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PLAN_HASH_VALUE - How equal (and stable?) are your execution plans - part 1

Oracle provides in recent releases the PLAN_HASH_VALUE information, which according to the documentation, is the following:

"Numerical representation of the SQL plan for the cursor. Comparing one PLAN_HASH_VALUE to another easily identifies whether or not two plans are the same (rather than comparing the two plans line by line)."

So according to the documentation the PLAN_HASH_VALUE can be used as a shortcut to quickly and easily determine if two execution plans are the "same".

I think that the statement "the two execution plans are the same" suggests that execution plans having the same PLAN_HASH_VALUE yield the same or at least similar performance at runtime. An interesting point that I would like to cover here in the following test cases.

This raises the interesting question, what exactly is the PLAN_HASH_VALUE based upon? Obviously it is a hash value calculated using the execution plan information as input. Apart from the fact that hash values are in theory always subject to potential hash collisions, which means that two different inputs can lead to the same hash value, the more interesting question is, which attributes of the execution plan are used as input?

Having this information at hand allows us to get a better understanding if two execution plans with the same PLAN_HASH_VALUE actually have to a yield similar execution profile (which Oracle doesn't say but I assume is a common assumption - or may be misconception?).

Let's start with a simple example to determine what makes the PLAN_HASH_VALUE different. All results shown below come from an 11.1.0.7 Win32 instance with a 8KB default block size, a MSSM 8KB LMT tablespace and default system statistics.

SQL>
SQL> drop table plan_hash_value_test1 purge;

Table dropped.

SQL>
SQL> drop table plan_hash_value_test2 purge;

Table dropped.

SQL>
SQL> drop table plan_hash_value_test3 purge;

Table dropped.

SQL>
SQL> drop user test_user_plan_hash_value cascade;

User dropped.

SQL>
SQL> create user test_user_plan_hash_value
2 identified by test_user_plan_hash_value
3 default tablespace test_8k
4 quota unlimited on test_8k;

User created.

SQL>
SQL> create table plan_hash_value_test1
2 as
3 select
4 id as id1
5 , mod(id, 2) as id2
6 , rpad('x', 20) as small_vc
7 from
8 (
9 select
10 level as id
11 from
12 dual
13 connect by
14 level <= 1000
15 );

Table created.

SQL>
SQL> exec dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(null, 'plan_hash_value_test1')

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL>
SQL> create index plan_hash_value_test1_idx1 on plan_hash_value_test1 (id1, id2);

Index created.

SQL>
SQL> alter system flush shared_pool;

System altered.

SQL>
SQL> alter system flush shared_pool;

System altered.

SQL>
SQL> select /*+ find_me
2 index(a, plan_hash_value_test1_idx1) */
3 *
4 from
5 plan_hash_value_test1 a
6 where
7 id1 = 1
8 and rownum <= 1;

ID1 ID2 SMALL_VC
---------- ---------- --------------------
1 1 x

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SQL_ID 3u4sfg1kzqtct, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select /*+ find_me index(a, plan_hash_value_test1_idx1) */
* from plan_hash_value_test1 a where id1 = 1
and rownum <= 1

Plan hash value: 2655295642

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | | | 3 (100)| |
|* 1 | COUNT STOPKEY | | | | | |
| 2 | TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 1 | 27 | 3 (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 3 | INDEX RANGE SCAN | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1_IDX1 | 1 | | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

1 - filter(ROWNUM<=1)
3 - access("ID1"=1)

23 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> select
2 object#, object_owner, object_name
3 from
4 v$sql_plan
5 where
6 operation = 'INDEX'
7 and sql_id = (select
8 sql_id
9 from
10 v$sql
11 where
12 sql_text like 'select /*+ find_me%'
13 );

OBJECT# OBJECT_OWNER OBJECT_NAME
---------- ------------------------------ ------------------------------
76267 CBO_TEST PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1_IDX1

SQL>
SQL> pause

SQL>
SQL> alter system flush shared_pool;

System altered.

SQL>
SQL> alter system flush shared_pool;

System altered.

SQL>
SQL> drop index plan_hash_value_test1_idx1;

Index dropped.

SQL>
SQL> create index test_user_plan_hash_value.plan_hash_value_test1_idx1 on plan_hash_value_test1 (id2, id1);

Index created.

