Skip navigation.

Jonathan Lewis

Syndicate content Oracle Scratchpad
Just another Oracle weblog
Updated: 11 hours 29 min ago

Deferrable RI – 2

Sun, 2014-07-13 12:46

A question came up on Oracle-L recently about possible locking anomalies with deferrable referential integrity constraints.

An update by primary key is taking a long time; the update sets several columns, one of which is the child end of a referential integrity constraint. A check on v$active_session_history shows lots of waits for “enq: TX – row lock contention” in mode 4 (share), and many of these waits also identify the current object as the index that has been created to avoid the “foreign key locking” problem on this constraint (though many of the waits show the current_obj# as -1). A possible key feature of the issue is that foreign key constraint is defined as “deferrable initially deferred”. The question is, could such a constraint result in TX/4 waits.

My initial thought was that if the constraint was deferrable it was unlikely, there would have to be other features coming into play.

Of course, when the foreign key is NOT deferrable it’s easy to set up cases where a TX/4 appears: for example you insert a new parent value without issuing a commit then I insert a new matching child, at that point my session will wait for your session to commit or rollback. If you commit my insert succeeds if you rollback my session raises an error (ORA-02291: integrity constraint (schema_name.constraint_name) violated – parent key not found). But if the foreign key is deferred the non-existence (or potential existence, or not) of the parent should matter.  If the constraint is deferrable, though, the first guess would be that you could get away with things like this so long as you fixed up the data in time for the commit.

I was wrong. Here’s a little example:


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

create table child(
	id_p	number(4)
		constraint chi_fk_par
		references parent
		deferrable initially deferred,
	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,'parent');
	dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(user,'child');
end;
/

pause Press return

update child set id_p = 3 where id_p = 2 and id = 2;

If you don’t do anything after the pause and before the insert then the update will succeed – but fail on a subsequent commit unless you insert parent 3 before committing. But if you take advantage of the pause to use another session to insert parent 3 first, the update will then hang waiting for the parent insert to commit or rollback – and what happens next may surprise you. Basically the deferrability doesn’t protect you from the side effects of conflicting transactions.

The variations on what can happen next (insert the parent elsewhere, commit or rollback) are interesting and left as an exercise.

I was slightly surprised to find that I had had a conversation about this sort of thing some time ago, triggered by a comment to an earlier post. If you want to read a more thorough investigation of the things that can happen and how deferrable RI works then there’s a good article at this URL.

 


SQL Plan Baselines

Sun, 2014-07-06 11:34

Here’s a thread from Oracle-L that reminded of an important reason why you still have to hint SQL sometimes (rather than following the mantra “if you can hint it, baseline it”).

I have a query that takes 77 seconds to optimize (it’s not a production query, fortunately, but one I engineered to make a point). I can enable sql plan baseline capture and create a baseline for it, and given the nature of the query I can be confident that the resulting plan will always be exactly the plan I want. If I have to re-optimize the query at any time  (because it runs once per hour, say, and is constantly being flushed from the library cache) how much time will the SQL plan baseline save for me ?

The answer is NONE.

The first thing that the optimizer does for a query with a stored sql plan baseline is to optimize it as if the baseline did not exist.

If I want to get rid of that 77 seconds I’ll have to extract (most of) the hints from the SQL Plan Baseline and write them into the query.  (Or, maybe, create a Stored Outline – except that they’re deprecated in the latest version of Oracle, and I’d have to check whether the optimizer used the same strategy with stored outlines or whether it applied the outline before doing any optimisation). Maybe we could do with a hint which forces the optimizer to attempt to use an existing, accepted SQL Baseline without attempting the initial optimisation pass.

 


Adjusting Histograms

Fri, 2014-07-04 13:32

This is a quick response to a question on an old blog post asking how you can adjust the high value if you’ve already got a height-balanced histogram in place. It’s possible that someone will come up with a tidier method, but this was just a quick sample I created and tested on 11.2.0.4 in a few minutes.  (Note - this is specifically for height-balanced histograms,  and it’s not appropriate for 12c which has introduced hybrid histograms that will require me to modify my “histogram faking” code a little).

rem
rem	Script:		adjust_histogram.sql
rem	Author:		Jonathan Lewis
rem	Dated:		Jun 2014
rem	Purpose:
rem
rem	Last tested
rem		11.2.0.4
rem	Not tested
rem		12.1.0.1
rem		11.1.0.7
rem		10.2.0.5
rem	Outdated
rem		 9.2.0.8
rem		 8.1.7.4	no WITH subquery
rem
rem	Notes:
rem	Follow-on from a query on my blog about setting the high value
rem	when you have a histogram.  We could do this by hacking, or by
rem	reading the user_tab_histogram values and doing a proper prepare
rem

start setenv
set timing off

execute dbms_random.seed(0)

drop table t1;

begin
	begin		execute immediate 'purge recyclebin';
	exception	when others then null;
	end;

	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);
	exception
		when others then null;
	end;
/*
	begin		execute immediate 'begin dbms_stats.delete_system_stats; end;';
	exception	when others then null;
	end;

	begin		execute immediate 'alter session set "_optimizer_cost_model"=io';
	exception	when others then null;
	end;

	begin		execute immediate 'alter session set "_optimizer_gather_stats_on_load" = false';
	exception	when others then null;
	end;
*/

	begin		execute immediate  'begin dbms_space_admin.materialize_deferred_segments(''TEST_USER''); end;';
	exception	when others then null;
	end;

end;
/

create table t1
as
with generator as (
	select	--+ materialize
		rownum id
	from dual
	connect by
		level <= 1e4
)
select
	trunc(sysdate,'YYYY') + trunc(dbms_random.normal * 100,1)	d1
from
	generator	v1,
	generator	v2
where
	rownum <= 1e4
;

begin
	dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(
		ownname		 => user,
		tabname		 =>'T1',
		method_opt 	 => 'for all columns size 32'
	);

end;
/

spool adjust_histogram.lst

prompt	==================
prompt	Current High Value
prompt	==================

select to_char(max(d1),'dd-Mon-yyyy hh24:mi:ss') from t1;

prompt	==============================
prompt	Initial Histogram distribution
prompt	==============================

select
	endpoint_number,
	to_date(to_char(trunc(endpoint_value)),'J') + mod(endpoint_value,1) d_val,
	endpoint_value,
	lag(endpoint_value,1) over(order by endpoint_number) lagged_epv,
	endpoint_value -
		lag(endpoint_value,1) over(order by endpoint_number)  delta
from	user_tab_histograms
where
	table_name = 'T1'
and	column_name = 'D1'
;

