- > comment to avoid WordPress format issue
)
select
        rownum                          id,
        rownum                          id1,
        rownum                          id2,
        lpad(rownum,10,'0')             v1,
        lpad('x',150,'x')               padding
/*
        cast(rownum as number(8,0))                     id,
        cast(lpad(rownum,10,'0') as varchar2(10))       v1,
        cast(lpad('x',100,'x') as varchar2(100))        padding
*/
from
        generator       v1,
        generator       v2
where
        rownum <= 1e6 -- > comment to avoid WordPress format issue
;

create index t1_i1 on t1(id1, id2);

begin
        dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(
                ownname     => user,
                tabname     => 'T1',
                method_opt  => 'for all columns size 1'
        );
end;
/

For repeatability I’ve set some system statistics, but if you’ve left the system stats to default you should see the same effect. All I’ve done is create a table and an index on that table. The way I’ve defined the id1 and id2 columns means they could individually support unique constraints and the index clearly has 1 million distinct values for id1 in the million index entries. So what execution plan do you think I’m likely to get from the following simple query:


set serveroutput off
alter session set statistics_level = all;

prompt  =======
prompt  Default
prompt  =======

select  id 
from    t1
where   id2 = 999
;

select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor(null,null,'allstats last cost'));

You’re probably not expecting an index skip scan to appear, but given the title of this posting you may have a suspicion that it will; so here’s the plan I got running this test on 12.2.0.1:


SQL_ID  8r5xghdx1m3hn, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select id from t1 where id2 = 999

Plan hash value: 400488565

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                           | Name  | Starts | E-Rows | Cost (%CPU)| A-Rows |   A-Time   | Buffers | Reads  |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT                    |       |      1 |        |  2929 (100)|      1 |00:00:00.17 |    2932 |      5 |
|   1 |  TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID BATCHED| T1    |      1 |      1 |  2929   (1)|      1 |00:00:00.17 |    2932 |      5 |
|*  2 |   INDEX SKIP SCAN                   | T1_I1 |      1 |      1 |  2928   (1)|      1 |00:00:00.17 |    2931 |      4 |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------

   2 - access("ID2"=999)
       filter("ID2"=999)


So, an index skip scan doesn’t require a small number of distinct values for the first column of the index (unless you’re running a version older than 11.2.0.2 where a code change appeared that could be disabled by setting fix_control 9195582 off).

When the optimizer doesn’t do what you expect it’s always worth hinting the code to follow the plan you were expecting – so here’s the effect of hinting a full tablescan (which happened to do direct path reads):

SQL_ID  bxqwhsjwqfm7q, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select  /*+ full(t1) */  id from t1 where id2 = 999

Plan hash value: 3617692013

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation         | Name | Starts | E-Rows | Cost (%CPU)| A-Rows |   A-Time   | Buffers | Reads  |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT  |      |      1 |        |  3317 (100)|      1 |00:00:00.12 |   25652 |  25635 |
|*  1 |  TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1   |      1 |      1 |  3317   (3)|      1 |00:00:00.12 |   25652 |  25635 |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------

   1 - filter("ID2"=999)

Note that the cost is actually more expensive than the cost of the indexed access path.  For reference you need to know that the blocks statistic for the table was 25,842 while the number of index leaf blocks was 2,922. The latter figure (combined with a couple of other details regarding the clustering_factor and undeclared uniqueness of the index) explains why the cost of the skip scan was only 2,928: the change that appeared in 11.2.0.2 limited the I/O cost of an index skip scan to the total number of leaf blocks in the index.  The tablescan cost (with my system stats) was basically dividing my table block count by 16 (to get the number of multi-block reads) and then doubling (because the multiblock read time is twice the single block read time).

As a quick demo of how older versions of Oracle would behave after setting “_fix_control”=’9195582:OFF’:


SQL_ID	bn0p9072w9vfc, child number 1
-------------------------------------
select	/*+ index_ss(t1) */  id from t1 where id2 = 999

Plan hash value: 400488565

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation			    | Name  | Starts | E-Rows | Cost (%CPU)| A-Rows |	A-Time	 | Buffers |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT		    |	    |	   1 |	      |  1001K(100)|	  1 |00:00:00.13 |    2932 |
|   1 |  TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID BATCHED| T1    |	   1 |	    1 |  1001K	(1)|	  1 |00:00:00.13 |    2932 |
|*  2 |   INDEX SKIP SCAN		    | T1_I1 |	   1 |	    1 |  1001K	(1)|	  1 |00:00:00.13 |    2931 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   2 - access("ID2"=999)
       filter("ID2"=999)

The cost of the skip scan is now a little over 1,000,000 – corresponding (approximately) to the 1 million index probes that will have to take place. You’ll notice that the number of buffer visits recorded is 2931 for the index operation, though: this is the result of the run-time optimisation that keeps buffers pinned very aggressively for skip scan – you might expect to see a huge number of visits recorded as “buffer is pinned count”, but for some reason that doesn’t happen. The cost is essentially Oracle calculating (with pinned root and branch) the cost of “id1 = {constant} and id2 = 999” and multiplying by ndv(id1).

Footnote:

Ideally, of course, the optimizer ought to work out that an index fast full scan followed by a table access ought to have a lower cost (using multi-block reads rather than walking the index in leaf block order one block at a time (which is what this particular skip scan will have to do) – but that’s not (yet) an acceptable execution plan though it does now appear a plan for deleting data.

tl;dr

If you have an index that is very much smaller than the table you may find examples where the optimizer does what appears to be an insanely stupid index skip scan when you were expecting a tablescan or, possibly, some other less efficient index to be used. There is a rationale for this, but such a plan may be much more CPU and read intensive than it really ought to be.

 

May 4, 2018

FBI Limitation

Filed under: CBO,distributed,Function based indexes,Indexing,Oracle — Jonathan Lewis @ 9:19 am GMT May 4,2018

A recent question on the ODC (OTN) database forum prompted me to point out that the optimizer doesn’t consider function-based indexes on remote tables in distributed joins. I then spent 20 minutes trying to find the blog note where I had demonstrated this effect, or an entry in the manuals reporting the limitation – but I couldn’t find anything, so I’ve written a quick demo which I’ve run on 12.2.0.1 to show the effect. First, the SQL to create a couple of tables and a couple of indexes:


rem
rem     Script:         fbi_limitation.sql
rem     Author:         Jonathan Lewis
rem     Dated:          May 2018
rem

-- create public database link orcl@loopback using 'orcl'; 
define m_target = orcl@loopback

create table t1
segment creation immediate
nologging
as
with generator as (
        select
                rownum id
        from dual
        connect by
                level <= 1e4 -- > comment to avoid WordPress format issue
)
select
        rownum                          id,
        rownum                          n1,
        lpad(rownum,10,'0')             v1,
        lpad('x',100,'x')               padding
from
        generator       v1,
        generator       v2
where
        rownum <= 1e6 -- > comment to avoid WordPress format issue
;

create table t2
nologging
as
select * from t1
;

alter table t1 add constraint t1_pk primary key(id);
alter table t2 add constraint t2_pk primary key(id);
create unique index t2_f1 on t2(id+1);

begin
        dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(
                ownname     => user,
                tabname     => 'T1',
                cascade     => true,
                method_opt  => 'for all columns size 1'
        );

        dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(
                ownname     => user,
                tabname     => 'T2',
                cascade     => true,
                method_opt  => 'for all columns size 1'
        );
end;
/


The code is very simple, it creates a couple of identical tables with an id column that will produce an index with a very good clustering_factor. You’ll notice that I’ve (previously) created a public database link that is (in my case) a loopback to the current database and the code defines a variable that I can use as a substitution variable later on. If you want to do further tests with this model you’ll need to make some changes in these two lines.

So now I’m going to execute a query that should result in the optimizer choosing a nested loop between the tables – but I have two versions of the query, one which treats t2 as the local table it really is, and one that pretends (through the loopback) that t2 is remote.


set serveroutput off

select
        t1.v1, t2.v1
from
        t1,
        t2
--      t2@orcl@loopback
where
        t2.id+1 = t1.id
and     t1.n1 between 101 and 110
;


select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor);

select
        t1.v1, t2.v1
from
        t1,
--      t2
        t2@orcl@loopback
where
        t2.id+1 = t1.id
and     t1.n1 between 101 and 110
;

select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor);

Here are the two execution plans, pulled from memory – including the “remote” section in the distributed case:


SQL_ID  fthq1tqthq8js, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select  t1.v1, t2.v1 from  t1,  t2 -- t2@orcl@loopback where  t2.id+1 =
t1.id and t1.n1 between 101 and 110

Plan hash value: 1798294492

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                    | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT             |       |       |       |  2347 (100)|          |
|   1 |  NESTED LOOPS                |       |    11 |   407 |  2347   (3)| 00:00:01 |
|*  2 |   TABLE ACCESS FULL          | T1    |    11 |   231 |  2325   (4)| 00:00:01 |
|   3 |   TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| T2    |     1 |    16 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  4 |    INDEX UNIQUE SCAN         | T2_F1 |     1 |       |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------

   2 - filter(("T1"."N1"<=110 AND "T1"."N1">=101))
   4 - access("T2"."SYS_NC00005$"="T1"."ID")

Note
-----
   - this is an adaptive plan




SQL_ID  ftnmywddff1bb, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select  t1.v1, t2.v1 from  t1, -- t2  t2@orcl@loopback where  t2.id+1 =
t1.id and t1.n1 between 101 and 110

Plan hash value: 1770389500

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation          | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     | Inst   |IN-OUT|
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT   |      |       |       |  4663 (100)|          |        |      |
|*  1 |  HASH JOIN         |      |    11 |   616 |  4663   (4)| 00:00:01 |        |      |
|*  2 |   TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1   |    11 |   231 |  2325   (4)| 00:00:01 |        |      |
|   3 |   REMOTE           | T2   |  1000K|    33M|  2319   (3)| 00:00:01 | ORCL@~ | R->S |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - access("T1"."ID"="T2"."ID"+1)
   2 - filter(("T1"."N1"<=110 AND "T1"."N1">=101))

Remote SQL Information (identified by operation id):
----------------------------------------------------
   3 - SELECT "ID","V1" FROM "T2" "T2" (accessing 'ORCL@LOOPBACK' )

Both plans show that the optimizer has estimated the number of rows that would be retrieved from t1 correctly (very nearly); but while the fully local query does a nested loop join using the high-precision, very efficient function-based index (reporting the internal supporting column referenced in the predicate section) the distributed query seems to have no idea about the remote function-based index and select all the required rows from the remote table and does a hash join.

