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TEMP Table Transformation and Remote Procedure Calls

I've recently come across a interesting side-effect regarding temp table transformations at one of my clients.

There was a PL/SQL package procedure that worked fine when called locally but somehow "hung" when being called from a remote database - all it did was to call exactly the same package procedure with the same parameters as the local call, but one of the SQL statements executed as part of the procedure generated an suboptimal execution plan that never completed.

Further investigations revealed that the significant difference between the execution plan of the local and the remote execution of the procedure was the different treatment of a contained "WITH" clause.

The interesting point is that the procedure called itself didn't perform any "distributed" queries or DML - the only difference was that one time the procedure got called locally, and one time remotely per database link. All processing within the procedure was local - no activities using database links were involved.

There are (at least) two known areas where Oracle can optionally use a so called TEMP TABLE TRANSFORMATION as part of the execution plan:

1. Materialization of a Subquery Factoring, also known as "Common Table Expression" or simply "WITH clause"

Oracle uses this when the subquery is used more than once in the execution plan, or if forced with the undocumented MATERIALIZE hint as part of the SELECT in the WITH clause. There are a few (not really documented) limitations of this materialization, in particular if LOBs or LONGs are part of the projection then this TEMP TABLE transformation can't get used.

2. Star transformation with TEMP TABLE transformation

Star transformations can also make use of the TEMP TABLE transformation. This is enabled by default when STAR_TRANSFORMATION_ENABLED is set to TRUE, but can be disabled by setting STAR_TRANSFORMATION_ENABLED to TEMP_DISABLE.

The following testcase shall demonstrate the subtle side effect of the Remote Procedure Call via Database Link.

Consider the following simple package:

create or replace package pkg_test_materialize_remote authid current_user as
procedure test_star_transform_statement;
procedure test_simple_statement;
end pkg_test_materialize_remote;
/

create or replace package body pkg_test_materialize_remote as
procedure test_star_transform_statement as
c sys_refcursor;
n1 number;
c1 varchar2(255);
c2 varchar2(255);
begin
execute immediate 'alter session set star_transformation_enabled = true';

open c for '
select
sum(quantity_sold),
p.prod_subcategory_desc,
c.cust_gender
from
sh.sales s
join sh.products p ON (s.prod_id = p.prod_id)
join sh.customers c ON (s.cust_id = c.cust_id)
join sh.countries d ON (c.country_id = d.country_id)
where
p.prod_subcategory_desc = ''Memory'' and
c.cust_city = ''Oxford'' and
c.cust_gender = ''F''
group by
p.prod_subcategory_desc, c.cust_gender';

fetch c into n1, c1, c2;

close c;
end test_star_transform_statement;

procedure test_simple_statement as
begin
for rec in (
with a as (
select /*+ materialize */
*
from
dual
)
select
*
from
a
where
1 = 2
) loop
null;
end loop;
end test_simple_statement;
end pkg_test_materialize_remote;
/

The simple statement is not really useful but probably the simplest form of requesting a TEMP TABLE transformation.

The statement using star transformation generates a TEMP TABLE transformation when using the default demo SH setup. I've only wrapped it in dynamic SQL to take advantage of any enabled roles due to the AUTHID CURRENT_USER clause.

And indeed when calling the two procedures locally like the following:

exec pkg_test_materialize_remote.test_simple_statement

exec pkg_test_materialize_remote.test_star_transform_statement

You get these execution plans both using TEMP TABLE transformations:

SQL_ID cdudvb233tdau, child number 0
-------------------------------------
WITH A AS ( SELECT /*+ materialize */ * FROM DUAL ) SELECT * FROM A
WHERE 1 = 2

Plan hash value: 1137659336

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | | | 2 (100)| |
| 1 | TEMP TABLE TRANSFORMATION | | | | | |
| 2 | LOAD AS SELECT | | | | | |
| 3 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | DUAL | 1 | 2 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 |
|* 4 | FILTER | | | | | |
| 5 | VIEW | | 1 | 2 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 |
| 6 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | SYS_TEMP_0FD9D6617_E0AEB | 1 | 2 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

4 - filter(NULL IS NOT NULL)

