Thursday, December 20, 2012

Oracle GoldenGate Sequence Replication

When using Oracle GoldenGate sequence replication there is a number of issues you need to be aware of especially if you replicate quite a lot of busy sequences.

The first issue is that GoldenGate sequence replication does not use bind variables. Let's execute the following statements on the source system:
SQL> create sequence rep1.s1 nocache;
Sequence created
SQL> select rep1.s1.nextval from dual;
SQL> select rep1.s1.nextval from dual;
GoldenGate uses PL/SQL procedure called replicateSequence each time it needs to sync sequence values. The following calls will be made on the destination system as a result of the above statements:
BEGIN ggext .replicateSequence (TO_NUMBER(2), TO_NUMBER(20), TO_NUMBER(1), 'REP1', TO_NUMBER(0), 'S1', UPPER('ggrep'), TO_NUMBER(1), TO_NUMBER (0), ''); END;
BEGIN ggext .replicateSequence (TO_NUMBER(3), TO_NUMBER(20), TO_NUMBER(1), 'REP1', TO_NUMBER(0), 'S1', UPPER('ggrep'), TO_NUMBER(1), TO_NUMBER (0), ''); END;
The first parameter is a target sequence value (seq$.highwater) and it's the one which is causing most of the issues, especially if the sequence has been declared with relatively low cache value (or nocache at all, as in my example). Every time a new sequence last value gets written into the source system data dictionary we get a hard parse on the destination!

When using higher cache values the problem of hard parses gets somewhat mitigated but there is another issue. When replicating such a sequence GoldenGate follows these steps:
  1. Sets sequence to nocache
  2. Executes sequence.nextval until it reaches the target value
  3. Restores altered sequence properties
So if you have, say, a sequence with cache 1000 then each time a new value gets written into seq$.highwater on the source, GoldenGate is going to execute sequence.nextval one thousand times on the destination! As you can imagine this aren't performing particularly fast as getting every next value will result in Oracle updating actual row in the data dictionary. All of the above means that replicating sequences can sometimes put quite a bit of strain on the system. A much faster (and simpler) approach would be to use step to reach target sequence value instead of fetching it on-by-one in nocache mode. Last but not least, you can end up with nocache sequence if procedure crashes in the middle.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

ZFS Home Storage Network at 10GbE

About a year ago I've decided to put all my data on a home built ZFS storage server. The growing amount of devices around my household prompted for an easier and much faster way to share the data. Since then the box was happily serving both CIFS as well as iSCSI over 1GbE network without any issues.

I was keen on upgrading to 10GbE for quite some time as both my server as well as clients could easily saturate 1GbE link when ZFS had all the required data in ARC. 32GB RAM in my storage server usually left me with the ARC of about 20GB which in most cases happened to be enough to cache the entire workset I was working with. Bottom line is the box rarely had to touch the disk and even if it did there was 120GB L2ARC SSD to even the bumps capable of maxing out 1GbE link as well.

It so happened that I managed to get my hands on a pair of 10GBASE-T Emulex OCe11102-NT NICs which I bought at a significant discount. With 10GBASE-T switches still costing upwards of multiple thousand dollars (even when used) I decided to just get a pair of CAT6 crossover cables running from the ZFS storage box to my workstation and do some tests to see what this configuration could be capable of.

Storage Server

My storage server is running Solaris 11 and the storage pool is built using 4x3TB Hitachi 5400RPM drives in RAID10 (ZFS mirror). The box has 32GB RAM and 120GB Vertex 3 MAX IOPS SSD for L2ARC. As mentioned above, the cache subsystem is enough to keep the box from hitting the disks most of the time. All that is driven by Intel Core i7-3770 CPU (Ivy Bridge).

iSCSI network

I've decided to dedicate 10GbE adapters to the iSCSI network I have between the storage box and my workstation. First of all, this is where I need all the speed I can get. Secondly, I can utlilize both ports with iSCSI MPIO thus archiving 20Gb available bandwidth. This is probably a total overkill but since my cards are dual ported I may as well use both ports as all I need is an extra cat6 cable. The network utilizes 9K jumbo frames. ZFS volume is using 4K block size to match NTFS file system cluster size built on top of the iSCSI volume. COMSTAR is used as an iSCSI target server with Microsoft iSCSI Initiator used for the client.

Test Results - IOPS

I'll start with IOPS results with 100% random read access over 20GB of data using Iometer at different block sizes and worker counts. Each worker was set to do 16 outstanding I/Os.

With 4K blocks the system is able to archive quite impressive 226K IOPS! The storage sever CPU is simply running flat out at this point so I'm confident there is more available from the network. At 16K blocks the system is pushing over 1.5GB/s of random IO which is equally impressive and clearly goes beyond what a single 10GbE link is capable of so the second link is certainly being put to a good use.

Test Results - Bandwidth

For bandwidth test I've just set Iometer to do 1MB sequential reads with 16 outstanding IO/s per worker.


Even with a single worker the system can push 2085MB/s across the wire which is getting quite close to the maximum practical speed you can get out of 2x10GbE NICs so I'm quite happy with this result!


