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Here’s one I’ve just discovered while trying to build a reproducible test case – that didn’t reproduce because an internal algorithm has changed.

If you upgrade from 12c to 18c and have a number of hybrid histograms in place you may find that some execution plans change because of a change in the algorithm for producing hybrid histograms (and that’s not just if you happen to get the patch that fixes the top-frequency/hybrid bug relating to high values).

Here’s a little test to demonstrate how I wasted a couple of hours trying to solve the wrong problem – first a simple data set:


rem
rem     Script:         18c_histogram_upgrade.sql
rem     Author:         Jonathan Lewis
rem     Dated:          Oct 2018
rem 

drop table t2 purge;

execute dbms_random.seed(0)

create table t2(
        id              number(8,0),
        n20             number(6,0),
        n30             number(6,0),
        n50             number(6,0),
        j2              number(6,0)
)
;

insert into t2
with generator as (
        select
                rownum id
        from dual
        connect by
                level <= 1e4 -- > comment to avoid WordPress format issue
)
select
        rownum                                  id,
        mod(rownum,   20) + 1                   n20,
        mod(rownum,   30) + 1                   n30,
        mod(rownum,   50) + 1                   n50,
        28 - round(abs(7*dbms_random.normal))        j2
from
        generator       v1
where
        rownum <= 800 -- > comment to avoid WordPress format issue
;

commit;

begin
        dbms_stats.gather_table_stats(
                ownname          => null,
                tabname          => 'T2',
                method_opt       => 'for all columns size 1 for columns j2 size 13'
        );
end;
/

I’ve created a skewed data set which (we will see) has 22 distinct values and created a histogram of 13 buckets on it. This will be a hybrid histogram – but different versions of Oracle will produce different histograms (even though the data set is the same for both versions):


select
        j2, count(*)
from
        t2
group by
        j2
order by
        j2
;

select
        endpoint_value                                                            value,
        endpoint_number,
        endpoint_number - lag(endpoint_number,1,0) over(order by endpoint_number) bucket_size,
        endpoint_repeat_count
from
        user_tab_histograms
where
        table_name  = 'T2'
and     column_name = 'J2'
order by
        endpoint_value
;

Here’s the dataset from 12.2.0.1 and 18.3.0.0


        J2   COUNT(*)
---------- ----------
         1          1
         8          3
         9          1
        10          5
        11          4
        12          8
        13         14
        14          9
        15         11
        16         22
        17         34
        18         31
        19         36
        20         57
        21         44
        22         45
        23         72
        24         70
        25         87
        26        109
        27         96
        28         41

22 rows selected.



And here are the histograms - 12.2.0.1 then 18.3.0.0:



     VALUE ENDPOINT_NUMBER BUCKET_SIZE ENDPOINT_REPEAT_COUNT
---------- --------------- ----------- ---------------------
         1               1           1                     1
        15              56          55                    11
        17             112          56                    34
        18             143          31                    31
        19             179          36                    36
        20             236          57                    57
        21             280          44                    44
        22             325          45                    45
        23             397          72                    72
        24             467          70                    70
        25             554          87                    87
        26             663         109                   109
        28             800         137                    41

13 rows selected.

     VALUE ENDPOINT_NUMBER BUCKET_SIZE ENDPOINT_REPEAT_COUNT
---------- --------------- ----------- ---------------------
         1               1           1                     1
        15              56          55                    11
        17             112          56                    34
        19             179          67                    36
        20             236          57                    57
        21             280          44                    44
        22             325          45                    45
        23             397          72                    72
        24             467          70                    70
        25             554          87                    87
        26             663         109                   109
        27             759          96                    96
        28             800          41                    41

13 rows selected.

Both histograms have 13 buckets as requested; both are hybrid histograms as expected.

But why does 12c have the value 18 when 18c doesn’t, and why does 18c have the value 27 when 12c doesn’t ?

That’s the second time in two weeks I’ve had reproducible test cases not reproducing – thanks to an 18c upgrade.

Update (See comments)

I had completely forgotten that a previous defect in the construction of hybrid (and Top-N) histograms had been addressed in 18.3 but needed a fix in 12.2 and a backport patch in 12.1.0.2.

Since the defect could “lose” a popular value in order to ensure that both the low and high values were captured in the histogram it’s not surprising that a fix could result in one of the popular values in a histogram dissappearing (after the upgrade) even when the gather had used a 100% sample. Quite possibly the algorithm used to ensure the presence of the high value has had a cascading effect down the histogram that can affect which popular values get into the histogram with repeat counts.

I think I’m going to have to grit my teeth and patch a 12.1.0.2, or update a 12.2.0.1 with exactly the right patch-set to find out.

[It has now been confirmed by Nigel Bayliss that this is a side effect of the fix to the bug 25994960]