SQL_ID 5bp3rpfs2f4bw, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select sum(quantity_sold),
p.prod_subcategory_desc, c.cust_gender from
sh.sales s join sh.products p ON (s.prod_id = p.prod_id)
join sh.customers c ON (s.cust_id = c.cust_id) join
sh.countries d ON (c.country_id = d.country_id) where
p.prod_subcategory_desc = 'Memory' and c.cust_city = 'Oxford'
and c.cust_gender = 'F' group by
p.prod_subcategory_desc, c.cust_gender

Plan hash value: 3883759770

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time | Pstart| Pstop |
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | | | 435 (100)| | | |
| 1 | TEMP TABLE TRANSFORMATION | | | | | | | |
| 2 | LOAD AS SELECT | | | | | | | |
|* 3 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | CUSTOMERS | 45 | 990 | 405 (1)| 00:00:05 | | |
| 4 | HASH GROUP BY | | 2 | 94 | 30 (10)| 00:00:01 | | |
|* 5 | HASH JOIN | | 27 | 1269 | 24 (9)| 00:00:01 | | |
|* 6 | HASH JOIN | | 27 | 1134 | 22 (5)| 00:00:01 | | |
|* 7 | HASH JOIN | | 27 | 810 | 20 (5)| 00:00:01 | | |
|* 8 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PRODUCTS | 3 | 54 | 3 (0)| 00:00:01 | | |
| 9 | PARTITION RANGE ALL | | 31 | 372 | 16 (0)| 00:00:01 | 1 | 28 |
| 10 | TABLE ACCESS BY LOCAL INDEX ROWID| SALES | 31 | 372 | 16 (0)| 00:00:01 | 1 | 28 |
| 11 | BITMAP CONVERSION TO ROWIDS | | | | | | | |
| 12 | BITMAP AND | | | | | | | |
| 13 | BITMAP MERGE | | | | | | | |
| 14 | BITMAP KEY ITERATION | | | | | | | |
| 15 | BUFFER SORT | | | | | | | |
|* 16 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PRODUCTS | 3 | 54 | 3 (0)| 00:00:01 | | |
|* 17 | BITMAP INDEX RANGE SCAN | SALES_PROD_BIX | | | | | 1 | 28 |
| 18 | BITMAP MERGE | | | | | | | |
| 19 | BITMAP KEY ITERATION | | | | | | | |
| 20 | BUFFER SORT | | | | | | | |
| 21 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | SYS_TEMP_0FD9D6616_E0AEB | 45 | 225 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | | |
|* 22 | BITMAP INDEX RANGE SCAN | SALES_CUST_BIX | | | | | 1 | 28 |
| 23 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | SYS_TEMP_0FD9D6616_E0AEB | 45 | 540 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 | | |
| 24 | INDEX FULL SCAN | COUNTRIES_PK | 23 | 115 | 1 (0)| 00:00:01 | | |
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

3 - filter(("C"."CUST_CITY"='Oxford' AND "C"."CUST_GENDER"='F'))
5 - access("C1"="D"."COUNTRY_ID")
6 - access("S"."CUST_ID"="C0")
7 - access("S"."PROD_ID"="P"."PROD_ID")
8 - filter("P"."PROD_SUBCATEGORY_DESC"='Memory')
16 - filter("P"."PROD_SUBCATEGORY_DESC"='Memory')
17 - access("S"."PROD_ID"="P"."PROD_ID")
22 - access("S"."CUST_ID"="C0")

Note
-----
- star transformation used for this statement

Let's simulate a Remote Procedure Call using a loopback database link:

create database link loopback@local connect to user identified by pwd using 'orcl';

Now get rid of the two execution plans in the Shared Pool (e.g. by flushing it if a test system) and execute the following:

exec pkg_test_materialize_remote.test_simple_statement@loopback@local

exec pkg_test_materialize_remote.test_star_transform_statement@loopback@local

The execution plans look now like this:

SQL_ID cdudvb233tdau, child number 0
-------------------------------------
WITH A AS ( SELECT /*+ materialize */ * FROM DUAL ) SELECT * FROM A
WHERE 1 = 2

Plan hash value: 3752461848

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | | | 1 (100)| |
|* 1 | FILTER | | | | | |
| 2 | TABLE ACCESS FULL| DUAL | 1 | 2 | 2 (0)| 00:00:01 |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

1 - filter(NULL IS NOT NULL)

