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Index Usage – 4

Here’s a thought that came to me while I was writing up a note about identifying redundant indexes a few minutes ago. Sometimes you end up supporting applications with unexpected duplication of data and indexes and need to find ways to reduce overheads. Here’s some code modelling a scenario that I’ve seen more often than I like (actually, just once would be more often than I’d like):

[Oracle] Insights into SQL hints - Embedded global and local hints and how to use them


The idea for this blog post started a few weeks ago when i had to troubleshoot some Oracle database / SQL performance issues at client site. The SQL itself included several views and so placing hints (for testing purpose) into the views was not possible, especially as the views were used widely and not only by the SQL with the performance issue. In consequence this blog post is about the difference between embedded global and local hints and how to use them.


CBO catchup

It’s interesting to watch the CBO evolving and see how an enhancement in one piece of code doesn’t necessarily echo through to all the other places it seems to fit. Here’s an example of an enhancement that spoiled (or, rather, made slightly more complicated) a little demonstration I had been running for about the last 15  years  – but (in a fashion akin to another partitioning limitation) doesn’t always work in exactly the way you might expect.

Subquery Factoring (10)

What prompted me to write my previous note about subquerying was an upgrade to 12c, and a check that a few critical queries would not do something nasty on the upgrade. As ever it’s always interesting how many little oddities you can discover while looking closely as some little detail of how the optimizer works. Here’s an oddity that came up in the course of my playing around investigation in – first some sample data:

Subquery Factoring (9)

Several years go (eight to be precise) I wrote a note suggesting that Oracle will not materialize a factored subquery unless it is used at least twice in the main query. I based this conclusion on a logical argument about the cost of creating and using a factored subquery and, at the time, I left it at that. A couple of years ago I came across an example where even with two uses of a factored subquery Oracle still didn’t materialize even though the cost of doing so would reduce the cost of the query – but I never got around to writing up the example, so here it is:

12c Downgrade

No, not really – but sometimes the optimizer gets better and gives you worse performance as a side effect when you upgrade. Here’s an example where recognised (with a few hints) the case for a nested loop semi-join and 12c went a bit further and recognised the opportunity for doing a cunning “semi_to_inner” transformation … which just happened to do more work than the 11g plan.

Here’s a data set to get things going, I’ve got “parent” and “child” tables, but in this particular demonstration I won’t be invoking referential integrity:

Descending Indexes

I’ve written about optimizer defects with descending indexes before now but a problem came up on the OTN database forum a few days ago that made me decide to look very closely at an example where the arithmetic was clearly defective. The problem revolves around a table with two indexes, one on a date column (TH_UPDATE_TIMESTAMP) and the other a compound index which starts with the same column in descending order (TH_UPDATE_TIMESTAMP DESC, TH_TXN_CODE). The optimizer was picking the “descending” index in cases where it was clearly the wrong index (even after the statistics had been refreshed and all the usual errors relating to date-based indexes had been discounted). Here’s an execution plan from the system which shows that there’s something wrong with the optimizer:

Missing Bloom

Here’s a little surprise that came up on the OTN database forum a few days ago. Rather than describe it, I’m just going to create a data set to demonstrate it, initially using although the same thing happens on The target is a query that joins to a range/hash composite partitioned table and uses a Bloom filter to do partition pruning at the subpartition level.  (Note to self: is it possible to see Bloom filters that operate at both the partition and subpartition level from a single join? I suspect not.). Here’s my code to create and populate both the partitioned table and a driving table for the query:

CBO series

Update 9th July 2015:  part 4 now published.

I’ve changed the catalogue from a post to a page so that it gets a static address:

I’ll leave this posting here for a while, but will probably remember to remove it some time in the future.

[Oracle] DB Optimizer Part XII - Revealing SQL Plan Directive details for existing/loaded cursor from CBO (and SQL Dynamic Sampling Services) trace


The idea for this blog post is based on a recent Twitter discussion with Martin Berger, Martin Bach and Mauro Pagano about revealing SQL Plan Directive details for an existing cursor as walking through the standard Oracle data dictionary views can be very time consuming/slow and there are still some details missing about the dynamic sampling task itself, even if you have found what you are looking for.