rem
rem	Note - we can't simply overwrite the last srec.novals
rem	because that doesn't adjust the stored high_value.
rem	We have to make a call to prepare_column_values,
rem	which means we have to turn the stored histogram
rem	endpoint values into their equivalent date types.
rem

prompt	==================
prompt	Hacking the values
prompt	==================

declare

	m_distcnt		number;
	m_density		number;
	m_nullcnt		number;
	srec			dbms_stats.statrec;
	m_avgclen		number;

	d_array			dbms_stats.datearray := dbms_stats.datearray();
	ct			number;

begin

	dbms_stats.get_column_stats(
		ownname		=> user,
		tabname		=> 't1',
		colname		=> 'd1',
		distcnt		=> m_distcnt,
		density		=> m_density,
		nullcnt		=> m_nullcnt,
		srec		=> srec,
		avgclen		=> m_avgclen
	); 

	ct := 0;
	for r in (
		select	to_date(to_char(trunc(endpoint_value)),'J') + mod(endpoint_value,1) d_val
		from	user_tab_histograms
		where	table_name = 'T1'
		and	column_name = 'D1'
		order by endpoint_number
	) loop

		ct := ct + 1;
		d_array.extend;
		d_array(ct) := r.d_val;
		if ct = 1 then
			srec.bkvals(ct) := 0;
		else
			srec.bkvals(ct) := 1;
		end if;

	end loop;

	d_array(ct) := to_date('30-Jun-2015','dd-mon-yyyy');

	dbms_stats.prepare_column_values(srec, d_array);

	dbms_stats.set_column_stats(
		ownname		=> user,
		tabname		=> 't1',
		colname		=> 'd1',
		distcnt		=> m_distcnt,
		density		=> m_density,
		nullcnt		=> m_nullcnt,
		srec		=> srec,
		avgclen		=> m_avgclen
	);
end;
/

prompt	============================
prompt	Final Histogram distribution
prompt	============================

select
	endpoint_number,
	to_date(to_char(trunc(endpoint_value)),'J') + mod(endpoint_value,1) d_val,
	endpoint_value,
	lag(endpoint_value,1) over(order by endpoint_number) lagged_epv,
	endpoint_value -
		lag(endpoint_value,1) over(order by endpoint_number)  delta
from	user_tab_histograms
where
	table_name = 'T1'
and	column_name = 'D1'
;

spool off

doc

#


Philosophy 22

Thu, 2014-07-03 02:59

Make sure you agree on the meaning of the jargon.

If you had to vote would you say that the expressions “more selective” and “higher selectivity” are different ways of expressing the same idea, or are they exact opposites of each other ? I think I can safely say that I have seen people waste a ludicrous amount of time arguing past each other and confusing each other because they didn’t clarify their terms (and one, or both, parties actually misunderstood the terms anyway).

Selectivity is a value between 0 and 1 that represents the fraction of data that will be selected – the higher the selectivity the more data you select.

If a test is “more selective” then it is a harsher, more stringent, test and returns less data  (e.g. Oxford University is more selective than Rutland College of Further Education): more selective means lower selectivity.

If there’s any doubt when you’re in the middle of a discussion – drop the jargon and explain the intention.

Footnote

If I ask:  “When you say ‘more selective’ do you mean ….”

The one answer which is absolutely, definitely, unquestionably the wrong reply is: “No, I mean it’s more selective.”

 


Comparisons

Wed, 2014-07-02 10:09

Catching up (still) from the Trivadis CBO days, here’s a little detail which had never crossed my mind before.


where   (col1, col2) < (const1, const2)

This isn’t a legal construct in Oracle SQL, even though it’s legal in other dialects of SQL. The logic is simple (allowing for the usual anomaly with NULL): the predicate should evaluate to true if (col1 < const1), or if (col1 = const1 and col2 < const2). The thought that popped into my mind when Markus Winand showed a slide with this predicate on it – and then pointed out that equality was the only option that Oracle allowed for multi-column operators – was that, despite not enabling the syntax, Oracle does implement the mechanism.

If you’re struggling to think where, it’s in multi-column range partitioning: (value1, value2) belongs in the partition with high value (k1, k2) if (value1 < k1) or if (value1 = k1 and value2 < k2).


Oracle Meetup

Sat, 2014-06-28 06:29

This is just a temporary note to remind London-based Oracle technical folks that the first free evening event arranged by e-DBA will take place this coming Thursday (3rd July), 6:30 – 9:00 pm.

The event is free and includes breaks for beer and food, but you do have to sign up in advance – places are limited. July

The theme for the evening is “Upgrades”: covering general principles (Jonathan Lewis), 12c specifics (Jason Arneil), and tools (Dominic Giles and James Anthony)

Even if you’re not interested in upgrades, you might want to attend if you haven’t heard about Swingbench and SLOB (Silly Little Oracle Benchmark).

Details and registration at this url.

 


AWR thoughts

Wed, 2014-06-25 08:35

It’s been a week since my last posting - so I thought I’d better contribute something to the community before my name gets lost in the mists of time.

I don’t have an article ready for publication, but some extracts from an AWR report appeared on the OTN database forum a few days ago, and I’ve made a few comments on what we’ve been given so far (with a warning that I might not have time to follow up on any further feedback). I tried to write my comments in a way that modelled the way I scanned (or would have scanned) through the reporting – noting things that caught my attention, listing some of the guesses and assumptions I made as I went along.  I hope it gives some indication of a pattern of thinking when dealing with a previously unseen AWR report.

