Workarounds

It’s beenĀ forever since I last shared any of my performance troubleshooting experiences at work. This week, I got a case that I think is worth publishing, and I decided to write about it in my blog. So, here we go…

A few days ago, I received a complaint about unstable performance of one of frequently running SQL reports on a 11gR2 database. Most of the time it completed within a couple of minutes, however, on certain occasions it took much longer than that, and once it even took over 20 minutes.

I have a special stored report in SQL developer for conveniently displaying key statistics from DBA_HIST_SQLSTAT which is very helpful as a first step when analyzing unstable SQL performance:
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Plotting SLOB results in high resolution

Introduction

If you work with I/O benchmarking of Oracle databases, you are almost certainly familiar with SLOB. SLOB is more than just an I/O benchmark — it’s become a de-facto industry standard. It’s simple, powerful and efficient, and it captures a plethora of metrics, both from the OS (output of iostat, mpstat etc.) and the database itself (in the form of an AWR report).

One thing that is missing though is visualization. It’s fairly easy to fix using an external plotting tool (like gnuplot or R), but what data would you plot? AWR only gives you average event times and histograms with ridiculously poor resolution. And if you want to see a high-resolution picture of your I/O (and you do — I’ll discuss the importance of that later on), it’s not enough.

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Nested loop internals. Part 3: comparative efficiency

In the previous parts (here and here) of the series we looked at some aspects of nested loop I/O optimizations, but we have left out the most important question (from the practical point of view): how these methods are doing time-wise? Which one(s) is(are) faster, and how much savings are they offering compared to the non-optimized plan? We will turn to these questions now.

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Nested loop internals. Part 2: decision making

In the previous part of this mini-series we looked at differences in multiblock read behavior for different nested loop optimization mechanisms depending on degree of ordering of the data. In this post I’ll continue to explore the subject, but this time we’ll focus on decision-making process: what factors (other than the obvious ones — like optimizer hints and/or parameters) affect the specific choice of a mechanism?

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Nested loop internals

Nested loop join appears like the simplest thing there could be — you go through one table, and as you go, per each row found you probe the second table to see if you find any matching rows. But thanks to a number of optimizations introduced in recent Oracle releases, it has become much more complex than that. Randolf Geist has written a great series of posts about this join mechanism (part 1, part 2 and part 3) where he explores in a great detail how numerous nested loop optimization interact with various logical I/O optimizations for unique and non-unique indexes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover the physical I/O aspects, and that seems to me like the most interesting part — after all, that was the primary motivation behind introducing all those additional nested loop join mechanism on the top of the basic classical nested loop. So I conducted a study on my own, and I’m presenting my results in the mini-series that I’m opening with this post.

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