Execution plans

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Quiz Night

Because it’s been a long time since the last quiz night.  Here’s a question prompted by a recent thread on the ODevCom database forum – how many rows will Oracle sorts (assuming you have enough rows to start with in all_objects) for the final query, and how many sort operations will that take ?

drop table t1 purge;

create table t1 nologging as select * from all_objects where rownum < 50000;

select owner, count(distinct object_type), count(distinct object_name) from t1 group by owner;

Try to resist the temptation of doing a cut-n-paste and running the code until after you’ve thought about the answer.

Jonathan Lewis's picture

pushing predicates

I came across this odd limitation (maybe defect) with pushing predicates (join predicate push down) a few years ago that made a dramatic difference to a client query when fixed but managed to hide itself rather cunningly until you looked closely at what was going on. Searching my library for something completely different I’ve just rediscovered the model I built to demonstrate the issue so I’ve tested it against a couple of newer versions  of Oracle (including 18.1) and found that the anomaly still exists. It’s an interesting little detail about checking execution plans properly so I’ve written up the details. The critical feature of the problem is a union all view:

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Hacking Profiles

Saturday’s posting about setting cursor_sharing to force reminded me about one of the critical limitations of SQL Profiles (which is one of those little reason why you shouldn’t be hacking SQL Profiles as a substitute for SQL Plan Baselines). Here’s a demo (taking advantage of some code that I think Kerry Osborne published several years ago) of creating an SQL Profile from the current execution plan of a simple statement – first we create some data and find the sql_id and child_number for a simple query:

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Index Bouncy Scan 4

There’s always another hurdle to overcome. After I’d finished writing up the “index bouncy scan” as an efficient probing mechanism to find the combinations of the first two columns (both declared not null) of a very large index a follow-up question appeared almost immediately: “what if it’s a partitioned index”.

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Filtering LOBs

A two-part question about the FILTER operation appeared on the Oracle-L list server a couple of days ago. The first part was a fairly common question – one that’s often prompted by the way the optimizer used to behave in older versions of Oracle. Paraphrased, it was: “Why is the total cost of the query so high compared to the sum of its parts?”

Here’s the query, and the execution plan.

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Bitmap Join Indexes

I’ve been prompted by a recent question on the ODC database forum to revisit a note I wrote nearly five years ago about bitmap join indexes and their failure to help with join cardinalities. At the time I made a couple of unsupported claims and suggestions without supplying any justification or proof. Today’s article finally fills that gap.

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SQL Monitor

I’ve mentioned the SQL Monitor report from time to time as a very useful way of reviewing execution plans – the feature is automatically enabled by parallel execution and by queries that are expected to take more than a few seconds to complete, and the inherent overheads of monitoring are less than the impact of enabling the rowsource execution statistics that allow you to use the ‘allstats’ format of dbms_xplan.display_cursor() to get detailed execution information for a query. The drawback to the SQL Monitor feature is that it doesn’t report predicate information.

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Comparing Plans

It can be difficult to find the critical differences when comparing execution plans when you want to find out why the optimizer has changed its choice of plan and what may have happened to cause the change, and even the various diff_plan_xxx() functions in dbms_xplan don’t help very much, so I thought I’d write up an example that appeared recently on the ODC database forum to give people some ideas about how to approach the problem. There is, however, no simple algorithm that you can apply to narrow your focus down to the most probable cause of change, there are simply a few methods that have to be applied with a little flair and imagination.

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Conditional SQL – 5

Here’s a note that has been sitting around for more than 3 years (the draft date is Jan 2015), waiting for me to finish it off; and in that time we’ve got a new version of Oracle that changes the solution to the problem it presented. (I also managed to write “Conditional SQL –  6” in the intervening period !)

This posting started with a question on the OTN (now ODC) database forum about an execution plan used by  Here’s a model to represent the data and the query:

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An interesting observation appeared recently as a side-channel on a question on the OTN database forum – how does Oracle execute an unpivot() operation. Here’s an example of such a query:

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