I'll be doing more testing in the upcoming days but so far it appears that the upgrade was totally worth it. Having a home system capable of pushing 226K IOPs and 2GB/s bandwidth is an impressive show of how far you can push the system consisting mostly of consumer grade components. Keep in mind that the only way I could get the above numbers is by making sure all the data is available in ZFS ARC which was the initial goal of my setup.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Exporting DBFS via NFS

Anybody who was thinking about exporting DBFS via NFS have probably stumbled upon the fact the Oracle says it can not be done:
DBFS does not support exporting NFS or SAMBA exports
What's wrong with DBFS?

There is nothing wrong with DBFS itself. The problem originated form the fact that FUSE did not have proper interfaces implemented to support exporting by the kernel. Newer versions of the Linux kernel fully support exporting. I know that OEL 6.x works for sure as I did the DBFS exports myself through both NFS as well as Samba. The common minimum kernel version circulating across the internet seems to be 2.6.27 but I haven't had a chance to check whether it's true.

Older Kernels

Fact of the matter is -- it was always possible to export FUSE via NFS. You just had to use user mode NFS server, like UNFS3. I did that too and know that it works regardless of the kernel version you're running. Unfortunately projects like UNFS3 are lagging in development as well as feature-wise. But they do work if you have to have the NFS exports working and stuck with the older Linux kernels.

Enkitec Extreme Exadata Expo

I will be hanging around E4, it's going to be a really cool and geeky event. See you all there!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Oracle GoldenGate Integrated Capture

Oracle GoldenGate 11.2 release notes contain an interesting new feature:
Extract can now be used in integrated capture mode with an Oracle database. Extract integrates with an Oracle database log mining server to receive change data from that server in the form of logical change records (LCR).
All of that just rings too many bells so I've decided to find out what exactly have happened. This feature requires database patches to be installed (described in Note:1411356.1).

Stack dumps

Stack dump reveals a lot of interesting information already (I've left only relevant pieces in place):
#10 0x00002b08f2ba21b7 in knxoutReceiveLCR () from /u01/app/oracle/ggs/
#11 0x00002b08f2ae1048 in OCIXStreamOutLCRReceive () from /u01/app/oracle/ggs/
#12 0x0000000000721a96 in IXAsyncReader::ProcessBatchNonCallbackArray() ()
#13 0x0000000000722dbc in IXAsyncReader::ReaderThread(void*) ()
#14 0x0000003ce8a0673d in start_thread () from /lib64/
The first point of entry into library is nothing else but OCIXStreamOutLCRReceive. This is a function to receive LCR (Logical Change Record) from an outbound XStream server. Let's confirm that we have an outbound server in our database:
SQL> select server_name, capture_name from dba_xstream_outbound;
SERVER_NAME                    CAPTURE_NAME
------------------------------ ------------------------------
OGG$TEST_EXT                   OGG$CAP_TEST_EXT
An Oracle Streams Capture process itself:
SQL> select capture_name, rule_set_name, purpose
  2   from dba_capture;
CAPTURE_NAME                   RULE_SET_NAME                  PURPOSE
------------------------------ ------------------------------ -------------------
OGG$CAP_TEST_EXT               OGG$TEST_EXT_CAPTURE_I         GoldenGate Capture
And we can see all the familiar Oracle Streams rules:
SQL> select rsr.rule_name, r.rule_condition
        from dba_rule_set_rules rsr, dba_rules r
        where rsr.rule_set_owner = r.rule_owner
                and rsr.rule_name = r.rule_name
                and rsr.rule_set_name='OGG$TEST_EXT_CAPTURE_I';  2    3    4    5

--------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------
TEST21          (((:ddl.get_source_database_name() = 'TEST' )) and (:ddl.get_source_da
                tabase_name() != '$'))

GGS_TRACE20     (((:dml.get_object_owner() = 'GGEXT' and :dml.get_object_name() = 'GGS
                _TRACE')) and :dml.get_source_database_name() = 'TEST' )

TEST19          ((:dml.get_object_owner() = 'TEST') and :dml.get_source_database_name(
                ) = 'TEST' )
These rules got generated based on the parameter file I have for my Extract.


Oracle GoldenGate Extract process became nothing else but an XStream client which receives LCRs from Streams Capture process and converts these to GoldenGate trail files. Anybody who was worried about Oracle Streams future because GoldenGate was supposed to be the new strategic direction (and so on and so forth) can stop worrying now. Oracle GoldenGate is Oracle Streams. The only part left are trail files and I wouldn't be surprised if that will eventually go away as well.

Oracle Streams have won the tech battle.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


