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Cost of Virtual Indexes (Little Lies)

I’ve previously discussed Virtual Indexes and how they can be used to do basic “what if” analysis if such an index really existed. However, a recent comment on the OTN forums regarding using them to compare index costs made me think a follow-up post regarding the dangers of Virtual Indexes might be warranted. The big advantage of [...]

Nested Loop Join Costing

The basic formula for calculating the costs of a Nested Loop Join is pretty straightforward and has been described and published several times.

In principle it is the cost of acquiring the driving row source plus the cost of acquiring the inner row source of the Nested Loop as many times as the driving row source dictates via the cardinality of the driving row source.

Cost (outer rowsource) + Cost (inner rowsource) * Card (outer rowsource)

Obviously there are cases where Oracle has introduced refinements to the above formula where this is no longer true. Here is one of these cases that is probably not uncommon.

#optimizerbumperstickers Oracle VLDB Mary Poppins and me

In 1990, when Ken Jacobs hosted the RDBMS campground talks at the Anaheim International Oracle User Week appreciation event, one of the topic areas was whether we (some users representing the Very Large DataBases VLDB of the Oracle world which meant anything north of about 7 GB back then) thought that the rule based optimizer (RBO) was good enough, or whether we needed a cost based optimizer (CBO) for the real applications we were running at enterprise scale to work well. “Oracle’s optimizer is like Mary Poppins. It’s practically perfect in every way. But we do have some cases where it would be helpful for the optimizer to consider the relative sizes of tables and whether a table was local or remote when the plan for joining and filtering is constructed.

Extended Stats

I’m very keen on the 11g extended stats feature, but I’ve just discovered a critical weakness in one of the implementation details that could lead to some surprising instability in execution plans. It’s a combination of “column group” statistics and “out of range” predicates. Let’s start with  some sample data. (Note: I was running this test on

create table t1
with generator as (
	select	--+ materialize
		rownum id 
	from dual 
	connect by 
		level <= 10000
	mod(rownum,100)		col1,
	mod(rownum,10)		col2
	generator	v1,
	generator	v2
	rownum <= 50000

		ownname		 => user,
		tabname		 =>'T1',
		method_opt	 => 'for all columns size 1'

Column Groups - Edge Cases

Oracle 11g added Extended Statistics support for column groups in order to detect correlated columns for filter predicates using an equal comparison.

Note that Oracle 11g also added the ability to use the number of distinct keys of a composite index as an upper limit for the cardinality estimates for matching column predicates, which means that the optimizer is now capable of detecting correlated columns without the explicit addition of Extended Statistics / Column Groups.

Coalesce Subquery Transformation - COALESCE_SQ

Oracle 11.2 introduced a set of new Query Transformations, among others the ability to coalesce subqueries which means that multiple correlated subqueries can be merged into a number of less subqueries.

Timur Akhmadeev already demonstrated the basic principles in a blog entry, but when I was recently involved into supporting a TPC-H benchmark for a particular storage vendor I saw a quite impressive application of this optimization that I would like to share here.

First_rows hash

Just like my posting on an index hash, this posting is about a problem as well as being about a hash join. The article has its roots in a question posted on the OTN database forum, where a user has shown us the following execution plan:

Index Upgrades

Listening to a presentation by Paul Matuszyk on extended statistics yesterday, I learned something that I should have spotted ages ago. Here’s a little demo script to introduce the point:

create table t1
with generator as (
	select	--+ materialize
		rownum id
	from dual
	connect by
		level <= 1000)
	rownum			id,
	mod(rownum,100)		n1,
	mod(rownum,100)		n2,
	mod(rownum,100)		n3,
	lpad(rownum,10,'0')	small_vc,
	rpad('x',100)		padding
	generator	v1,
	generator	v2
	rownum <= 1000000;

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

-- collect stats, no histograms.

Join Views, ROWIDs And Query Transformations

Here is an odd little bug that was discussed a couple of weeks ago on the OTN forums.

It's about queries on join views by ROWID that fail with "ORA-01410: invalid ROWID" under certain circumstances. The bug can only be reproduced when using the 11.2 code base. In fact the same setup will cause an internal error in 11.1, but 10.2 will return correct results.

It's probably not a very common scenario but it is an interesting example of how features that work fine by themselves can cause problems when used together.

First of all (hopefully) some of you may ask: How is it possible to query from a join view by ROWID, since the view is based on multiple objects and hence doesn't have a simple one-to-one mapping to a ROWID of a single table?

Not In – 2

My note on “NOT IN” subqueries is one of the most popular on my blog, staying in the top 5 hits for the last five years – but it’s getting a bit old, so it’s about time I said something new about “NOT IN” – especially since the Null Aware Anti Join has been around such a long time. The example I want to talk about is, as so often, something that came up as a problem on a customer site. Here’s a bit of SQL to model the situation, which is currently running under Oracle