SQL>
SQL> exec dbms_stats.set_index_stats('test_user_plan_hash_value', 'plan_hash_value_test1_idx1', numdist=>0, numrows=>0)

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL>
SQL> select /*+ find_me
2 index(a, plan_hash_value_test1_idx1) */
3 *
4 from
5 plan_hash_value_test1 a
6 where
7 id2 = 1
8 and rownum <= 2;

ID1 ID2 SMALL_VC
---------- ---------- --------------------
1 1 x
3 1 x

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SQL_ID dsjuqc6fkfffj, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select /*+ find_me index(a, plan_hash_value_test1_idx1) */
* from plan_hash_value_test1 a where id2 = 1
and rownum <= 2

Plan hash value: 2655295642

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | | | 3 (100)| |
|* 1 | COUNT STOPKEY | | | | | |
| 2 | TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 2 | 54 | 3 (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 3 | INDEX RANGE SCAN | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1_IDX1 | 1 | | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

1 - filter(ROWNUM<=2)
3 - access("ID2"=1)

23 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> select
2 object#, object_owner, object_name
3 from
4 v$sql_plan
5 where
6 operation = 'INDEX'
7 and sql_id = (select
8 sql_id
9 from
10 v$sql
11 where
12 sql_text like 'select /*+ find_me%'
13 );

OBJECT# OBJECT_OWNER OBJECT_NAME
---------- ------------------------------ ------------------------------
76268 TEST_USER_PLAN_HASH_VALUE PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1_IDX1

SQL>
SQL> pause

SQL>
SQL> drop index test_user_plan_hash_value.plan_hash_value_test1_idx1;

Index dropped.

SQL>
SQL> create index plan_hash_value_test1_idx1 on plan_hash_value_test1 (id2, id1);

Index created.

SQL>
SQL> select /*+ find_me
2 index(a, plan_hash_value_test1_idx1) */
3 *
4 from
5 plan_hash_value_test1 a
6 where
7 id2 = 1
8 and rownum <= 2;

ID1 ID2 SMALL_VC
---------- ---------- --------------------
1 1 x
3 1 x

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SQL_ID dsjuqc6fkfffj, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select /*+ find_me index(a, plan_hash_value_test1_idx1) */
* from plan_hash_value_test1 a where id2 = 1
and rownum <= 2

Plan hash value: 2655295642

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | | | 3 (100)| |
|* 1 | COUNT STOPKEY | | | | | |
| 2 | TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 2 | 54 | 3 (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 3 | INDEX RANGE SCAN | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1_IDX1 | 500 | | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

1 - filter(ROWNUM<=2)
3 - access("ID2"=1)

23 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> select
2 object#, object_owner, object_name
3 from
4 v$sql_plan
5 where
6 operation = 'INDEX'
7 and sql_id = (select
8 sql_id
9 from
10 v$sql
11 where
12 sql_text like 'select /*+ find_me%'
13 );

OBJECT# OBJECT_OWNER OBJECT_NAME
---------- ------------------------------ ------------------------------
76269 CBO_TEST PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1_IDX1

SQL>

Note the subtle differences: We have an index on a simple table, but these are actually three different objects, once owned by a different user and once with a different definition, but all three statements get the same PLAN_HASH_VALUE.

So this simple example already raises some of the most important points:

- The OBJECT_ID of an object obviously doesn't get used for the PLAN_HASH_VALUE calculation. Although present in the V$SQL_PLAN view, checking the PLAN_TABLE definition suggests why: It's not part of the PLAN_TABLE definition. This means that e.g. replacing an index with a different one but keeping the name will result in the same PLAN_HASH_VALUE if the operations and their order remain the same, like demonstrated (Although I have to admit that doing so might be called bad practice).

- The owner of an object doesn't get used either. Why this is so, remains unclear, since it seems to be part of all related object definitions (OBJECT_OWNER attribute in PLAN_TABLE/V$SQL_PLAN), but might be an very important point if you have multiple schemas with objects of the same name but representing different data or data volume. As you can see from the example the PLAN_HASH_VALUE is the same but the number of rows estimated is different due to the different underlying object (and its intentionally manipulated statistics).

- One of the most crucial aspects is also demonstrated: The FILTER_PREDICATES and ACCESS_PREDICATES information is NOT part of the PLAN_HASH_VALUE. This means that two executions plans can have the same PLAN_HASH_VALUE but behave significantly differently at actual execution time.

- What also is obvious from this example is that the ROWS and BYTES information is not used as part of the PLAN_HASH_VALUE. More on this later.