 

 


Delete Costs

Thu, 2014-06-19 11:18

One of the quirky little anomalies of the optimizer is that it’s not allowed to select rows from a table after doing an index fast full scan (index_ffs) even if it is obviously the most efficient (or, perhaps, least inefficient) strategy. For example:


create table t1
as
with generator as (
	select	--+ materialize
		rownum id
	from dual
	connect by
		level <= 1e4
)
select
	rownum			id,
	mod(rownum,100)		n1,
	rpad('x',100)		padding
from
	generator	v1,
	generator	v2
where
	rownum <= 1e5
;

create index t1_i1 on t1(id, n1);
alter table t1 modify id not null;

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

explain plan for
select /*+ index_ffs(t1) */ max(padding) from t1 where n1 = 0;

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

In this case we can see that there are going to be 1,000 rows where n1 = 0 spread evenly across the whole table so a full tablescan is likely to be the most efficient strategy for the query, but we can tell the optimizer to do an index fast full scan with the hint that I’ve shown, and if the hint is legal (which means there has to be at least one column in it declared as not null) the optimizer should obey it. So here’s the plan my hinted query produced:


---------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation          | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT   |      |     1 |   104 |   207   (4)| 00:00:02 |
|   1 |  SORT AGGREGATE    |      |     1 |   104 |            |          |
|*  2 |   TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1   |  1000 |   101K|   207   (4)| 00:00:02 |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

We’d have to examine the 10053 trace file to be certain, but it seems the optimizer won’t consider doing an index fast full scan followed by a trip to the table for a select statement (in passing, Oracle would have obeyed the skip scan – index_ss() – hint). It’s a little surprising then that the optimizer will obey the hint for a delete:


explain plan for
delete /*+ index_ffs(t1) cluster_by_rowid(t1) */ from t1 where n1 = 0;

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

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation             | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | DELETE STATEMENT      |       |  1000 |  8000 |    38  (11)| 00:00:01 |
|   1 |  DELETE               | T1    |       |       |            |          |
|*  2 |   INDEX FAST FULL SCAN| T1_I1 |  1000 |  8000 |    38  (11)| 00:00:01 |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You might note three things from this plan. First, the optimizer can consider a fast full scan followed by a table visit (so why can’t we do that for a select); secondly that the cost of the delete statement is only 38 whereas the cost of the full tablescan in the earlier query was much larger at 207 – surprisingly Oracle had to be hinted to consider this fast full scan path, despite the fact that the cost was cheaper than the cost of the tablescan path it would have taken if I hadn’t included the hint; finally you might note the cluster_by_rowid() hint in the SQL – there’s no matching “Sort cluster by rowid” operation in the plan, even though this plan came from 11.2.0.4 where the mechanism and hint are available.

The most interesting of the three points is this: there is a bug recorded for the second one (17908541: CBO DOES NOT CONSIDER INDEX_FFS) reported as fixed in 12.2 – I wonder if this means that an index fast full scan followed by table access by rowid will also be considered for select statements in 12.2.

Of course, there is a trap – and something to be tested when the version (or patch) becomes available. Why is the cost of the delete so low (only 38, the cost of the index fast full scan) when the number of rows to be deleted is 1,000 and they’re spread evenly through the table ? It’s because the cost of a delete is actually calculated as the cost of the query: “select the rowids of the rows I want to delete but don’t worry about the cost of going to the rows to delete them (or the cost of updating the indexes that will have to be maintained, but that’s a bit irrelevant to the choice anyway)”.

So when Oracle does do a delete following an index fast full scan in 12.2, will it be doing it because it’s the right thing to do, or because it’s the wrong thing ?

To be continued … (after the next release/patch).

 


Cluster Nulls

Tue, 2014-06-17 00:39

Yesterday’s posting was a reminder that bitmap indexes, unlike B-tree indexes in Oracle,  do store entries where every column in the index is null. The same is true for cluster indexes – which are implemented as basic B-tree indexes. Here’s a test case I wrote to demonstrate the point.

drop table tc1;
drop cluster c including tables;

purge recyclebin;

create cluster c(val number);
create index c_idx on cluster c;
create table tc1 (val number, n1 number, padding varchar2(100)) cluster c(val);

insert into tc1
select
	decode(rownum,1,to_number(null),rownum), rownum, rpad('x',100)
from
	all_objects
where
	rownum <= 100
;

insert into tc1 select * from tc1;
insert into tc1 select * from tc1;
insert into tc1 select * from tc1;
insert into tc1 select * from tc1;
insert into tc1 select * from tc1;
commit;

analyze cluster c compute statistics;
execute dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(user,'tc1');

set autotrace traceonly explain

select * from tc1 where val = 2;
select * from tc1 where val is null;

set autotrace off

Here are the two execution plans from the above queries:


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation            | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT     |       |    32 |  3424 |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   1 |  TABLE ACCESS CLUSTER| TC1   |    32 |  3424 |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  2 |   INDEX UNIQUE SCAN  | C_IDX |     1 |       |     0   (0)| 00:00:01 |
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   2 - access("VAL"=2)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation         | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT  |      |    32 |  3424 |    14   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  TABLE ACCESS FULL| TC1  |    32 |  3424 |    14   (0)| 00:00:01 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter("VAL" IS NULL)

Spot the problem: the second query doesn’t use the index. So, despite the fact that I said that fully null index entries are stored in cluster indexes you might (as the first obvious question) wonder whether or not I was right. So here’s a piece of the symbolic dump of the index.


kdxconro 100                -- Ed: 100 entries (rows) in the leaf block

row#0[8012] flag: -----, lock: 0, data:(8):  02 00 02 0b 00 00 01 00
col 0; len 2; (2):  c1 03

row#1[7999] flag: -----, lock: 0, data:(8):  02 00 02 0c 00 00 01 00
col 0; len 2; (2):  c1 04

...

row#98[6738] flag: -----, lock: 2, data:(8):  02 00 02 6d 00 00 01 00
col 0; len 2; (2):  c2 02

row#99[8025] flag: -----, lock: 0, data:(8):  02 00 02 0a 00 00 01 00
col 0; NULL

The NULL entry is right there – sorted as the high value – just as it is in a bitmap index. But the optimizer won’t use it, even if you hint it.

Of course, Oracle uses it internally when inserting rows (how else, otherwise, would it rapidly find which the heap block needed for the next NULL insertion) – but it won’ use it to retrieve the data, it always uses a full table (cluster) scan. That’s really a little annoying if you’ve made the mistake of allowing nulls into your cluster.

There is a workaround, of course – in this case (depending on version) you could create a virtual column with index or a function-based index that (for example) uses the nvl2() function to convert nulls to a know value and all non-null entries to null; this would give you an index on just the original nulls which would be as small as possible and also have a very good clustering_factor. You’d have to change the code from “column is not null” to a predicate that matched the index, though. For example:


create index tc1_null on tc1(nvl2(val,null,0));

execute dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(user,'tc1', method_opt=>'for all hidden columns size 1');

select * from tc1 where nvl2(val,null,0) = 0;

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                   | Name     | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT            |          |    32 |  3456 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   1 |  TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| TC1      |    32 |  3456 |     2   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  2 |   INDEX RANGE SCAN          | TC1_NULL |    32 |       |     1   (0)| 00:00:01 |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   2 - access(NVL2("VAL",NULL,0)=0)

I’ve included the compress keyword (which implicitly means “all columns” for a non-unique index) in the definition since you only need 4 repetitions of the single-byte entry that is the internal representation of zero before you start to win on the storage trade-off – but since it’s likely to be a small index anyway that’s not particularly important. (Reminder: although Oracle collects index stats on index creation, you still need to collect column stats on the hidden column underlying the function-based columns on the index to give the optimizer full information.)


