Archive for March 2012

Displaying SQL Baseline Plans

Since I’m on vacation and not “really” working, I thought I might have time to write up a quick blog post. The idea for this one was triggered by one of Maria Colgan’s presentations at Hotsos last week. Maria was talking about SQL Plan Management and Baselines and somehow got me thinking about the DBMS_XPLAN option to display plans for Baselines. This is a pretty neat feature that allows you to the see the plan associated with a Baseline (well sort of).

The 11.2 documentation (Oracle® Database PL/SQL Packages and Types Reference) says this about the DISPLAY_SQL_PLAN_BASELINE function:

This procedure uses plan information stored in the plan baseline to explain and display the plans.It is possible that the plan_id stored in the SQL management base may not match with the plan_id of the generated plan. A mismatch between stored plan_id and generated plan_id means that it is a non-reproducible plan. Such a plan is deemed invalid and is bypassed by the optimizer during SQL compilation.

But what does that mean? Well in short it means that Baselines don’t store plans, they store hints that when fed to the optimizer will hopefully cause it to come up with the desired plan. Baselines also store a plan_hash_value so it’s possible to tell whether the hints worked or not. Baselines do not actually store all the steps of a plan. So if that’s the case, then it’s obviously not possible for the display_sql_plan_baseline function to show the plan if the optimizer can’t reproduce it for some reason. When the doc’s say “it is possible that the plan_id stored in the SQL management base may not match with the plan_id of the generated plan”, that’s what they are talking about. I decided to create a test case to see what happens when the generated plan can’t match the original. Here’s the basic idea:

  1. run a statement that uses an index and check the plan
  2. create a Baseline on the statement using the index (using my create_baseline.sql script)
  3. check the hints stored with the baseline (using my baselines_hints.sql script)
  4. run the statement again and check the real plan to see that the Baseline was used
  5. use the display_sql_plan_baseline function to show the Baseline plan
  6. make the index invisible (thus rendering the Baseline plan non-reproducible)
  7. execute the statement again and check the real plan
  8. use the display_sql_plan_baseline function to show the Baseline plan

So here’s the test:

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