Sunday, June 29, 2014

New Version Of XPLAN_ASH Utility

A new version 4.1 of the XPLAN_ASH utility is available for download.

As usual the latest version can be downloaded here.

This version in particular supports now the new 12c "Adaptive" plan feature - previous versions don't cope very well with those if you don't add the "ADAPTIVE" formatting option manually.

Here are the notes from the change log:

- GV$SQL_MONITOR and GV$SQL_PLAN_MONITOR can now be customized in the
settings as table names in case you want to use your own custom monitoring repository that copies data from GV$SQL_MONITOR and GV$SQL_PLAN_MONITOR in order to keep/persist monitoring data. The tables need to have at least those columns that are used by XPLAN_ASH from the original views

- The "Activity Timeline based on ASH" for RAC Cross Instance Parallel Execution shows an additional line break for the GLOBAL summary

- Fixed various bugs related to some figures when analyzing Cross Instance RAC Parallel Execution

- The new "GLOBAL" aggregation level for Cross Instance RAC Parallel Execution (see version 4.0 change log below) is now also shown in the "Information on Parallel Degree based on ASH" section

- The "Parallel Distribution ASH" column on execution plan line level now can show process information taken from Real-Time SQL Monitoring for those processes that are not found in ASH samples.
This effectively means that with monitoring information available for every plan line every involved process will now be shown along with its ASH sample count and rows produced

So some processes will show up now with a sample count of 0.

The idea behind this is to provide more information about row distribution even for those lines/processes that are not covered by the ASH samples.
Previously the rowcount produced was only shown for those processes covered in ASH samples

The new behaviour is default - if you find the output messy you can return to previous behaviour (show only rowcounts for processes found in ASH samples) by setting the new configuration switch "show_monitor_rowcount" to any other value than the default of "YES"

- The "Real-Time SQL Monitoring" information on execution plan line level now includes the read and write request information ("ReadReq", "WriteReq")

- The I/O figures based on ASH now include the new "DELTA_READ_MEM_BYTES" information that was added in 12c. This applies to the following sections:
  - SQL Statement I/O Summary based on ASH
  - Parallel Worker activity overview based on ASH
  - Activity Timeline based on ASH

The "Read Mem Bytes" seems to correspond to the "logical read bytes from cache" statistics, so any direct path reads are not covered by this value

- Added some more verbose description in the "Note" sections how to handle long lines. XPLAN_ASH now does a SET TRIMSPOOL ON if you want to spool the output to a file

- Whenever the output referred to DFOs this was changed to "DFO TREE", which is the correct term

- The "Parallel Worker activity overview based on ASH" section now shows a blank line between the sections which should make this section more readable

- Adaptive plans are now supported by XPLAN_ASH

Note they don't work well with previous versions, the formatting of the inactive lines breaks and the overall information can be misleading if you don't add manually the "ADAPTIVE" formatting option

If XPLAN_ASH detects an adaptive plan, it will always force the ADAPTIVE formatting option.
This also means that Adaptive plans for the time being won't work with SASH as SASH doesn't collect the OTHER_XML column from GV$SQL_PLAN
You could manually add that column to SASH_SQLPLANS and add the column to the "sash_pkg.get_sqlplans" procedure - this is a CLOB column, but INSERT / SELECT should work I think
The view SASH_PLAN_TABLE needs also to be modified to select the OTHER_XML column instead of a dummy NULL

Although this output is less readable than the "faked" output that shows only the plan operations that are actually in use, it is the only simple way how ASH/MONITOR data can be related to execution plan lines, as these hold the information with the actual plan line, not the one that is made up by DBMS_XPLAN.DISPLAY* based on the DISPLAY_MAP information in the OTHER_XML column

Hence I decided for the time being to use the same approach as 12c Real-Time SQL Monitoring and always show the full/adaptive shape of the plan

Another challenge for XPLAN_ASH with adaptive plans is the possibly changing PLAN_HASH_VALUE during execution.

XPLAN_ASH extracts the PLAN_HASH_VALUE from ASH/MONITOR when trying to get the plan from DBA_HIST_SQL_PLAN.

Hence XPLAN_ASH now needs to take care to extract the most recent PLAN_HASH_VALUE, previously it didn't matter as it wasn't supposed to change during execution. This seems to work based on my tests, but it's something to keep in mind

- The new "gather stats on load" 12c feature implies for INSERT...SELECT statements that the cursor will immediately be invalidated/removed from the Library Cache after (successful) execution. So now such
INSERT...SELECT behave like CTAS which also gets removed immediately. This is a pity as you won't be able to pick up the plan from the Library Cache after the execution completes using XPLAN_ASH (or any other tool using DBMS_XPLAN.DISPLAY*).

Although V$SQL_PLAN_MONITOR might keep plan for some time after the execution, it can't be used as input to DBMS_XPLAN.DISPLAY*, hence this isn't a viable workaround. In principle however this isn't a good thing as the SQL and plan information might be missing from AWR / STATSPACK reports due to the
immediate invalidation/removal.

At the time being the only viable workaround known to me for this is to prevent the "gather stats on load" feature either via parameter "_optimizer_gather_stats_on_load" or hint "no_gather_optimizer_statistics", or via using pre-12c optimizer feature settings which implicitly disables the feature which is of course not
really a good workaround as the feature itself might be rather desirable

Monday, June 23, 2014

Parallel Execution Skew - Addressing Skew Using Manual Rewrites

This is just a short note that the next part of the mini series about Parallel Execution skew has been published at

After having shown in the previous instalment of the series that Oracle 12c added a new feature that can deal with Parallel Execution skew (at present in a limited number of scenarios) I now demonstrate in that part how the problem can be addressed using manual query rewrites, in particular the probably not so commonly known technique of redistributing popular values using an additional re-mapping table.