Footnote:

Another reason for changes in execution plan when you test fully local and then run distributed is due to the optimizer ignoring remote histograms, as demonstrated in a much older blog note (though still true in 12.2.0.1).

Addendum

After finishing this note, I discovered that I had written a similar note about reverse key indexes nearly five years ago. Arguably a reverse key is just a special case of a function-based index – except it’s not labelled as such in user_tab_cols, and doesn’t depend on a system-generated hidden column.

 

March 13, 2018

Deferred Invalidation

Filed under: 12c,CBO,Infrastructure,Oracle,Troubleshooting,Upgrades — Jonathan Lewis @ 6:30 pm GMT Mar 13,2018

I was going to write an article on the way 12.2 has introduced the option for “deferred invalidation” for a number of DDL operations, but I did a quick google search before I started writing and found that both Franck Pachot and Richard Foote (yes, rebuild index is one of the operations) had got there long ago so here are a couple of links – as much for my own benefit as anything else:

Richard Foote:

Franck Pachot:

Franck’s 2nd example may be particularly relevant to some clients of mine who were having problems with SQL queries that were crashing (slowly and randomly) instead of running very efficiently because they were running queries against one subpartition of a table while another subpartition of the same table was subject to exchange. With a little bad luck in the timing an exchange that took place between a parse and an execute would cause a query to have its cursor invalidated and re-parsed in a way that failed to do (sub-)partition elimination the way it should have because the local indexes were in an indeterminate state.

 

March 8, 2018

Column Groups

Filed under: CBO,extended stats,Oracle,Statistics — Jonathan Lewis @ 6:54 am GMT Mar 8,2018

There’s a question on the ODC database forum about column groups that throws up an interesting side point. The OP is looking at a query like the following and asking about which column groups might help the optimizer get the best plan:

select
        a.*, b.*, c.*
from
        a, b, c
where
        a.id   = b.id
and     a.id1  = b.id1
and     a.id   = c.id
and     b.id2  = c.id2
and     a.id4  = 66
and     b.id7  = 44
and     c.id88 = 88
;

I’m going to start by being a bit boring about presentation and meaning (although this query has fairly obviously being engineered to conceal any meaningful column and table names) and do a cosmetic edit of the query because if I had a from clause reading “a, b, c” it would be because I thought the optimizer should identify that as the best join order, in which case I would also have written the predicate section to display the order in which the predicates would be used:

select
        a.*, b.*, c.*
from
        a, b, c
where
        a.id4  = 66
--
and     b.id   = a.id
and     b.id1  = a.id1
and     b.id7  = 44
--
and     c.id   = a.id
and     c.id2  = b.id2
and     c.id88 = 88
;

Having (to my mind) cosmetically enhanced the query, I’ll now ask the question: “Would it make sense to create column groups on a(id, id1), b(id, id1) and c(id, id2) ?”

I’ve written various articles on cases where column groups have effects (or not): “out of range” predicates, “is null” predicates, “histograms issues”, “statistics at both ends of the join”, and “multi-column indexes vs. column groups” are just some of the key areas. Assuming there are no reasons to stop a particular column group from working we can look at the join from table A to table B: it’s a two-column join so if there’s some strong correlation between the id and id1 columns of these two tables then creating the two column groups (one at each end of the join) can make a difference to the optimizer’s calculations with the most likely effect that the cardinality estimate on the join will go up and, as a side effect the join order and join method may change.

If we then consider the join to table C – we note that it involves two columns from table C being joined to one column from table A and one from table B so, while we could create a column group on those two columns at the table C end of the join, a column group is simply not possible at the A/B of the join. This means that one end of the join may have a selectivity that is hugely increased (far fewer combinations) because the column group has quantified the correlation, but the selectivity at the other end is simply based on the two separate selectivities from a.id and b.id2, and that’s likely to be smaller than the selectivity of (c.id, c.id2), and the optimizer will choose the smaller join selectivity hence producing a lower cardinality estimate.

This is where a collateral point appears – and it’s a point which also justifies the careful rearrangement of the SQL text – there is an opportunity for transitive closure that the human eye can see but the optimizer is not coded to manipulate. We have two predicates: “b.id = a.id” and “c.id = a.id” but they can only both be true when “c.id = b.id”, so let’s replace “c.id = a.id” with “c.id = b.id” and the join predicate to table C becomes:

and     c.id   = b.id
and     c.id2  = b.id2

Both left hand sides reference table C, both right hand sides reference table B – so if we now create a column group on c(id, id2) and an additional column group on b(id, id2) then we may give Oracle some better information about this join as well. In fact, even if we create NO column groups at all this specific change may be enough to result in a change in the selectivity calculations with a subsequent change in cardinality estimate and execution plan.

 

February 20, 2018

Assumptions

Filed under: CBO,Oracle,Philosophy — Jonathan Lewis @ 8:57 am GMT Feb 20,2018

As the years roll on I’ve found it harder and harder to supply quick answers to “simple” questions on the Oracle-L list server and OTN/ODC forum because things are constantly changing and an answer that may have been right the last time I checked could now be wrong. A simple example of the consequences of change showed up recently on the OTN/ODC forum where one reply to a question started:

Just why do you need distinct in a subquery??? That’s the first thing that appears really shocking to me. If it’s a simple in (select …) adding a distinct to the subquery would just impose a sort unique(as you can see in the explain plan), which may be quite costly.

Three question-marks is already tip-toeing its way to the Pratchett limit – but “really shocking” ? It’s bad enough that the comment goes operatic, but going operatic in order to introduce an error pushes the thing into tragedy (or possibly comedy – or maybe both). To make the self-inflicted injury worse, there were two execution plans supplied in the original post anyway of which only one showed any attempt to achieve uniqueness.

Bottom line – when you’re about to correct someone for doing something that is “obviously” wrong, be a little bit kind about it and then be kind to yourself and do a quick sanity check that your attempt at correction is itself correct. A good guideline would be to ask yourself: “How do I know what I know – and am I about to make myself look like an idiot (again).”

Check It

Question: Does a  “distinct” in a subquery impose a sort (or hash) unique ?

Answer: No – a uniqueness operation may appear, but it’s not guaranteed to appear.

Here’s a quick example which does not result in any attempt at imposing uniqueness (running 11.2.0.4):

rem
rem     Script:         unnest_demo.sql
rem     Author:         Jonathan Lewis
rem     Dated:          Feb 2018
rem

drop table t2 purge;
drop table t1 purge;
create table t1 as select * from all_objects where rownum  <= 100;
create table t2 as select * from all_objects where rownum <= 100;

create index t1_i1 on t1(owner);
create index t2_i2 on t2(object_type);


set autotrace traceonly explain

select  * 
from    t1 
where   owner = 'OUTLN' 
and     object_name in (
                select distinct object_name 
                from   t2 
                where  object_type = 'TABLE'
        )
;


Execution Plan
----------------------------------------------------------
Plan hash value: 3169044451

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                    | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT             |       |     3 |   558 |     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  HASH JOIN SEMI              |       |     3 |   558 |     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   2 |   TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| T1    |     3 |   474 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  3 |    INDEX RANGE SCAN          | T1_I1 |     3 |       |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   4 |   TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| T2    |    12 |   336 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  5 |    INDEX RANGE SCAN          | T2_I2 |    12 |       |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------

   1 - access("OBJECT_NAME"="OBJECT_NAME")
   3 - access("OWNER"='OUTLN')
   5 - access("OBJECT_TYPE"='TABLE')

Note
-----
   - dynamic sampling used for this statement (level=2)


There’s no sign of a sort unique or hash unique. The optimizer has decided that the IN subquery can be transformed into an EXISTS subquery, which can then be transformed into a semi-join.

I can think of three other execution plan strategies that might have appeared depending on the data, indexing, and statistics – initially I had just hacked the text above to produce the plans and hadn’t saved anything as a library script, but following a request in the comments below I decided to recreate the whole text and report the hints I’d used. In all the following cases the hints I quote go in the subquery, not in the main body of the query:

a) Hinting /*+ no_unnest */ transforms the IN subquery to an EXISTS subquery then operate as a filter subquery (with no uniqueness imposed):


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                    | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT             |       |     1 |   158 |     5   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  FILTER                      |       |       |       |            |          |
|   2 |   TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| T1    |     3 |   474 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  3 |    INDEX RANGE SCAN          | T1_I1 |     3 |       |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  4 |   TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| T2    |     1 |    28 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  5 |    INDEX RANGE SCAN          | T2_I2 |    12 |       |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

b) Hinting /*+ unnest no_merge no_semijoin */ gets a simple unnest with sort/hash unique and join


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                       | Name     | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT                |          |     3 |   525 |     5  (20)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  HASH JOIN                      |          |     3 |   525 |     5  (20)| 00:00:01 |
|   2 |   JOIN FILTER CREATE            | :BF0000  |     3 |   474 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   3 |    TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID  | T1       |     3 |   474 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  4 |     INDEX RANGE SCAN            | T1_I1    |     3 |       |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   5 |   VIEW                          | VW_NSO_1 |    12 |   204 |     3  (34)| 00:00:01 |
|   6 |    HASH UNIQUE                  |          |    12 |   336 |     3  (34)| 00:00:01 |
|   7 |     JOIN FILTER USE             | :BF0000  |    12 |   336 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   8 |      TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| T2       |    12 |   336 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  9 |       INDEX RANGE SCAN          | T2_I2    |    12 |       |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------

   1 - access("OBJECT_NAME"="OBJECT_NAME")
   4 - access("OWNER"='OUTLN')
   9 - access("OBJECT_TYPE"='TABLE')


For this data set I actually had to take the optimizer_features_enable back to ‘8.1.7’ to get this plan – On recreating the tests I realised that there was a way to get this plan from basic hints (though the modern versions of Oracle can slip a Bloom filter into the hash join). As you can see that there’s a HASH UNIQUE at operation 6, but that would have been there whether or not the DISTINCT keyword had appeared in the SQL. Effectively the query has been transformed to:


select  t1.*
from    (
                select  distinct t2.object_name object_name
                from    t2
                where   t2.object_type='TABLE'
        )
        vw_nso_1,
        t1
where   t1.owner = 'OUTLN'
and     t1.object_name = vw_nso_1.object_name
/

c) Hinting /*+ unnest no_semijoin merge */ results in unnesting, then a “transform distinct aggregation” so that the distinct is applied after the join. (In the original text I had said this was using “place group by”. But that’s the transformation that pushes an aggregate inside a join while what’s happening here is one of the variants of the opposite transformation.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                      | Name      | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT               |           |     3 |   474 |     5  (20)| 00:00:01 |
|   1 |  VIEW                          | VM_NWVW_1 |     3 |   474 |     5  (20)| 00:00:01 |
|   2 |   HASH UNIQUE                  |           |     3 |   594 |     5  (20)| 00:00:01 |
|*  3 |    HASH JOIN                   |           |     3 |   594 |     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   4 |     TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| T1        |     3 |   510 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  5 |      INDEX RANGE SCAN          | T1_I1     |     3 |       |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   6 |     TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| T2        |    12 |   336 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  7 |      INDEX RANGE SCAN          | T2_I2     |    12 |       |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   3 - access("T1"."OBJECT_NAME"="T2"."OBJECT_NAME")
   5 - access("T1"."OWNER"='OUTLN')
   7 - access("T2"."OBJECT_TYPE"='TABLE')

Note
-----
   - dynamic sampling used for this statement (level=2)

Again, the plan would be the same whether or not the original subquery had a redundant distinct.