If you ever wondered how you can convert XML information in v$cell_config on Exadata database servers into relational rows and columns so you can get a nice view of the cell configuration without going into the cell itself then here is a nice piece of SQL which does the job. I'm using celldisks as an example and selecting only a number of column so the output fits nicely on the screen:
SQL> select cellname,
  2    name,
  3    deviceName,
  4    diskType,
  5    round(freeSpace/power(1024,3), 2) freeSpace,
  6    round(disk_size/power(1024,3), 2) disk_size
  7   from (
  8    select cellname, XMLTYPE.createXML(confval) confval
  9     from v$cell_config
 10     where conftype='CELLDISKS'
 11      and cellname=''
 12    ) v,
 13    xmltable('/cli-output/celldisk' passing v.confval
 14     columns
 15      name varchar(15) path 'name',
 16      creationtime varchar(25) path 'creationTime',
 17      deviceName varchar(9) path 'deviceName',
 18      devicePartition varchar2(10) path 'devicePartition',
 19      diskType varchar2(9) path 'diskType',
 20      errorCount number path 'errorCount',
 21      freeSpace number path 'freeSpace',
 22      id varchar2(50) path 'id',
 23      interleaving varchar(10) path 'interleaving',
 24      lun varchar2(5) path 'lun',
 25      raidLevel number path 'raidLevel',
 26      disk_size number path 'size',
 27      status varchar2(10) path 'status'
 28   );
--------------- --------------- ---------- --------- ---------- ----------    CD_00_enkcel01  /dev/sda   HardDisk           0    1832.59    CD_01_enkcel01  /dev/sdb   HardDisk           0    1832.59    CD_02_enkcel01  /dev/sdc   HardDisk           0     1861.7    CD_04_enkcel01  /dev/sdl   HardDisk           0     1861.7    CD_05_enkcel01  /dev/sde   HardDisk           0     1861.7    CD_06_enkcel01  /dev/sdf   HardDisk           0     1861.7    CD_07_enkcel01  /dev/sdg   HardDisk           0     1861.7    CD_08_enkcel01  /dev/sdh   HardDisk           0     1861.7    CD_09_enkcel01  /dev/sdi   HardDisk           0     1861.7    CD_10_enkcel01  /dev/sdj   HardDisk           0     1861.7    CD_11_enkcel01  /dev/sdk   HardDisk           0     1861.7    FD_00_enkcel01  /dev/sds   FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_01_enkcel01  /dev/sdr   FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_02_enkcel01  /dev/sdt   FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_03_enkcel01  /dev/sdu   FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_04_enkcel01  /dev/sdaa  FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_05_enkcel01  /dev/sdz   FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_06_enkcel01  /dev/sdab  FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_07_enkcel01  /dev/sdac  FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_08_enkcel01  /dev/sdn   FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_09_enkcel01  /dev/sdo   FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_10_enkcel01  /dev/sdp   FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_11_enkcel01  /dev/sdq   FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_12_enkcel01  /dev/sdv   FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_13_enkcel01  /dev/sdw   FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_14_enkcel01  /dev/sdx   FlashDisk          0      22.88    FD_15_enkcel01  /dev/sdy   FlashDisk          0      22.88
27 rows selected
Of course, the same approach can be applied to get other information out (like Grid Disks, etc.).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Displaying ASM Partner Disks

Here is a quick SQL which I sometimes use to show people disks and their respective partners (grouped by a failure group) inside an ASM disk group every time I need to explain both of these concepts.

An example output from a quarter rack Exadata with a normal redundancy disk group:
SQL> column p format a80
SQL> variable group_number number
SQL> exec :group_number := 1;

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL> select d||' => '||listagg(p, ',') within group (order by p) p
from (
select ad1.failgroup||'('||to_char(ad1.disk_number, 'fm000')||')' d,
 ad2.failgroup||'('||listagg(to_char(p.number_kfdpartner, 'fm000'), ',') within group (order by ad1.disk_number)||')' p
 from v$asm_disk ad1, x$kfdpartner p, v$asm_disk ad2
 where ad1.disk_number = p.disk
  and p.number_kfdpartner=ad2.disk_number
  and ad1.group_number = p.grp
  and ad2.group_number = p.grp
  and p.grp = :group_number
 group by ad1.failgroup, ad1.disk_number, ad2.failgroup
) group by d
order by d;

EXAPCEL01(12) => EXAPCEL02(26,30,31,35),EXAPCEL03(06,08,09,11)
EXAPCEL01(13) => EXAPCEL02(30,31,34,35),EXAPCEL03(03,07,09,11)
EXAPCEL01(14) => EXAPCEL02(24,28,29,34),EXAPCEL03(05,09,10,11)
EXAPCEL01(15) => EXAPCEL02(28,29,33,34),EXAPCEL03(04,05,08,11)
EXAPCEL01(16) => EXAPCEL02(26,27,33,35),EXAPCEL03(02,06,07,09)
EXAPCEL01(17) => EXAPCEL02(25,32,33,35),EXAPCEL03(00,01,03,07)
EXAPCEL01(18) => EXAPCEL02(24,27,32,34),EXAPCEL03(00,03,08,10)
EXAPCEL01(19) => EXAPCEL02(25,26,32,33),EXAPCEL03(01,02,07,10)
EXAPCEL01(20) => EXAPCEL02(28,30,31,32),EXAPCEL03(04,05,06,10)
EXAPCEL01(21) => EXAPCEL02(24,27,29,31),EXAPCEL03(00,01,04,08)
EXAPCEL01(22) => EXAPCEL02(25,26,27,30),EXAPCEL03(02,03,04,06)
EXAPCEL01(23) => EXAPCEL02(24,25,28,29),EXAPCEL03(00,01,02,05)
EXAPCEL02(24) => EXAPCEL01(14,18,21,23),EXAPCEL03(05,07,09,11)
EXAPCEL02(25) => EXAPCEL01(17,19,22,23),EXAPCEL03(02,06,09,11)
EXAPCEL02(26) => EXAPCEL01(12,16,19,22),EXAPCEL03(04,08,10,11)
EXAPCEL02(27) => EXAPCEL01(16,18,21,22),EXAPCEL03(01,04,08,11)
EXAPCEL02(28) => EXAPCEL01(14,15,20,23),EXAPCEL03(00,06,08,09)
EXAPCEL02(29) => EXAPCEL01(14,15,21,23),EXAPCEL03(01,02,03,05)
EXAPCEL02(30) => EXAPCEL01(12,13,20,22),EXAPCEL03(04,05,08,10)
EXAPCEL02(31) => EXAPCEL01(12,13,20,21),EXAPCEL03(00,01,07,10)
EXAPCEL02(32) => EXAPCEL01(17,18,19,20),EXAPCEL03(00,06,07,10)
EXAPCEL02(33) => EXAPCEL01(15,16,17,19),EXAPCEL03(02,03,05,09)
EXAPCEL02(34) => EXAPCEL01(13,14,15,18),EXAPCEL03(02,03,04,07)
EXAPCEL02(35) => EXAPCEL01(12,13,16,17),EXAPCEL03(00,01,03,06)
EXAPCEL03(00) => EXAPCEL01(17,18,21,23),EXAPCEL02(28,31,32,35)
EXAPCEL03(01) => EXAPCEL01(17,19,21,23),EXAPCEL02(27,29,31,35)
EXAPCEL03(02) => EXAPCEL01(16,19,22,23),EXAPCEL02(25,29,33,34)
EXAPCEL03(03) => EXAPCEL01(13,17,18,22),EXAPCEL02(29,33,34,35)
EXAPCEL03(04) => EXAPCEL01(15,20,21,22),EXAPCEL02(26,27,30,34)
EXAPCEL03(05) => EXAPCEL01(14,15,20,23),EXAPCEL02(24,29,30,33)
EXAPCEL03(06) => EXAPCEL01(12,16,20,22),EXAPCEL02(25,28,32,35)
EXAPCEL03(07) => EXAPCEL01(13,16,17,19),EXAPCEL02(24,31,32,34)
EXAPCEL03(08) => EXAPCEL01(12,15,18,21),EXAPCEL02(26,27,28,30)
EXAPCEL03(09) => EXAPCEL01(12,13,14,16),EXAPCEL02(24,25,28,33)
EXAPCEL03(10) => EXAPCEL01(14,18,19,20),EXAPCEL02(26,30,31,32)
EXAPCEL03(11) => EXAPCEL01(12,13,14,15),EXAPCEL02(24,25,26,27)

