Where AWR can’t help: identifying top-SQL in absence of cursor sharing

Many database performance problems can be resolved via a top-down approach: you look at database performance globally (using statspack or AWR report) and then you work your way down to specific SQL consuming most of resources. This approach breaks when the application is not using bind variables. The reason for that is that performance reports depend on sql_id to identify a statement, and in absence of cursor sharing a single SQL statement has as many sql_id’s as there are combinations of literal parameters. So if your heaviest query is something like


then you’ll see in in AWR top-SQL lists, but if it’s

SELECT * FROM T1 WHERE X="some literal value",

then at best you’ll see a bunch of similar statements in the lists, each responsible for a small fraction of the workload. There is also a good chance that your heaviest SQL won’t show up in those lists at all, if it’s overshadowed by frequently run statements with unchanging parameters (or using binds).

In such situations, one can query AWR views directly, using force_matching_signature to identify logically identical queries that only differ by parameter values.
E.g. the report below can be used to look at top SQL by CPU usage:

set linesize 180
set pagesize 9999
column sql_id format a15
column num_versions format 999999
column sql_text format a70
column cpu_seconds format 999999999.99
column cpus_taken format 999.99
column pct_db_cpu alias "% DB CPU" format 99.99
column executions format 999999

with btime as (select begin_interval_time time from dba_hist_snapshot where snap_id = &&bsnap),
 etime as (select end_interval_time time from dba_hist_snapshot where snap_id = &&esnap),
 diff as (select (select time from etime) - (select time from btime) diff from dual),
 elapsed as (select 24*60*60*extract(day from diff) + 60*60*extract(hour from diff)+60*extract(minute from diff)+extract(second from diff) seconds from diff),
 osstat as (select value num_cpus from DBA_HIST_OSSTAT where snap_id = &&esnap and stat_name= 'NUM_CPUS')
select i2.*
    select inline.sql_id,
             inline.cpu/1e6 cpu_seconds,
             (100*(case total.cpu when 0 then null else inline.cpu/total.cpu end)) pct_db_cpu,
             inline.cpu/1e6/elapsed.seconds cpus_taken,
             dbms_lob.substr(replace(replace(sql_text, chr(10), ' '), chr(13)), 200) sql_text
            select decode(force_matching_signature, 0, dbms_lob.substr(replace(replace(sql_text, chr(10), ' '), chr(13)), 100), force_matching_signature) signature, min(st.sql_id) sql_id, sum(cpu_time_delta) cpu, count(distinct st.sql_id) num_versions, sum(executions_delta) executions
            from dba_hist_sqlstat st,
                    dba_hist_sqltext txt
            where st.sql_id = txt.sql_id
            and snap_id between &&bsnap and &&esnap
            group by decode(force_matching_signature, 0, dbms_lob.substr(replace(replace(sql_text, chr(10), ' '), chr(13)), 100), force_matching_signature)
    ) inline,
    (select sum(cpu) cpu from (select snap_id, (value-lag(value) over (partition by stat_name order by snap_id)) cpu from dba_hist_SYS_TIME_MODEL where stat_name = 'DB CPU' ) where snap_id between &&bsnap and &&esnap) total,
    dba_hist_sqltext txt
    where inline.sql_id = txt.sql_id
) i2
order by cpu_seconds desc;

The report contains the following columns:

sql_id — in this case, it won’t uniquely identify the SQL statement, because the reports shows performance statistics by force_matching_signature (i.e. aggregating over different sql_id’s)
num_versions — the number of distinct sql_id’s
sql_text — truncated text of the SQL statement
cpu_seconds — number of CPU seconds
cpus_taken — number of CPU seconds per elapsed time (i.e. how many CPUs were kept busy by this query on the average — for serial queries this number won’t be greater than 1)

The report groups statements by force_matching_signature, but if force_matching_signature=0 (as e.g. for PL/SQL calls) it uses sql_text instead.

2 thoughts on “Where AWR can’t help: identifying top-SQL in absence of cursor sharing”

    1. Hi Marcus,

      thanks for your comment! I’m not surprised that you had the same idea — what surprises me is why Oracle corporation didn’t have this idea (or if it did, why did they implement it as an option for AWR/statspack)? :)

      Best regards,

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