Let's move on to the next example:

SQL>
SQL> variable b2 number
SQL>
SQL> exec :b2 := 1;

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL>
SQL> select /*+ find_me
2 index(a, plan_hash_value_test1_idx1) */
3 *
4 from
5 plan_hash_value_test1 a
6 where
7 id2 = :b2
8 and rownum <= 1;

ID1 ID2 SMALL_VC
---------- ---------- --------------------
1 1 x

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SQL_ID 4y6b2pu1hzs3h, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select /*+ find_me index(a, plan_hash_value_test1_idx1) */
* from plan_hash_value_test1 a where id2 = :b2
and rownum <= 1

Plan hash value: 2655295642

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | | | 3 (100)| |
|* 1 | COUNT STOPKEY | | | | | |
| 2 | TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 1 | 27 | 3 (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 3 | INDEX RANGE SCAN | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1_IDX1 | 500 | | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

1 - filter(ROWNUM<=1)
3 - access("ID2"=:B2)

23 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> variable b2 varchar2(20)
SQL>
SQL> exec :b2 := '1';

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL>
SQL> select /*+ find_me
2 index(a, plan_hash_value_test1_idx1) */
3 *
4 from
5 plan_hash_value_test1 a
6 where
7 id2 = :b2
8 and rownum <= 1;

ID1 ID2 SMALL_VC
---------- ---------- --------------------
1 1 x

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SQL_ID 4y6b2pu1hzs3h, child number 1
-------------------------------------
select /*+ find_me index(a, plan_hash_value_test1_idx1) */
* from plan_hash_value_test1 a where id2 = :b2
and rownum <= 1

Plan hash value: 2655295642

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | | | 3 (100)| |
|* 1 | COUNT STOPKEY | | | | | |
| 2 | TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 1 | 27 | 3 (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 3 | INDEX RANGE SCAN | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1_IDX1 | 500 | | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

1 - filter(ROWNUM<=1)
3 - access("ID2"=TO_NUMBER(:B2))

23 rows selected.

SQL>

Whereas the previous examples mainly used different SQLs (and therefore had different SQL_HASH_VALUEs or SQL_IDs) this example uses the same SQL and demonstrates the following:

- Bad application behaviour (in this case different types of bind variables) or other reasons can lead to unshared cursors, i.e. multiple child cursors for the same SQL (not actually the main topic here)

- But although the different cursors have different access predicates (in this case the implicit type conversion), as already shown, different access predicates don't lead to different PLAN_HASH_VALUEs

For this particular statement the difference in the predicates very likely doesn't represent a threat, but there are more subtle cases where these differences can lead to significant changes in behaviour. Possible reasons are different order of the predicate evaluation (e.g. when having system statistics enabled, which is the default from 10g on) which can make a significant difference in CPU usage or general resource consumption depending on the actual cost of the predicate evaluation (e.g. a costly PL/SQL function call), or even the evaluation of (filter) predicates at different steps of the same execution plan which could lead to significant differences in the number of rows generated by each operation step of the execution plan, and therefore make an execution plan much more inefficient due to the larger number of rows processed.

What about the actual estimates associated with the particular operations of an execution plan?

SQL>
SQL> explain plan for
2 select /*+ full(a) */
3 *
4 from
5 plan_hash_value_test1 a
6 where
7 id2 = 1;

Explained.

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Plan hash value: 3758120161

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 500 | 13500 | 3 (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 1 | TABLE ACCESS FULL| PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 500 | 13500 | 3 (0)| 00:00:01 |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

1 - filter("ID2"=1)

13 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> exec dbms_stats.set_table_stats(null, 'plan_hash_value_test1', numrows=>100000, numblks=>10000)

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL>
SQL> explain plan for
2 select /*+ full(a) */
3 *
4 from
5 plan_hash_value_test1 a
6 where
7 id2 = 1;

Explained.

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Plan hash value: 3758120161

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 50000 | 1318K| 2733 (1)| 00:00:33 |
|* 1 | TABLE ACCESS FULL| PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 50000 | 1318K| 2733 (1)| 00:00:33 |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

1 - filter("ID2"=1)

13 rows selected.

SQL>

It's obvious that none of the ROWS, BYTES, COST nor derived information like TIME in the later releases are used to calculate the PLAN_HASH_VALUE. So again this makes clear that the same PLAN_HASH_VALUE of two statements doesn't say anything about the similarity of the runtime performance.

Another example that demonstrates this point with a slightly more complex plan:

SQL>
SQL> exec dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(null, 'plan_hash_value_test1')

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL>
SQL> create table plan_hash_value_test2
2 as
3 select
4 id as id1
5 , mod(id, 2) as id2
6 , rpad('x', 20) as small_vc
7 from
8 (
9 select
10 level as id
11 from
12 dual
13 connect by
14 level <= 1000
15 );

Table created.