Execution Plans

Mon, 2014-06-16 10:22

This is the index to a series of articles I’ve been writing for redgate, published on their AllThingsOracle site, about generating and reading execution plans. I’ve completed a few articles that haven’t yet been published, but I’ll add their URLs when they’re available.

I don’t really know how many parts it’s going to end up as – there’s an awful lot that that you could say about reading execution plans, even when you’re trying to cover just the basics; every time I’ve started writing an episode in the series it’s turned into two episodes.  I’ve delivered 5 parts to redgate so far; the active URLs below are the ones that they are currently online.

The latest episode has just been published, so I’ve popped this catalogue to the top of the stack.  Episode 7 is written, but waiting for final proof read and transfer to the blog; after which it really will be time to say something about Row and Cost estimates.

 

 

 

 


Bitmap Nulls

Mon, 2014-06-16 02:08

It’s fairly well known that in Oracle B-tree indexes on heap tables don’t hold entries where all the indexed columns are all null, but that bitmap indexes will hold such entries and execution plans can for predicates like “column is null” can use bitmap indexes. Here’s a little test case to demonstrate the point (I ran this last on 12.1.0.1):


create table t1 (val number, n1 number, padding varchar2(100));

insert into t1
select
	decode(rownum,1,to_number(null),rownum), rownum, rpad('x',100)
from
	all_objects
where
	rownum <= 1000
;

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

commit;

create bitmap index t1_b1 on t1(val);

execute dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(user,'t1');

set autotrace traceonly explain

select * from t1 where val is null;

set autotrace off

The execution plan for this query, in the system I happened to be using, looked like this:


Execution Plan
----------------------------------------------------------
Plan hash value: 1201576309

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                           | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT                    |       |    32 |  3488 |     8   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   1 |  TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID BATCHED| T1    |    32 |  3488 |     8   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   2 |   BITMAP CONVERSION TO ROWIDS       |       |       |       |            |          |
|*  3 |    BITMAP INDEX SINGLE VALUE        | T1_B1 |       |       |            |          |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   3 - access("VAL" IS NULL)

Note that the predicate section shows us that we used the “column is null” predicate as an access predicate into the index.

Of course, this is a silly little example – I’ve only published it to make a point and to act as a reference case if you ever need to support a claim. Normally we don’t expect a single bitmap index to be a useful way to access a table, we tend to use combinations of bitmap indexes to combine a number of predicates so that we can minimise the trips to a table as efficiently as possible. (And we certainly DON’T create a bitmap index on an OLTP system because it lets us access NULLs by index — OLTP and bitmaps don’t get on well together.)

If you do a symbolic block dump, by the way, you’ll find that the NULL is represented by the special “length byte” of 0xFF with no following data.


Securefiles

Thu, 2014-05-29 11:15

A few weeks ago someone emailed me about a problem they had importing securefiles – it was very slow. Such things are never easy to address by email, of course, but there were three features to consider: (a) it was securfiles, (b) it was impdp, and (c) it was across a database link. If you read my blog regularly you’ll have seen me comment a few times that the easiest way to break Oracle is to mix a few features – so

  • securefiles and impdp (I know why LOBs generally appear to be slow to import, was it “LOBs” or specifically securefile LOBs)
  • securefiles and database links (db links are always slower than local actions – easy to do a comparative test)
  • impdp and database links (probably not, they’re supposed to work very well together in general – could do a local/remote comparison)
  • impdp with securefiles across a database link (easy enough to factor out the database link)

It was just a brief email, and I didn’t have an answer offhand, so I pointed out that there were a few bugs on MoS about impdp and LOBs and left it at that. A couple of days ago I got a follow-up email telling me that the problem was Bug 13609098 : IMPORTING SMALL SECUREFILE LOBS USING DATA PUMP IS SLOW.

There are two reasons for writing this note – the first, of course, is just to publicise the bug because I’ve seen three of four complaints over the Internet about slow imports with LOBs  and maybe a couple of those were actually “small securefile LOBs”; and then it’s possible that there are other people who haven’t even realised that their imports could be running faster.

The second reason, though, is to highlight a viewpoint that leaves me approaching Oracle features with extreme caution: this looks like the sort of bug that many people should have noticed, but the first reference is Jan 2012, and the earliest patch seems to be dated Oct 2013 – 22 months later! There could be various reasons for the long gap – but the one that always comes to my mind first in cases like this is: “are there so few people using ‘feature X’ that this bug stayed near the bottom of the todo list for a long time ?” – followed by the slightly less alarmist “maybe there are quite a lot of people, but very few have noticed” and “but the specific combination is, perhaps, just a little unlikely”. If there really are very few people using the feature then I’m not going to be keen to advise a client to take it on without doing an extremely careful set of tests – at scale – of everything they’re likely to do with the feature. I don’t want something to break after go-live and find that it take weeks to identify the root cause and months to fix.

In this particular case I’ll believe that the combination of Securefile LOBs (“large” objects) that were actually small and in large numbers is significant. I’m prepared to assume that the customer base using Securefiles is a reasonable size but the subset who hit this combination is a small fraction of the whole;  and that means I won’t be quite so paranoid about suggesting Securefiles as an option to a client – though I’d still insist on modelling any special cases that their requirements might highlight.

Footnote

The bug is fixed in 12.2 with several backports to 11.2.0.x for different platforms.

 

 

 


10053 trace

Fri, 2014-05-23 06:37

I published a note yesterday about enabling SQL trace system-wide for a single statement – and got a response on twitter from Bertrand Drouvot referencing a blog post he’d done a few months ago about using a similar method to dump the optimizer trace (10053) for a statement whenever it was optimized. He also highlighted the dbms_sqldiag package with its dump_trace() procedure – which is something I’d wanted to use a couple of weeks ago but couldn’t remember the package name - and supplied a reference to MoS note 225598.1 which then led on to Greg Rahn’s blog note about dbms_sqldiag.