Friday, July 06, 2012

ASM normal redundancy with high protection template

One of the ways you can control how many mirror copies ASM keeps on disk is via diskgroup templates.

This presents an interesting question -- can you turn your normal redundancy disk group into a high redundancy by using a diskgroup template with high protection attribute thus telling ASM to use triple mirroring for related files?

I'll start by creating a diskgroup:
SQL> create diskgroup data normal redundancy
  2     disk '/dev/sdb1', '/dev/sdc1', '/dev/sdd1';

Diskgroup created.
I'm not explicitly specifying any failgroups, each disk will end up in it's own FG and triple-mirroring will spread extents across all three disks. Let's add a high protection template:
SQL> alter diskgroup data add template mirror_high attributes (high coarse);

Diskgroup altered.
Now let's create two tablespaces, one using the default mirroring template (two-way) and one using mirror_high (three-way) template:
SQL> create tablespace mirror_normal datafile '+data' size 256m;

Tablespace created.

SQL> create tablespace mirror_high datafile '+data(mirror_high)' size 256m;

Tablespace created.
We can confirm how many mirror extents our datafiles have:
SQL> select,
        case LXN_KFFXP
                when 0 then 'primary'
                when 1 then 'secondary'
                when 2 then 'third'
        end, count(*)
        from X$KFFXP, v$asm_alias a
        where a.file_number=NUMBER_KFFXP
        group by, LXN_KFFXP
        order by 1, 2;  2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10

NAME                           CASELXN_K   COUNT(*)
------------------------------ --------- ----------
MIRROR_HIGH.257.787940101      primary          258
MIRROR_HIGH.257.787940101      secondary        258
MIRROR_HIGH.257.787940101      third            258
MIRROR_NORMAL.256.787940093    primary          258
MIRROR_NORMAL.256.787940093    secondary        258
MIRROR_NORMAL.256.787940093    third              1

6 rows selected.
Indeed, all extents got triple mirrored for MIRROR_HIGH tablespace and only double mirrored for MIRROR_NORMAL (with the exception of one extent which probably holds some triple-mirrored metadata).

Now, because all data essentially got triple mirrored for our MIRROR_HIGH tablespace it ought to survive two disk failure, right? Let's give it a try:
SQL> alter diskgroup data dismount;

Diskgroup altered.
... then I'm going to change the permissions and make two disks inaccessible to ASM:
[oracle@ora11gr2 ~]$ chmod 000 /dev/sdc1
[oracle@ora11gr2 ~]$ chmod 000 /dev/sdd1
Let's see if I could mount it back:
SQL> alter diskgroup data mount force;
alter diskgroup data mount force
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-15032: not all alterations performed
ORA-15017: diskgroup "DATA" cannot be mounted
ORA-15063: ASM discovered an insufficient number of disks for diskgroup "DATA"
...looks like the answer is no. It still sees that the remaining disk is missing required partners and does not allow the disk group to be mounted. How many extent copies the datafile had becomes a moot point.

The conclusion is that triple-mirroring inside a normal redundancy disk group can help you in certain cases (like physical corruption of both primary and secondary extents so ASM can use a third one to read the data) but it's not a substitute for a high redundancy disk group.

