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Index Bouncy Scan 3

This is a follow-up to a problem I had with yesterday’s example of using recursive CTEs to “bounce” along a multi-column index to pick out the unique set of combinations of the first two columns. Part of the resulting query used a pair of aggregate scalar subqueries in a select list – and Andrew Sayer improved on my query by introducing a “cross apply” (which I simply hadn’t thought of) which the optimizer transformed into a lateral view (which I had thought of, but couldn’t get to work).

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.

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.

Skip Scan 3

If you’ve come across any references to the “index skip scan” operation for execution plans you’ve probably got some idea that this can appear when the number of distinct values for the first column (or columns – since you can skip multiple columns) is small. If so, what do you make of this demonstration:

FBI Limitation

A recent question on the ODC (OTN) database forum prompted me to point out that the optimizer doesn’t consider function-based indexes on remote tables in distributed joins. I then spent 20 minutes trying to find the blog note where I had demonstrated this effect, or an entry in the manuals reporting the limitation – but I couldn’t find anything, so I’ve written a quick demo which I’ve run on 12.2.0.1 to show the effect. First, the SQL to create a couple of tables and a couple of indexes:

Column Groups

There’s a question on the ODC database forum about column groups that throws up an interesting side point. The OP is looking at a query like the following and asking about which column groups might help the optimizer get the best plan:

Assumptions

As the years roll on I’ve found it harder and harder to supply quick answers to “simple” questions on the Oracle-L list server and OTN/ODC forum because things are constantly changing and an answer that may have been right the last time I checked could now be wrong. A simple example of the consequences of change showed up recently on the OTN/ODC forum where one reply to a question started:

Just why do you need distinct in a subquery??? That’s the first thing that appears really shocking to me. If it’s a simple in (select …) adding a distinct to the subquery would just impose a sort unique(as you can see in the explain plan), which may be quite costly.

Join Factorization

This item is, by a roundabout route, a follow-up to yesterday’s note on a critical difference in cardinality estimates that appeared if you used the coalesce() function in its simplest form as a substitute for the nvl() function. Connor McDonald wrote a followup note about how using the nvl() function in a suitable predicate could lead to Oracle splitting a query into a UNION ALL (in version 12.2), which led me to go back to a note I’d written on the same topic about 10 years earlier where the precursor of this feature already existed but used CONCATENATION instead of OR-EXPANSION.

Coalesce v. NVL

“Modern” SQL should use the coalesce() function rather than the nvl() function – or so the story goes – but do you always want to do that to an Oracle database ? The answer is “maybe not”. Although the coalesce() function can emulate the nvl() function (in many cases) there are significant differences in behaviour, some that suggest it’s a good idea to use the substitution and others that suggest otherwise. Different decisions may be appropriate for different circumstances, and this note highlights one case against the substitution. We’ll start with a simple data set:

12cR2 Subquery Elimination

More and more we can see crazy queries generated by ORM frameworks or BI query generators. They are build to be easily generated rather than being optimal. Then, the optimizer has to implement more and more transformations to get an efficient execution plan. Here is one new that appeared in Oracle 12cR2: Subquery Elimination when the subquery do not filter any rows.

A semi-join is a join where we do not need to match with all rows, but only one. We write it with an EXISTS subquery or a =ANY or =SOME one, which is equivalent.