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19c tweak

There are times when an upgrade makes a big difference to performance because an enhancement to the optimizer code path changes the costing of a plan that was always possible, but badly costed. I noticed an example of this while testing the code in the email I mentioned in last month’s posting on the “Incremental Sort” that Postgres 13 can do. Here’s a model to create some data and demonstrate the principle – the code is a modified (reduced) version of the code published by Phil Florent describing the feature.

rem
rem     Script:         fetch_first_postgres.sql
rem     author:         Phil Florent
rem     Dated:          6th Nov 2020
rem
rem     Last tested
rem             19.3.0.0        Uses index descending unhinted at low cost
rem             18.3.0.0        Used index desc efficiently if hinted, but high cost
rem             12.2.0.1        Used index desc efficiently if hinted, but high cost
rem

create table lancers(dtl timestamp, idg integer not null, perf integer);

insert into lancers(dtl, idg, perf)
with serie(i) as (
        select 25e4 from dual
        UNION ALL
        select i - 1 from serie where i > 1
)
select
        current_timestamp - (i / 1440),
        trunc(dbms_random.value * 1e5 + 1),
        case
                when dbms_random.value <= 0.001 then 50000 + trunc(dbms_random.value * 50000 + 1) 
                else trunc(dbms_random.value * 50000 + 1) 
        end
from serie
/

execute dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(user,'lancers',method_opt=>'for all columns size 1')

create index perf_i1 on lancers(perf, dtl);
alter table lancers modify (perf not null, dtl not null);

This is the basic statement I want to execute – but in some versions of Oracle it will have to be hinted to produce the execution plan I want to see.

select  
        idg, perf 
from  
        lancers 
order by
        perf desc  
fetch first 5 rows only
/

If you check the order by clause and the definition of the index perf_i1 you’ll see that Oracle could (in principle) walk the index in descending order, stopping after just 5 rows, to produce the result.

But here are the execution plans from 19.3.0.0, 18.3.0.0, and 12.2.0.1, with their plans pulled from memory and showing the rowsource execution statistics (hinted by gather_plan_statistics) to show you what happens – starting from the newest first:

19.3.0.0: (unhinted)
--------------------
SQL_ID  8nmavy42tzrhb, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select   /*+   gather_plan_statistics --  index_desc(lancers(perf,
dtl))  */   idg, perf from  lancers order by  perf desc  fetch first 5
rows only

Plan hash value: 843745288

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                     | Name    | Starts | E-Rows | Cost (%CPU)| A-Rows |   A-Time   | Buffers |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT              |         |      1 |        |     8 (100)|      5 |00:00:00.01 |       9 |
|*  1 |  VIEW                         |         |      1 |      5 |     8   (0)|      5 |00:00:00.01 |       9 |
|*  2 |   WINDOW NOSORT STOPKEY       |         |      1 |      5 |     8   (0)|      5 |00:00:00.01 |       9 |
|   3 |    TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| LANCERS |      1 |    250K|     8   (0)|      5 |00:00:00.01 |       9 |
|   4 |     INDEX FULL SCAN DESCENDING| PERF_I1 |      1 |      5 |     3   (0)|      5 |00:00:00.01 |       4 |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter("from$_subquery$_002"."rowlimit_$$_rownumber"<=5)
   2 - filter(ROW_NUMBER() OVER ( ORDER BY INTERNAL_FUNCTION("PERF") DESC )<=5)

You can see an index_desc() hint in the output, but it has been commented out. The key feature to note is that the optimizer has found the path I was hoping to see, and it’s a low-cost path, although there is one oddity in the plan – the E-rows (cardinality estimate) for the table access doesn’t allow for the stopkey and, since there are no predicates in the query, reports the 250K rows that exist in the table.

For 18.3.0.0 I had to include the hint, and you’ll see why:

18.3.0.0 (hinted with index_desc)
---------------------------------
SQL_ID  fgxvcaz3sab4q, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select   /*+   gather_plan_statistics   index_desc(lancers(perf, dtl))
*/   idg, perf from  lancers order by  perf desc  fetch first 5 rows
only

Plan hash value: 843745288

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                     | Name    | Starts | E-Rows | Cost (%CPU)| A-Rows |   A-Time   | Buffers |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT              |         |      1 |        |   250K(100)|      5 |00:00:00.01 |      10 |
|*  1 |  VIEW                         |         |      1 |      5 |   250K  (1)|      5 |00:00:00.01 |      10 |
|*  2 |   WINDOW NOSORT STOPKEY       |         |      1 |    250K|   250K  (1)|      5 |00:00:00.01 |      10 |
|   3 |    TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| LANCERS |      1 |    250K|   250K  (1)|      6 |00:00:00.01 |      10 |
|   4 |     INDEX FULL SCAN DESCENDING| PERF_I1 |      1 |    250K|   854   (3)|      6 |00:00:00.01 |       4 |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------

