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Another (secret) hacking session with me – using Oracle Session Snapper for flexible troubleshooting (and fun)

And this time we have audio !!! (Wow!)

Following the huge success of my last hacking session, planned while drinking beer at Graham Woods OOW pre-party and delivered from Miracle’s massive Oracle Closed World event in Thirsty Bear (between drinking beers), I’m announcing another hacking session:

What: Using Session Snapper for flexible Oracle Performance Troubleshooting

When: Wednesday 27th Oct 9:00-10:00 AM PDT (US West coast / California time). Check what’s this in your time zone here

Where: Internet! -> Sign up here:

You’ll need to register fast and be “there” on time as my current GotoWebinar account only allow 100 attendees to log on… last time over 100 people signed up, but “luckily” less actually showed up, so nobody got left outside!

BTW, I have figured out what went wrong with audio last time and caused my voice in the end of presentation disappear). A program, which I accidentally launched via a keyboard shortcut, grabbed my Mic input to itself, so gotowebinar’s app couldn’t access it anymore.

See you soon!


The full power of Oracle’s diagnostic events, part 2: ORADEBUG DOC and 11g improvements

I haven’t written any blog entries for a while, so here’s a very sweet treat for low-level Oracle troubleshooters and internals geeks out there :)

Over a year ago I wrote that Oracle 11g has a completely new low-level kernel diagnostics & tracing infrastructure built in to it. I wanted to write a longer article about it with comprehensive examples and use cases, but by now I realize I won’t ever have time for this, so I’ll just point you to the right direction :)

Basically, since 11g, you can use SQL_Trace, kernel undocumented traces, various dumps and other actions at much better granularity than before.

For example, you can enable SQL_Trace for a specific SQL_ID only:

SQL> alter session set events 'sql_trace[SQL: 32cqz71gd8wy3{pgadep: exactdepth 0} {callstack: fname opiexe}

Session altered.

Actually I have done more in above example, I have also said that trace only when the PGA depth (the dep= in tracefile) is zero. This means that trace only top-level calls, issued directly by the client application and not recursively by some PL/SQL or by dictionary cache layer. Additionally I have added a check whether we are currently servicing opiexe function (whether the current call stack contains opiexe as a (grand)parent function) – this allows to trace & dump only in specific cases of interest!

Flexible Sqlplus command line history with RLWRAP

At Hotsos Symposium Training Day I used rlwrap with sqlplus – which gives nice command line editing and history capabilities for tools like sqlplus. Additionally I pre-generated commonly used Oracle keywords, data dictionary view and package names into rlwrap wordfile, so I got nice tab-completion too. Sqlplus sucks much less with rlwrap ;-)

It’s relatively easy to install rlwrap on Unix (there are rlwrap RPMs out there, Solaris freeware packages and I installed it on Mac via Just google around…

You can have rlwrap on Windows too – As rlwrap has been coded for Unix flavors, then on Windows you need to run it on a Unix library environment emulator – like Cygwin.

Dave Herring and Michael Paddock have both written an article about how to get rlwrap & sqlplus running on Windows, check out the articles here. It’s worth reading both as they have different additions…

So, if you want command line history, search and tab completion for sqlplus on Unix flavors or Windows, check these articles out!

Oracle Latch Contention Troubleshooting

I wrote a latch contention troubleshooting article for IOUG Select journal last year (it was published earlier this year). I have uploaded this to tech.E2SN too, I recommend you to read it if you want to become systematic about latch contention troubleshooting:

I’m working on getting the commenting & feedback work at tech.E2SN site too, but for now you can comment here at this blog entry…


Session Snapper v3.11 – bugfix update – now ASH report works properly on Oracle 10.1 too

This is an updated version of Snapper, which works ok on Oracle 10.1 now as well (9i support is coming some time in the future :)

Thanks to Jamey Johnston for sending me the fix info (and saving me some time that way :)

So if you have some problems with Snapper on Oracle 10.1, please make sure you have the latest version v3.11, which you can get from here:

The output below is from Snapper 3.11 on Oracle, the ASH columns in the bottom part of the output are displayed correctly now:

Oracle Session Snapper v3.10

Hi all, long time no see!  =8-)

Now as I’m done with the awesome Hotsos Symposium (and the training day which I delivered) and have got some rest, I’ll start publishing some of the cool things I’ve been working on over the past half a year or so.

The first is Oracle Session Snapper version 3!

There are some major improvements in Snapper 3, like ASH style session activity sampling!

When you troubleshoot a session’s performance (or instance performance) then the main things you want to know first are very very simple:

  1. Which SQL statements are being executed
  2. What are they doing, are they working on CPU or waiting.
  3. If waiting, then for what

Often this is enough for troubleshooting what’s wrong. For example, if a session is waiting for a lock, then wait interface will show you that. If a single SQL statement is taking 99% of total response time, the V$SESSION (ASH style) samples will point out the problem SQL and so on. Simple stuff.

However there are cases where you need to go beyond wait interface and use V$SESSTAT (and other) counters and even take a “screwdriver” and open Oracle up from outside by stack tracing :-)

When I wrote the first version of Snapper for my own use some 4-5 years ago I wrote it mainly having the “beyond wait interface” part in mind. So I focused on V$SESSTAT and various other counters and left the basic troubleshooting to other tools. I used to manually sample V$SESSION/V$SESSION_WAIT a few times in a row to get a rough overview of what a session was doing or some other special-purpose scripts.

However after Snapper got more popular and I started getting some feedback about it I saw the need for covering more with Snapper, not just the “beyond wait interface” part, but also the “wait interface” and “which SQL” part too.

xplan: dbms_metadata.get_ddl for tables referenced by the plan

As a minor but useful new feature, xplan is now able to integrate into its report the DDL of tables (and indexes) referenced by the plan, calling dbms_metadata.get_ddl transparently.

This is mostly useful to get more details about referenced tables' constraints and partitions definition - to complement their CBO-related statistics that xplan reports about.

This feature can be activated by specifing dbms_metadata=y or dbms_metadata=all (check xplan.sql header of xplan.sql for more informations).

We spoke about xplan in general here.

it didn't work ...

I did manage to publish a link to this blog post, 'Releasing early is not always good? Heresy!' at about 3:00 am on Jan 1st. The plan was that I'd close out 2009 by getting the last few posts related to Agile design off of my mind so I could start 2010 ready to return my focus to measurement. Fail.I woke up late that morning, drank my coffee and thought about problems in the design and