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SQL Performance Tuning Tips

By Puneet Goenka

Tuning Tips and Techniques


Oracles SQL is a very flexible language. You can use many different SQL statements to accomplish the same purpose. Yet, although dozens of differently constructed queries and retrieval statements can produce the same result, in a given situation only one statement will be the most efficient choice.
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It is much harder to write efficient SQL than it is to write functionally correct SQL A SQL choice is correct only if it produces the right result in the shortest possible amount of time, without impeding the performance of any other system resources.

Sharing SQL Statements


Parsing a SQL statement and figuring out its optimal execution plan are time-consuming operations, Oracle holds SQL statements in memory after it has parsed them Whenever you issue a SQL statement, Oracle first looks in the context (SGA) area to see if there is an identical statement there To be shared, the SQL statements must truly be the same
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For example the following two select statements are NOT the same:

SELECT STUDENT_NMBER, NAME FROM STUDENT WHERE STUDEN_NUMBER = 0220

Select Student_Number, Name From Student Where Student_Number = 0220

Using Bind variables when possible


Try using Bind Variable instead of Literals. Consider the following SQL statement
SELECT FIRST_NAME, LAST_NAME FROM Client WHERE CLIENT_NUM = 1200

Since the CLIENT_NUMBER is likely to be different for every execution, we will almost never find a matching statement in the Shared Pool and consequently the statement will have to be reparsed every time Consider the following approach
SELECT FIRST_NAME, LAST_NAME FROM Client WHERE CLIENT_NUM = :Client_Num

You do not need to create a new cursor or re-parse the SQL statement if the value of the bind variable changes. Also, if another session executes the same statement, it is likely to find them in the Shared Pool, since the name of the bind variable does not change from execution to execution.

Using ROWID When Possible


Each record added to the database has a unique ROWID and will never change until the delete statement issued on that record. If the record block or location was changed for any reason, the original ROWID points to the new location or the new ROWID and so on. Use ROWID whenever possible to get the best performance out of your retrievals

cursor accounts_cur is select acct_no, currency, branch Rowid acct_rowid, From account where . . . . for acct_rec in accounts_cur loop update account set where rowid = acct_rec.acct_rowid; end loop;
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Using WHERE in Place of HAVING


In general, avoid including a HAVING clause in the SELECT statements. The HAVING clause filters selected rows only after all rows have been fetched. This could include sorting, summing, and etc. HAVING clause usually used to filter a SELECT statement containing group functions. select * from account where cust_Active_flag = y having group = 001 Instead use select * from account where cust_Active_flag = y and group = 001

Using UNION ALL instead of UNION


The SORT operation is very expensive in terms of CPU consumption. The UNION operation sorts the result set to eliminate any rows, which are within the sub-queries. UNION ALL includes duplicate rows and does not require a sort. Unless you require that these duplicate rows be eliminated, use UNION ALL

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Using NOT EXISTS in place of NOT IN for indexed columns


In sub-query statements such as the following, the NOT IN clause causes an internal sort/merge. select * from Student where STUDENT_NUM not in (select STUDENT_NUM from CLASS) So useselect * from STUDENT C where not exists (select 1 from CLASS A where A.STUDENT_NUM = C.STUDENT_NUM)
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Using IN with MINUS in place of NOT IN for non indexed columns


In sub-query statements such as the following, the NOT IN clause causes an internal sort/merge select * from system_user where su_user_id not in (select ac_user from account) INSTEAD USE select * from system_user where su_user_id in (select su_user_id from system_user minus select ac_user from account)

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Using Joints in Place of EXISTS for Unique Scan Indexes and small tables
In general join tables rather than specifying sub-queries for them such as the following:

select acct_ID, currency, branch from account where exists (select 1 from branch where code = branch and def_curr = '001') With join select acct_ID,currency, branch from account A, branch B where b.code = A.branch and A.def_curr = '001'
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Influencing the Optimizer using HINTS