Update a little bit later: if anyone is thinking about doing it the other way around then remember that mirroring attribute works only for normal redundancy disk groups.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Serial direct path reads in 11GR2 and Exadata environments

Serial direct path reads were first introduced in Oracle 11G which were noticed by many customers (in both positive and negative ways) who upgraded from the earlier releases. Back then I did a quick write up on the subject to try and tackle some of the key variables which affect the behavior.

To recap, the following were observed for 11G:
  • Serial direct path reads start at _small_table_threshold*5.
  • Serial direct path reads stop when 50% of the table blocks are cached.
  • Serial direct path reads stop when 25% of the table blocks are dirty.
Since then, many people noticed that 11GR2 seems to be more aggressive on the thresholds so I decided to re-run the tests and see what changed. I'm also going to run the same tests on the Exadata to see whether it changes anything compared to a normal 11GR2 database.

To refresh the memory, here is how the methodology works (all code is available in the 11G post).

Start threshold

The function grows a segment in a loop, performing a full table scan and using physical reads direct statistic as an indicator. Every iteration buffer cache is flushed to make sure cached blocks do not affect the numbers.

Stop cached threshold

A loop is used to cache more and more blocks from a table followed by a full table scan. Again, physical reads direct statistic is used to see when serial direct path reads no longer happen. Buffer cache is flushed at the beginning of the test.

Stop dirty threshold

Similar to the above but blocks are updated instead of just being cached.


Start threshold_small_table_threshold_small_table_threshold
Stop cached50%50%
Stop dirty25%25%


11GR2 threshold is indeed more aggressive and starts at _small_table_threshold (i.e. five times lower compared to 11G). There seems to be no change to the rest of the numbers. Behavior appears to be the same on both Exadata and non-Exadata systems.

Bottom line is 11GR2 starts doing serial direct path reads earlier and stops doing these at the same time as 11G did.

All testing were done on

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Online Redefinition and Reference Partitioning

Reference partitioning combined with dbms_redefinition can result in a perpetually disabled foreign key constraint (I'm using as an example):
SQL> create table p (
  2   n number primary key
  3  ) partition by list (n)
  4  (
  5   partition p1 values (1)
  6  );
Table created
SQL> create table r1 (n number not null);
Table created
SQL> create table r2 (
  2   n number not null,
  3   constraint fk_r$n foreign key (n) referencing p (n)
  4  ) partition by reference (fk_r$n);
Table created
SQL> exec dbms_redefinition.start_redef_table(user, 'R1', 'R2', options_flag => dbms_redefinition.cons_use_rowid);
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed
SQL> exec dbms_redefinition.finish_redef_table(user, 'R1', 'R2');
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed
SQL> select status, validated from user_constraints where constraint_name='FK_R$N';
-------- -------------
The annoying part comes when you realize that you can't do anything about it (at least not by normal means):
SQL> alter table r1 enable constraint FK_R$N;
alter table r1 enable constraint FK_R$N
ORA-14650: operation not supported for reference-partitioned tables
SQL> alter table r1 enable novalidate constraint FK_R$N;
alter table r1 enable novalidate constraint FK_R$N
ORA-14650: operation not supported for reference-partitioned tables
Surprisingly enough the constraint actually works as far as reference partitioning is concerned. However, it results in an "unclean" status which can't be fixed! Of course the view just shows us what we have in cdef$:
SQL> select con#, enabled, defer
  2   from sys.cdef$
  3   where con# =
  4   (select con#
  5    from sys.con$
  6    where owner#=(select user# from sys.user$ where name=user)
  7     and name= 'FK_R$N'
  8   );
      CON#    ENABLED      DEFER
---------- ---------- ----------
     10997                   512
ENABLED set to NULL will decode to DISABLED while the following results in NOT VALIDATED:
SQL> select decode(bitand(512, 4), 4, 'VALIDATED', 'NOT VALIDATED') VALIDATED from dual;
So what we really need is ENABLED set to 1 and DEFER set to 516. Of course, playing with the data dictionary in such a way is a big no-no on production system without blessing of Oracle support, but since I'm on my sandbox database I'll give it a shot:
SQL> update cdef$ set enabled=1, defer=516 where con#=10997;

1 row updated.

SQL> commit;

Commit complete.

SQL> startup force
ORACLE instance started.

Total System Global Area  400846848 bytes
Fixed Size                  2228784 bytes
Variable Size             146804176 bytes
Database Buffers          243269632 bytes
Redo Buffers                8544256 bytes
Database mounted.
Database opened.

SQL> select status, validated from user_constraints where constraint_name='FK_R$N';
-------- -------------
Looks like it worked :) Note that there is practically no way for a reference partitioning constraint to be either disabled or not validated -- the rows have to go somewhere, after all, so we don't introduce any logical inconsistencies by setting cdef$ values to what they really should be.