The things you think you know may have been true 10 years ago – but maybe they’re not true any longer, or maybe they’re still true on your version of the database but not every  version of the database. So I often end up looking at a question, thinking the poster’s claim can’t be right, and then working out and modelling the circumstances that might make the poster’s observations appear (and learning something new).

Remember: “I’ve never seen it before” doesn’t mean “It doesn’t happen”.

Update (1st March 2018)

In a remarkably timely coincidence – showing that there’s always more to see, no matter how carefully you think you’ve been looking – Nenad Noveljic shows us that sometimes it’s actually a positively good thing to have a “redundant” distinct, because it bypasses an optimizer bug.

 

February 14, 2018

Join Factorization

Filed under: CBO,Oracle — Jonathan Lewis @ 3:38 pm GMT Feb 14,2018

This item is, by a roundabout route, a follow-up to yesterday’s note on a critical difference in cardinality estimates that appeared if you used the coalesce() function in its simplest form as a substitute for the nvl() function. Connor McDonald wrote a followup note about how using the nvl() function in a suitable predicate could lead to Oracle splitting a query into a union all (in version 12.2), which led me to go back to a note I’d written on the same topic about 10 years earlier where the precursor of this feature already existed but used concatenation instead of OR-expansion.

The script I’d used for my earlier article was actually one I’d written in February 2003 and tested fairly regularly since – which brings me to this article, because I finally tested my script against 12.2.0.1 to discover a very cute bit of optimisation.

The business of splitting a query into two parts can be used even when the queries are more complex and include joins; this doesn’t always happen automatically and sometimes has to be hinted (but that may be a costs/statistics thing) for example, from 12.1.0.2, a query and its execution plan:


select
        *
from
        t1, t2
where
        t1.v1 = nvl(:v1,t1.v1)
and     t2.n1 = t1.n1
;

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                               | Name    | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT                        |         |  1001 |   228K|    11   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   1 |  CONCATENATION                          |         |       |       |            |          |
|*  2 |   FILTER                                |         |       |       |            |          |
|*  3 |    HASH JOIN                            |         |  1000 |   228K|     8   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   4 |     TABLE ACCESS FULL                   | T2      |  1000 |   106K|     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  5 |     TABLE ACCESS FULL                   | T1      |  1000 |   122K|     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  6 |   FILTER                                |         |       |       |            |          |
|   7 |    NESTED LOOPS                         |         |     1 |   234 |     3   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   8 |     NESTED LOOPS                        |         |     1 |   234 |     3   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   9 |      TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID BATCHED| T1      |     1 |   125 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 10 |       INDEX RANGE SCAN                  | T1_IDX1 |     1 |       |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 11 |      INDEX UNIQUE SCAN                  | T2_PK   |     1 |       |     0   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|  12 |     TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID         | T2      |     1 |   109 |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   2 - filter(:V1 IS NULL)
   3 - access("T2"."N1"="T1"."N1")
   5 - filter("T1"."V1" IS NOT NULL)
   6 - filter(:V1 IS NOT NULL)
  10 - access("T1"."V1"=:V1)
  11 - access("T2"."N1"="T1"."N1")

You can see in this plan how Oracle has split the query into two queries combined through concatenation with filter operations at lines 2 (:v1 is null) and 6 (:v1 is not null) to allow the runtime engine to execute only the appropriate branch. You’ll also note that each branch can be optimised separately and in this case the two branches get dramatically different paths because of the enormous difference in the estimated volumes of data.

So let’s move up to 12.2.0.1 and see what happens to this query – but first I’m going to execute a cunning “alter session…” command which I’ll say more about later:


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                                | Name            | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT                         |                 |  1001 |   180K|    11   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   1 |  VIEW                                    | VW_ORE_F79C84EE |  1001 |   180K|    11   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   2 |   UNION-ALL                              |                 |       |       |            |          |
|*  3 |    FILTER                                |                 |       |       |            |          |
|   4 |     NESTED LOOPS                         |                 |     1 |   234 |     3   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   5 |      NESTED LOOPS                        |                 |     1 |   234 |     3   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   6 |       TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID BATCHED| T1              |     1 |   125 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  7 |        INDEX RANGE SCAN                  | T1_IDX1         |     1 |       |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  8 |       INDEX UNIQUE SCAN                  | T2_PK           |     1 |       |     0   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   9 |      TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID         | T2              |     1 |   109 |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 10 |    FILTER                                |                 |       |       |            |          |
|* 11 |     HASH JOIN                            |                 |  1000 |   228K|     8   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|  12 |      TABLE ACCESS FULL                   | T2              |  1000 |   106K|     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 13 |      TABLE ACCESS FULL                   | T1              |  1000 |   122K|     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   3 - filter(:V1 IS NOT NULL)
   7 - access("T1"."V1"=:V1)
   8 - access("T2"."N1"="T1"."N1")
  10 - filter(:V1 IS NULL)
  11 - access("T2"."N1"="T1"."N1")
  13 - filter("T1"."V1" IS NOT NULL)

There’s nothing terribly exciting about the change – except for the disappearance of the CONCATENATION operator and the appearance of the VIEW and UNION ALL operators to replace it (plus you’ll see that the two branches appear in the opposite order in the plan). But let’s try again, without doing that “alter session…”:


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                               | Name               | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT                        |                    |  1001 |   229K|    10   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  HASH JOIN                              |                    |  1001 |   229K|    10   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   2 |   TABLE ACCESS FULL                     | T2                 |  1000 |   106K|     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   3 |   VIEW                                  | VW_JF_SET$A2355C8B |  1001 |   123K|     6   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   4 |    UNION-ALL                            |                    |       |       |            |          |
|*  5 |     FILTER                              |                    |       |       |            |          |
|*  6 |      TABLE ACCESS FULL                  | T1                 |  1000 |   122K|     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  7 |     FILTER                              |                    |       |       |            |          |
|   8 |      TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID BATCHED| T1                 |     1 |   125 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  9 |       INDEX RANGE SCAN                  | T1_IDX1            |     1 |       |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - access("T2"."N1"="ITEM_1")
   5 - filter(:V1 IS NULL)
   6 - filter("T1"."V1" IS NOT NULL)
   7 - filter(:V1 IS NOT NULL)
   9 - access("T1"."V1"=:V1)

The plan now shows a view which is a union all involving only table t1 in both its branches. The result set from the view is then used as the probe table of a hash join with t2. You’ll note that the name of the view is now VW_JF_SET$A2355C8B – that’s JF for “Join Factorization”, and the alter session I executed to get the first plan was to disable the feature: ‘alter session set “_optimizer_join_factorization”= false;’.

Join factorization can occur when the optimizer sees a union all view that includes some tables that are common to both (all) branches of the query, and finds that it can move those tables outside the union all view while getting the same end result at a lower cost. In this case it happens to be a nice example of how the optimizer can transform then transform again to get to the lowest cost plan.

It’s worth noting that Join Factorization has been around since 11.2.x.x, and Or Expansion has been around for even longer – but it’s not until 12.2 that nvl() transforms through OR-expansion, which is what allows it to transform onwards through Join Factorization.

You’ll note, by the way, that with this plan we always do a full tablescan of t2 whereas if we stop after just OR-expansion the tablescan is just a potential threat that may never (or hardly ever) be realised.  That’s a point to check if you find that the transformation starts to appear inappropriately on an upgrade. There is a hint to disable the feature for a query, but it’s not trivial to get it right so if you do need to block the feature the smart hint (or SQL Patch) would be “opt_param(‘_optimizer_join_factorization’ ‘false’)”.

Footnote:

If you want to run the experiments yourself, here’s the script I used to generate the data. It’s more complicated than it needs to be because I use the same tables in several different tests:

rem
rem     Script:         null_plan_122.sql
rem     Author:         Jonathan Lewis
rem     Dated:          February 2018
rem     Purpose:
rem
rem     Last tested
rem             12.2.0.1        Join Factorization
rem             12.1.0.2        Concatenation
rem
rem

drop table t2;
drop table t1;

-- @@setup  -- various set commands etc.

create table t1 (
        n1              number(5),
        n2              number(5),
        v1              varchar2(10),
        v2              varchar2(10),
        v3              varchar2(10),
        v4              varchar2(10),
        v5              varchar2(10),
        padding         varchar2(100),
        constraint t1_pk primary key(n1)
);

insert into t1
select
        rownum,
        rownum,
        rownum,
        trunc(100 * dbms_random.value),
        trunc(100 * dbms_random.value),
        trunc(100 * dbms_random.value),
        trunc(100 * dbms_random.value),
        rpad('x',100)
from all_objects
where
        rownum <= 1000 -- > comment to avoid WordPress format mess
;

create unique index t1_n2 on t1(n2);

create index t1_idx1 on t1(v1);
create index t1_idx2 on t1(v2,v1);
create index t1_idx3 on t1(v3,v2,v1);

create table t2 (
        n1              number(5),
        v1              varchar2(10),
        padding         varchar2(100),
        constraint t2_pk primary key(n1)
);

insert into t2
select
        rownum,
        rownum,
        rpad('x',100)
from all_objects
where
        rownum <= 1000 -- > comment to avoid WordPress format mess
;

create index t2_idx on t2(v1);

begin dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(
                ownname          => user,
                tabname          =>'T1',
                method_opt       => 'for all columns size 1'
        );

        dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(
                ownname          => user,
                tabname          =>'T2',
                method_opt       => 'for all columns size 1'
        );
end;
/

variable n1 number
variable n2 number
variable v1 varchar2(10)
variable v2 varchar2(10)
variable v3 varchar2(10)

exec :n1 := null
exec :n2 := null
exec :v1 := null
exec :v2 := null
exec :v3 := null

spool null_plan_122

set autotrace traceonly explain

prompt  ============================================
prompt  One colx = nvl(:b1,colx) predicate with join
prompt  ============================================

select
        *
from
        t1, t2
where
        t1.v1 = nvl(:v1,t1.v1)
and     t2.n1 = t1.n1
;

alter session set "_optimizer_join_factorization" = false;

select
        *
from
        t1, t2
where
        t1.v1 = nvl(:v1,t1.v1)
and     t2.n1 = t1.n1
;

alter session set "_optimizer_join_factorization" = true;

set autotrace off

spool off

February 13, 2018

Coalesce v. NVL

Filed under: CBO,Oracle — Jonathan Lewis @ 11:23 am GMT Feb 13,2018

“Modern” SQL should use the coalesce() function rather than the nvl() function – or so the story goes but do you always want to do that to an Oracle database? The answer is “maybe not”.