SQL>
SQL> exec dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(null, 'plan_hash_value_test2')

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL>
SQL> create index plan_hash_value_test2_idx1 on plan_hash_value_test2 (id2, id1);

Index created.

SQL>
SQL> explain plan for
2 select /*+
3 use_nl(a, b)
4 index(b)
5 leading(a)
6 */
7 *
8 from
9 plan_hash_value_test1 a
10 , plan_hash_value_test2 b
11 where
12 a.id1 = b.id1
13 and a.id2 = b.id2
14 and a.id1 between 1 and 10;

Explained.

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Plan hash value: 458854847

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 9 | 486 | 23 (0)| 00:00:01 |
| 1 | NESTED LOOPS | | | | | |
| 2 | NESTED LOOPS | | 9 | 486 | 23 (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 3 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 10 | 270 | 3 (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 4 | INDEX RANGE SCAN | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST2_IDX1 | 1 | | 1 (0)| 00:00:01 |
| 5 | TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST2 | 1 | 27 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

3 - filter("A"."ID1"<=10 AND "A"."ID1">=1)
4 - access("A"."ID2"="B"."ID2" AND "A"."ID1"="B"."ID1")
filter("B"."ID1"<=10 AND "B"."ID1">=1)

19 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> explain plan for
2 select /*+
3 use_nl(a, b)
4 index(b)
5 leading(a)
6 */
7 *
8 from
9 plan_hash_value_test1 a
10 , plan_hash_value_test2 b
11 where
12 a.id2 = b.id2
13 and a.id1 between 1 and 10;

Explained.

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Plan hash value: 458854847

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 5005 | 263K| 74 (2)| 00:00:01 |
| 1 | NESTED LOOPS | | | | | |
| 2 | NESTED LOOPS | | 5005 | 263K| 74 (2)| 00:00:01 |
|* 3 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 10 | 270 | 3 (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 4 | INDEX RANGE SCAN | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST2_IDX1 | 500 | | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 |
| 5 | TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST2 | 500 | 13500 | 7 (0)| 00:00:01 |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

3 - filter("A"."ID1"<=10 AND "A"."ID1">=1)
4 - access("A"."ID2"="B"."ID2")

18 rows selected.

SQL>

Notice how one statement performs an effective join using appropriate join predicates whereas the other one generates duplicate records. Again, since the filter and access predicates are not evaluated, these two plans get the same PLAN_HASH_VALUE, although we can say that one of them is potentially suboptimal (and usually would result in a significantly different execution plan which in turn would have different PLAN_HASH_VALUEs but there are certainly more complex scenarios where the optimizer goes wrong for whatever reason resulting in such potentially inefficient execution plans).

What about extended execution plan information like partitioning and parallel execution?

Let's first address partitioning:

SQL> create table plan_hash_value_test3
2 (
3 invoice_no number,
4 sale_year integer not null,
5 sale_month integer not null,
6 sale_day integer not null
7 )
8 partition by range (invoice_no)
9 (
10 partition part_001 values less than (100),
11 partition part_002 values less than (400),
12 partition part_003 values less than (800),
13 partition part_004 values less than (maxvalue)
14 );

Table created.

SQL>
SQL> exec dbms_random.seed(0)

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL>
SQL> insert into plan_hash_value_test3 (
2 invoice_no,
3 sale_year,
4 sale_month,
5 sale_day
6 )
7 select rownum,
8 2000 + round(dbms_random.value(0, 8)) as sale_year,
9 trunc(dbms_random.value(1, 13)) as sale_month,
10 trunc(dbms_random.value(1, 29)) as sale_day
11 from dual
12 connect by level <= 1000;

1000 rows created.

SQL>
SQL> commit;

Commit complete.

SQL>
SQL> exec dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(null, 'plan_hash_value_test3')

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL>
SQL> exec dbms_stats.set_table_stats(null, 'plan_hash_value_test3', partname=>'part_002', numblks=>100000)

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL>
SQL> select
2 partition_name
3 , blocks
4 from
5 user_tab_statistics
6 where
7 table_name = 'PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST3';

PARTITION_NAME BLOCKS
------------------------------ ----------
5
PART_001 1
PART_002 100000
PART_003 2
PART_004 1

SQL>
SQL> explain plan for
2 select
3 *
4 from
5 plan_hash_value_test3
6 where
7 invoice_no < 100;

Explained.