   1 - filter("from$_subquery$_002"."rowlimit_$$_rownumber"<=5)
   2 - filter(ROW_NUMBER() OVER ( ORDER BY INTERNAL_FUNCTION("PERF") DESC )<=5)



Again we see the plan is possible, but the optimizer’s cardinality estimate for the hinted index scan is 250K rows – the full size of the index, and it has allowed for that in the cost of the query. So the cost of this plan is high and in the absence of the hint the optimizer would have used a full tablescan with sort.

Finally we get down to 12.2.0.1 – and I’ve shown the hinted and unhinted plans.

12.2.0.1 (hinted index_desc)
-----------------------------
SQL_ID  fgxvcaz3sab4q, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select   /*+   gather_plan_statistics   index_desc(lancers(perf, dtl))
*/   idg, perf from  lancers order by  perf desc  fetch first 5 rows
only

Plan hash value: 843745288

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                     | Name    | Starts | E-Rows | Cost (%CPU)| A-Rows |   A-Time   | Buffers |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT              |         |      1 |        |   250K(100)|      5 |00:00:00.01 |      10 |
|*  1 |  VIEW                         |         |      1 |      5 |   250K  (1)|      5 |00:00:00.01 |      10 |
|*  2 |   WINDOW NOSORT STOPKEY       |         |      1 |    250K|   250K  (1)|      5 |00:00:00.01 |      10 |
|   3 |    TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| LANCERS |      1 |    250K|   250K  (1)|      6 |00:00:00.01 |      10 |
|   4 |     INDEX FULL SCAN DESCENDING| PERF_I1 |      1 |    250K|   854   (3)|      6 |00:00:00.01 |       4 |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------
   1 - filter("from$_subquery$_002"."rowlimit_$$_rownumber"<=5)
   2 - filter(ROW_NUMBER() OVER ( ORDER BY INTERNAL_FUNCTION("PERF") DESC )<=5)


12.2.0.1 Unhinted
------------------
SQL_ID  8nmavy42tzrhb, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select   /*+   gather_plan_statistics --  index_desc(lancers(perf,
dtl))  */   idg, perf from  lancers order by  perf desc  fetch first 5
rows only

Plan hash value: 1374242431

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                | Name    | Starts | E-Rows | Cost (%CPU)| A-Rows |   A-Time   | Buffers |  OMem |  1Mem | Used-Mem |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT         |         |      1 |        |  1102 (100)|      5 |00:00:00.24 |     822 |       |       |          |
|*  1 |  VIEW                    |         |      1 |      5 |  1102  (10)|      5 |00:00:00.24 |     822 |       |       |          |
|*  2 |   WINDOW SORT PUSHED RANK|         |      1 |    250K|  1102  (10)|      5 |00:00:00.24 |     822 |  2048 |  2048 | 2048  (0)|
|   3 |    TABLE ACCESS FULL     | LANCERS |      1 |    250K|   132  (16)|    250K|00:00:00.13 |     822 |       |       |          |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
---------------------------------------------------

   1 - filter("from$_subquery$_002"."rowlimit_$$_rownumber"<=5)
   2 - filter(ROW_NUMBER() OVER ( ORDER BY INTERNAL_FUNCTION("PERF") DESC )<=5)

As you can see, 12.2.0.1 and 18.3.0.0 behave exactly the same way when hinted – the path is acceptable, but the cost is high. Consequently when I remove the hint the optimizer switches to using a full tablescan with sort because it’s cost is lower (thanks, in part, to the pattern in the data) than the indexed access path.

Summary

Two thoughts to take away from this note.

  • First, there were two possible execution plans for the same query and the optimizer in versions below 19c was picking the one that was clearly a bad idea. The presence of alternatives, though, means that the patterns in the data, the index definition and statistics (especially the clustering_factor) the number of rows to fetch, and various other optimizer settings may mean that you find yourself in the unlucky position that the optimizer’s arithmetic is on the boundary between the two plans and it switches randomly between them from day to day.
  • Secondly, when you upgrade to 19c the optimizer seems to be more likely to pick the indexed access path for a query like this – and that will probably be a good thing, but in a few cases it might turn out to be a bad thing.