Although the coalesce() function can emulate the nvl() function (in many cases) there are significant differences in behaviour, some that suggest it’s a good idea to use the substitution and others that suggest otherwise. Different decisions may be appropriate for different circumstances and this note highlights one case against the substitution.

We’ll start with a simple data set:

rem
rem     Script:         nvl_coalesce_2.sql
rem     Author:         Jonathan Lewis
rem     Dated:          Feb 2018
rem
rem     Last tested
rem             18.1.0.0    -- via LiveSQL
rem             12.2.0.1
rem             12.1.0.2
rem             11.2.0.4
rem

create table t1
as
with generator as (
        select
                rownum id
        from dual
        connect by
                level <= 1e4    -- > comment to avoid wordpress format issue
)
select
        rownum                          id,
        case mod(rownum,4)
                when 0  then 'Y'
                        else 'N'
        end                             yes_no,
        case mod(rownum,5)
                when 0  then 'Y'
                when 1  then null
                        else 'N'
        end                             yes_null_no,
        lpad('x',100,'x')               padding
from
        generator
;

begin
        dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(
                ownname          => user,
                tabname          =>'T1',
                method_opt       => 'for all columns size 1 for columns size 5 yes_no yes_null_no'
        );
end;
/

I’ve created a table with 10,000 rows and two columns with a highly skewed data distribution. Because I know that the skew is supposed to have a significant effect I’ve used a non-standard method_opt when gathering stats. (In a production system I would have the packaged procedure dbms_stats.set_table_prefs() to associate this with the table.)

The difference between the yes_no and the yes_null_no columns is that the latter is null for a significant fraction of the rows.

  • yes_no has: 7,500 N, 2,500 Y
  • yes_null_no has: 6,000 N, 2,000 null, 2,000 Y

Let’s now try to count the “N or null” rows using two different functions and see what estimates the optimizer produces for the counts. First counting the yes_no column – using nvl() then coalesce()


set autotrace traceonly explain

select * from t1 where nvl(yes_no,'N') = 'N';
select * from t1 where coalesce(yes_no,'N') = 'N';

set autotrace off

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation         | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT  |      |  7500 |   798K|    24   (5)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1   |  7500 |   798K|    24   (5)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter(NVL("YES_NO",'N')='N')

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation         | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT  |      |   100 | 10900 |    25   (8)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1   |   100 | 10900 |    25   (8)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter(COALESCE("YES_NO",'N')='N')

The estimate for the nvl() is accurate; the estimate for the coalesce() query is 100 rows.

Let’s repeat the test using the yes_null_no column, again starting with nvl() followed by coalesce():


set autotrace traceonly explain

select * from t1 where nvl(yes_null_no,'N') = 'N';
select * from t1 where coalesce(yes_null_no,'N') = 'N';

set autotrace off

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation         | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT  |      |  8000 |   851K|    24   (5)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1   |  8000 |   851K|    24   (5)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter(NVL("YES_NULL_NO",'N')='N')

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation         | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT  |      |   100 | 10900 |    25   (8)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1   |   100 | 10900 |    25   (8)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter(COALESCE("YES_NULL_NO",'N')='N')

Again we get the right result for the nvl() estimate (8,000 = 6,000 N + 2,000 null) and 100 for the coalesce() estimate.

By now you’ve probably realised that the coalesce() estimate is simply the “1% guess for equality” that applies to most cases of function(column). So, as we saw in the previous post, coalesce() gives us the benefits of “short-circuiting” but now we see it also threatens us with damaged cardinality estimates. The latter is probably less important than the former in many cases (especially since we might ne able to address the problem very efficiently using virtual columns), but it’s probably worth remembering.

September 19, 2017

With Subquery()

Filed under: CBO,match_recognize,Oracle,Subquery Factoring,Tuning — Jonathan Lewis @ 7:19 pm GMT Sep 19,2017

Here’s a little oddity that came up recently on the OTN database forum – an example where a “with” subquery (common table expression / factored subquery) produced a different execution plan from the equivalent statement with the subquery moved to an inline view; tested in 12.1.0.2 and 12.2.0.1. Here are the two variations:


rem
rem     Script:         match_recognize_05.sql
rem     Author:         Jonathan Lewis
rem     Dated:          Sep 2017
rem 
rem     Last tested
rem             18.1.0.0        via LiveSQL
rem             12.2.0.1
rem             12.1.0.2

with  tbl as (
          select 1 col1, 'a'  col2 from dual
union all select 2 , 'a' from dual
union all select 3 , 'b' from dual
union all select 4 , 'a' from dual
union all select 5 , 'a' from dual
union all select 6 , 'b' from dual
union all select 7 , 'b' from dual
),
lag_data as (
        select col1, col2, lag(col2) over (order by col1) col2a from tbl
)
select  col1, col2
from    lag_data
where   col2a is null or col2a <> col2
order by col1
;

with  tbl as (
          select 1 col1, 'a'  col2 from dual
union all select 2 , 'a' from dual
union all select 3 , 'b' from dual
union all select 4 , 'a' from dual
union all select 5 , 'a' from dual
union all select 6 , 'b' from dual
union all select 7 , 'b' from dual
)
select  col1, col2
from    (
        select col1, col2, lag(col2) over (order by col1) col2a from tbl
        )
where   col2a is null or col2a <> col2
order by col1
;

You’ll notice that there’s an explicit “order by” clause at the end of both queries. If you want the result set to appear in a specific order you should always specify the order and not assume that it will appear as a side effect; but in this case the ordering for the “order by” clause seems to match the ordering needed for the analytic function, so we might hope that the optimizer would take advantage of the analytic “window sort” and not bother with a “sort order by” clause. But here are the two plans – first with subquery factoring, then with the inline view:


-------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation        | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT |      |       |       |    16 (100)|          |
|   1 |  SORT ORDER BY   |      |     7 |    56 |    16  (13)| 00:00:01 |
|*  2 |   VIEW           |      |     7 |    56 |    15   (7)| 00:00:01 |
|   3 |    WINDOW SORT   |      |     7 |    42 |    15   (7)| 00:00:01 |
|   4 |     VIEW         |      |     7 |    42 |    14   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   5 |      UNION-ALL   |      |       |       |            |          |
|   6 |       FAST DUAL  |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   7 |       FAST DUAL  |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   8 |       FAST DUAL  |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   9 |       FAST DUAL  |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|  10 |       FAST DUAL  |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|  11 |       FAST DUAL  |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|  12 |       FAST DUAL  |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   2 - filter(("COL2A" IS NULL OR "COL2A"<>"COL2"



-------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation        | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT |      |       |       |    15 (100)|          |
|*  1 |  VIEW            |      |     7 |    56 |    15   (7)| 00:00:01 |
|   2 |   WINDOW SORT    |      |     7 |    42 |    15   (7)| 00:00:01 |
|   3 |    VIEW          |      |     7 |    42 |    14   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   4 |     UNION-ALL    |      |       |       |            |          |
|   5 |      FAST DUAL   |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   6 |      FAST DUAL   |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   7 |      FAST DUAL   |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   8 |      FAST DUAL   |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   9 |      FAST DUAL   |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|  10 |      FAST DUAL   |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|  11 |      FAST DUAL   |      |     1 |       |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter(("COL2A" IS NULL OR "COL2A"<>"COL2"))

The two plans are different, and the difference is an extra “sort order by” operation even though the optimizer has moved the subquery with the analtyic function inline so that in principle both statements are the technically the same and merely cosmetically different.

It’s been some time since I’ve noticed subquery factoring resulting in a change in plan when the expected effect is purely cosmetic. Interestingly, though, the “unparsed query” in the 10053 (CBO) trace file is the same for the two cases with the only difference being the name of a generated view:


SELECT  
        "LAG_DATA"."COL1" "COL1","LAG_DATA"."COL2" "COL2" 
FROM    (SELECT 
                "TBL"."COL1" "COL1","TBL"."COL2" "COL2",
                DECODE(
                        COUNT(*) OVER ( ORDER BY "TBL"."COL1" ROWS  BETWEEN 1 PRECEDING  AND 1 PRECEDING ),
                        1, FIRST_VALUE("TBL"."COL2") OVER ( ORDER BY "TBL"."COL1" ROWS  BETWEEN 1 PRECEDING  AND 1 PRECEDING ),
                           NULL
                ) "COL2A" 
        FROM    (
                            (SELECT 1 "COL1",'a' "COL2" FROM "SYS"."DUAL" "DUAL") 
                 UNION ALL  (SELECT 2 "2",'a' "'A'" FROM "SYS"."DUAL" "DUAL") 
                 UNION ALL  (SELECT 3 "3",'b' "'B'" FROM "SYS"."DUAL" "DUAL") 
                 UNION ALL  (SELECT 4 "4",'a' "'A'" FROM "SYS"."DUAL" "DUAL") 
                 UNION ALL  (SELECT 5 "5",'a' "'A'" FROM "SYS"."DUAL" "DUAL") 
                 UNION ALL  (SELECT 6 "6",'b' "'B'" FROM "SYS"."DUAL" "DUAL") 
                 UNION ALL  (SELECT 7 "7",'b' "'B'" FROM "SYS"."DUAL" "DUAL")
                ) "TBL"
        ) "LAG_DATA" 
WHERE 
        "LAG_DATA"."COL2A" IS NULL OR "LAG_DATA"."COL2A"<>"LAG_DATA"."COL2" 
ORDER BY "LAG_DATA"."COL1"

The above is the unparsed query for the query with two factored subqueries; the only difference in the unparsed query when I moved the analytic subquery inline was that the view name in the above text changed from “LAG_DATA” to “from$_subquery$_008”.

Footnote:

When I used a real table (with the same data) instead of a “union all” factored subquery for the driving data this anomaly disappeared. The union all is a convenient dirty trick for generating very small test data sets on OTN – it remains to be seen whether a more realistic example of multiple factored subqueries would still result in the optimizer losing an opportunity for eliminating a “sort order by” operation.

