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All Things Oracle

Last year I wrote a few articles for Simpletalk, a web service created by Redgate for users of SQL Server. This year, Redgate is setting up a similar service called “All things Oracle” (I’ve added a link in my blogroll) for Oracle users, and I’ve volunteered to write articles for them occasionally.

Some of the stuff they publish will be complete articles on their website, some will be short introductions with links to the authors’ own websites. My first article for them has just been posted – it’s an article that captures a couple of key points from the optimizer presentation I did at the UKOUG conference a couple of weeks ago.

FBI trouble

In our application we extensively use a function-based index on an important table. Couple of days ago I’ve seen an interesting issue associated with this FBI, view and a GROUP BY query. I have to say I don’t have an explanation what exactly it is and how I should call it properly, hence just “trouble” in the subject line.

I wish

Here are a few thoughts on dbms_stats – in particular the procedure gather_index_stats.

The procedure counts the number of used leaf blocks and the number of distinct keys using a count distinct operation, which means you get an expensive aggregation operation when you gather stats on a large index. It would be nice efficiency feature if Oracle changed the code to use the new Approximate NDV mechanism for these counts.

Table Functions And Join Cardinality Estimates

If you consider the usage of Table Functions then you should be aware of some limitations to the optimizer calculations, in particular when considering a join between a Table Function and other row sources.

As outlined in one of my previous posts you can and should help the optimizer to arrive at a reasonable cardinality estimate when dealing with table functions, however doing so doesn't provide all necessary inputs to the join cardinality calculation that are useful and available from the statistics when dealing with regular tables.

Therefore even when following the recommended practice regarding the cardinality estimates it is possible to end up with some inaccuracies. This post will explain why.

Join Cardinality Basics

CBO isn’t perfect

And you should remember that. Here is a nice example how Cost Based Optimizer can miss an obvious option (which is available to human eye and Oracle run-time with a hint) while searching for the best plan. CBO simply doesn’t consider Index Skip Scan with constant ‘in list’ predicates in the query, although it costs skip scan for a join. Such bits are always popping up here and there, so you just can’t say “The Cost Based Optimizer examines all of the possible plans for a SQL statement …”, even if Optimizer Team tells you CBO should do so. There will always be places where CBO will do less than possible to come to the best plan and will need a help from your side, such as re-written SQL or a hint.

Star Transformation And Cardinality Estimates

If you want to make use of Oracle's cunning Star Transformation feature then you need to be aware of the fact that the star transformation logic - as the name implies - assumes that you are using a proper star schema.

Here is a nice example of what can happen if you attempt to use star transformation but your model obviously doesn't really correspond to what Oracle expects:

drop table d;

purge table d;

drop table t;

purge table t;

create table t
as
select
rownum as id
, mod(rownum, 100) + 1 as fk1
, 1000 + mod(rownum, 10) + 1 as fk2
, 2000 + mod(rownum, 100) + 1 as fk3
, rpad('x', 100) as filler
from
dual
connect by
level <= 1000000
;

exec dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(null, 't')

create bitmap index t_fk1 on t (fk1);

Why Is My Index Not Being Used No. 2 Solution (The Narrow Way)

As many have identified, the first thing to point out is that the two queries are not exactly equivalent. The BETWEEN clause is equivalent to a ‘>= and <=’ predicate, whereas the original query only had a ‘> and <’ predicate. The additional equal conditions at each end is significant. The selectivity of the original query is basically costed [...]

Why Is My Index Not Being Used No. 2 Quiz (Quicksand)

I have a table that has 1M rows with dates that span 2000 days, all evenly distributed (so there are 500 rows per day for the mathematically challenged). All stats are 100% accurate and I have an index on the date column.         OK, I now select 1 day’s worth of data: [...]

Why Is My Index Not Being Used Solution (Eclipse)

Well done to everyone that got the correct answer Indeed, the subtle but significant difference between the two demos was that demo one created the table in a tablespace called USER_DATA with manual segment space management (with freelists/freelist groups set to 1), while demo two created the table in a tablespace called USER_DATA1 with automatic segment space management. [...]

Why Is My Index Not Being Used Quiz (Brain Damage)

This one is a little different as it comes in the form of a demo (and about 1 minute to read) so you have to work a little   I create table, index and sequence:     I then create a little procedure that simply adds 100,000 rows to the table:     I then [...]