The package is so important that I decided I’d create a reference note on my blog about it (I finally found my own reference notes on my laptop after getting a clue from Bertrand’s blog about the filename); but, at the same time, I think I have to report that it might not have helped me when I was looking for it two weeks ago. Here’s a critical paragraph from the MoS note:

How to Obtain Tracing of Optimizer Computations (EVENT 10053) (Doc ID 225598.1)

NOTE: The parse environment uses information captured in V$SQL_OPTIMIZER_ENV which does not record all information about the environment that parsed the query such as NLS settings. The result of this is that trace extracted from this may not always generate a trace that is truly representative of what happens when parsed from an application client. For example, if you parse from a client with NLS_SORT set differently to the Database then the application plan may be different to the database and so a trace generated from V$SQL_OPTIMIZER_ENV may cause confusion when the plan for a given cursor in the application is different to the one extracted.

The particular task I wanted to do was to re-optimize a query that had been run by another user (I was logged on as SYS at the time) because the critical user would have added a security predicate based on their current context to the table definitions in the query – and I didn’t know what that predicate would look like, but I knew it would have affected the execution path.  Judging from the note, though, it seems likely that the call to the package wouldn’t have re-acquired the user’s context and might, therefore, not be able to regenerate the necessary predicates. On the other hand, the actual security predicates used during the original optimisation could still be in-memory (in v$vpd_policy) so maybe dump_trace() would be able to do something about them.

Status: to be tested when I next have a few minutes free.

 


sql_trace

Thu, 2014-05-22 06:24

Here’s a convenient aid to trouble-shooting that appeared in 11g with its enhancements to setting events. It’s a feature that may help you to work out (among other things) why a given statement seems to have a highly variable performance profile. If you can find the SQL_ID for a parent cursor you can enable tracing for just that cursor whenever it executes, whoever executes it.


--	Last tested:  11.2.0.4

define m_sql_id = '&1'
define m_sql_id = '9tz4qu4rj9rdp'

alter system set events
	'
	sql_trace[SQL: &m_sql_id ]
/*
	plan_stat=all_executions,
	wait=false,
	bind=false
*/
	'
;

pause Press return to stop tracing

alter system set events
	'
	sql_trace[SQL: &m_sql_id ]
	off
	'
;
;

This is the whole of a little script I’ve got – the generic &1 is how I normally use it, I’ve just included a specific value (which is the sql_id for “select count(*) from all_objects;” as an example – that starts tracing across the entire system, but only for a given SQL_ID. On a production system, if I think I really need to do this, I would check the expected frequency of execution for the statement and wait enough time to capture a few occurrences before disabling the trace. Each session generates its own trace file, but if you’ve been sufficiently patient you get a reasonable sampling of the different workloads – and if you’ve captured the bind variables as well, this may give you some clues about why different work loads can appear.

A nice detail about this feature is that if the SQL_ID is for a pl/sql block, all the SQL executing inside the block is traced as part of the trace on the block (and that was particularly helpful the last time I had to make use of the feature); in the sample I’ve given I also found that some recursive SQL – relating to the XMLSCHEMA object types – executed within the view was also traced as the main statement was traced … so that makes it easy to see the effects of SQL statements calling PL/SQL functions that contain SQL statements.

 


Ignoring Hints

Mon, 2014-05-19 11:21

Does Oracle ignore hints – not if you use them correctly, and sometimes it doesn’t ignore them even when you use them incorrectly!

Here’s an example that I’ve run on 11.2.0.4 and 12.1.0.1


create table t1
as
with generator as (
	select	--+ materialize
		rownum id
	from dual
	connect by
		level <= 1e4
)
select
	rownum			id,
	rownum			n1,
	rpad('x',100)		padding
from
	generator	v1
;

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

create index t1_i1 on t1(id);
alter index t1_i1 unusable;

select n1 from t1 where id = 15;
select /*+ index(t1 (id)) */ n1 from t1 where id = 15;

Any guesses about the output from the last 4 statements ?

Index created.

Index altered.

        N1
----------
        15

1 row selected.

select /*+ index(t1 (id)) */ n1 from t1 where id = 15
*
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-01502: index 'TEST_USER.T1_I1' or partition of such index is in unusable state

That’s a pretty convincing display of Oracle not ignoring hints.

Update:

Technically, of course, I haven’t demonstrated that Oracle is not ignoring the hint (i.e. that it’s obeying the hint – if you want to avoid the double negative) until I demonstrate that in the absence of the hint the error would not occur – but that task is left as an exercise to the reader.

 


Subquery with OR

Thu, 2014-05-15 11:23

Prompted by a pingback on this post, followed in very short order by a related question (with a most gratifying result) on Oracle-L, I decided to write up a note about another little optimizer enhancement that appeared in 12c. Here’s a query that differs slightly from the query in the original article:


select
	id, modded, mod_15
from
	t1
where
	t1.mod_15 = 1                     -- originally t1.mod_15 > 0
and	(   t1.modded is null             -- originally t1.modded = 0
	 or exists (
		select	null
		from	t2
		where	t2.id = t1.modded
	    )
	)
;

As a general principle, the “OR EXISTS” stops the optimizer from unnesting the subquery, so my original article suggested a workaround that required you to rewrite the query with a UNION ALL, using the lnnvl() function (where possible) as the easy way to eliminate accidental duplication. Take a look at the plans for my new query, though – first in 11.2.0.4, then in 12.1.0.1:


Execution Plan for 11.2.0.4
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation          | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT   |       |    34 |   374 |    50   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  1 |  FILTER            |       |       |       |            |          |
|*  2 |   TABLE ACCESS FULL| T1    |   667 |  7337 |    50   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  3 |   INDEX UNIQUE SCAN| T2_PK |     1 |     3 |     0   (0)| 00:00:01 |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter("T1"."MODDED" IS NULL OR  EXISTS (SELECT 0 FROM "T2" "T2"
              WHERE "T2"."ID"=:B1))
   2 - filter("T1"."MOD_15"=1)
   3 - access("T2"."ID"=:B1)

Execution Plan for 12.1.0.1
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation            | Name  | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT     |       |    27 |   378 |    50   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|   1 |  NESTED LOOPS SEMI NA|       |    27 |   378 |    50   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  2 |   TABLE ACCESS FULL  | T1    |   667 |  7337 |    50   (0)| 00:00:01 |
|*  3 |   INDEX UNIQUE SCAN  | T2_PK |     1 |     3 |     0   (0)| 00:00:01 |
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   2 - filter("T1"."MOD_15"=1)
   3 - access("T2"."ID"="T1"."MODDED")

As expected, 11.2.0.4 has had to use a filter subquery approach – but 12.1.0.1 has found a different path. For this special “is null” case the optimizer has unnested the subquery and used a “null aware (NA) semi-join”. In this very small example there is no change in the reported cost, and the mechanics of the execution plan will be quite similar at run time – but in real systems there are bound to be cases where the new strategy is more efficient.