In passing – did you notice how the optimizer had managed to rewrite a “lag()” analytic function as a form of “first_value()” function with decode ?

If you’re wondering about the choice of script name for this test – it’s because I created the script to see if I could produce a match_recognize() version of the requirement; I discovered the sort/order by anomaly as an accidental side-effect.

Update

The same anomaly appears in 18.1 (as tested on LiveSQL), although I have to say that I’m doing an “explain plan” on LiveSQL since it won’t yet let you pull a plan from the library cache so it’s possible that the actual plan and the predicted plan are not identical.

August 14, 2017

Join Elimination Bug

Filed under: Bugs,CBO,Oracle — Jonathan Lewis @ 11:59 am GMT Aug 14,2017

A few years ago a bug relating to join elimination showed up in a comment to a post I’d done about the need to keep on testing and learining. The bug was visible in version 11.2.0.2 and, with a script to replay it, I’d found that it had disappeared by 11.2.0.4.

Today I had a reason to rediscover the script, and decided to test it against 12.2.0.1 – and found that the bug was still present.

Here’s the model:


rem     Script:         join_eliminate_bug_2.sql
rem     Author:         Jonathan Lewis
rem     Dated:          Dec 2012

drop table child purge;
drop table parent purge;

create table parent (
        id      number(4),
        name    varchar2(10),
        constraint par_pk primary key (id)
        deferrable initially immediate
)
;

create table child(
        id_p    number(4)       
                constraint chi_fk_par
                references parent,
        id      number(4),
        name    varchar2(10),
        constraint chi_pk primary key (id_p, id)
)
;

insert into parent values (1,'Smith');
insert into parent values (2,'Jones');

insert into child values(1,1,'Simon');
insert into child values(1,2,'Sally');

insert into child values(2,1,'Jack');
insert into child values(2,2,'Jill');

commit;

begin
        dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(user,'child');
        dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(user,'parent');
end;
/

set serveroutput off

select
        chi.*
from
        child   chi,
        parent  par
where
        par.id = chi.id_p
;

select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor);

The setup is just to show you the correct results with join elimination taking place. Here’s the output from the query and the actual execution plan:

      ID_P         ID NAME
---------- ---------- ------------
         1          1 Simon
         1          2 Sally
         2          1 Jack
         2          2 Jill

4 rows selected.


PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
-------------------------------------
SQL_ID  1whubydgj8w0s, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select  chi.* from  child chi,  parent par where  par.id = chi.id_p

Plan hash value: 2406669797

-----------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation         | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost  |
-----------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT  |       |       |       |    11 |
|   1 |  TABLE ACCESS FULL| CHILD |     4 |    48 |    11 |
-----------------------------------------------------------

On a single column join, with referential integrity in place, and no columns other than the primary key involved, the optimizer eliminates table parent from the query. But if I now defer the primary key constraint on parent and duplicate every row (which ought to duplicate the query result), watch what happens with the query:


set constraint par_pk deferred;

insert into parent (id,name) values (1,'Smith');
insert into parent (id,name) values (2,'Jones');

alter system flush shared_pool;

select
        chi.*
from
        child   chi,
        parent  par
where
        par.id = chi.id_p
;

select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor);


      ID_P         ID NAME
---------- ---------- ------------
         1          1 Simon
         1          2 Sally
         2          1 Jack
         2          2 Jill

4 rows selected.


PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
-------------------------------------
SQL_ID  1whubydgj8w0s, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select  chi.* from  child chi,  parent par where  par.id = chi.id_p

Plan hash value: 2406669797

-----------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation         | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost  |
-----------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT  |       |       |       |    11 |
|   1 |  TABLE ACCESS FULL| CHILD |     4 |    48 |    11 |
-----------------------------------------------------------

I get the same plan, so I get the same results – and notice that I flushed the shared pool before repeating the query so I haven’t fooled Oracle into reusing the wrong plan by accident – it’s a whole new freshly optimized plan.

Just to show what ought to happen here’s the last bit of the test case:


select  /*+ no_eliminate_join(@sel$1 par@sel$1) */
        chi.*
from
        child   chi,
        parent  par
where
        par.id = chi.id_p
;

select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor);


      ID_P         ID NAME
---------- ---------- ------------
         1          1 Simon
         1          2 Sally
         1          1 Simon
         1          2 Sally
         2          1 Jack
         2          2 Jill
         2          1 Jack
         2          2 Jill

8 rows selected.


PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
-------------------------------------
SQL_ID  5p8sp7k8b0fgq, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select /*+ no_eliminate_join(@sel$1 par@sel$1) */  chi.* from  child
chi,  parent par where  par.id = chi.id_p

Plan hash value: 65982890

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                    | Name   | Rows  | Bytes | Cost  |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                    | Name   | Rows  | Bytes | Cost  |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT             |        |       |       |     5 |
|   1 |  NESTED LOOPS                |        |     4 |    60 |     5 |
|   2 |   NESTED LOOPS               |        |     4 |    60 |     5 |
|   3 |    INDEX FULL SCAN           | PAR_PK |     2 |     6 |     1 |
|*  4 |    INDEX RANGE SCAN          | CHI_PK |     2 |       |     1 |
|   5 |   TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| CHILD  |     2 |    24 |     2 |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------

   4 - access("PAR"."ID"="CHI"."ID_P")


I ran this test on 11.2.0.4 – and then repeated it on 12.2.0.1: the bug is still present (although I thought I’d seen a MoS note saying it had been fixed in 12.1).

It’s always a little dangerous playing around with deferrable constraints – my view is that you should keep the interval of deferment as short as possible and don’t try to use it for doing anything other than correcting known data errors. At present if you have code that defers constraints and runs non-trivial queries afterwards you might want that code to start with an “alter session” to set the hidden parameter _optimizer_join_elimination_enabled to false (after checking with Oracle support, of course).

July 7, 2017

OFE

Filed under: CBO,Oracle,Upgrades — Jonathan Lewis @ 1:14 pm GMT Jul 7,2017

The title is a well-known shorthand for parameter optimizer_features_enable and it has been the topic of a recent blog post by Mike Dietrich in which he decries the practice of switching the parameter back to an older version on an upgrade (even though, as he points out, Oracle support has been known to recommend it and the manuals describe – though not with 100% accuracy – why you might do so).

I am one of the people who will suggest that on the upgrade a client should consider setting the optimizer_features_enable to the version just left behind as a strategy for getting to a newer version of the base code while minimising the threat of plan instability, so I’m going to play devil’s advocate in this case even though, as we shall see, I am nearly 100% in favour of Mike’s complaint.

The first point, of course, is full disclosure to the client.  Eventually they will have to set the parameter to the current database version, all they’re doing to trying to spread out the workload of addressing a perceived threat. Moreover, they are only minimising the threat, not eliminating it. Setting the parameter has the effect of changing the state of a long list of parameters and “fix controls” – but there’s no guarantee that it will reverse out all the code changes between the two versions. One hopes it won’t reverse out a bug-fix (though Mike quotes a MoS note where exactly that problem appears); more significantly it might not reverse out a clever code optimisation that (in a few unlucky cases) happens to make the SQL run more slowly even when a new transformation is not involved. What you’re hoping for when you set this parameter is that the number of places in your application where you get an unlucky change in performance is much smaller than it would be if you didn’t set the parameter.

The second point is that you really want to have the minimum impact possible while doing expending as little human effort as possible. To this end it’s better to think in terms of setting the parameter for specific users (via a logon trigger), or specific sessions (e.g. batch runs), or specific statements (through a hint or SQL Patch). It may take a couple of test runs to spot the critical classes of statements that point you at the right granularity of implementation, but the more of your SQL that runs at the newer optimizer level the better.

If you’re going to aim for minimum impact, though, and if you’ve got the time to do some broad-brush testing it’s worth going back to my comment that this parameter is a big switch for a number of parameters and fix controls. Perhaps you will be able to spot which new feature, or which fix control is the one thing that needs to be changed – in the short-term – for your system.  Again, statement level is preferable to session level, which is preferable to user level, which is preferable to system level.

The thought of adding a controlling parameter as hint to a statement will probably have some people thinking about creating SQL baselines rather than adding hints to code – and if it’s 3rd party code then an SQL Baseline may be the necessary strategy. Bear in mind that a common advisory for upgrades is “create SQL Baselines for all your SQL first” – it wouldn’t have been me that said it, though!  So here’s something to consider in the light of the whole yes/no argument about optimizer_features_enable, what does a baseline look like ? Here, taken from an 11g database is the critical content of a baseline for “select user from dual”:


IGNORE_OPTIM_EMBEDDED_HINTS
ALL_ROWS
DB_VERSION('11.2.0.4')
OPTIMIZER_FEATURES_ENABLE('11.2.0.4')
OUTLINE_LEAF(@"SEL$1")

It’s a set of hints – including the optimizer_features_enable() hint.Using SQL Baselines to stabilise your code on the upgrade leaves you exposed (in principle) to exactly the problem in the MoS notes that Mike cited as his example of the parameter undoing a bug-fix and producing wrong results. That, by the way, is why I’m not worried by Mike’s example: if the parameter re-introduces a bug then you would have been running with the bug – or probably a workaround to the bug – anyway (Unless, say, you upgraded from 11.2.0.1 to 11.2.0.4 and decided to set the parameter to 11.2.0.3.1 – but that’s not a strategy compatible with the idea of using the parameter for stability with minimum short-term change.)

The second MoS note that Mike cites is really the one that states – emphasis is mine – a realistic view of the parameter (though I’d view the restriction to Oracle Global Support is a legal cop-out rather than a pure technology requirement):

Modifying the OPTIMIZER_FEATURES_ENABLE parameter generally is strongly discouraged and should only be used as a short term measure at the suggestion of Oracle Global Support.

The follow-up comment is, to my mind, a bit hand-wavy:

By reducing the OPTIMIZER_FEATURES_ENABLE level, new optimizer features are disabled. This has serious potential for negatively affecting performance generally by eliminating the possibility of choosing better plans that are only available with features enabled within the higher revision levels.

Arguing the case against setting the parameter because of the potential for affecting performance negatively – when you’re doing it so that nothing changes – is about as valid as the argument for setting it because of the potential for affecting performance negatively in a tiny percentage of plans that use new features when it’s a very bad idea.

Bottom line: whether or not you set the parameter you’re likely to hit a few edge cases where performance suffers; the less time you have for proper testing in advance the more likely you are to feel the need to set the parameter – but if you start heading in that direction think about using the time you do have available to minimise the scope, or even getting down to the detail of which ACTUAL feature is the problem feature that needs to be disabled for your system.

