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Parallel Execution

New Version Of XPLAN_ASH Utility

A new version of the XPLAN_ASH tool (detailed analysis of a single SQL statement execution) is available for download. The previous post includes links to video tutorials explaining what the tool is about.

As usual the latest version can be downloaded here.

The new version comes with numerous improvements and new features. The most important ones are:

  • Real-Time SQL Monitoring info included
  • Complete coverage including recursive SQL
  • Improved performance
  • 12c compatible
  • Simplified usage


There an interesting example of a deadlock on the OTN database forum:

[Transaction Deadlock]

Deadlock graph:
                       ---------Blocker(s)--------  ---------Waiter(s)---------
Resource Name          process session holds waits  process session holds waits
PS-00000001-00000011        92     423     S             33     128     S     X
BF-2ed08c01-00000000        33     128     S             92     423     S     X

One of the responses to the post points out that Oracle error ORA-00060 is an application error and the OP needs to fix his code – and that’s usually a valid comment, especially if the deadlock involves only TX enqueues, TM enquees or a mixture of both; but this deadlock is between a BF and a PS enqueue.

Parallel Execution – 2

Since I’m going to write a couple of articles dissecting parallel execution plans, I thought I’d put up a reference post describing the set of tables I used to generate the plan, and the query (with serial execution plan) that I’ll be looking at. The setup is a simple star schema arrangement – which I’ve generated by created by creating three identical tables and then doing a Cartesian join across the three of them.

Parallel Execution – 1

When you read an execution plan you’re probably trying to identify the steps that Oracle went through to acquire the final result set so that you can decide whether or not there is a more efficient way of getting the same result.

Quiz Night

Here’s a little quiz about Bloom filtering. There seem to be at least three different classes of query where Bloom filters can come into play – all involving hash joins: partition elimination, aggregate reduction on non-mergeable aggregate views, and parallelism.

This quiz is about parallel queries – and all you have to do is work out how many Bloom filters were used in the following two execution plans (produced by, and where they were used.

I’ve got 4 tables, 3 very small dimensions and one large fact. I’ve joined the three dimensions to the fact on their primary key, and filtered on each dimension. Stripping out the eighteen hints that I inserted to get the plans I wanted the queries both looked like this:

Parallel Execution

While checking out potential scalability threats recently on a client system, I was directed to a time-critical task that was currently executing the same PL/SQL procedure 16 times (with different parameters) between 6:00 and 7:00 am; as the system went through its next phase of expansion the number of executions of this procedure was likely to grow. An interesting detail, though, was that nothing else was going on while the task was running so the machine (which had 6 cores) was running at 16% CPU.

An obvious strategy for handling the required growth target was to make sure that four (possibly 5) copies of the procedure were allowed to run concurrently. Fortunately the different executions were completely independent of each other and didn’t interfere with each other’s data, so the solution simply required a mechanism to control the parallelism. Conveniently 11gR2 gave us one.

Parallel to Serial

Here’s a little problem that came up on the Oracle-L listserver today:

I’m trying to write a query which reads the corresponding partition of the fact, extracts the list of join keys, materialises this result set, and finally joins the necessary dimensions. The key thing I’m trying to do is to run the initial query on the fact in parallel and then the rest of the query serially.

12c Top N (px)

A comment from Greg Rahn in response to my posting yesterday prompted me to do a quick follow-up (test time ca. 3 minutes, write-up time, ca. 50 minutes – thanks for the temptation, Greg ;). Greg asked if the “Top N” would push down for a parallel query, so all I had to do was re-run my script with a parallel hint in place. Here’s the resulting execution plan (from explain plan, but v$sql_plan showed the same structure):

maxthr – 3

In part 1 of this mini-series we looked at the effects of costing a tablescan serially and then parallel when the maxthr and slavethr statistics had not been set.

In part 2 we looked at the effect of setting just the maxthr - and this can happen if you don’t happen to do any parallel execution while the stats collection is going on.

In part 3 we’re going to look at the two variations the optimizer displays when both statistics have been set. So here are the starting system stats:

maxthr – 2

Actually, there hasn’t been a “maxthr – 1″, I called the first part of this series“System Stats”. If you look back at it you’ll see that I set up some system statistics, excluding the maxthr and slavethr values, and described how the optimizer would calculate the cost of a serial tablescan, then I followed this up with a brief description of how the calculations changed if I hinted the optimizer into a parallel tablescan.