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Plan hash value: 4079248530

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time | Pstart| Pstop |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 99 | 1188 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | | |
| 1 | PARTITION RANGE SINGLE| | 99 | 1188 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | 1 | 1 |
| 2 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST3 | 99 | 1188 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | 1 | 1 |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> explain plan for
2 select
3 *
4 from
5 plan_hash_value_test3
6 where
7 invoice_no >= 100 and invoice_no < 400;

Explained.

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Plan hash value: 4079248530

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time | Pstart| Pstop |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 300 | 3900 | 27256 (1)| 00:05:28 | | |
| 1 | PARTITION RANGE SINGLE| | 300 | 3900 | 27256 (1)| 00:05:28 | 2 | 2 |
| 2 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST3 | 300 | 3900 | 27256 (1)| 00:05:28 | 2 | 2 |
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> variable b1 number
SQL> variable b2 number
SQL>
SQL> exec :b1 := 0;

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL> exec :b2 := 100;

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL>
SQL> select
2 count(*)
3 from
4 plan_hash_value_test3
5 where
6 invoice_no >= :b1 and invoice_no < :b2;

COUNT(*)
----------
99

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SQL_ID 23m1jk6dbsvbx, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select count(*) from plan_hash_value_test3 where
invoice_no >= :b1 and invoice_no < :b2

Plan hash value: 2447373661

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time | Pstart| Pstop |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | | | 2 (100)| | | |
| 1 | SORT AGGREGATE | | 1 | 3 | | | | |
|* 2 | FILTER | | | | | | | |
| 3 | PARTITION RANGE ITERATOR| | 99 | 297 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | KEY | KEY |
|* 4 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST3 | 99 | 297 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | KEY | KEY |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

2 - filter(:B1<:B2)
4 - filter(("INVOICE_NO">=:B1 AND "INVOICE_NO"<:B2))

23 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> alter system flush shared_pool;

System altered.

SQL>
SQL> alter system flush shared_pool;

System altered.

SQL>
SQL> exec :b1 := 100;

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL> exec :b2 := 400;

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL>
SQL> select
2 count(*)
3 from
4 plan_hash_value_test3
5 where
6 invoice_no >= :b1 and invoice_no < :b2;

COUNT(*)
----------
300

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SQL_ID 23m1jk6dbsvbx, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select count(*) from plan_hash_value_test3 where
invoice_no >= :b1 and invoice_no < :b2

Plan hash value: 2447373661

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time | Pstart| Pstop |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | | | 27256 (100)| | | |
| 1 | SORT AGGREGATE | | 1 | 4 | | | | |
|* 2 | FILTER | | | | | | | |
| 3 | PARTITION RANGE ITERATOR| | 300 | 1200 | 27256 (1)| 00:05:28 | KEY | KEY |
|* 4 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST3 | 300 | 1200 | 27256 (1)| 00:05:28 | KEY | KEY |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

2 - filter(:B1<:B2)
4 - filter(("INVOICE_NO">=:B1 AND "INVOICE_NO"<:B2))

23 rows selected.

SQL>

The PSTART and PSTOP information is not used either for the PLAN_HASH_VALUE, so different execution plans accessing different partitions of the same object might get the same PLAN_HASH_VALUE, but again the runtime performance might be dramatically different.

By the way above example demonstrates that the CBO peeks at the binds and uses then the partition level statistics of the corresponding partition defined by the bind values (in case the bind values prune to a single partition), although the execution plan might be executed with different bind values actually accessing different partitions at runtime.

What about parallel execution?

SQL>
SQL> explain plan for
2 select /*+
3 full(a)
4 full(b)
5 use_hash(a, b)
6 parallel(a)
7 parallel(b)
8 pq_distribute(b, none, broadcast)
9 */
10 *
11 from
12 plan_hash_value_test1 a
13 , plan_hash_value_test2 b
14 where
15 a.id1 = b.id1
16 and a.id2 = b.id2
17 and a.id1 between 1 and 10;

Explained.