Footnote

If you want to check which parameters and fix controls change as you set the optimizer_features_enable you could mess around with the dynamic performance views. Alternatively you could take advantage of the optimizer trace – it’s one of the easy things that the 10053 offers.  Enable the trace, optimize a simple statement, then check the trace file for the bit about optimizer parameters – the section you need from 12c trace will be as follows:


***************************************
PARAMETERS USED BY THE OPTIMIZER
********************************

... Some 1,700 lines

***************************************
Column Usage Monitoring is ON: tracking level = 1
***************************************

In my case I connected to SQL*Plus, enabled the trace and executed “select 1 from dual”; then I reconnected, set the trace again, set the optimizer_features_enable back to 11.2.0.4 (I was on 12.1.0.2 at the time) and executed “select 2 from dual”. Then I deleted everything but the relevant section from the two trace files. One of the joys of Unix is that you can then run commands like the following:

sdiff  -s  or32_ora_2098.trc  or32_ora_2110.trc  |  expand  >ofe_diff.txt

That’s “side by side comparison, showing only the differences, expand tab marks out to spaces”. Here’s the result (with one blank line inserted between the parameters and the fix controls):

                                                              > optimizer_features_enable           = 11.2.0.4
                                                              > _fix_control_key                    = -1750344682
optimizer_features_enable           = 12.1.0.2                <
_optimizer_undo_cost_change         = 12.1.0.2                | _optimizer_undo_cost_change         = 11.2.0.4
_fix_control_key                    = 0                       <
_optimizer_cube_join_enabled        = true                    | _optimizer_cube_join_enabled        = false
_optimizer_hybrid_fpwj_enabled      = true                    | _optimizer_hybrid_fpwj_enabled      = false
_px_replication_enabled             = true                    | _px_replication_enabled             = false
_optimizer_partial_join_eval        = true                    | _optimizer_partial_join_eval        = false
_px_concurrent                      = true                    | _px_concurrent                      = false
_px_object_sampling_enabled         = true                    | _px_object_sampling_enabled         = false
_optimizer_unnest_scalar_sq         = true                    | _optimizer_unnest_scalar_sq         = false
_px_filter_parallelized             = true                    | _px_filter_parallelized             = false
_px_filter_skew_handling            = true                    | _px_filter_skew_handling            = false
_optimizer_multi_table_outerjoin    = true                    | _optimizer_multi_table_outerjoin    = false
_px_groupby_pushdown                = force                   | _px_groupby_pushdown                = choose
_optimizer_ansi_join_lateral_enhance = true                   | _optimizer_ansi_join_lateral_enhance = false
_px_parallelize_expression          = true                    | _px_parallelize_expression          = false
_optimizer_ansi_rearchitecture      = true                    | _optimizer_ansi_rearchitecture      = false
_optimizer_gather_stats_on_load     = true                    | _optimizer_gather_stats_on_load     = false
_px_adaptive_dist_method            = choose                  | _px_adaptive_dist_method            = off
_optimizer_batch_table_access_by_rowid = true                 | _optimizer_batch_table_access_by_rowid = false
_px_wif_dfo_declumping              = choose                  | _px_wif_dfo_declumping              = off
_px_wif_extend_distribution_keys    = true                    | _px_wif_extend_distribution_keys    = false
_px_join_skew_handling              = true                    | _px_join_skew_handling              = false
_px_partial_rollup_pushdown         = adaptive                | _px_partial_rollup_pushdown         = off
_px_single_server_enabled           = true                    | _px_single_server_enabled           = false
_optimizer_dsdir_usage_control      = 126                     | _optimizer_dsdir_usage_control      = 0
_px_cpu_autodop_enabled             = true                    | _px_cpu_autodop_enabled             = false
_optimizer_use_gtt_session_stats    = true                    | _optimizer_use_gtt_session_stats    = false
_optimizer_adaptive_plans           = true                    | _optimizer_adaptive_plans           = false
_optimizer_proc_rate_level          = basic                   | _optimizer_proc_rate_level          = off
_adaptive_window_consolidator_enabled = true                  | _adaptive_window_consolidator_enabled = false
_optimizer_strans_adaptive_pruning  = true                    | _optimizer_strans_adaptive_pruning  = false
_optimizer_null_accepting_semijoin  = true                    | _optimizer_null_accepting_semijoin  = false
_optimizer_cluster_by_rowid         = true                    | _optimizer_cluster_by_rowid         = false
_optimizer_cluster_by_rowid_control = 129                     | _optimizer_cluster_by_rowid_control = 3
_distinct_agg_optimization_gsets    = choose                  | _distinct_agg_optimization_gsets    = off
_gby_vector_aggregation_enabled     = true                    | _gby_vector_aggregation_enabled     = false
_optimizer_vector_transformation    = true                    | _optimizer_vector_transformation    = false
_optimizer_aggr_groupby_elim        = true                    | _optimizer_aggr_groupby_elim        = false
_optimizer_reduce_groupby_key       = true                    | _optimizer_reduce_groupby_key       = false
_optimizer_cluster_by_rowid_batched = true                    | _optimizer_cluster_by_rowid_batched = false
_optimizer_inmemory_table_expansion = true                    | _optimizer_inmemory_table_expansion = false
_optimizer_inmemory_gen_pushable_preds = true                 | _optimizer_inmemory_gen_pushable_preds = false
_optimizer_inmemory_autodop         = true                    | _optimizer_inmemory_autodop         = false
_optimizer_inmemory_access_path     = true                    | _optimizer_inmemory_access_path     = false
_optimizer_inmemory_bloom_filter    = true                    | _optimizer_inmemory_bloom_filter    = false
_optimizer_nlj_hj_adaptive_join     = true                    | _optimizer_nlj_hj_adaptive_join     = false
_px_external_table_default_stats    = true                    | _px_external_table_default_stats    = false
_optimizer_inmemory_minmax_pruning  = true                    | _optimizer_inmemory_minmax_pruning  = false
_optimizer_inmemory_cluster_aware_dop = true                  | _optimizer_inmemory_cluster_aware_dop = false

    fix  9898249 = enabled                                    |     fix  9898249 = disabled
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    fix 17023040 = enabled                                    |     fix 17023040 = disabled
    fix 14776289 = enabled                                    |     fix 14776289 = disabled

That’s 50 parameter differences, and 147 fix controls. Quite a lot of fixes between the two versions.

If you’re coming to the upgrade a couple of years late then you might want to consider using the new version number and list of parameters you generate as the criteria as a search for bugs in MoS. You might even find that simply running your eye down the list of parameters gives you a clue about a type of execution plan that you’ve never seen in the older version.

 

May 25, 2017

Parallelism

Filed under: 12c,CBO,Hints,Ignoring Hints,Oracle — Jonathan Lewis @ 3:48 pm GMT May 25,2017

Headline – if you don’t want to read the note – the /*+ parallel(N) */ hint doesn’t mean a query will use parallel execution, even if there are enough parallel execution server processes to make it possible. The parallel(N) hint tells the optimizer to consider the cost of using parallel execution for each path that it examines, but ultimately the optimizer will still take the lowest cost path (bar the odd few special cases) and that path could turn out to be a serial path.

The likelihood of parallelism appearing for a given query changes across versions of Oracle so you can be fooled into thinking you’re seeing bugs as you test new versions but it’s (almost certainly) the same old rule being applied in different circumstances. Here’s an example – which I’ll start off on 11.2.0.4:


create table t1
segment creation immediate
nologging
as
with generator as (
        select
                rownum id
        from dual
        connect by
                level <= 1e4
)
select
        rownum                          id,
        lpad(rownum,10,'0')             v1,
        lpad('x',100,'x')               padding
from
        generator       v1,
        generator       v2
where
        rownum <= 1e6 ; create index t1_i1 on t1(id); begin dbms_stats.gather_table_stats( ownname => user,
                tabname          =>'T1',
                method_opt       => 'for all columns size 1'
        );
end;
/

set autotrace traceonly explain

select
        count(v1)
from    t1
where   id = 10
;

select
        /*+ parallel(4) */
        count(v1)
from    t1
where   id = 10
;

select
        /*+ parallel(4) full(t1) */
        count(v1)
from    t1
where   id = 10
;

set autotrace off

I haven’t declare the index to be unique, but it clearly could be; and it’s obvious that with 1M rows and about 120M of table a parallel full scan is probably a bad idea to acquire one row (even if you’re running Exadata!). So what do we get for the three plans – I’ll skip the predicate section – when we want to collect one row.


Base plan - unhinted
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                    | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT             |       |     1 |    16 |     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   1 |  SORT AGGREGATE              |       |     1 |    16 |            |          |
|   2 |   TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| T1    |     1 |    16 |     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  3 |    INDEX RANGE SCAN          | T1_I1 |     1 |       |     3   (0)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hinted parallel(4)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                    | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT             |       |     1 |    16 |     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   1 |  SORT AGGREGATE              |       |     1 |    16 |            |          |
|   2 |   TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| T1    |     1 |    16 |     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  3 |    INDEX RANGE SCAN          | T1_I1 |     1 |       |     3   (0)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hinted parallel(4) and full(t1)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation              | Name     | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |    TQ  |IN-OUT| PQ Distrib |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT       |          |     1 |    16 |   606   (2)| 00:00:02 |        |      |            |
|   1 |  SORT AGGREGATE        |          |     1 |    16 |            |          |        |      |            |
|   2 |   PX COORDINATOR       |          |       |       |            |          |        |      |            |
|   3 |    PX SEND QC (RANDOM) | :TQ10000 |     1 |    16 |            |          |  Q1,00 | P->S | QC (RAND)  |
|   4 |     SORT AGGREGATE     |          |     1 |    16 |            |          |  Q1,00 | PCWP |            |
|   5 |      PX BLOCK ITERATOR |          |     1 |    16 |   606   (2)| 00:00:02 |  Q1,00 | PCWC |            |
|*  6 |       TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1       |     1 |    16 |   606   (2)| 00:00:02 |  Q1,00 | PCWP |            |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In 11.2.0.4 the optimizer did consider the parallel hint when it appeared on its own – but it has compared the parallel(4) cost of 606 with the serial index cost of 4 and chosen the indexed access path. This is not a case of ignoring the hint, it’s an example of being fooled if you don’t know how the hint is really supposed to work.