Hints are special instructions to Optimizer. You can change the Optimization goal for an individual statement by using Hint. Some commonly used Hints are: CHOOSE, RULE, FULL(table_name), INDEX(table_name index_name), USE_NL, USE_HASH(table_name), PARALLEL(table_name parallelism) etc. SELECT /*+RULE*/ NAME, ACCT_ALLOCATION_PERCENTAGE FROM ACCOUNTS WHERE ACCOUNT_ID = 1200 The above SQL statement will be processed using the RULE based optimizer. SELECT /*+ INDEX(A, ACCT_ID_IND) */ NAME, ACCT_ALLOCATION_PERCENTAGE FROM ACCOUNTS A WHERE ACCOUNT_ID = :ACCT_ID AND CLIENT_ID= :CLIENT_ID In the above SQL statement, an Index Hint has been used to force the use of a particular index.
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Using Indexes to Improve Performance


Indexes primarily exist to enhance performance. But they do not come without a cost. Indexes must be updated during INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE operation, which may slow down performance Besides, the usefulness of an Index depends on selectivity of a column/columns. Generally Indexes are more selective if the column/columns have a large number of unique values. If an Index contains more than one column, it is called CONCATENATED INDEX . Concatenated index is often more selective than a single key index. Column positions play an important role in Concatenated index. While using Concatenated Index, be sure to use LEADING columns
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Which is Faster: Indexed Retrieval or Full-table Scan?


Full-table scans can be efficient because they require little disk movement. The disk starts reading at one point and continues reading contiguous data blocks. Index retrievals are usually more efficient when retrieving few records or when using joints with other tables.

If more than 52%, this percentage defers from table to table and depends on the physical I/O, of the table retrieved a full table scan is better.

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Avoiding Calculations on Indexed Columns


The optimizer does not use an index if the indexed column is a part of a function (in the WHERE clause). In general, avoid doing calculations on indexed columns, apply function and concatenating on an indexed columns. Select * from Account Where substr(ac_acct_no,1,1) = 1 Instead use Select * from Account Where ac_acct_no like 1% Note : The SQL functions MIN and MAX are exceptions to this rule and will utilize all available indexes.
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Avoiding NOT on Indexed Columns


In general avoid using NOT when testing indexed columns. When Oracle encounters a NOT, it will choose not to use index and will perform a full-table scan instead. Remember, indexes are built on what is in a table, but not what is NOT in a table. For example the following select statement will never use the index on STUDENT_NUM column Select * from student Where STUDENT_NUM not like 9%
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Using UNION in Place of OR


In general, always consider the UNION verb instead of OR verb in the WHERE clauses. Using OR on an indexed column causes the optimizer to perform a full-table scan rather than an indexed retrieval.

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PositionofJoinsintheWHEREClause
Table joins should be written first before any condition of WHERE clause. And the conditions which filter out the maximum records should be placed at the end after the joins as the parsing is done from BOTTOM to TOP. Least Efficient : SELECT . . . .

FROM EMP E WHERE SAL > 50000 AND JOB = CLERK AND 25 < (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM EMP WHERE MGR = E.EMPNO);
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Most Efficient :

SELECT . . . . FROM EMP E WHERE 25 < (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM EMP WHERE MGR = E.EMPNO ) AND SAL > 50000 AND JOB = CLERK;

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SidebySideComparisonofJoinMethods
Nested Loops Join Cluster Join When can be used: Any join Equi joins on complete cluster key of clustered
tables only

Sort-Merge Join

Hash Join

Equi joins only

Equi joins only

Optimizer hint: None

use_nl

Use_merge

use_hash

Resource concerns: CPU Storage Disk I/O init.ora parameters:None hash_join_enabled block_ hash_area_size

