Friday Mar 02, 2012

Additional Information on SQL Patches

Our last post on SQL patches generated a lot of comments and questions.  Today I will address a couple of questions that are quick to answer.  For those that require more discussion, we'll post more details in the next few weeks.[Read More]

Monday Feb 27, 2012

Using SQL Patch to add hints to a packaged application

In my last post, I showed how you can use the BIND_AWARE hint to skip the monitoring phase of adaptive cursor sharing.  If you have a packaged application, you might be wondering how you can use this hint if you can't edit a query directly.  In this post I'll who you how to do just that, for any hint (or set of hints).[Read More]

Monday Dec 19, 2011

Why was the RULE hint ignored?

Recently I got a call from a customer that had just upgraded to Oracle
Database 11.2.0.2 and was panicking because they thought the Rule Based
Optimizer (RBO) had been removed from Oracle Database 11g. The reason
they thought this was because when they tried to add the RULE hint to a
SQL statement they still got a Cost Based Optimizer (CBO) plan.

[Read More]

Tuesday Feb 15, 2011

How do I deal with a third party application that has embedded hints that result in a sub-optimal execution plan in my environment?

I have gotten many variations on this question recently as folks begin to upgrade to Oracle Database 11g and there have been several posts on this blog and on others describing how to use SQL Plan Management (SPM) so that a non-hinted SQL statement can use a plan generated with hints. But what if the hint is supplied in the third party application and is causing performance regressions on your system?

[Read More]

Tuesday Nov 17, 2009

What should I do with old hints in my workload?

We promised in an earlier post to cover some of the questions from the Optimizer round table discussion at Oracle Open World. Here's our first in a series of posts that will address these questions.

Q: When moving from 10g to 11g, should hints in existing SQL be removed?

A: I was glad to see this question at the round table, since I think this is something people often overlook when adding hints to an application. Over time, hints can become stale. You may have added a hint to a query because of a weakness in an old version of the optimizer, but the hint might no longer be necessary to get the best plan. Even worse, the hint may force a plan which is suboptimal, for a couple of reasons:
  • Depending on how your data change over time, the plan choice that the hint enforces might no longer be a good choice. This problem can occur even without a database upgrade. For example, if the distribution of values in a column change over time, an old access path hint may no longer be appropriate.
  • The hint might prevent new optimizations from taking place. So after an upgrade, you will be stuck using the old hint-enforced plan, when the optimizer could have chosen something better. For example, you may have hinted a plan for a query with bind variables, to avoid a bad plan choice due to bind peeking in the pre-11g optimizer. In 11g, you will not get the benefits of adaptive cursor sharing because of the hints in the query.
These are just some of the reasons why it is good to re-evaluate the hints in your application from time to time. You can test this out using the _optimizer_ignore_hints parameter. Setting this parameter to TRUE will cause the optimizer to ignore the hints embedded in queries. You can set this on the session level, run your workload, and compare the performance to your baseline performance (with the hints). I recommend using SQL Performance Analyzer (SPA) to do this. Read the SPA white paper for more information on how to do that.

If you find that some of your queries really do still require hints to get an optimal plan, you should consider creating a SQL plan baseline, and allowing SPM to manage the plan for you. If you do this, then you will get the hinted plan for now, but if a better plan comes along later (for one of the reasons mentioned earlier), you will eventually get the benefits of the new plan, using the SPM evolve process. There are two ways that you can create a SQL plan baseline based on your hints that will be applied to the query without hints. The first way requires that a SQL plan baseline already exist for the unhinted query. That's described in an earlier post. Here are the steps to use if you don't already have a SQL plan baseline for the unhinted query.