But here’s an interesting change that appeared in 12.2 – this time just the plan with the parallel(4) hint on its own:


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                               | Name     | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |    TQ  |IN-OUT| PQ Distrib |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT                        |          |     1 |    16 |     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |        |      |            |
|   1 |  SORT AGGREGATE                         |          |     1 |    16 |            |          |        |      |            |
|   2 |   PX COORDINATOR                        |          |       |       |            |          |        |      |            |
|   3 |    PX SEND QC (RANDOM)                  | :TQ10001 |     1 |    16 |            |          |  Q1,01 | P->S | QC (RAND)  |
|   4 |     SORT AGGREGATE                      |          |     1 |    16 |            |          |  Q1,01 | PCWP |            |
|   5 |      TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID BATCHED| T1       |     1 |    16 |     4   (0)| 00:00:01 |  Q1,01 | PCWP |            |
|   6 |       PX RECEIVE                        |          |     1 |       |     3   (0)| 00:00:01 |  Q1,01 | PCWP |            |
|   7 |        PX SEND HASH (BLOCK ADDRESS)     | :TQ10000 |     1 |       |     3   (0)| 00:00:01 |  Q1,00 | S->P | HASH (BLOCK|
|   8 |         PX SELECTOR                     |          |       |       |            |          |  Q1,00 | SCWC |            |
|*  9 |          INDEX RANGE SCAN               | T1_I1    |     1 |       |     3   (0)| 00:00:01 |  Q1,00 | SCWP |            |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You get a parallel execution plan – although it starts with a serial index range scan which is operated for the new (12c) PX Selector operator that allocates a serial operation to one of the parallel execution slaves – which, approximately, is why the indexed access cost doesn’t change in this example – rather than running it through the query coordinator (QC). The serial range scan does a hash distribution (hashed by block address of the rowids it finds to avoid collisions between parallel execution slave as they do their table accesses.

This is just one cute little trick that makes it worth looking at the upgrade to 12c – this new path is likely to be of benefit to people who had to create global (as opposed to globally partitioned) indexes on partitioned tables.

This note was prompted by a recent twitter comment by Timur Akhmadeev followed in short order by an OTN posting that added further confusion to the problem by running Siebel – which is just one of several 3rd party products that love to configure optimizer parameters with non-standard values like: optimizer_index_cost_adj = 1, or optimizer_mode = first_rows_10. (At the last update I’ve seen on the thread, there seemed to be some other reason why parallelism was being blocked.)

Footnote

In a follow-up tweet, Timue directed me to the 11.2 SQL Language Reference manual – specifically a section on the Parallel Hint, asking if this was an example of a documentation bug.

The trouble with the manuals is that sometimes they are obviously wrong, sometimes they are wrong but it’s not obvious they are wrong, sometimes they omit important information, and sometimes they are badly written and, most specfically, the writing can be ambiguous.

Here’s an extract we could consider:

For PARALLEL, if you specify integer, then that degree of parallelism will be used for the statement.

But my example above shows a “parallel({integer})” hint where we didn’t use that degree of parallelism for the statement.

However the next two sentences read as follows:

If you omit integer, then the database computes the degree of parallelism. All the access paths that can use parallelism will use the specified or computed degree of parallelism.

So what if the optimizer uses the degree of parallelism while calculating the lowest cost plan and ends up with a serial plan ? How comfortable would you feel saying that Oracle has “used the degree of parallelism for the statement”. Or would you say that the first sentence means Oracle isn’t allowed to use a serial plan even if it finds one when doing the arithmetic with the appropriate degree of parallelism.

My call is that this is one of those ambiguous cases – the manual should say something more like:

For PARALLEL, if you specify integer, then that degree of parallelism will be used by the optimizer while calculating the best execution  plan for the statement.

Even then I’m not sure that that’s a complete statement of how the hint works because when you have a full set of system statistics, or have used the dbms_resource_manager.calibrate_io mechanism to tell Oracle about the I/O capacity of the system the optimizer may do some working that says something like: “the hint says degree 64, but the stats say the maximum effective degree will be 38 so I’ll calculate using 38” (This type of thing happens with the older usage of the parallel hint with manual parallelism – I haven’t examined what happens with an automatic policy and the newer option for the hint.)

 

May 8, 2017

opt_estimate

Filed under: CBO,Hints,Oracle — Jonathan Lewis @ 8:04 am GMT May 8,2017

The opt_estimate hint is one of many that shouldn’t be used in end-user code and isn’t officially documented. Nevertheless – like so many other hints – it’s a hint that is hard to ignore when you see it floating around the code generated by the Oracle software. This note is prompted by a twitter question from fellow Oak Table member Stefan Koehler asking whether the hint’s index_filter parameter worked. Checking my library I knew the answer was yes – so after a quick exchange on twitter I said I’d write up a short note about my example, and this is it.

Although the hint is not one that you should use it’s worth writing this note as a reminder of the significance to index range scans of the access predicates and filter predicates that Oracle reports in the predicate section of an execution plan.

When a query does an index range scan it’s going to walk through a (logically) consecutive set of index leaf blocks looking at each individual index entry in turn (and those index entries will be correctly “sorted” within the leaf block) to see if it should use the rowid it finds there to visit the table. For “perfect” use of an index Oracle may be able to identify the starting and ending positions it needs in the index and know that it should use every rowid in between to visit the table – there will no “wasted”examinations of index entries on the way. In a query involving a multi-column index and multiple predicates, however, Oracle might have to use predicates on the first column(s) of the index to identify the starting and ending positions, but use further predicates on later columns in the index to decide whether or not to use each index entry to visit the table.

The predicates that Oracle can use to identify the range of leaf blocks it should visit are called access predicates, and the predicates that Oracle can use to further eliminate rowids as it walks along the leaf blocks are called filter predicates.

The simplest way to demonstrate this is with a query of the form: “Index_Column1 = … and Index_Column3 = …”, and that’s what I’ll be using in my model:


rem
rem     Script:         opt_est_ind_filter.sql
rem     Author:         Jonathan Lewis
rem
rem     Last tested
rem             11.2.0.4
rem             10.2.0.5
rem

create table t1
nologging
as
with generator as (
        select
                rownum id
        from dual
        connect by
                level <= 1e4    -- > comment to bypass WordPress format issue
)
select
        rownum                          id,
        mod(rownum - 1,100)             n1,
        rownum                          n2,
        mod(rownum - 1, 100)            n3,
        lpad(rownum,10,'0')             v1,
        lpad('x',100,'x')               padding
from
        generator       v1,
        generator       v2
where
        rownum <= 1e6    -- > comment to bypass WordPress formatting issue
;

create index t1_i1 on t1(n1,n2,n3) nologging;

begin
        dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(
                ownname          => user,
                tabname          => 'T1',
                method_opt       => 'for all columns size 1'
        );
end;
/

select leaf_blocks from user_indexes where index_name = 'T1_I1';

The number of leaf blocks in the index was 3,062.

I’ve defined n1 and n3 to match, and for any value between 0 and 99 there are 10,000 rows in the table where n1 and n3 hold that value. However, in the absence of a column group defined on (n1, n3), the optimizer is going to use its standard “no correlation” arithmetic to decide that there are 10,000 possible combinations of n1 and n3, and 100 rows per combination. Let’s see what this does for a simple query:


set autotrace traceonly explain

select  count(v1)
from    t1
where   n1 = 0 and n3 = 0
;

set autotrace off

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                    | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT             |       |     1 |    17 |   134   (1)| 00:00:01 |
|   1 |  SORT AGGREGATE              |       |     1 |    17 |            |          |
|   2 |   TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| T1    |   100 |  1700 |   134   (1)| 00:00:01 |
|*  3 |    INDEX RANGE SCAN          | T1_I1 |   100 |       |    34   (3)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   3 - access("N1"=0 AND "N3"=0)
       filter("N3"=0)

The plan shows an index range scan where n3=0 is used as a filter predicate and n1=0 (with a tiny bit of extra accuracy from the n3=0) is used as the access predicate, and the optimizer has calculated that 100 rowids will be retrieved from the index and used to find 100 rows in the table.

The cost of the range scan is 34: The optimizer’s estimate is that the scale of the initial access to the index will be due to the predicate n1 = 0 which is responsible for 1% of the index – giving us 3,062/100 leaf blocks (rounded up). Added to that there will be a little extra cost for the trip down the blevel of the index and a little extra for the CPU usage.

Now let’s tell the optimizer that its cardinality estimate is out by a factor of 25 (rather than 100 we actually know it to be) in one of two different ways:

prompt  ============================
prompt  index_scan - scale_rows = 25
prompt  ============================

select
        /*+
                qb_name(main)
                index(@main t1(n1, n2, n3))
                opt_estimate(@main index_scan t1, t1_i1, scale_rows=25)
        */
        count(v1)
from    t1
where   n1 = 0 and n3 = 0
;

prompt  ==============================
prompt  index_filter - scale_rows = 25
prompt  ==============================

select
        /*+
                qb_name(main)
                index(@main t1(n1, n2, n3))
                opt_estimate(@main index_filter t1, t1_i1, scale_rows=25)
        */
        count(v1)
from    t1
where   n1 = 0 and n3 = 0
;

In both examples I’ve hinted the index to stop the optimizer from switching to a tablescan; but in the first case I’ve told Oracle that the entire index range scan has to be scaled up by a factor of 25 while in the second case I’ve told Oracle that its estimate due to the final filter has to be scaled up by a factor of 25. How does this affect the costs and cardinalities of the plans:


============================
index_scan - scale_rows = 25
============================
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                    | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT             |       |     1 |    17 |  3285   (1)| 00:00:17 |
|   1 |  SORT AGGREGATE              |       |     1 |    17 |            |          |
|   2 |   TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| T1    |   100 |  1700 |  3285   (1)| 00:00:17 |
|*  3 |    INDEX RANGE SCAN          | T1_I1 |  2500 |       |   782   (2)| 00:00:04 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   3 - access("N1"=0 AND "N3"=0)
       filter("N3"=0)

==============================
index_filter - scale_rows = 25
==============================
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                    | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT             |       |     1 |    17 |  2537   (1)| 00:00:13 |
|   1 |  SORT AGGREGATE              |       |     1 |    17 |            |          |
|   2 |   TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| T1    |   100 |  1700 |  2537   (1)| 00:00:13 |
|*  3 |    INDEX RANGE SCAN          | T1_I1 |  2500 |       |    34   (3)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   3 - access("N1"=0 AND "N3"=0)
       filter("N3"=0)

In both cases the cardinality estimate has gone up by a factor of 25 for the index range scan. Notice, though, that the optimizer is now suffering from cognitive dissonance – it “knows” that it’s going to get 2,500 rowids to use to visit the table, it “knows” there are no extra predicates to eliminate rows from the table when it gets there, but it also “knows” that it’s going to find only 100 rows. Messing around with opt_estimate() and cardinality() hints is difficult even for fairlyl trivial cases – like all hinting, it takes more than one or two hints to achieve the result you want.