Temporary segments sort_area_size None


read_count hash_multiblock_io_count

Memory

db_file_multi

Features:Works with any join Reduces I/O for masterdetail Queries

Better than nested loop when indesx is missing or search

Better than nested loop when index is missing or search 22

ORACLE parser always processes table names from right to left, so the table name you specify last (driving table) is actually the first table processed. If you specify more than one table in a FROM clause of a SELECT statement, you must choose the table containing the lowest number of rows as the driving table. When ORACLE processes multiple tables, it uses an internal sort/merge procedure to join those tables. First, it scans and sorts the first table (the one specified last in the FROM clause). Next, it scans the second table (the one prior to the last in the FROM clause) and merges all of the rows retrieved from the second table with those retrieved from the first table. For example: Table TABA has 16,384 rows. Table TABB has 1 row. SELECT COUNT(*) FROM TABA, TABB
SELECT COUNT(*) FROM TABB, TABA

0.96 seconds elapsed


26.09 seconds elapsed
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If three tables are being joined, select the intersection table as the driving table. The intersection table is the table that has many tables dependent on it. E.g.. The EMP table represents the intersection between the LOCATION table and the CATEGORY table. SELECT . . . FROM LOCATION L, CATEGORY C, EMP E WHERE E.EMP_NO BETWEEN 1000 AND 2000 AND E.CAT_NO = C.CAT_NO AND E.LOCN = L.LOCN is more efficient than this next example: SELECT . . . FROM EMP E, LOCATION L, CATEGORY C WHERE E.CAT_NO = C.CAT_NO AND E.LOCN = L.LOCN AND E.EMP_NO BETWEEN 1000 AND 2000

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Problems when Converting Index Column Types


Oracle performs simple column type conversion, or casting, when it compares columns of different type. If a numeric column is compared to an alphabetic column, the character column automatically has its type converted to numeric.
Select * from Account Where ACCOUNT_ID = 90426001 In fact, because of conversion this statement will actually be processed as: Select * from Account Where to_number(ACCOUNT_ID) = 90426001
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But the following statement: Select * From acc_txn Where acc_txn_ref_no = 119990012890 Will be processed as: Select * From acc_txn Where acc_txn_ref_no = to_number(119990012890 )

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Use DECODE to Reduce Processing


The DECODE statement provides a way to avoid having to scan the same rows repetitively or to join the same table repetitively. For example: SELECT COUNT(*), SUM(SAL) FROM EMP WHERE DEPT_NO = 0020 AND ENAME LIKE SMITH%; SELECT COUNT(*), SUM(SAL) FROM EMP WHERE DEPT_NO = 0030 AND ENAME LIKE SMITH%; You can achieve the same result much more efficiently with DECODE:
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SELECT COUNT(DECODE(DEPT_NO,0020, X, NULL)) D0020_COUNT, COUNT(DECODE(DEPT_NO,0030,X,NULL)) D0030_COUNT, SUM(DECODE(DEPT_NO,0020, SAL, NULL)) D0020_SAL, SUM(DECODE(DEPT_NO, 0030, SAL, NULL)) D0030_SAL FROM EMP WHERE ENAME LIKE SMITH%; Similarly, DECODE can be used in GROUP BY or ORDER BY clause effectively.

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To improve performance, minimize the number of table lookups in queries, particularly if your statements include sub-query SELECTs or multi-column UPDATEs. For example: Least Efficient : SELECT TAB_NAME FROM TABLES WHERE TAB_NAME = (SELECT TAB_NAME FROM TAB_COLUMNS WHERE VERSION = 604) AND DB_VER = (SELECT DB_VER FROM TAB_COLUMNS WHERE VERSION = 604)

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Most Efficient :
SELECT TAB_NAME FROM TABLES WHERE (TAB_NAME,DB_VER)= (SELECT TAB_NAME, DB_VER FROM TAB_COLUMNS WHERE VERSION = 604)

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Use EXISTS in Place of DISTINCT


