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Faking Histograms

This is a short index of articles I’ve written on how to create the different types of histogram that the optimizer uses:

  • Faking a frequency histogram    How to create frequency histograms (using a numeric column for the example)
  • Histogram Tip  An example of creating a simple character-based frequency histogram (published in the IOUG Tips booklet 2014).
  • Faking a height-balanced histogram  How to create a height-balanced histogram (using a numeric column for the example).
  • Hybrid Fake: How to create a hybrid histogram (using a character column for the example).
  • Extended Histogram:  faking values into a histogram for a column group – only special because we need to derive the value stored.
  • Top frequency:  I haven’t yet worked out how to fake a Top Frequency histogram. Since it’s little more than a frequency histogram where the optimizer knows there’s a further small percentage (less than one bucketful) of other data, this doesn’t worry me; if necessary I’ll just create a “good enough” frequency histogram and set a suitable density for the remainder.

And a couple of miscellaneous things about histograms

  • Big number problem – older versions of Oracle (pre 12c) can go wrong with data values more than 15 digits long
  • Long strings problem – until 12c Oracle stored at most 32 bytes of a string in the endpoint_actual_value column.
  • Hybrid/Top-N problem – a bug, fixed in 12.2 with a patch for 12.1.
  • Upgrade threat – a step you need to take to upgrade from 11.2.0.3 if you have histograms on char() columns
  • Upgrade threat 2 (Oracle-L) – if you’ve got a big history of histograms then the upgrade from 11.2.0.3 (or earlier) could take a long time