Unfortunately …

Bug 18650065 (fixed in 12.2) rears it’s ugly head: WRONG RESULTS ON QUERY WITH SUBQUERY USING OR EXISTS.
I can demonstrate this with the following code:


update t1 set modded = null
where id <= 30;
commit;

select
	id, modded, mod_15
from
	t1
where
	t1.id = 1                     -- previously mod_15 = 1
and	(   t1.modded is null
	 or exists (
		select	null
		from	t2
		where	t2.id = t1.modded
	    )
	)
;

alter table t1 add constraint t1_pk primary key(id);

select
	id, modded, mod_15
from
	t1
where
	t1.id = 1                     -- previously mod_15 = 1
and	(   t1.modded is null
	 or exists (
		select	null
		from	t2
		where	t2.id = t1.modded
	    )
	)
;

And here’s the output from the above script:


30 rows updated.

Commit complete.

        ID     MODDED     MOD_15
---------- ---------- ----------
         1                     1

1 row selected.

Table altered.

no rows selected

I’ve modified a few rows so that the “null-aware” bit of the new transformation matters, but I’ve now got a data set and transformation where I get the wrong results because I’ve defined a primary key (unique would have done) on a critical column in the query. If you check the execution plan you’ll find that the optimizer has switched from a null aware semi-join to a simple nested loop join.

There is a workaround for this problem – disable the relevant feature:

alter session set "_optimizer_null_accepting_semijoin"=false;
For Reference:

Here’s the SQL to generate the data for the above demonstration:

create table t1
as
with generator as (
	select	--+ materialize
		rownum 	id
	from	all_objects
	where	rownum <= 5000
)
select
	rownum			id,
	mod(rownum,999)		modded,
	mod(rownum,15)		mod_15,
	lpad(rownum,10,'0')	small_vc,
	rpad('x',100)		padding
from
	generator	v1,
	generator	v2
where
	rownum <= 10000
;

update t1 set modded = null where modded = 26;

create index t1_i1 on t1(id);
create index t1_i2 on t1(modded);

create table t2
as
select
	2 * rownum		id,
	lpad(rownum,10,'0')	small_vc,
	rpad('x',100)		padding
from
	all_Objects
where
	rownum <= 20
;	

alter table t2 add constraint t2_pk primary key(id);


Feature Bypass

Wed, 2014-05-14 06:23

Here’s a little tip that might be helpful occasionally when you’re trying to work out why the optimizer transformation you were expecting isn’t appearing

If you’ve ever checked the 10053 trace (and who wants to do that for a complex query) you may have noticed lines like:

SU: SU bypassed: Remote table referenced.

So now you know that SU – Subquery Unnesting – has limitations in distributed queries.

When I first saw a line like this, it crossed my mind that it would be useful to keep a reference list of features that could be reported as bypassed, which I do through a simple unix line:

strings -a oracle | grep -i bypassed > bypassed.txt

If you need a reference for the various short codes for transformations you can find it near the top of the 10053 trace, looking like this:

[sourecode gutter="false"]
CBQT – cost-based query transformation
JPPD – join predicate push-down
OJPPD – old-style (non-cost-based) JPPD
FPD – filter push-down
PM – predicate move-around
CVM – complex view merging
SPJ – select-project-join
SJC – set join conversion
SU – subquery unnesting
OBYE – order by elimination
OST – old style star transformation
ST – new (cbqt) star transformation
CNT – count(col) to count(*) transformation
JE – Join Elimination
JF – join factorization
SLP – select list pruning
DP – distinct placement
… big gap here
AP – adaptive plans
[/sourcecode]


Compression Units – 6

Mon, 2014-05-12 06:34

I received an email recently asking me if I knew how Oracle found specific rows and columns in a compression unit. This is a topic that I’ve spoken about a couple of times, and I’ve published several notes on the blog about it, including an image of a critical slide from one of my presentations, and I was expecting to find some notes somewhere about Oracle catalogues all the bits and pieces. Part 4 of this series lists some of the detail but I was slightly surprised to discover that it made the comment: “and somewhere in the CU there has to be a set of pointers to the first byte for each compressed column” - and this was the bit that my interrogator wanted to know. This posting is the answer – and I’ll start with a dump of the first block of a CU:


block_row_dump:
tab 0, row 0, @0x30
tl: 8016 fb: --H-F--N lb: 0x0  cc: 1
nrid:  0x01c06484.0
col  0: [8004]
Compression level: 03 (Archive Low)
 Length of CU row: 8004
kdzhrh: ------PC CBLK: 11 Start Slot: 00
 NUMP: 11
 PNUM: 00 POFF: 7884 PRID: 0x01c06484.0
 PNUM: 01 POFF: 15900 PRID: 0x01c06485.0
 PNUM: 02 POFF: 23916 PRID: 0x01c06486.0
 PNUM: 03 POFF: 31932 PRID: 0x01c06487.0
 PNUM: 04 POFF: 39948 PRID: 0x01c06488.0
 PNUM: 05 POFF: 47964 PRID: 0x01c06489.0
 PNUM: 06 POFF: 55980 PRID: 0x01c0648a.0
 PNUM: 07 POFF: 63996 PRID: 0x01c0648b.0
 PNUM: 08 POFF: 72012 PRID: 0x01c0648c.0
 PNUM: 09 POFF: 80028 PRID: 0x01c0648d.0
 PNUM: 10 POFF: 88044 PRID: 0x01c0648e.0
CU header:
CU version: 0   CU magic number: 0x4b445a30
CU checksum: 0x5c173142
CU total length: 93755
CU flags: NC-U-CRD-OP
ncols: 7
nrows: 4361
algo: 0
CU decomp length: 93159   len/value length: 309310
row pieces per row: 1
num deleted rows: 0
START_CU:
 00 00 1f 44 1f 0b 00 00 00 0b 00 00 1e cc 01 c0 64 84 00 00 00 00 3e 1c 01
 c0 64 85 00 00 00 00 5d 6c 01 c0 64 86 00 00 00 00 7c bc 01 c0 64 87 00 00
 00 00 9c 0c 01 c0 64 88 00 00 00 00 bb 5c 01 c0 64 89 00 00 00 00 da ac 01
 c0 64 8a 00 00 00 00 f9 fc 01 c0 64 8b 00 00 00 01 19 4c 01 c0 64 8c 00 00
 00 01 38 9c 01 c0 64 8d 00 00 00 01 57 ec 01 c0 64 8e 00 00 00 4b 44 5a 30
 42 31 17 5c 00 01 6e 3b eb 06 00 07 11 09 00 04 b8 3e 01 00 00 00 00 00 00
 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
...
...  20 repetitions of the previous line of zeros deleted
...  This is mostly the bitmap identifying deleted rows.
...  nrows=4361, so this will be about 4261, so this will be
...  about 4361/8 = 545 bytes of zeros.
...
 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 02 00 00 02 54 00 00 30
 bc 00 00 4a 82 00 00 64 37 00 00 a6 b8 00 00 e9 39 00 01 2b ba e6 c2 eb 8b
 00 00 2e 68 01 40 01 02 00 00 53 f0 78 9c a5 dc 07 57 23 5b 96 25 e0 ee 24