Avoid joins that require the DISTINCT qualifier on the SELECT list when you submit queries used to determine information at the owner end of a one-to-many relationship (e.g. departments that have many employees). Least Efficient : SELECT DISTINCT DEPT_NO, DEPT_NAME FROM DEPT D, EMP E WHERE D.DEPT_NO = E.DEPT_NO Most Efficient : SELECT DEPT_NO, DEPT_NAME FROM DEPT D WHERE EXISTS (SELECT X FROM EMP E WHERE E.DEPT_NO = D.DEPT_NO); EXISTS is a faster alternative because the RDBMS kernel realizes that when the sub-query has been satisfied once, the query can be terminated.
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Some Dos and Donts


Some SELECT statement WHERE clauses do not use indexes at all. If you have specified an index over a table that is referenced by a clause of type shown in this section Oracle will simply ignore the index. For each clause that cannot use an index, an alternative approach, which will allow you to get better performance out of your SELECT statements is suggested.

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Do Not Use: Use Select * from Account Where substr(ac_acct_no,1,1) = 9 Use: Select * from Account Where ac_acct_no like 9% Do Not Use: Select * From fin_trxn Where ft_trxn_ref_no != 0 Use: Select * From fin_trxn Where ft_trxn_ref_no > 0
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Do Not Use: Select * From account Where ac_type || ac_branch = sav001

Use: Select * From account Where ac_type = sav And ac_branch = sav001

Do Not Use: Select * From CLIENT where to_char(CUTT_OFF_TIME,yyyymmdd) = to_char(sysdate,yyyymmdd)

Use: Select * From CLIENT Where CUT_OFF_DATE >= trunc(sysdate) and CUT_OFF_TIME < trunc(sysdate) + 1

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Do Not Use: Select * From acct_trxn Where to_char(at_value_date,yyyymmdd) > to_char(sysdate,yyyymmdd) Use: Select * From acct_trxn Where at_value_date >= trunc(sysdate) + 1

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Do Not Use: Select * From acct_trxn Where to_char(at_value_date,yyyymmdd) < to_char(sysdate,yyyymmdd) Use: Select * From acct_trxn Where at_value_date < trunc(sysdate)

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Do Not Use: Select * From acct_trxn Where to_char(at_value_date,yyyymmdd) >= to_char(sysdate,yyyymmdd) Use: Select * From acct_trxn Where at_value_date >= trunc(sysdate)

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Do Not Use: Select * From acct_trxn Where to_char(at_value_date,yyyymmdd) <= to_char(sysdate,yyyymmdd) Use: Select * From acct_trxn Where at_value_date < trunc(sysdate) + 1 Do Not Use: Select count( *) From BROKER Use: Select count(PRIMARY_KEY or a non null INDEX column or 1 ) From Broker
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AvoidUsingSELECT*Clauses
The dynamic SQL column reference (*) gives you a way to refer to all of the columns of a table. Do not use the * feature because it is very inefficient -- the * has to be converted to each column in turn. The SQL parser handles all the field references by obtaining the names of valid columns from the data dictionary and substitutes them on the command line, which is time consuming.

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Using SQL*Plus Autotrace


If youre using SQL*Plus you can take advantage of the auto trace feature to have queries explained automatically. SQL*Plus will execute the query and display the execution plan following the results. E.g SQL> SET AUTOTRACE ON EXPLAIN
SQL> SELECT animal_name FROM aquatic_animal ORDER BY animal_name;
ANIMAL_NAME -----------------------------Batty Bopper Flipper

3 rows selected. Execution Plan ---------------------------------------------------------0 SELECT STATEMENT Optimizer=CHOOSE (Cost=3 Card=10 Bytes=170) 11 0 SORT (ORDER BY) (Cost=3 Card=10 Bytes=170) 2 1 TABLE ACCESS (FULL) OF AQUATIC_ANIMAL (Cost=1 Card=10 Bytes=170)

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SQL*Plus does execute the query. If a query generates a lot of I/O and consumes a lot of CPU, you wont want to kick it off just to see the execution plan. In that case use following : SQL> SET AUTOTRACE TRACEONLY EXPLAIN you are through using autotrace, you can turn the feature off by issuing the SET AUTOTRACE OFF command.

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