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Parallel Execution

Parallel rownum

It’s easy to make mistakes, or overlook defects, when constructing parallel queries – especially if you’re a developer who hasn’t been given the right tools to make it easy to test your code. Here’s a little trap I came across recently that’s probably documented somewhere, which could be spotted easily if you had access to the OEM SQL Monitoring screen, but would be very easy to miss if you didn’t check the execution plan very carefully. I’ll start with a little script to generate some data:

Parallel Execution 12c New Features Overview

Oracle 12c is the first release since a couple of years that adds significant new functionality in the area of Parallel Execution operators, plan shapes and runtime features. Although 11gR2 added the new Auto DOP feature along with In-Memory Parallel Execution and Statement Queueing, the 12c features are more significant because they introduce new operators that can change both execution plan shape and runtime behaviour.

Here is a list of new features that are worth to note (and not necessarily mentioned in the official documentation and white papers by Oracle):

- The new HYBRID HASH adaptive distribution method, that serves two purposes for parallel HASH and MERGE JOINs:

New Version Of XPLAN_ASH Utility - In-Memory Support

A new version 4.21 of the XPLAN_ASH utility is available for download. I publish this version because it will be used in the recent video tutorials explaining the Active Session History functionality of the script.

As usual the latest version can be downloaded here.

This is mainly a maintenance release that fixes some incompatibilities of the 4.2 version with less recent versions (10.2 and 11.2.0.1).

As an extra however, this version now differentiates between general CPU usage and in-memory CPU usage (similar to 12.1.0.2 Real-Time SQL Monitoring). This is not done in all possible sections of the output yet, but the most important ones are already covered.

"SELECT * FROM TABLE" Runs Out Of TEMP Space

Now that I've shown in the previous post in general that sometimes Parallel Execution plans might end up with unnecessary BUFFER SORT operations, let's have a look what particular side effects are possible due to this.

What would you say if someone tells you that (s)he just did a simple, straightforward "SELECT * FROM TABLE" that took several minutes to execute without returning, only to then error out with "ORA-01652 unable to extend temp segment", and the TABLE in question is actually nothing but a simple, partitioned heap table, so no special tricks, no views, synonyms, VPD etc. involved, it's really just a plain simple table?

Unnecessary BUFFER SORT Operations - Parallel Concatenation Transformation

When using Parallel Execution, depending on the plan shape and the operations used, Oracle sometimes needs to turn non-blocking operations into blocking operations, which means in this case that the row source no longer passes its output data directly to the parent operation but buffers some data temporarily in PGA memory / TEMP. This is either accomplished via the special HASH JOIN BUFFERED operation, or simply by adding BUFFER SORT operations to the plan.The reason for such a behaviour in parallel plans is the limitation of Oracle Parallel Execution that allows only a single data redistribution to be active concurrently.

New Version Of XPLAN_ASH Utility

A new version 4.2 of the XPLAN_ASH utility is available for download.

As usual the latest version can be downloaded here.

There were no too significant changes in this release, mainly some new sections related to I/O figures were added.

One thing to note is that some of the sections in recent releases may require a linesize larger than 700, so the script's settings have been changed to 800. If you use corresponding settings for CMD.EXE under Windows for example you might have to adjust accordingly to prevent ugly line wrapping.

Here are the notes from the change log:

- New sections "Concurrent activity I/O Summary based on ASH" and "Concurrent activity I/O Summary per Instance based on ASH" to see the I/O activity summary for concurrent activity

Parallel Costs

While creating a POC of a SQL rewrite recently I received a little surprise as I switched my query from serial execution to parallel execution and saw the optimizer’s estimated cost increase dramatically. I’ll explain why in a moment, but it made me think it might be worth setting up a very simple demonstration of the anomaly. I created a table t1 by copying view all_source – which happened to give me a table with about 100,000 rows and 1117 blocks – and then ran the query ‘select max(line) from t1;’ repeating the query with a /*+ parallel(t1 2) */ hint. From 11.2.0.4 here are the two execution plans I got:

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.”

Parallel Execution Skew - Summary

I've published the final part of my video tutorial and the final part of my mini series "Parallel Execution Skew" at AllThingsOracle.com concluding what I planned to publish on the topic of Parallel Execution Skew.

Anyone regularly using Parallel Execution and/or relying on Parallel Execution for important, time critical processing should know this stuff. In my experience however almost no-one does, and therefore misses possibly huge opportunities for optimizing Parallel Execution performance.

Since all this was published over a longer period of time this post therefore is a summary with pointers to the material.

If you want to get an idea what the material is about, the following video summarizes the content:

New Version Of XPLAN_ASH Utility

A new version 4.1 of the XPLAN_ASH utility is available for download.

As usual the latest version can be downloaded here.

This version in particular supports now the new 12c "Adaptive" plan feature - previous versions don't cope very well with those if you don't add the "ADAPTIVE" formatting option manually.

Here are the notes from the change log:

- GV$SQL_MONITOR and GV$SQL_PLAN_MONITOR can now be customized in the
settings as table names in case you want to use your own custom monitoring repository that copies data from GV$SQL_MONITOR and GV$SQL_PLAN_MONITOR in order to keep/persist monitoring data. The tables need to have at least those columns that are used by XPLAN_ASH from the original views