The bug number for this one is 13572659.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Deferred Segment Creation Quirks

If you have a habit, as I do, to quickly check dba_segments to make sure there is nothing important in the tablespace you are about to drop then deferred segment creation can present some surprises. Consider the following:
SQL> create tablespace test;
Tablespace created
SQL> create table t (n number) tablespace test;
Table created
SQL> select segment_created from user_tables where table_name='T';

SQL> select * from dba_segments where tablespace_name='TEST';

no rows selected
I can now go ahead and drop the tablespace. Since there isn't really any segment Oracle allows me to do that without issuing any warnings:
SQL> drop tablespace test;
Tablespace dropped
The weird part comes when you want to do something with that table:
SQL> insert into t values (1);
insert into t values (1)
ORA-00959: tablespace 'TEST' does not exist
SQL> alter table t move tablespace users;
alter table t move tablespace users
ORA-00959: tablespace 'TEST' does not exist
SQL> drop table t;
drop table t
ORA-00959: tablespace 'TEST' does not exist
The most annoying part is that you can't move or even drop the table and I see no real reason for such behavior. After all, if Oracle allows you to drop the tablespace pretending that nothing is there, it should allow me to drop/change storage parameters for a non existing segment as well. Otherwise it looks like the "front end" got updated to support deferred segment creation while the "back end" still operates the legacy way. Thankfully there is an easy workaround -- just create a shell tablespace with required name and then move the table:
SQL> create tablespace test;
Tablespace created
SQL> alter table t move tablespace users;
Table altered

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Result Cache Latch in 11GR2: Shared Mode Gets

Almost two years ago I wrote a post about 11GR2 Result Cache Scalability. In the post I noted that there has been a significant improvement compared to 11GR1. What left me a little bit puzzled is where exactly the performance advantage came from. After all, it didn't look like the latch was changed to allow for shared mode gets as I still observed some sleeps during my tests. Back then I was quite happy with the results and made a note to revisit the subject in order to figure out exactly what happened which then got on my back burner and eventually slipped away.

Result Cache: RC Latch

We can begin by testing whether shared mode gets are allowed or not using an oradebug call:
SQL> select addr from v$latch where name='Result Cache: RC Latch';


SQL> oradebug setmypid
Statement processed.
SQL> oradebug call kslgetsl_w 0x0000000060040B70 1 1 1 8
Function returned 1
The forth argument (8) tells the function to acquire the latch in the shared mode and it does work! Now let's see what happens when another session wants to put something into the result cache:
SQL> create table t as select 1 n from dual;

Table created.

SQL> select /*+ result_cache */ * from t;
--session waits
As expected, the session waits. We do need to get a latch in exclusive mode in order to change the result cache memory contents so we can put something new in there. We can confirm that the session indeed waits on the Result Cache latch (which can be seen by the latch address):
SQL> select event, to_char(p1, 'xxxxxxxxxx') latch_addr, seconds_in_wait, state
  2    from v$session_wait
  3    where sid=63;
--------------- ----------- --------------- -------------------
latch free         60040b70              49 WAITING
Let's free the latch in our first session:
SQL> oradebug call kslfre 0x0000000060040B70
Function returned 0
Immediately our second session proceeds. Now it's time to do the most interesting part -- would the session block again if it only needs to read from the result cache?

Session 1:
SQL> oradebug call kslgetsl_w 0x0000000060040B70 1 1 1 8
Function returned 1
Session 2:
SQL> select /*+ result_cache */ * from t;

For you see -- the latch was indeed changed to allow for shared mode gets! We can further verify the behavior by acquiring the Result Cache latch in exclusive mode in our first session:
SQL> oradebug call kslfre 0x0000000060040B70
Function returned 0
SQL> oradebug call kslgetsl_w 0x0000000060040B70 1 1 1 16
Function returned 1
The value of 16 in the forth argument tells the function to acquire the latch in exclusive mode. Let's test the second session again:
SQL> select /*+ result_cache */ * from t;
--sessin waits
Well, you can't get a shared mode if someone else has exclusive. Again, freeing the latch in our first session allows second session to proceeds.

So it is confirmed -- in 11GR2 the Result Cache latch can be acquired in a shared mode!

Monday, April 30, 2012

ORA-09925: Unable to create audit trail file

Sometimes the issues you hit make no sense at all. Consider the following when things behaving normally:
[oracle@ora11gr2 ~]$ export ORACLE_SID=test
[oracle@ora11gr2 ~]$ sqlplus / as sysdba

SQL*Plus: Release Production on Mon Apr 30 17:09:31 2012

Copyright (c) 1982, 2011, Oracle.  All rights reserved.

Connected to an idle instance.

SQL> exit
I have no instance named test running on the box and get the expected behavior. Now let's continue:
[oracle@ora11gr2 ~]$ touch /tmp/test
[oracle@ora11gr2 ~]$ sqlplus / as sysdba

SQL*Plus: Release Production on Mon Apr 30 17:10:54 2012

Copyright (c) 1982, 2011, Oracle.  All rights reserved.

ORA-09925: Unable to create audit trail file
Linux-x86_64 Error: 2: No such file or directory
Additional information: 9925
ORA-09925: Unable to create audit trail file
Linux-x86_64 Error: 2: No such file or directory
Additional information: 9925
The only thing I changed is created an empty file /tmp/test and suddenly I'm getting some "ORA-09925: Unable to create audit trail file" errors? What's going on? If we strace SQL*Plus we would see the following:
3798  stat("/u01/app/oracle/admin/test/adump", 0x7fff1a8b5bd0) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
3798  access("/tmp/test", F_OK)         = 0
3798  open("/u01/app/oracle/product/11.2.0/dbhome_2/rdbms/audit//tmp/test_ora_3798_1.aud", O_RDWR|O_CREAT|O_EXCL, 0660) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
The first command checks for audit file directory in a default location. However, the second pair of commands does something strange. It tests whether file /tmp/test exists and if it does it tries to open an audit trace file under a really weird path. But where does this path comes from? If I look at my environment variables:
[oracle@ora11gr2 ~]$ env | grep /tmp
Apparently I have some strange ORACLE_PATH variable set. What if I unset it?
[oracle@ora11gr2 ~]$ unset ORACLE_PATH
[oracle@ora11gr2 ~]$ sqlplus / as sysdba

SQL*Plus: Release Production on Mon Apr 30 17:22:27 2012

Copyright (c) 1982, 2011, Oracle.  All rights reserved.

