Hints

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Hinting

This is just a little example of thinking about hinting for short-term hacking requirements. It’s the answer to a question that came up on the Oracle-L listserver  a couple of months ago (Oct 2015) and is a convenient demonstration of a principle that can often (not ALWAYS) be applied as a response to the problem: “I can make this query work quickly once, how do I make it work quickly when I make it part of a join ?”

The question starts with this query, which returns “immediately” for any one segment:

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Five Hints

This is the content of a “whitepaper” I wrote for my presentation “Five Hints for Optimising SQL” at the recent DOAG conference.

Introduction

Adding hints to production code is a practice to be avoided if possible, though it’s easy to make the case for emergency patching, and hinting is also useful as the basis of a method of generating SQL Plan Baselines. However, notwithstanding (and sometimes because of) the continuing enhancements to the optimizer, there are cases where the only sensible option for dealing with a problem statement is to constrain the broad brush strategy that the optimizer can take in a way that allows it to find a reasonable execution plan in a reasonable time.

This note describes in some detail the use and effects of five of the “classic” hints that I believe are reasonable strategic options to redirect the optimizer when it doesn’t choose a path that you consider to be the most appropriate choice.

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Filter Hash

One of the most irritating features of solving problems for clients is that the models I build to confirm my diagnosis and test my solutions often highlight further anomalies, or make me ask questions that might produce some useful answers to future problems.

Recently I had cause to ask myself if Oracle would push a filter subquery into the second tablescan of a hash join – changing a plan from this:

filter
	hash join
		table access full t1
		table access full t2
	table access by rowid t3
		index range scan t3_i1

to this:

hash join
	table access full t1
	filter
		table access full t2
		table access by rowid t3
			index range scan t3_i1

or, perhaps more likely, to this:

davidkurtz's picture

PeopleTools 8.54: %SQLHint Meta-SQL

This is part of a series of articles about new features and differences in PeopleTools 8.54 that will be of interest to the Oracle DBA.
 
This new PeopleCode meta-SQL macro performs a search of SQL statement for the nth instance of SQL command keyword and inserts a string after it.

davidkurtz's picture

PeopleTools 8.54: %SQLHint Meta-SQL

This is part of a series of articles about new features and differences in PeopleTools 8.54 that will be of interest to the Oracle DBA.
 
This new PeopleCode meta-SQL macro performs a search of SQL statement for the nth instance of SQL command keyword and inserts a string after it.

Jonathan Lewis's picture

push_pred – evolution

Here’s a query (with a few hints to control how I want Oracle to run it) that demonstrates the difficulty of trying to solve problems by hinting (and the need to make sure you know where all your hinted code is):

Jonathan Lewis's picture

Baselines

I’m not very keen on bending the rules on production systems, I’d prefer to do things that look as if they could have happened in a completely legal fashion, but sometimes it’s necessary to abuse the system and here’s an example to demonstrate the point. I’ve got a simple SQL statement consisting of nothing more than an eight table join where the optimizer (on the various versions I’ve tested, including 12c) examines 5,040 join orders (even though _optimizer_max_permutations is set to the default of 2,000 – and that might come as a little surprise if you thought you knew what that parameter was supposed to do):

Jonathan Lewis's picture

First Rows

Following on from the short note I published about the first_rows optimizer mode yesterday here’s a note that I wrote on the topic more than 2 years ago but somehow forgot to publish.

I can get quite gloomy when I read some of the material that gets published about Oracle; not so much because it’s misleading or wrong, but because it’s clearly been written without any real effort being made to check whether it’s true. For example, a couple of days ago [ed: actually some time around May 2012] I came across an article about optimisation in 11g that seemed to be claiming that first_rows optimisation somehow “defaulted” to first_rows(1) , or first_rows_1, optimisation if you didn’t supply a final integer value.

davidkurtz's picture

To Hint or not to hint (Application Engine), that is the question

Over the years Oracle has provided a number of plan stability technologies to control how SQL statements are executed.  At the risk of over simplification, Outlines (deprecated in 11g), Profiles, Baselines and Patches work by injecting a set of hints into a SQL statement at parse time.  There is quite a lot of advice from Oracle to use these technologies to fix errant execution plans rather than hint the application.  I think it is generally good advice, however, there are times when this approach does not work well with PeopleSoft, and that is due to the behaviour and structure of PeopleSoft rather than the Oracle database.
davidkurtz's picture

To Hint or not to hint (Application Engine), that is the question

Over the years Oracle has provided a number of plan stability technologies to control how SQL statements are executed.  At the risk of over simplification, Outlines (deprecated in 11g), Profiles, Baselines and Patches work by injecting a set of hints into a SQL statement at parse time.  There is quite a lot of advice from Oracle to use these technologies to fix errant execution plans rather than hint the application.  I think it is generally good advice, however, there are times when this approach does not work well with PeopleSoft, and that is due to the behaviour and structure of PeopleSoft rather than the Oracle database.
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