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Execution plans

Parallel Fun

As I write, there’s an ongoing thread on Oracle-L that started with the (paraphrased) question: “I’ve got this query that returns 7 million rows; when I change it to ‘select count(*)’ it returns in 4 seconds but when we display the full result set on screen it takes hours, and every second or two the screen pauses; how do I make it go faster.”

The general rapid response was: “You shouldn’t be running 7M rows to a screen – the time is the time for the network traffic and display.”

Upgrades

One of the worst problems with upgrades is that things sometimes stop working. A particular nuisance is the execution plan that suddenly stops appearing, to be replaced by an alternative plan that is much less efficient.

Apart from the nuisance of the time spent trying to force the old plan to re-appear, plus the time spent working out a way of rewriting the query when you finally decide the old plan simply isn’t going to re-appear, there’s also the worry about WHY the old plan won’t appear. Is it some sort of bug, is it that some new optimizer feature has disabled some older optimizer feature, or is it that someone in the optimizer group realised that the old plan was capable of producing the wrong results in some circumstances … it’s that last possibility that I find most worrying.

first_rows(10)

No, not the 10th posting about first_rows() this week – whatever it may seem like – just an example that happens to use the “calculate costs for fetching the first 10 rows” optimizer strategy and does it badly. I think it’s a bug, but it’s certainly a defect that is a poster case for the inherent risk of using anything other than all_rows optimisation.  Here’s some code to build a couple of sample tables:

Plan depth

A recent posting on OTN reminded me that I haven’t been poking Oracle 12c very hard to see which defects in reporting execution plans have been fixed. The last time I wrote something about the problem was about 20 months ago referencing 11.2.0.3; but there are still oddities and irritations that make the nice easy “first child first” algorithm fail because the depth calculated by Oracle doesn’t match the level that you would get from a connect-by query on the underlying plan table. Here’s a simple fail in 12c:

12c Fixed Subquery

It’s been about 8 months since I posted a little note about a “notable change in behaviour” of the optimizer when dealing with subqueries in the where clause that could be used to return a constant, e.g.:


select
	*
from	t1
where	id between (select 10001 from dual)
	   and     (select 90000 from dual)
;

There’s been a note at the start of the script ever since saying: Check if this is also true for any table with ‘select fixed_value from table where primary = constant’ I finally had a few minutes this morning (San Francisco time) to check – and it does, in both 11.2.0.4 and 12.1.0.2. With the t1 table from the previous article run the following:

Quiz Night

I have a table with several indexes on it, and I have two versions of a query that I might run against that table. Examine them carefully, then come up with some plausible reason why it’s possible (with no intervening DDL, DML, stats collection, parameter fiddling etc., etc., etc.) for the second form of the query to be inherently more efficient than the first.

Group By Bug

This just in from OTN Database Forum – a surprising little bug with “group by elimination” exclusive to 12c.


alter session set nls_date_format='dd-Mon-yyyy hh24:mi:ss';

select
       /* optimizer_features_enable('12.1.0.1')*/
       trunc (ts,'DD') ts1, sum(fieldb) fieldb
from (
  select
        ts, max(fieldb) fieldb
  from (
  select trunc(sysdate) - 1/24 ts, 1 fieldb from dual
  union all
  select trunc(sysdate) - 2/24 ts, 2 fieldb from dual
  union all
  select trunc(sysdate) - 3/24 ts, 3 fieldb from dual
  union all
  select trunc(sysdate) - 4/24 ts, 4 fieldb from dual
  union all
  select trunc(sysdate) - 5/24 ts, 5 fieldb from dual
  )
  group by ts
)
group by trunc (ts,'DD')
/

You might expect to get one row as the answer – but this is the result I got, with the execution plan pulled from memory:

Order of Operation

One response to my series on reading execution plans was an email request asking me to clarify what I meant by the “order of operation” of the lines of an execution plan. Looking through the set of articles I’d written I realised that I hadn’t made any sort of formal declaration of what I meant, all I had was a passing reference in the introduction to part 4; so here’s the explanation.

 

By “order of operation” I mean the order in which the lines of an execution plan start to produce a rowsource. It’s worth stating this a little formally as any other interpretation could lead to confusion; consider the following simple hash join:

Delete Costs

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:

Delete Costs

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: