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Exadata v2 Smart Scan Performance Troubleshooting article

I finally finished my first Exadata performance troubleshooting article.

This explains one bug I did hit when stress testing an Exadata v2 box, which caused smart scan to go very slow – and how I troubleshooted it:

Thanks to my secret startup company I’ve been way too busy to write anything serious lately, but apparently staying up until 6am helped this time! :-) Anyway, maybe next weekend I can repeat this and write Part 2 in the Exadata troubleshooting series ;-)

Enjoy! Comments are welcome to this blog entry as I haven’t figured out a good way to enable comments in the google sites page I’m using…

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Oracle Support Sanctions Manually Created SQL Profiles!

I originally titled this post: “SQLT - coe_xfr_sql_profile.sql”

Catchy title huh? - (that’s why I changed it)

I’ve been promoting the use of SQL Profiles as a plan control mechanism for some time. The basic idea is to use the undocumented procedure dbms_sqltune.import_sql_profile to build a set of hints to be applied behind the scenes via a SQL Profile. The hints can be created anyway can think of, but one of my favorite ways to generate them is to pull the hints from the other_xml filed of v$sql. This is a technique suggested to me originally by Randolf Geist. I have used this approach several times in the past but occasionally I’ve had a few doubts as to whether this is a good idea or even if SQL Profiles can apply all valid hints (see Jonathan Lewis’s comments on this post, Why Oracle Isn’t Using My Profile, where he expresses some doubts as well - he’s also written a bit about SQL Profiles on his site as you might imagine).

Ignoring Hints

I’ve previously published a couple of notes (here and here) about the driving_site() hint. The first note pointed out that the hint was deliberately ignored if you write a local CTAS or INSERT that did a remote query. I’ve just found another case where the hint is ignored – this time in a simple SELECT [...]

double trouble

In the latest Quiz Night, I asked how you could make a query more efficient by changing a two table join into a three table join – with the clue that my third table was a repeat of the first table. Gary Myers, in comment 4,  provided the type of answer I was looking for. Sometimes [...]

Oracle Exadata V2 - Flash Cache

One of the things I didn’t really talk about in my first post on Exadata was the flash cache component of the storage servers. They are a key component of the “OLTP” claims that Oracle is making for the platform. So let’s talk about the hardware first. The storage servers have 4 of the Sun Flash Accelerator F20 PCIe cards. These cards hold 96G each for a total of 384G on each storage server. That’s well over a terabyte on the smallest quarter rack configuration. Here’s what they look like:

Note that they are only installed in the storage servers and not in the database servers. The cards are usually configured exclusively as Flash Cache, but can optionally have a portion defined as a “ram disk”.

Oracle has a White Paper here:

Exadata Smart Flash Cache and the Sun Oracle Database Machine

This white paper was published in late 2009 and it is specific to V2. It has some good information and is well worth reading. One of the comments I found interesting was the discussion of carving a piece of the Flash Cache out as a “disk”. Here’s the quote:

Cursor Sharing 3

Here’s a simple piece of code demonstrating an irritating problem. I’ve created a table, a function-based index, collected stats (without histograms), and then run a query that should use that index – but doesn’t. execute dbms_random.seed(0) create table t1 as with generator as ( select --+ materialize rownum id from dual connect by rownum <= [...]

Fun with Oracle Exadata V2

Well I’ve been holed up playing with an Exadata V2 machine for the past several weeks. Wow. Very interesting technology.

I must say that I believe the concept of offloading SQL processing to the storage layer is a game changer and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this as a standard feature a few years from now. What that means for other storage vendors is unclear at this point. So for this first post on the topic let me just describe the configuration (and some potential upgrades).

The basic architecture consists of a set of database severs and a set of storage servers.

Database Servers:

  • Sun x4170 (1RU 64x server)
  • 2 - Quad-core Intel Xeon E5540 2.53GHz processors
  • 72G Ram (18×4G Dimms - max of 144G using 8G DIMMs)
  • Dual-Port QDR InfiniBand Host Channel Adapter
  • HBA with 512MB Battery Backed Write Cache (only for internal disks???)
  • 4 - 146G internal drives (SAS 10,000 RPM)
  • dual hot swappable power supplies
  • no spare/empty slots!

Here’s what the Database Servers look like:

Storage Servers:

  • Sun x4275 (2RU 64x server)
  • 2 - Quad-core Intel Xeon E5540 (2.53GHz) processors
  • 24G Ram
  • Dual-Port QDR InfiniBand Host Channel Adapter
  • HBA with 512MB Battery Backed Write Cache (only for internal disks???)
  • dual hot swappable power supplies
  • 4 - 96G Sun Flash PCIe Cards (total of 384 GB)
  • 12 - 600 GB 15,000 RPM SAS or 2 TB 7,200 RPM SATA


Here’s what the Storage Servers look like:

Systematic Oracle Latch Contention troubleshooting

As an Oracle DBA, developer or performance analyst, you may have run into what is termed "latch contention" at various points. So what exactly is a "latch" and why do we have contention on this "latch". In this article, we will take an in-depth look at latches and how we determine and resolve such contention. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced old-timer, we hope this article will cast a little more light on this ill-understood subject.
Read the article here:
 http://tech.e2sn.com/oracle/troubleshooting/latch-contention-troubleshooting
 

Non-trivial performance problems

Gwen Shapira has written an article about a good example of a non-trivial performance problem.

I’m not talking about anything advanced here (such as bugs or problems arising at OS/Oracle touchpoint) but that sometimes the root cause of a problem (or at least the reason why you notice this problem now) is not something deeply technical or related to some specific SQL optimizer feature or a configuration issue. Instead of focusing on the first symptom you see immediately, it pays off to take a step back and see how the problem task/application/SQL is actually used by the users or client applications.

In other words, talk to the users, ask how exactly they experience the problem and then drill down from there.

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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:

http://tech.e2sn.com/oracle/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…

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