SQL_ID 5bp3rpfs2f4bw, child number 0
-------------------------------------
select sum(quantity_sold),
p.prod_subcategory_desc, c.cust_gender from
sh.sales s join sh.products p ON (s.prod_id = p.prod_id)
join sh.customers c ON (s.cust_id = c.cust_id) join
sh.countries d ON (c.country_id = d.country_id) where
p.prod_subcategory_desc = 'Memory' and c.cust_city = 'Oxford'
and c.cust_gender = 'F' group by
p.prod_subcategory_desc, c.cust_gender

Plan hash value: 3619028137

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time | Pstart| Pstop |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | | | 1238 (100)| | | |
| 1 | SORT GROUP BY NOSORT | | 1 | 57 | 1238 (1)| 00:00:15 | | |
|* 2 | HASH JOIN | | 26 | 1482 | 830 (1)| 00:00:10 | | |
|* 3 | HASH JOIN | | 26 | 1352 | 828 (1)| 00:00:10 | | |
|* 4 | HASH JOIN | | 27 | 810 | 423 (1)| 00:00:06 | | |
|* 5 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PRODUCTS | 3 | 54 | 3 (0)| 00:00:01 | | |
| 6 | PARTITION RANGE ALL | | 31 | 372 | 419 (1)| 00:00:06 | 1 | 28 |
| 7 | TABLE ACCESS BY LOCAL INDEX ROWID| SALES | 31 | 372 | 419 (1)| 00:00:06 | 1 | 28 |
| 8 | BITMAP CONVERSION TO ROWIDS | | | | | | | |
| 9 | BITMAP AND | | | | | | | |
| 10 | BITMAP MERGE | | | | | | | |
| 11 | BITMAP KEY ITERATION | | | | | | | |
| 12 | BUFFER SORT | | | | | | | |
|* 13 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | PRODUCTS | 3 | 54 | 3 (0)| 00:00:01 | | |
|* 14 | BITMAP INDEX RANGE SCAN | SALES_PROD_BIX | | | | | 1 | 28 |
| 15 | BITMAP MERGE | | | | | | | |
| 16 | BITMAP KEY ITERATION | | | | | | | |
| 17 | BUFFER SORT | | | | | | | |
|* 18 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | CUSTOMERS | 45 | 765 | 405 (1)| 00:00:05 | | |
|* 19 | BITMAP INDEX RANGE SCAN | SALES_CUST_BIX | | | | | 1 | 28 |
|* 20 | TABLE ACCESS FULL | CUSTOMERS | 45 | 990 | 405 (1)| 00:00:05 | | |
| 21 | INDEX FULL SCAN | COUNTRIES_PK | 23 | 115 | 1 (0)| 00:00:01 | | |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

2 - access("C"."COUNTRY_ID"="D"."COUNTRY_ID")
3 - access("S"."CUST_ID"="C"."CUST_ID")
4 - access("S"."PROD_ID"="P"."PROD_ID")
5 - filter("P"."PROD_SUBCATEGORY_DESC"='Memory')
13 - filter("P"."PROD_SUBCATEGORY_DESC"='Memory')
14 - access("S"."PROD_ID"="P"."PROD_ID")
18 - filter(("C"."CUST_CITY"='Oxford' AND "C"."CUST_GENDER"='F'))
19 - access("S"."CUST_ID"="C"."CUST_ID")
20 - filter(("C"."CUST_CITY"='Oxford' AND "C"."CUST_GENDER"='F'))

Note
-----
- star transformation used for this statement

Notice how the TEMP TABLE TRANSFORMATION is gone from both plans?

The odd thing is that I wasn't able so far to pinpoint any optimizer environment settings that are related to this - in fact the optimizer happily shares the existing plan with the remote or local execution, so there seems not to be any difference in the optimizer environment (and which makes me think that this is more a side-effect than an intended feature).

Therefore it is required to get rid of the plans generated by the local execution to reproduce the issue above.

The behaviour seems to be consistent across 10.2.0.4, 11.1.0.7 and 11.2.0.1.

I could imagine there is something related to the fact that a distributed transaction has been started by the RPC call, but since the plans are re-used when already in the Shared Pool, this doesn't seem to be a reasonable explanation either.

I couldn't find yet any MetaLink (sorry, MOS) documents that describe this particular issue. I might raise an SR if I find the time, the issue has been worked around at the client side by ensuring particular execution paths of the critical statement.

Update Jan 2011: Thanks to the anonymous poster below - the corresponding official bug is Bug 9399589: "WITH" subqueries cannot be materialized inside a global transaction