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Execution plans

Subquery Order

From time to time I’ve wanted to optimize a query by forcing Oracle to execute existence (or non-existence) subqueries in the correct order because I know which subquery will eliminate most data most efficiently, and it’s always a good idea to look for ways to eliminate early. I’ve only just discovered (which doing some tests on 18c) that Oracle 12.2.0.1 introduced the /*+ order_subq() */ hint that seems to be engineered to do exactly that.

Here’s a very simple (and completely artificial) demonstration of use.

Descending bug

Following on from Monday’s posting about reading execution plans and related information, I noticed a question on the ODC database forum asking about the difference between “in ({list of values})” and a list of “column = {constant}” predicates connected by OR. The answer to the question is that there’s essentially no difference as you would be able to see from the predicate section of an execution plan:

Masterclass – 1

A recent thread on the Oracle developer community database forum raised a fairly typical question with a little twist. The basic question is “why is this (very simple) query slow on one system when it’s much faster on another?” The little twist was that the original posting told use that “Streams Replication” was in place to replicate the data between the two systems.

Quiz Night

Here’s a question prompted by a recent thread on the ODevCom database forum – how many rows will Oracle sort (assuming you have enough rows to start with in all_objects) for the final query, and how many sort operations will that take ?


drop table t1 purge;

create table t1 nologging as select * from all_objects where rownum < 50000;

select owner, count(distinct object_type), count(distinct object_name) from t1 group by owner;

Try to resist the temptation of doing a cut-n-paste and running the code until after you’ve thought about the answer.

pushing predicates

I came across this odd limitation (maybe defect) with pushing predicates (join predicate push down) a few years ago that made a dramatic difference to a client query when fixed but managed to hide itself rather cunningly until you looked closely at what was going on. Searching my library for something completely different I’ve just rediscovered the model I built to demonstrate the issue so I’ve tested it against a couple of newer versions  of Oracle (including 18.1) and found that the anomaly still exists. It’s an interesting little detail about checking execution plans properly so I’ve written up the details. The critical feature of the problem is a union all view:

Hacking Profiles

Saturday’s posting about setting cursor_sharing to force reminded me about one of the critical limitations of SQL Profiles (which is one of those little reason why you shouldn’t be hacking SQL Profiles as a substitute for SQL Plan Baselines). Here’s a demo (taking advantage of some code that I think Kerry Osborne published several years ago) of creating an SQL Profile from the current execution plan of a simple statement – first we create some data and find the sql_id and child_number for a simple query:

Index Bouncy Scan 4

There’s always another hurdle to overcome. After I’d finished writing up the “index bouncy scan” as an efficient probing mechanism to find the combinations of the first two columns (both declared not null) of a very large index a follow-up question appeared almost immediately: “what if it’s a partitioned index”.

Filtering LOBs

A two-part question about the FILTER operation appeared on the Oracle-L list server a couple of days ago. The first part was a fairly common question – one that’s often prompted by the way the optimizer used to behave in older versions of Oracle. Paraphrased, it was: “Why is the total cost of the query so high compared to the sum of its parts?”

Here’s the query, and the execution plan.

Bitmap Join Indexes

I’ve been prompted by a recent question on the ODC database forum to revisit a note I wrote nearly five years ago about bitmap join indexes and their failure to help with join cardinalities. At the time I made a couple of unsupported claims and suggestions without supplying any justification or proof. Today’s article finally fills that gap.

SQL Monitor

I’ve mentioned the SQL Monitor report from time to time as a very useful way of reviewing execution plans – the feature is automatically enabled by parallel execution and by queries that are expected to take more than a few seconds to complete, and the inherent overheads of monitoring are less than the impact of enabling the rowsource execution statistics that allow you to use the ‘allstats’ format of dbms_xplan.display_cursor() to get detailed execution information for a query. The drawback to the SQL Monitor feature is that it doesn’t report predicate information.