Tag Archives: statistics

System statistics poll

Recent thread in the OakTable mailing list prompted me to create a poll and ask about the ways DBAs use system statistics in real systems. If you struggle to understand what system statistics is and what are the available options, here is the suggested reading:
Documentation – System Statistics
Best Practices for Gathering Optimizer Statistics, Oracle whitepaper
System Statistics – Troubleshooting Oracle Performance
Understanding the different modes of System Statistics, blog series

Fixed stats

Some time ago I had two questions about fixed objects statistics for which I couldn’t quickly find the answers. Questions are:

At the time of asking these question I’ve read CBO development team blog post on the topic, but still I was unable to answer them distinctly. Well, it appears the questions are simple and could probably be deduced after careful reading (first two questions for sure). The core phrase is:

The DBMS_STATS.GATHER_FIXED_OBJECTS_STATS procedure gathers the same statistics as DBMS_STATS.GATHER_TABLE_STATS except for the number of blocks

That’s the key, the statistics are the same, except for the number of blocks. Which effectively means, you can gather the statistics on the specific X$-table in the same way as you do with a normal table, by using DBMS_STATS.GATHER_TABLE_STATS procedure. The only difference would be you will not populate the number of blocks (but you can do this manually). Now, since these statistics are essentially the same as statistics for normal tables, it makes no sense to run the GATHER_FIXED_OBJECTS_STATS procedure on all RAC nodes. After all, the database is still the same and it doesn’t care about the table statistics in relation to RAC node (at least for now in 11g).

I wish I was that smart back then 🙂 I’ve found the answers recently via MOS notes updates:
In RAC, Should We Execute GATHER_FIXED_OBJECTS_STATS And Gather_dictionary_stats In Both Nodes? [ID 1479804.1] which gives the definitive answer “No” and
Why do some Fixed Tables not have Optimizer Statistics [ID 1355608.1] which explains that some fixed tables cannot have optimizer statistics by design decisions made by Oracle.
What I don’t understand after getting better idea of fixed stats is why Oracle made the choice to introduce a specific new procedure, without any parameters/configuration options if they could have better done it inside the standard procedure for statistics gathering? To me it looks very strange and I would prefer not to introduce one more complication to the already over-complicated statistics package.

Statistics poll

Thanks to everyone for spreading the link and participating in the poll on statistics. As it was pointed out in the comments, the poll isn’t very specific, I know. My point was to get an idea how many people use the defaults (I considered Oracle version 11g) for stats collection, how many do a very simple and reasonable tweak to get more stable execution plans, and how many people prefer custom statistics management. Well, I think the results will not change much and here are as following (326 votes at the time of writing):

  • 42% use the defaults (if you truncate the value. I can’t put something other than 42 here, sorry guys :-))
  • 16% don’t like unexpected histograms 😀 and prefer to take situation under control
  • OMG another 42% (since it’s not Russian elections it has to be 100% in total, you know) use custom statistics management

Nice! Now we know that the defaults are suited to less than a half of Oracle installations. And my opinion is there would be more than a half using the defaults, should Oracle decided to switch the default METHOD_OPT value to ‘FOR ALL COLUMNS SIZE REPEAT’. Consider Tim Hall’s reply “On low priority systems the defaults are fine in many cases”, and think about why defaults are fine for such systems? My humble opinion is: nobody cares about low priority systems. So it doesn’t really matter if it’s reliable or not, whether there are histograms present or not, whether a system is stable or not – it’s low priority anyway. It will survive somehow. For me it means it’s not too much of a problem to go back to the future and modify default METHOD_OPT so that no histograms are gathered initially by default – as all should do manually now /me thinks.
PS. I wouldn’t mind switching GATHER_TEMP back to the FALSE and returning it to the documentation too, as it was in 9i.


Here is a poll prompted by today twitter talks on the default METHOD_OPT value (which is ‘for all columns size auto’ since 10g) and automatic statistics gathering job (auto-task since 11g). CBO development team suggests to use the default job to gather statistics with default options. Do you use the job exactly this way with real production databases? I’m very interested to see some numbers. Please share the poll link http://poll.fm/3n7pn so that more people vote. Thanks.

Distinct placement

As a follow-up to a recent post on different names Oracle can use for the intermediate views, here is a quick example of the technique called distinct placement.

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Extended statistics and function-based indexes

About a year ago I’ve discovered nice feature of Oracle 10gR2 CBO: to overcome an issue with calculated selectivity for predicates on multiple columns, it can use DISTINCT_KEYS of the available index. Couple of weeks ago the bug fix mentioned in the OTN thread actually helped to solve a performance issue of a query. And about a week ago I found that this fix doesn’t work with function-based indexes. So, this post is about it.

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If you were an Oracle developer and you were asked to implement a small part of the JDBC driver functionality – the getIndexInfo() method of the java.sql.DatabaseMetaData interface – how’d you do that?

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