1. Run the query with hints, and confirm that the plan is what you want:
var pid number
exec :pid := 100;
select /*+ leading(t) */ p.prod_name, s.amount_sold, t.calendar_year
from sales s, products p, times t
where s.prod_id = p.prod_id
and s.time_id = t.time_id
and p.prod_id < :pid; 
PROD_NAME                                          AMOUNT_SOLD CALENDAR_YEAR
-------------------------------------------------- ----------- -------------
...
select sql_id from v$sql where sql_text like 'select /*+ leading(t) */ p.prod_name%';
SQL_ID
-------------
2qtu6hy4rf1j9
select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor(sql_id=>'2qtu6hy4rf1j9', 
                                              format=>'basic note'));
EXPLAINED SQL STATEMENT:
------------------------
select /*+ leading(t) */ p.prod_name, s.amount_sold, t.calendar_year from sales s, products p, times t where s.prod_id = p.prod_id and s.time_id = t.time_id and p.prod_id < :pid

Plan hash value: 2290436051
---------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                            | Name           |
---------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT                     |                |
|   1 |  HASH JOIN                           |                |
|   2 |   HASH JOIN                          |                |
|   3 |    TABLE ACCESS FULL                 | TIMES          |
|   4 |    PARTITION RANGE ALL               |                |
|   5 |     TABLE ACCESS BY LOCAL INDEX ROWID| SALES          |
|   6 |      BITMAP CONVERSION TO ROWIDS     |                |
|   7 |       BITMAP INDEX RANGE SCAN        | SALES_PROD_BIX |
|   8 |   TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID        | PRODUCTS       |
|   9 |    INDEX RANGE SCAN                  | PRODUCTS_PK    |
---------------------------------------------------------------

2. Load SQL plan baseline from cursor cache, and associate it with the unhinted query:

var sqltext clob;

begin
:sqltext := 'select p.prod_name, s.amount_sold, t.calendar_year
from sales s, products p, times t
where s.prod_id = p.prod_id
and s.time_id = t.time_id
and p.prod_id > :pid';
end;
/

exec :pls := dbms_spm.load_plans_from_cursor_cache( -
              sql_id => '2qtu6hy4rf1j9', -
              plan_hash_value => 2290436051, -
              sql_text => :sqltext);

3. Run the query without hints, and check that the SQL plan baseline was used.

select p.prod_name, s.amount_sold, t.calendar_year
from sales s, products p, times t
where s.prod_id = p.prod_id
and s.time_id = t.time_id
and p.prod_id < :pid;

PROD_NAME                                          AMOUNT_SOLD CALENDAR_YEAR
-------------------------------------------------- ----------- -------------
...

select * from table(dbms_xplan.display_cursor(sql_id=>'a1ax3265pq8x7',
                                              format=>'basic note'));

EXPLAINED SQL STATEMENT:
------------------------
select p.prod_name, s.amount_sold, t.calendar_year from sales s,
products p, times t where s.prod_id = p.prod_id and s.time_id =
t.time_id and p.prod_id < :pid

Plan hash value: 2290436051



---------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation                            | Name           |
---------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT                     |                |
|   1 |  HASH JOIN                           |                |
|   2 |   HASH JOIN                          |                |
|   3 |    TABLE ACCESS FULL                 | TIMES          |
|   4 |    PARTITION RANGE ALL               |                |
|   5 |     TABLE ACCESS BY LOCAL INDEX ROWID| SALES          |
|   6 |      BITMAP CONVERSION TO ROWIDS     |                |
|   7 |       BITMAP INDEX RANGE SCAN        | SALES_PROD_BIX |
|   8 |   TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID        | PRODUCTS       |
|   9 |    INDEX RANGE SCAN                  | PRODUCTS_PK    |
---------------------------------------------------------------
Note ----- - SQL plan baseline SQL_PLAN_4rw2dhryc2w5h888547d3 used for this statement
About

The Oracle Optimizer blog is written by members of the Optimizer development team. The goal of this blog is to provide an insight into the workings of the Optimizer and the statistics it relies on. The views expressed on this blog are our own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle and its affiliates. The views and opinions expressed by visitors on this blog are theirs solely and may not reflect ours.

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