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Advanced Oracle memory profiling using pin tool ‘pinatrace’

In my previous post, I introduced Intel Pin. If you are new to pin, please follow this link to my previous post on how to set it up and how to run it.

One of the things you can do with Pin, is profile memory access. Profiling memory access using the pin tool ‘pinatrace’ is done in the following way:

$ cd ~/pin/pin-3.0-76991-gcc-linux
$ ./pin -pid 12284 -t source/tools/SimpleExamples/obj-intel64/

The pid is a pid of an oracle database foreground process. Now execute something in the session you attached pin to and you find the ‘pinatrace’ output in $ORACLE_HOME/dbs:

[Oracle] Trace back to responsible SQL or PL/SQL code for a particular (PGA) memory request by intercepting process with DTrace


This is just a short blog post about a simple DTrace script (dtrace_kghal_pga_code), that i recently wrote and published due to a PGA memory leak troubleshooting assignment. A client of mine noticed a major PGA memory increase after upgrading to Oracle 12c. The PL/SQL code did not change - just the database release. He already troubleshooted the issue with help of Tanel Poder's blog post "Oracle Memory Troubleshooting, Part 4: Drilling down into PGA memory usage with V$PROCESS_MEMORY_DETAIL" and identified the corresponding heap and allocation reason.

[Oracle] Understanding the Oracle code instrumentation (wait interface) - A deep dive into what is really measured


This blog post is inspired by a question from an attendee of Sigrid Keydana's DOAG 2015 conference session called "Raising the fetchsize, good or bad? Exploring memory management in Oracle JDBC 12c". Basically it was a question about what the wait event "SQL*Net more data to client" represents and what it really measures. In general you may use the following steps, if you don't know what a particular wait event means:

Direct path and buffered reads again: compressed tables.

In the previous post on the decision between buffered and direct path reads I showed the decision is depended on the version. Up to and including version the size of a segment needs to be five times small table threshold in order to be considered for direct path reads, and starting from the database starts considering direct path reads starting from small table threshold. The lower limit just discussed is small table threshold or five times small table threshold with lower versions, upper limit is called “very large object threshold” (VLOT) and is five times the size of the buffercache, which is the threshold after which a table scan always is going via direct path.

Investigating the full table direct path / buffered decision.

A lot of blogposts and other internet publications have been written on the full segment scan behaviour of a serial process starting from Oracle version 11gR2. This behaviour is the Oracle engine making a decision between scanning the blocks of a segment into the Oracle buffercache or scanning these blocks into the process’ private process global area (PGA). This decision is even more important on the Exadata platform, because the Oracle engine must have made the decision to read the blocks into the process’ PGA in order to be able to do a smartscan. This means that if you are on Oracle 11gR2 already, and thinking about using the Exadata platform, the wait event ‘direct path read’ gives you an indication on how much potentially could be offloaded on Exadata, if you keep all the settings the same.

[Oracle] DB Optimizer Part XII - Revealing SQL Plan Directive details for existing/loaded cursor from CBO (and SQL Dynamic Sampling Services) trace


The idea for this blog post is based on a recent Twitter discussion with Martin Berger, Martin Bach and Mauro Pagano about revealing SQL Plan Directive details for an existing cursor as walking through the standard Oracle data dictionary views can be very time consuming/slow and there are still some details missing about the dynamic sampling task itself, even if you have found what you are looking for.


[Oracle] Researching internal latch implementation (ksl_get_shared_latch, kslfre, kslgetsl_w) and crashing PMON


Last week the DOAG 2014 conference took place in Nuremberg and it was a blast with a lot of useful presentations and especially great conversations and meet ups with Oracle friends. I had a nice talk about the Oracle latch implementation with a participant, who told me that his instance crashes every time, if he (manually) sets a shared latch in exclusive mode and tries to release it afterwards. It sounded really interesting as i have done this so many times without ever noticing such an issue. He also told me that this issue is reproducible at least on Oracle 11g R2 and 12c R1. I had no immediate answer or clue about the described issue and needed to research it furthermore.

[Oracle] - New diagnostic event "wait_event[]" (and others) for troubleshooting / researching purpose with Oracle 12c


A long time has gone since my last blog post on SCN in March 2014, but i was quite busy with Oracle RAC implementations and troubleshooting performance issues in the last month. It was a quite interesting time for me and i have learned a lot of new stuff about Oracle 12c and so in consequence this is just a tiny blog post about a new diagnostic event called "wait_event[]", which was introduced with Oracle 12c R1 ( Oracle has re-engineered its kernel diagnostics & tracing infrastructure with Oracle 11g, which allows you to be much more detailed and extensive by tracing and dumping diagnostic / low level (internals) information. Please check the reference section for more detailed information about that "new" kernel diagnostics & tracing infrastructure, if you have never heard of it until yet.


How Exadata smartscans work

I guess everybody who is working with Oracle databases and has been involved with Oracle Exadata in any way knows about smartscans. It is the smartscan who makes the magic happen of full segment scans with sometimes enormously reduced scan times. The Oracle database does smartscans which something that is referred to as ‘offloading’. This is all general known information.

But how does that work? I assume more people are like me, and are anxious to understand how that exactly works. But the information on smartscans is extremely scarce. Of course there is the Oracle public material, which looks technical, but is little/nothing more than marketing. On My Oracle Support, I can’t find anything on the inner working. Even in the ‘Expert Oracle Exadata’ book (which I still regard as the best source of Exadata related information) there is no material on the mechanics of smartscans.

[Pythian Ads Network] Mastering Oracle Trace Data Online Class Reunion

This is a quick announcement that Method-R is organizing the online class reunion for the participants of their Mastering Oracle Trace Data classes. Cary Millsap and Ron Crisco will entertain us with stories and useful tips around processing and analyzing Oracle 10046 traces. Having Method-R done special training for Pythian about a year ago, I [...]