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Plan hash value: 1365899609

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time | TQ |IN-OUT| PQ Distrib |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 9 | 486 | 5 (20)| 00:00:01 | | | |
| 1 | PX COORDINATOR | | | | | | | | |
| 2 | PX SEND QC (RANDOM) | :TQ10001 | 9 | 486 | 5 (20)| 00:00:01 | Q1,01 | P->S | QC (RAND) |
|* 3 | HASH JOIN | | 9 | 486 | 5 (20)| 00:00:01 | Q1,01 | PCWP | |
| 4 | PX BLOCK ITERATOR | | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,01 | PCWC | |
|* 5 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,01 | PCWP | |
| 6 | BUFFER SORT | | | | | | Q1,01 | PCWC | |
| 7 | PX RECEIVE | | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,01 | PCWP | |
| 8 | PX SEND BROADCAST | :TQ10000 | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,00 | P->P | BROADCAST |
| 9 | PX BLOCK ITERATOR | | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,00 | PCWC | |
|* 10 | TABLE ACCESS FULL| PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST2 | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,00 | PCWP | |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

3 - access("A"."ID1"="B"."ID1" AND "A"."ID2"="B"."ID2")
5 - filter("A"."ID1"<=10 AND "A"."ID1">=1)
10 - filter("B"."ID1"<=10 AND "B"."ID1">=1)

24 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> explain plan for
2 select /*+
3 full(a)
4 full(b)
5 use_hash(a, b)
6 parallel(a)
7 parallel(b)
8 pq_distribute(b, broadcast, none)
9 */
10 *
11 from
12 plan_hash_value_test1 a
13 , plan_hash_value_test2 b
14 where
15 a.id1 = b.id1
16 and a.id2 = b.id2
17 and a.id1 between 1 and 10;

Explained.

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Plan hash value: 3903716067

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time | TQ |IN-OUT| PQ Distrib |
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 9 | 486 | 5 (20)| 00:00:01 | | | |
| 1 | PX COORDINATOR | | | | | | | | |
| 2 | PX SEND QC (RANDOM) | :TQ10001 | 9 | 486 | 5 (20)| 00:00:01 | Q1,01 | P->S | QC (RAND) |
|* 3 | HASH JOIN | | 9 | 486 | 5 (20)| 00:00:01 | Q1,01 | PCWP | |
| 4 | PX RECEIVE | | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,01 | PCWP | |
| 5 | PX SEND BROADCAST | :TQ10000 | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,00 | P->P | BROADCAST |
| 6 | PX BLOCK ITERATOR | | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,00 | PCWC | |
|* 7 | TABLE ACCESS FULL| PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,00 | PCWP | |
| 8 | PX BLOCK ITERATOR | | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,01 | PCWC | |
|* 9 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST2 | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,01 | PCWP | |
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

3 - access("A"."ID1"="B"."ID1" AND "A"."ID2"="B"."ID2")
7 - filter("A"."ID1"<=10 AND "A"."ID1">=1)
9 - filter("B"."ID1"<=10 AND "B"."ID1">=1)

23 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> explain plan for
2 select /*+
3 full(a)
4 full(b)
5 use_hash(a, b)
6 parallel(a)
7 parallel(b)
8 pq_distribute(b, hash, hash)
9 */
10 *
11 from
12 plan_hash_value_test1 a
13 , plan_hash_value_test2 b
14 where
15 a.id1 = b.id1
16 and a.id2 = b.id2
17 and a.id1 between 1 and 10;

Explained.

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Plan hash value: 904614956

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time | TQ |IN-OUT| PQ Distrib |
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 9 | 486 | 5 (20)| 00:00:01 | | | |
| 1 | PX COORDINATOR | | | | | | | | |
| 2 | PX SEND QC (RANDOM) | :TQ10002 | 9 | 486 | 5 (20)| 00:00:01 | Q1,02 | P->S | QC (RAND) |
|* 3 | HASH JOIN BUFFERED | | 9 | 486 | 5 (20)| 00:00:01 | Q1,02 | PCWP | |
| 4 | PX RECEIVE | | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,02 | PCWP | |
| 5 | PX SEND HASH | :TQ10000 | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,00 | P->P | HASH |
| 6 | PX BLOCK ITERATOR | | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,00 | PCWC | |
|* 7 | TABLE ACCESS FULL| PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,00 | PCWP | |
| 8 | PX RECEIVE | | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,02 | PCWP | |
| 9 | PX SEND HASH | :TQ10001 | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,01 | P->P | HASH |
| 10 | PX BLOCK ITERATOR | | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,01 | PCWC | |
|* 11 | TABLE ACCESS FULL| PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST2 | 10 | 270 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | Q1,01 | PCWP | |
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

3 - access("A"."ID1"="B"."ID1" AND "A"."ID2"="B"."ID2")
7 - filter("A"."ID1"<=10 AND "A"."ID1">=1)
11 - filter("B"."ID1"<=10 AND "B"."ID1">=1)

25 rows selected.