If you look at the symbolic dump there are lots of numbers that you could try to locate in the binary dump labelled START_CU:, for example the CU magic number 4b3445a30 is very obvious at the end of line 37 above (with the bytes in the right order), and the CU checksum of 5c173142 is visible at the start of line 38 (with the bytes in reverse order – no, don’t ask why me there’s a difference).

Bearing in mind how Oracle frequently uses “self-describing” strategies for data we might search for the value that gives the length of the CU as this could well be the start of the compressed data. But there are two CU lengths – the CU total length (93755) and the CU decomp length (93159). To my mind the latter is the “amount of CU requiring decompression” but let’s check for both: 93,755 (dec) = 0x16e3b, and 93,159 (dec) = 0x16be7 .

Take another look at line 38 – the second 4 bytes are: 00 01 6e 3b, the CU total length. Unfortunately we can’t see the CU decomp length anywhere, so let’s change strategy slightly – the different between the two lengths is 93755 – 93159 =  596 = 0×254, and by a convenient coincidence if you look at line 46, five bytes from the end, you find 02 54. Is this really a coincidence ? Let’s count 596 bytes from the CU total length and see where we get to – the answer is : the last 4 bytes of line 46 (e6 c2 eb 8b) This doesn’t seem to help at first sight, but take a look at where we are and what precedes that 4 bytes. There are 7 groups of 4 bytes that look like increasing values – and since I know more about the data than you do (it’s a table with 7 columns, and the last 4 columns are identical across all rows), I’ve extracted those 28 bytes and reformatted them:


                    	Offset		Delta
                    	------		-----
        00 00 02 54 	  596
        00 00 30 bc 	12476		11880
        00 00 4a 82 	19074		 6598
        00 00 64 37 	25655		 6581
        00 00 a6 b8 	42680		17025
        00 00 e9 39 	59705		17025
        00 01 2b ba 	76730		17025
                    	93755	<----


The “Offset” column is what you get by converting from Hex to decimal, and the “Delta” column is the difference between one value and the next. Notice how the last three deltas are the same, and how, if you add the same delta to the last Offset you get a number which is the CU total length. The “02 54″ I found as the difference between the CU total length and the CU decomp length is actually the starting point for the list of pointers to each of the compressed columns, and the repeated 17,025 is the length of my duplicated final four columns. The e6 c2 eb 8b is the first four bytes of the first (compressed) column.

Having worked out that it’s possible to find the list of pointers quite easily from the dump, the next step (left as an exercise to the interested reader) is to work out the algorithm that Oracle uses to locate the list – since the CU decomp length is clearly derived and not actually stored. As a little clue, you might start by taking another look at line 38: bytes 11/12 are 00 07 – the number of columns in the table, and bytes 13/14 are 11 09 – the number of rows in the CU (and that’s the most significant number at this point because it tells you how long the bitmap for deleted rows will be).


Quiz Night

Wed, 2014-05-07 07:18

Okay – so it’s not night time in my home time-zone, but I’m in Singapore at the moment so it’s night time.

A very simple little quiz – so I’ve disabled comments for the moment and will re-enable them tomorrow morning to allow more people to have a chance to see the question without the solution.

Explain the anomaly displayed in the following “cut-n-paste” from a session running SQL*Plus on 11.2.0.4:

SQL> create unique index t1_i1 on t1(v1 desc);
create unique index t1_i1 on t1(v1 desc)
                                *
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-01452: cannot CREATE UNIQUE INDEX; duplicate keys found

SQL> create unique index t1_i1 on t1(v1);

Index created.

Answer

Well it didn’t take long for an answer and several bits of related infomration to show up – as Martin pointed out, all I have to do is insert NULL into the table twice.

To create an entry in a descending index, Oracle takes the 1′s-complement of each column and appends an 0xFF byte to each column – except in the case of a null column where the null is replaced with a 0×00. (And, as Sayan points out, funny things happen if you have a varchar2() column which has already reached the 4,000 byte limit)

The point of the 1′s-complement is that if you walk through the stored values in ascending order you’re walking through the original values in descending – provided you have the 0xFF on the end of each non-null entry.

 


Extended stats

Sun, 2014-05-04 06:24

Like the recent article on deleting histograms this is another draft that I rediscovered while searching for some notes I had written on a different topic – so I’ve finally finished it off and published it.

Here’s a quirky little detail of extended stats that came up in an OTN thread earlier on this week [ed: actually 8th Jan 2014]. When you create column group stats, Oracle uses an undocumented function sys_op_combined_hash() to create a hash value, and if you gather simple stats on the column (i.e. no histogram) you can get some idea of the range of values that Oracle generates through the hash function. For example:


create table t1 as
select  1 n1, 2 n2
from dual
connect by level<=5000
union all
select  2, 1
from dual
connect by level<=5000
;

select dbms_stats.create_extended_stats(user,'t1','(n1, n2)') name from dual;

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

break on column_name skip 1

column column_name format a32
column endpoint_number heading "EP No."
column endpoint_value  heading "Value" format 999,999,999,999,999,999,999

select
	column_name, endpoint_number, endpoint_value
from
	user_tab_histograms
where
	table_name = 'T1'
order by
	column_name, endpoint_value
;

COLUMN_NAME                          EP No.                        Value
-------------------------------- ---------- ----------------------------
N1                                        0                            1
                                          1                            2

N2                                        0                            1
                                          1                            2

SYS_STUBZH0IHA7K$KEBJVXO5LOHAS            0      298,332,787,864,733,000
                                          1    8,095,781,421,167,520,000

I could have selected low_value and high_value from user_tab_cols, using utl_raw.cast_to_number() to display them in numeric format, but the view user_tab_histograms display the low and high as a two-bucket histogram if there is no actual histogram data for the column in the histogram (histgrm$) table.

