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A few months ago Franck Pachot wrote about a recursive SQL statement that kept appearing in the library cache. I discovered the note today because I had just found a client site where the following statement suddenly appeared near the top of the “SQL ordered by Executions” section of their AWR reports after they had upgraded to 18c.

select domain# from sys.im_domain$ where objn = :1 and col# = :2

I found Franck’s article by the simple expedient of typing the entire query into a Google search – his note was the first hit on the list, and he had a convenient example (based on the SCOTT schema) to demonstrate the effect, so I built the tables from the schema and ran a simple test with extended SQL tracing (event 10046) enabled.

Here’s an extract (with no deletions) from the resulting trace file:

PARSING IN CURSOR #139819795591784 len=110 dep=0 uid=104 oct=3 lid=104 tim=31306461773 hv=3572295767 ad='6bf8b8a0' sqlid='8n2bcc3aftu2r'
select /*+ leading(EMP DEPT) USE_HASH(DEPT) USE_HASH(BONUS) */ * from DEPT natural join EMP natural join BONUS
PARSE #139819795591784:c=59,e=59,p=0,cr=0,cu=0,mis=0,r=0,dep=0,og=1,plh=4262704031,tim=31306461772

PARSING IN CURSOR #139819795585328 len=64 dep=1 uid=0 oct=3 lid=0 tim=31306461966 hv=1240924087 ad='69a8b760' sqlid='0b639nx4zdzxr'
select domain# from sys.im_domain$ where objn = :1 and col# = :2
PARSE #139819795585328:c=37,e=37,p=0,cr=0,cu=0,mis=0,r=0,dep=1,og=4,plh=2321277860,tim=31306461965
EXEC #139819795585328:c=32,e=31,p=0,cr=0,cu=0,mis=0,r=0,dep=1,og=4,plh=2321277860,tim=31306462058
FETCH #139819795585328:c=17,e=17,p=0,cr=1,cu=0,mis=0,r=0,dep=1,og=4,plh=2321277860,tim=31306462098
STAT #139819795585328 id=1 cnt=0 pid=0 pos=1 obj=10422 op='TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID IM_DOMAIN$ (cr=1 pr=0 pw=0 str=1 time=21 us cost=0 size=39 card=1)'
STAT #139819795585328 id=2 cnt=0 pid=1 pos=1 obj=10423 op='INDEX UNIQUE SCAN IM_DOMAIN_UK (cr=1 pr=0 pw=0 str=1 time=18 us cost=0 size=0 card=1)'
CLOSE #139819795585328:c=5,e=5,dep=1,type=1,tim=31306462287

EXEC #139819795591784:c=484,e=484,p=0,cr=1,cu=0,mis=0,r=0,dep=0,og=1,plh=4262704031,tim=31306462316
FETCH #139819795591784:c=0,e=804,p=0,cr=44,cu=0,mis=0,r=0,dep=0,og=1,plh=4262704031,tim=31306463191
STAT #139819795591784 id=1 cnt=0 pid=0 pos=1 obj=0 op='HASH JOIN  (cr=45 pr=0 pw=0 str=1 time=1222 us cost=72 size=97 card=1)'
STAT #139819795591784 id=2 cnt=4 pid=1 pos=1 obj=0 op='HASH JOIN  (cr=45 pr=0 pw=0 str=1 time=1001 us cost=70 size=232 card=4)'
STAT #139819795591784 id=3 cnt=4 pid=2 pos=1 obj=117764 op='TABLE ACCESS FULL EMP (cr=22 pr=0 pw=0 str=1 time=259 us cost=35 size=152 card=4)'
STAT #139819795591784 id=4 cnt=4 pid=2 pos=2 obj=117765 op='TABLE ACCESS FULL DEPT (cr=22 pr=0 pw=0 str=1 time=81 us cost=35 size=80 card=4)'
STAT #139819795591784 id=5 cnt=0 pid=1 pos=2 obj=117766 op='TABLE ACCESS FULL BONUS (cr=0 pr=0 pw=0 str=1 time=4 us cost=2 size=39 card=1)'
CLOSE #139819795591784:c=24,e=24,dep=0,type=1,tim=31306508552

PARSE #139819795591784:c=41,e=42,p=0,cr=0,cu=0,mis=0,r=0,dep=0,og=1,plh=4262704031,tim=31306508798
PARSE #139819795585328:c=21,e=22,p=0,cr=0,cu=0,mis=0,r=0,dep=1,og=4,plh=2321277860,tim=31306509010
EXEC #139819795585328:c=132,e=132,p=0,cr=0,cu=0,mis=0,r=0,dep=1,og=4,plh=2321277860,tim=31306509220
FETCH #139819795585328:c=20,e=19,p=0,cr=1,cu=0,mis=0,r=0,dep=1,og=4,plh=2321277860,tim=31306509415
CLOSE #139819795585328:c=8,e=8,dep=1,type=3,tim=31306509494
EXEC #139819795591784:c=682,e=704,p=0,cr=1,cu=0,mis=0,r=0,dep=0,og=1,plh=4262704031,tim=31306509558
FETCH #139819795591784:c=588,e=1246,p=0,cr=44,cu=0,mis=0,r=0,dep=0,og=1,plh=4262704031,tim=31306511014
CLOSE #139819795591784:c=23,e=22,dep=0,type=3,ti

As you can see, every time I do a parse call for the query against the SCOTT schema (PARSE #139819795591784), Oracle does a parse/exec/fetch/close for the query against im_domain$ (PARSE #139819795585328) – and this happens even when the SCOTT query is in the session cursor cache!

As Franck points out, this looks like something to do with the In Memory option even though the option wasn’t enabled in his database, and wasn’t enabled in my client’s database. Once you’ve got a reproducible example of a problem, though, you can start fiddling to see if you can bypass it. In this case I decided to check all the parameters to do with the in-memory option – which is a bit like hard work because there are 208 parameters that include the word “inmemory”. After checking the descriptions of the first twenty or so I decided there was an easier option – if Oracle is asking about “domains” for columns possibly it’s something to do with the relatively new “join group” feature for in-memory columnar compression, so I ran a query to produce the list of parameter names and description for parameter with the words “join” and “group” in their names – there are two:

_sqlexec_join_group_aware_hj_enabled              enable/disable join group aware hash join
_sqlexec_join_group_aware_hj_unencoded_rowset     minimum number of unencoded rowsets processed before adaptation 

The first one looks rather promising – and it has a default value to TRUE, and it can be changed by “alter session” or “alter system”. So I executed:

alter session set "_sqlexec_join_group_aware_hj_enabled" = false;
alter system flush shared_pool;

Then I ran my test again and voila! there it wasn’t. No more queries against in_domain$.

Problem solved (until the client decides they want to use the in-memory option, perhaps).

There may be other reasons why this recursive query appears which aren’t to do with hash joins, of course, but join groups are specifically to allow efficient hash joins with the in-memory option, (it’s a trick to do with common encoding for compression to allow Bloom filtering to eliminate CUs without decoding) so I’m hoping I won’t have to track down and eliminate another sources for the query.