More significantly for the purposes of this note, are the costs. When we use the index_filter parameter the optimizer still thinks it’s going to access the same number of leaf blocks and the only correction it has to make is the number of rowids it finds in those blocks – so the index range scan cost hasn’t changed (though I suppose in some cases it might change slightly due to increased CPU costs). When we use the index_scan parameter the optimizer scales up its estimate of the number of leaf blocks (hence cost), which we can see in the figures 782 / 25 = 31.28. (Without going into the trace file and checking exact details that’s close enough to the previously reported 34 for me to think it’s allowing for 25 times the number of leaf blocks plus a chunk more CPU)

Conclusion

As I said at the outset, opt_estimate() really isn’t a hint you should be playing with, but I hope that this note has helped to shed some light on the significance of access predicates and filter predicates in relation to the costs of index range scans.

Footnote

There were two significant details in the notes I had in my script. First was the frequency of the expression “it looks as if” – which is my shorthand for “I really ought to do some more tests before I publish any conclusions”; second was that my most recent testing had been on 10.2.0.5 (where the results were slightly different thanks to sampling in the statistics). Given that Stefan Koehler had mentioned 11.2.0.3 as his version I ran up an instance of 11.1.0.7 – and found that the index_filter example didn’t scale up the cardinality – so maybe his problem is a version problem.

 

April 14, 2017

Character selectivity

Filed under: CBO,Oracle — Jonathan Lewis @ 12:40 pm GMT Apr 14,2017

A recent OTN posting asked how the optimizer dealt with “like” predicates for character types quoting the DDL and a query that I had published some time ago in a presentation I had done with Kyle Hailey. I thought that I had already given a detailed answer somewhere on my blog (or even in the presentation) but found that I couldn’t track down the necessary working, so here’s a repeat of the question and a full explanation of the working.

The query is very simple, and the optimizer’s arithmetic takes an “obvious” strategy in the arithmetic. Here’s the sample query, with the equiavalent query that we can use to do the calculation:


select * from t1 where alpha_06 like 'mm%';

select * from t1 where alpha_06 >= 'mm' and alpha_06 < 'mn';

Ignoring the possible pain of the EBCDIC character set and multi-byte national-language character sets with “strange” collation orders, it should be reasonably easy to see that ‘mn’ is the first string in alphabetical order that fails to match ‘mm%’. With that thought in mind we can apply the standard arithmetic for range-based predicates assuming, to stick with the easy example, that there are no histograms involved. For a range closed at one end and and open at the other the selectivity is:


( ( 'mn' - 'mm') / (high_value - low_value) ) + 1/num_distinct

The tricky bits, of course, are how you subtract ‘mm’ from ‘mn’ and how you use the values stored in the low_value and high_value columns of view user_tab_cols. So let’s generate the orginal data set and see where we go (running on 12c, and eliminating redundant bits from the original presentation):


rem
rem     Script:         selectivity_like_char.sql
rem     Author:         Jonathan Lewis
rem     Dated:          Sep 2013
rem

execute dbms_random.seed(0)

create table t1 nologging as
with generator as (
        select rownum id
        from dual
        connect by rownum <= 1000
)
select
        cast(dbms_random.string('l',6) as char(6))      alpha_06
from
        generator,
        generator
where
        rownum <= 1e6 -- > comment to avoid WordPress formatting issue
;

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

column low_value  format a32
column high_value format a32

select
        column_name,
        num_distinct,
        density,
        low_value,
        high_value
from
        user_tab_cols
where
        table_name = 'T1'
order by
        column_name
;

select min(alpha_06), max(alpha_06) from t1;

set autotrace traceonly explain

select
        *
from
        t1
where
        alpha_06 like 'mm%'
;

set autotrace off

It will probably take a couple of minutes to generate the data – it’s 1M random strings, lower-case, 6 characters fixed – and will take up about 12MB of space. Here are the results from the stats and min/max queries, with the execution plan for the query we are testing:


COLUMN_NAME          NUM_DISTINCT    DENSITY LOW_VALUE                  HIGH_VALUE
-------------------- ------------ ---------- -------------------------- --------------------------
ALPHA_06                  1000000    .000001 616161616E72               7A7A7A78747A


MIN(AL MAX(AL
------ ------
aaaanr zzzxtz


Execution Plan
----------------------------------------------------------
Plan hash value: 3617692013

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation         | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT  |      |   157 |  1099 |   265  (20)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1   |   157 |  1099 |   265  (20)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter("ALPHA_06" LIKE 'mm%')


Given that there are power(26,6) = 308,915,776 different combinations available for lower-case strings of 6 charactgers it’s not too surprising that Oracle generated 1M different strings, nor is it particularly surprising that the lowest value string started with ‘aaa’ and the highest with ‘zzz’.

So how do we get 157 as the cardinality for the query or, to put it another way, how do we get 0.000157 as the selectivity of the predicate. We need to refer to a note I wrote a few years ago to help us on our way (with a little caveat due to a change that appeared in 11.2.0.4) – what number would Oracle use to represent ‘mm’ and the other three strings we need to work with ?

According to the rules supplied (and adjusted in later versions) we have to:

  1. pad the strings with ASCII nulls (zeros) up to 15 bytes
  2. treat the results as a hexadecimal number and convert to decimal
  3. round off the last 21 decimal digits

We can model this in SQL with a statement like:


SQL> column dec_value format 999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999
SQL> select round(to_number(utl_raw.cast_to_raw(rpad('aaaanr',15,chr(0))),'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx'),-21) dec_val from dual;

DEC_VAL
------------------------------------------------
505,627,904,294,763,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

1 row selected.

As an alternative, or possibly a cross-check, I created a table with a varchar2(6) column, inserted the four values I was interested in and created a histogram of 4 buckets on the column (there’s a suitable little demo at this URL) and got the following endpoint values:


ENDPOINT_NUMBER                                   ENDPOINT_VALUE
--------------- ------------------------------------------------
              1  505,627,904,294,763,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
              2  568,171,140,227,094,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
              3  568,191,422,636,698,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
              4  635,944,373,827,734,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

Once we’ve got these numbers we can slot them into the standard formula (not forgetting the 1/1,000,000 for the closed end of the predicate) – and to save typing I’m going to factor out 10^21 across the board in the division:

Selectivity = (568,191,422,636,698 – 568,171,140,227,094) / (635,944,373,827,734 – 505,627,904,294,763) + 1/1,000,000

Selectivity = 20,282,409,604 / 130,316,469,532,971 + 1/1,000,000

Selectivity = 0.00015564 + 0.000001 = 0.00015664

From which the cardinality = (selectivity * num_rows) = 156.64, which rounds up to 157. Q.E.D.

March 27, 2017

Index out of range

Filed under: CBO,Indexing,Oracle,Troubleshooting — Jonathan Lewis @ 8:42 am GMT Mar 27,2017

I’ve waxed lyrical in the past about creating suitable column group statistics whenever you drop an index because even when the optimizer doesn’t use an index in its execution path it might have used the number of distinct keys of the index (user_indexes.distinct_keys) in its estimates of cardinality.

I’ve also highlighted various warnings (here (with several follow-on URLs) and here) about when the optimizer declines to use column group statistics. One of those cases is when a predicate on one of the columns goes “out of  range” – i.e. is below the column low_value or above the column high_value. Last night it suddenly crossed my mind that if we drop an index and replace it with a column group we might see an example of inconsistent behaviour: what happens when the index exists but the predicate is out of range – would you find that dropping the index and replacing it with a column group would give you different cardinality estimates for out of range predicates ?

Here’s the demonstration of what happened when I created a simple test on 12.1.0.2:


rem
rem     Script:         index_v_colgrp.sql
rem     Author:         Jonathan Lewis
rem
rem     Last tested
rem             12.1.0.2
rem

create table t1
nologging
as
with generator as (
        select
                rownum id
        from dual
        connect by
                level <= 1e4
)
select
        rownum                          id,
        mod(rownum-1,100)               n1,
        mod(rownum-1,100)               n2,
        lpad('x',100,'x')               padding
from
        generator       v1,
        generator       v2
where
        rownum <= 1e6 -- > comment to avoid WordPress format problem
;

begin dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(
                ownname          => user,
                tabname          =>'T1',
                method_opt       => 'for all columns size 1'
        );
end;
/

create index t1_i1 on t1(n1, n2);

set autotrace traceonly explain

I’ve created a table with 1M rows, where n1 and n2 are perfectly correlated – there are 100 distinct pairs of values (ranging from (0,0) to (99,99)). Now with autotrace enabled I’ll execute three queries – two with an index on the table of which one will be the baseline plan for predicates that are “in-range” and the other will take the predicates out of range, and the third after I’ve dropped the index and substituted a matching column group to see what I get for the “out of range” plan. The plans may produce different paths as the index disappears, of course, but what we’re only interested in the cardinality estimates in this experiment.

Here’s the code to run the three queries:


select  padding
from    t1
where
        n1 = 50
and     n2 = 50
;

select  padding
from    t1
where
        n1 = 110
and     n2 = 110
;

drop index t1_i1;

begin
        dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(
                ownname          => user,
                tabname          =>'T1',
                method_opt       => 'for columns (n1, n2) size 1'
        );
end;
/

select  padding
from    t1
where
        n1 = 110
and     n2 = 110
;

And the three execution plans:


--------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation         | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT  |      | 10000 |  1044K|  2142   (4)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1   | 10000 |  1044K|  2142   (4)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter("N1"=50 AND "N2"=50)


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                           | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT                    |       |    79 |  8453 |    83   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   1 |  TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID BATCHED| T1    |    79 |  8453 |    83   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  2 |   INDEX RANGE SCAN                  | T1_I1 |    79 |       |     3   (0)| 00:00:01 |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   2 - access("N1"=110 AND "N2"=110)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation         | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT  |      |    79 |  8453 |  2142   (4)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1   |    79 |  8453 |  2142   (4)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter("N1"=110 AND "N2"=110)

In summary:

  • With the index in place and the predicates in range the optimizer used user_indexes.distinct_keys to calculate cardinality.
  • With the index in place and the predicates (or just one of them, in fact) out of range the optimizer used the individual column selectivities with linear decay.
  • With a column group instead of an index the optimizer behaved exactly as it used to with the index in place.

So my concern that substituting column groups for indexes was unfounded – the optimizer was being silly (legal disclaimer: that’s just my opinion) with indexes, and the silly (ditto) behaviour with column groups hasn’t changed anything.

I’ll have to go back a couple of versions of Oracle to repeat these tests – maybe this behaviour with user_indexes.distinct_keys in place is relatively recent, but it’s another reason why execution plans may change suddenly and badly as time passes when “nothing changed”.

 

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