SQL>

The example uses different parallel distribution options for the same execution plan. In 10g and later this is reflected in different operations (like PX SEND BROADCAST) and this suggests that the PLAN_HASH_VALUEs are going to be different due to the different operations.

Running a similar test case on 9.2.0.8 shows it seems that actually some of the attributes related to parallel execution are also used to calculate the PLAN_HASH_VALUE:

SQL>
SQL> alter system flush shared_pool;

System altered.

SQL>
SQL> alter system flush shared_pool;

System altered.

SQL>
SQL> explain plan for
2 select /*+ find_me
3 full(a)
4 full(b)
5 use_hash(a, b)
6 parallel(a)
7 parallel(b)
8 pq_distribute(b, none, broadcast)
9 */
10 *
11 from
12 plan_hash_value_test1 a
13 , plan_hash_value_test2 b
14 where
15 a.id1 = b.id1
16 and a.id2 = b.id2
17 and a.id1 between 1 and 10;

Explained.

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| TQ |IN-OUT| PQ Distrib |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 5 | 270 | 6 (34)| | | |
|* 1 | HASH JOIN | | 5 | 270 | 6 (34)| 55,01 | P->S | QC (RAND) |
|* 2 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 10 | 270 | 3 (34)| 55,01 | PCWP | |
|* 3 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST2 | 10 | 270 | 3 (34)| 55,00 | P->P | BROADCAST |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

1 - access("A"."ID1"="B"."ID1" AND "A"."ID2"="B"."ID2")
2 - filter("A"."ID1"<=10 AND "A"."ID1">=1)
3 - filter("B"."ID1"<=10 AND "B"."ID1">=1)

16 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> rollback;

Rollback complete.

SQL>
SQL> select /*+ find_me
2 full(a)
3 full(b)
4 use_hash(a, b)
5 parallel(a)
6 parallel(b)
7 pq_distribute(b, none, broadcast)
8 */
9 *
10 from
11 plan_hash_value_test1 a
12 , plan_hash_value_test2 b
13 where
14 a.id1 = b.id1
15 and a.id2 = b.id2
16 and a.id1 between 1 and 10;

ID1 ID2 SMALL_VC ID1 ID2 SMALL_VC
---------- ---------- -------------------- ---------- ---------- --------------------
1 1 x 1 1 x
2 0 x 2 0 x
3 1 x 3 1 x
4 0 x 4 0 x
5 1 x 5 1 x
6 0 x 6 0 x
7 1 x 7 1 x
8 0 x 8 0 x
9 1 x 9 1 x
10 0 x 10 0 x

10 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> select
2 plan_hash_value
3 , hash_value
4 from
5 v$sql
6 where
7 sql_text like 'select /*+ find_me%';

PLAN_HASH_VALUE HASH_VALUE
--------------- ----------
1709875781 508205717

SQL>
SQL> alter system flush shared_pool;

System altered.

SQL>
SQL> alter system flush shared_pool;

System altered.

SQL>
SQL> explain plan for
2 select /*+ find_me
3 full(a)
4 full(b)
5 use_hash(a, b)
6 parallel(a)
7 parallel(b)
8 pq_distribute(b, broadcast, none)
9 */
10 *
11 from
12 plan_hash_value_test1 a
13 , plan_hash_value_test2 b
14 where
15 a.id1 = b.id1
16 and a.id2 = b.id2
17 and a.id1 between 1 and 10;

Explained.

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| TQ |IN-OUT| PQ Distrib |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 5 | 270 | 6 (34)| | | |
|* 1 | HASH JOIN | | 5 | 270 | 6 (34)| 57,01 | P->S | QC (RAND) |
|* 2 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 10 | 270 | 3 (34)| 57,00 | P->P | BROADCAST |
|* 3 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST2 | 10 | 270 | 3 (34)| 57,01 | PCWP | |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

1 - access("A"."ID1"="B"."ID1" AND "A"."ID2"="B"."ID2")
2 - filter("A"."ID1"<=10 AND "A"."ID1">=1)
3 - filter("B"."ID1"<=10 AND "B"."ID1">=1)

16 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> rollback;

Rollback complete.