Connected to an idle instance.

SQL> exit
Strangely enough everything works normally again! So what I discovered is the following:
  1. When you run "sqlplus / as sysdba" SQL*Plus will check whether you have ORACLE_PATH environment variable set.
  2. If you do, it looks up a file named $ORACLE_PATH/$ORACLE_SID.
  3. If such a file exists you will get the above behavior.
I found this to be a very odd behavior if not outright confusing especially if you happened to have the above conditions met (which, in fact, did happen to me on a real system). A quick search on MOS revealed the following:
For now the bug appears to be affecting only regardless of the platform.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

session_cached_cursors again

Not so long time ago I had to troubleshoot code performance regression issue between 9iR2 and 11gR2.

The issue had been related to a business-critical stored procedure that, for some reason, was performing almost 50% slower when run in 11gR2 compared to 9iR2. When I took a look at the procedure I've discovered that there were, strictly speaking, nothing that could regress. At least not in the commons sense when we're talking about upgrades. All the procedure was doing was a look up using a statement containing UNION ALL.

Below is the artificially created test case which demonstrates the issue.

9iR2 results:

select *
 dual where :"SYS_B_0"=:"SYS_B_1" union all select * from dual where

call     count       cpu    elapsed       disk      query    current        rows
------- ------  -------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------  ----------
Parse    99999      3.88       4.41          0          0          0           0
Execute  99999      1.23       1.31          0          0          0           0
Fetch        0      0.00       0.00          0          0          0           0
------- ------  -------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------  ----------
total   199998      5.11       5.73          0          0          0           0

11gR2 results:

select *
 dual where :"SYS_B_0"=:"SYS_B_1" union all select * from dual where

call     count       cpu    elapsed       disk      query    current        rows
------- ------  -------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------  ----------
Parse    99999      6.14       7.21          0          0          0           0
Execute  99999      1.04       1.38          0          0          0           0
Fetch        0      0.00       0.00          0          0          0           0
------- ------  -------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------  ----------
total   199998      7.19       8.59          0          0          0           0

As you can see from the above figures, 11gR2 spent significantly more time parsing. Given that both sessions had 100% session cursor cache hit (and yes, the procedure didn't make use of bind variables either) and were otherwise run on pretty much identical environments (apart from the Oracle version), such a difference in parse time is certainly unexpected.

It was another time to gear up for a reproducible test case. Perhaps I'm being lucky but it boiled down to a session_cache_cursors setting again. To better demonstrate the point I'm going to run the following anonymous PL/SQL block in my 11gR2 database:

SQL> begin
  2   execute immediate 'alter session set cursor_sharing=force';
  3   for i in 1 .. 10
  4   loop
  5    execute immediate 'alter session set session_cached_cursors='||to_char(i*100);
  6    for j in 1 .. 10000
  7    loop
  8     execute immediate
  9      'select /* test_'||to_char(i*100)||' */ * from dual where '||to_char(j)||'='||to_char(j)||
 10      ' union all select * from dual where '||to_char(j)||'='||to_char(j);
 11    end loop;
 12   end loop;
 13  end;
 14  /
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed

What it does is sets cursor_sharing=force and then executes the same statement with different settings for session_cached_cursors -- from 100 to 1000 (with 100 increment). What do you think the results would be?

SQL> select to_number(substr(sql_text, instr(sql_text, 'test')+5, 4)) cursor_cache, executions, cpu_time
  2   from v$sql
  3   where sql_text like '%test%'
  4    and executions=10000
  5   order by 1;
------------ ---------- ----------
         100      10000     571916
         200      10000     517928
         300      10000     559908
         400      10000     572909
         500      10000     561912
         600      10000     616915
         700      10000     652899
         800      10000     670886
         900      10000     671892
        1000      10000     702893
10 rows selected
Surprisingly enough, rising session_cached_cursors from 100 to 1000 increases the CPU time required to execute the statements from 571916 to 702893! You can also spot how the CPU time increases together with the session_cached_cursors setting.

What happened is 9iR2 was running with session_cached_cursors=1000 and, apparently, it never had any negative effect... until the setting was transferred to 11gR2. It's somewhat hard to speculate what exactly is happening but based on my limited test cases it appears that you need (a) a union all in the statement, (b) run with cursor_sharing=force and (c) have literals in your query. Under these circumstances there appears to be that strange performance degradation observed in 11gR2. But I need to do more investigation on that one. For now all I can say is that, after setting session_cached_cursors=100, 11gR2 exhibited the same results as 9iR2.

***** UPDATE 07-Feb-2012 *****

It appears that only and are affected by this issue (see comments for more details).

***** UPDATE 07-Feb-2012 #2 *****

I've found the bug# for this one: "Bug 12345980 high parse time with cursor_sharing=force when session_cached_cursors set".

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Latch: row cache objects, session_cached_cursors and a database link

What could possibly be common about the above things?