We probably don’t need to worry about what the low and high values might be because taking hash values destroys any meaning that a range might have (the optimizer can’t use column group stats in range-based predicates, only in equality predicates). However, we might collect a frequency histogram (or Top-N histogram in 12c) on the column group because there might be some data skew in the sets of values that we need to tell the optimizer about – so let’s gather a histogram with 2 buckets on our sample data set and see what we get:


begin
	dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(
		ownname		 => user,
		tabname		 =>'T1',
		method_opt 	 => 'for all columns size 2'
	);
end;
/

select
	column_name, endpoint_number, endpoint_value
from
	user_tab_histograms
where
	table_name = 'T1'
order by
	column_name, endpoint_value
;

COLUMN_NAME                          EP No.                        Value
-------------------------------- ---------- ----------------------------
N1                                     5000                            1
                                      10000                            2

N2                                     5000                            1
                                      10000                            2

SYS_STUBZH0IHA7K$KEBJVXO5LOHAS         5000                1,977,102,303
                                      10000                7,894,566,276

The histogram values have changed! As one of the posters on the OTN thread points out, what Oracle has actually stored in this case is mod(sys_op_combined_hash() ,9999999999).

So far I haven’t done any exhaustive testing to work out whether the change in the strategy for storing numbers makes any difference to the typical optimizer arithmetic – but I do have at least one case (relating to “missing values” behaviour where the presence or absence of a column group histogram does make a difference to the estimated cardinality in a way that seems inconsistent with other patterns of behaviour: I doubt if it’s actually due to the change in what’s stored, and one day I may come across a client where I actually need to work out what’s going on and how best to work with the anomaly.

Bonus thought:

In 12c Oracle collects column stats automatically as it loads data into an empty table; but not if it’s got extended stats defined on it.  (This is bug no 18425876, fixed in 12.2). Here’s some code modelling a client scenario where we truncate and reload a table every day. In the first part of the demonstration I’ve loaded the table twice to show that after truncating and reloading I get new stats on the table – the first load is 10,000 rows, the second is 20,000 rows and the stats reflect this automatically. In the second part of the code, after adding a set of column group stats, truncating and loading 5,000 rows, the stats from the previous cycle are still in place. (The code is only relevant to 12c, of course)

create table t1 (n1 number, n2 number);

insert	/*+ append */
into	t1
select	object_id, data_object_id
from	all_objects
where
	rownum <= 10000
;
commit;

-- stats have appeared without a call to dbms_stats to gather them.

select blocks, num_rows from user_tables where table_name = 'T1';
select column_name, num_distinct, num_nulls, density, low_value, high_value from user_tab_cols where table_name = 'T1';

truncate table t1;

insert	/*+ append */
into	t1
select	object_id, data_object_id
from	all_objects
where
	rownum <= 20000
;
commit;

-- Stats now show the latest data 

select blocks, num_rows from user_tables where table_name = 'T1';
select column_name, num_distinct, num_nulls, density, low_value, high_value from user_tab_cols where table_name = 'T1';

-- Add a column group to the stats 

select dbms_stats.create_extended_stats(user,'t1','(n1, n2)') name from dual;

truncate table t1;

insert	/*+ append */
into	t1
select	object_id, data_object_id
from	all_objects
where
	rownum <= 5000
;
commit;

-- The stats have not been updated to reflect the new data, and the column group stats are empty

select blocks, num_rows from user_tables where table_name = 'T1';
select column_name, num_distinct, num_nulls, density, low_value, high_value from user_tab_cols where table_name = 'T1';

--------------------------------------------------------
-- Here are the three consecutive sets of results
--------------------------------------------------------

    BLOCKS   NUM_ROWS
---------- ----------
        16      10000

COLUMN_NAME                      NUM_DISTINCT  NUM_NULLS    DENSITY LOW_VALUE                  HIGH_VALUE
-------------------------------- ------------ ---------- ---------- -------------------------- --------------------------
N1                                      10000          0      .0001 C103                       C3020C60
N2                                       2534       7429 .000394633 C103                       C30B2929

    BLOCKS   NUM_ROWS
---------- ----------
        32      20000

COLUMN_NAME                      NUM_DISTINCT  NUM_NULLS    DENSITY LOW_VALUE                  HIGH_VALUE
-------------------------------- ------------ ---------- ---------- -------------------------- --------------------------
N1                                      20000          0     .00005 C103                       C30A4553
N2                                       3115      16848 .000321027 C103                       C30B2929

    BLOCKS   NUM_ROWS
---------- ----------
        32      20000

COLUMN_NAME                      NUM_DISTINCT  NUM_NULLS    DENSITY LOW_VALUE                  HIGH_VALUE
-------------------------------- ------------ ---------- ---------- -------------------------- --------------------------
N1                                      20000          0     .00005 C103                       C30A4553
N2                                       3115      16848 .000321027 C103                       C30B2929
SYS_STUBZH0IHA7K$KEBJVXO5LOHAS

The workaround given in the bug is “add the extended stats after loading the table” – but if you’re constantly truncating and reloading that means you have to drop and add the extended stats and do a tablescan to gather the column group stats every time you reload.

Note: the limitation applies whether you create a column group, “ordinary” extended stats, a virtual column, or an implicit virtual column underlying a function-based index.

Just as a little aside – when I first wrote the demo script I forgot to put in the commit; after the insert/append – which meant I was trying to create column group stats on a table which should have given me Oracle error: “ORA-12838: cannot read/modify an object after modifying it in parallel”; instead this has been trapped by the dbms_stats package and shows up as a slightly confusing:


select dbms_stats.create_extended_stats(user,'t1','(n1, n2)') name from dual
       *
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-20001: Error when processing extension -  resource busy and acquire with NOWAIT specified or timeout expired
ORA-06512: at "SYS.DBMS_STATS", line 12977
ORA-06512: at "SYS.DBMS_STATS", line 44967
ORA-06512: at "SYS.DBMS_STATS", line 44986