SQL>
SQL> select /*+ find_me
2 full(a)
3 full(b)
4 use_hash(a, b)
5 parallel(a)
6 parallel(b)
7 pq_distribute(b, broadcast, none)
8 */
9 *
10 from
11 plan_hash_value_test1 a
12 , plan_hash_value_test2 b
13 where
14 a.id1 = b.id1
15 and a.id2 = b.id2
16 and a.id1 between 1 and 10;

ID1 ID2 SMALL_VC ID1 ID2 SMALL_VC
---------- ---------- -------------------- ---------- ---------- --------------------
1 1 x 1 1 x
2 0 x 2 0 x
3 1 x 3 1 x
4 0 x 4 0 x
5 1 x 5 1 x
6 0 x 6 0 x
7 1 x 7 1 x
8 0 x 8 0 x
9 1 x 9 1 x
10 0 x 10 0 x

10 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> select
2 plan_hash_value
3 , hash_value
4 from
5 v$sql
6 where
7 sql_text like 'select /*+ find_me%';

PLAN_HASH_VALUE HASH_VALUE
--------------- ----------
441284116 3983849749

SQL>
SQL> alter system flush shared_pool;

System altered.

SQL>
SQL> alter system flush shared_pool;

System altered.

SQL>
SQL> explain plan for
2 select /*+ find_me
3 full(a)
4 full(b)
5 use_hash(a, b)
6 parallel(a)
7 parallel(b)
8 pq_distribute(b, hash, hash)
9 */
10 *
11 from
12 plan_hash_value_test1 a
13 , plan_hash_value_test2 b
14 where
15 a.id1 = b.id1
16 and a.id2 = b.id2
17 and a.id1 between 1 and 10;

Explained.

SQL>
SQL> select * from table(dbms_xplan.display);

PLAN_TABLE_OUTPUT
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| TQ |IN-OUT| PQ Distrib |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 5 | 270 | 6 (34)| | | |
|* 1 | HASH JOIN | | 5 | 270 | 6 (34)| 59,02 | P->S | QC (RAND) |
|* 2 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST1 | 10 | 270 | 3 (34)| 59,00 | P->P | HASH |
|* 3 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PLAN_HASH_VALUE_TEST2 | 10 | 270 | 3 (34)| 59,01 | P->P | HASH |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

1 - access("A"."ID1"="B"."ID1" AND "A"."ID2"="B"."ID2")
2 - filter("A"."ID1"<=10 AND "A"."ID1">=1)
3 - filter("B"."ID1"<=10 AND "B"."ID1">=1)

16 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> rollback;

Rollback complete.

SQL>
SQL> select /*+ find_me
2 full(a)
3 full(b)
4 use_hash(a, b)
5 parallel(a)
6 parallel(b)
7 pq_distribute(b, hash, hash)
8 */
9 *
10 from
11 plan_hash_value_test1 a
12 , plan_hash_value_test2 b
13 where
14 a.id1 = b.id1
15 and a.id2 = b.id2
16 and a.id1 between 1 and 10;

ID1 ID2 SMALL_VC ID1 ID2 SMALL_VC
---------- ---------- -------------------- ---------- ---------- --------------------
1 1 x 1 1 x
3 1 x 3 1 x
5 1 x 5 1 x
8 0 x 8 0 x
10 0 x 10 0 x
2 0 x 2 0 x
4 0 x 4 0 x
6 0 x 6 0 x
7 1 x 7 1 x
9 1 x 9 1 x

10 rows selected.

SQL>
SQL> select
2 plan_hash_value
3 , hash_value
4 from
5 v$sql
6 where
7 sql_text like 'select /*+ find_me%';

PLAN_HASH_VALUE HASH_VALUE
--------------- ----------
353704519 1797852549

SQL>

Although the main operations and their order of execution stays the same, the calculated PLAN_HASH_VALUE is different in all three cases.

So in summary the following conclusions can be made:

- The same PLAN_HASH_VALUE is merely an indicator that the same operations on objects of the same name are performed in the same order.

- It tells nothing about the similarity of the expected runtime performance of the execution plan, due to various reasons as demonstrated. The most significant information that is not covered by the PLAN_HASH_VALUE are the filter and access predicates, but there are other attributes, too, that are not part of the hash value calculation.

- Still it's very likely that for the same SQL statement and the same unchanged underlying data the same PLAN_HASH_VALUE indicates similar expected runtime performance, except for some particular cases where the execution plan itself already contains "conditional" execution paths which might be taken by the runtime engine and therefore lead to significantly different runtimes. Some of these examples have already been covered by Jonathan Lewis: Conditional Plan and Hierarchical Queries in some versions of Oracle.

In the second part I'll demonstrate a possible approach how to calculate your own PLAN_HASH_VALUE that covers some of the information omitted if you suspect that you might have encountered a scenario where the same PLAN_HASH_VALUE suggests similar runtime performance but there are significant differences in the execution plans that you would like to have covered by the hash value calculation to detect these plan changes easily.