Sometime ago I was involved in tuning a large scale production system which experienced quite a lot of latch contention. In fact the contention was bad enough as to render the entire system unusable during peak hours.

A typical AWR report during times with moderate workload looked like this:

Event                      Waits           Time(s) Avg wait (ms)   % DB time  Wait Class
DB CPU                     21,805          36.95  
latch: row cache objects   14,524,462      11,552  1               19.57      Concurrency
db file sequential read    2,697,778       8,988   3               15.23      User I/O
gc current block 3-way     4,202,356       3,599   1               6.10       Cluster
gc current block 2-way     3,670,293       2,330   1               3.95       Cluster

(in reality it was a 7-node RAC cluster but it is not really relevant to our subject).

It is not hard to spot latch: row cache objects on a second place consuming almost 20% of DB time. This event was rapidly escalating whether load increased quickly bringing the entire cluster into unusable state as far as any front-end application were concerned. The total number of gets during an hour (the interval with which this particular AWR report had been made) totaled 1,281,167,103 which averages a whopping 355,879 gets per second!

The first step was to take a look at the Dictionary Cache statistics and see if there were any obvious deviations:
Cache                   Get Requests    Pct Miss
dc_awr_control          72              9.72
dc_database_links       124,452         0.05
dc_files                46,900          17.14
dc_global_oids          555,599         0.07
dc_histogram_data       8,962,576       1.01
dc_histogram_defs       412,885,094     0.02
dc_object_grants        52,475          1.13
dc_objects              2,860,222       0.64
dc_profiles             61,189          0.01
dc_rollback_segments    392,885         0.00
dc_segments             657,653         7.72
dc_sequences            1,324           67.67
dc_table_scns           3,206           3.31
dc_tablespaces          1,253,322       0.06
dc_users                5,475,824       0.02
global database name    65,092          0.01
kqlsubheap_object       10,910          0.46
outstanding_alerts      721             95.98

dc_histogram_defs really stands out but so far provides no direct clues. Though the entire dictionary cache seems to be quite busy. Let's take a look at instance activity statistics:
                  Per Second   Per Transaction  Per Exec        Per Call
DB Time(s):       16.4         0.5              0.00            0.00
DB CPU(s):        6.1          0.2              0.00            0.00
Redo size:        87,543.5     2,398.6
Logical reads:    336,555.7    9,221.2
Block changes:    449.3        12.3
Physical reads:   1,018.3      27.9
Physical writes:  36.8         1.0
User calls:       41,250.4     1,130.2
Parses:           6,264.4      171.6
Hard parses:      27.1         0.7
W/A MB processed: 33,769,202.4 925,233.0
Logons:           18.3         0.5
Executes:         14,230.5     389.9
Rollbacks:        3.4          0.1
Transactions:     36.5

A couple of things to notice:
  1. The number of executions is not that high (at least for an IBM box with 56 CPU cores, that is).
  2. Execute to Parse ratio is not particularly good nor bad (6,264.4 parses per second compared to 14,230.5 executions).
  3. None of the above seems to be enough to justify 355,879 latch: row cache objects gets per second, even when you consider 27.1 hard parses/sec.

There had to be more going on. Looking at the SQL ordered by Parse Calls section of the report revealed that all the top parsing queries were coming from a database link. Which prompted me to ask additional questions...

It turned out that the system had a somewhat weird architecture. A 7-node RAC cluster served as a back end to a numerous front-end Oracle databases which were essentially acting as PL/SQL-engines, accessing all the data through the database link while dong all the processing. The architectural feasibility of such solution is debatable (to say the least) but let's not steer away from the main topic of our discussion.

I geared to find out whether there was some special case which could cause latch: row cache objects to shoot through the roof when we deal with a lot of queries executed through a database link. After a number of experiments I eventually found a cause which explains the title of this blog post.

Take a look at the following example:

SQL> declare
  2   l_gets number;
  3  begin
  4   select gets into l_gets from v$latch@dblink where name='row cache objects';
  6   for i in 1 .. 1000
  7   loop
  8    for cur in (select null from dual@dblink) loop null; end loop;
  9   end loop;
 11   select sum(gets)-l_gets into l_gets from v$latch@dblink where name='row cache objects';
 12   dbms_output.put_line(to_char(l_gets));
 13  end;
 14  /
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed

Accessing a remote table 1000 times through a database link only caused 79 row cache objects gets on the destination database. However, exactly the same example can produce quite a different result:

SQL> alter session set session_cached_cursors=0;
Session altered
SQL> declare
  2   l_gets number;
  3  begin
  4   select gets into l_gets from v$latch@dblink where name='row cache objects';
  6   for i in 1 .. 1000
  7   loop
  8    for cur in (select null from dual@dblink) loop null; end loop;
  9   end loop;
 11   select sum(gets)-l_gets into l_gets from v$latch@dblink where name='row cache objects';
 12   dbms_output.put_line(to_char(l_gets));
 13  end;
 14  /
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed

Now we jumped from 79 gets to 3082 which is a 39x increase! What's really astonishing is the fact that it's a cursor cache miss on the source which wreaks havoc on the destination. Evidently, the solution to the problem had nothing to do with the database where the problem was observed. The "PL/SQL-databases" had an insufficient setting for session_cached_cursors and once that was corrected the issue disappeared.

It is somewhat ironic that that problem would have never appears had the data and PL/SQL be allowed to be kept in the same database (where they belong).