Monday, October 19, 2009

How to use histogram in Oracle

I would like to write about Oracle Histogram today. Histogram is very nice feature to help cost based optimizer to make right decision.

What is Histogram? Histograms are feature in CBO and it helps to optimizer to determine how data are skewed(distributed) with in the column. Histogram is good to create for the column which are included in the WHERE clause where the column is highly skewed. Histogram helps to optimizer to decide whether to use an index or full-table scan or help the optimizer determine the fastest table join order.

What are the advantage of Histogram? Histograms are useful in two places.

1. Histograms are useful for Oracle optimizer to choose the right access method in a table.

2. It is also useful for optimizer to decide the correct table join order. When we join multiple tables, histogram helps to minimize the intermediate result set. Since the smaller size of the intermediate result set will improve the performance.

Type of Histograms: Oracle uses two types of histograms for column statistics: height-balanced histograms and frequency histograms.

1. Height - balanced Histograms : The column values are divided into bands so that each band contains approximately the same number of rows. For instances, we have 10 distinct values in the column and only five buckets. It will create height based(Height balanced) histograms and it will evenly spread values through the buckets. A height-based histogram is when there are more distinct values than the number of buckets and the histogram statistics shows a range of rows across the buckets

2. Frequency Histograms : Each value of the column corresponds to a single bucket of the histogram. This is also called value based histogram. Each bucket contains the number of occurrences of that single value. Frequency histograms are automatically created instead of height-balanced histograms when the number of distinct values is less than or equal to the number of histogram buckets specified.

Method_opt Parameter: This is the parameter which tells about creating histogram while collecting the statistics. The default is FOR ALL COLUMNS SIZE AUTO in Oracle10g. But in oracle9i, the default is FOR ALL COLUMN SIZE 1 which will turn off the histogram collection.

FOR ALL [INDEXED HIDDEN] COLUMNS [size_clause]
FOR COLUMNS [size clause] columnattribute [size_clause] [,columnattribute [size_clause]...]

size_clause is defined as size_clause := SIZE {integer REPEAT AUTO SKEWONLY}

integer : Number of histogram buckets. Must be in the range [1,254]

REPEAT : Collects histograms only on the columns that already have histograms.

AUTO : Oracle determines the columns to collect histograms based on data distribution and the workload of the columns. We have a table called sys.col_usage$ that stores information about column usage. dbms_stats use this information to determine whether histogram is required for the columns.

SKEWONLY : Oracle determines the columns to collect histograms based on the data distribution of the columns.

Let me demonstrate how optimizer works with and without histogram as below two scenario. We take the emp table for this demonstration. The table has around 3.6 million records. The table emp_status column is highly skewed. It has two distinct values(Y,N). We have bitmap index on emp_status column.

Scenario 1 Let us generate the statistics without any histogram and see what kind of execution path optimizer is using. Without the histogram, oracle assume that, the data is evenly distributed and optimizer think that, we will have around 1.8 million record for emp_status Y and around another 1.8 million records for emp_status N.

Connected to:
Oracle Database 10g Enterprise Edition Release 10.2.0.3.0 - Production
With the Partitioning, OLAP and Data Mining options

SQL> select count(*),emp_status from scott.emp
2 group by emp_status;

COUNT(*) E
---------- -
1 N
3670016 Y

SQL> execute DBMS_STATS.GATHER_TABLE_STATS(OWNNAME => 'SCOTT', TABNAME => 'EMP',ESTIMATE_PERCENT =>
10, METHOD_OPT => 'FOR ALL COLUMNS SIZE 1',CASCADE => TRUE);

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL> select ename from scott.emp where emp_status='Y';

3670016 rows selected.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Id Operation Name Rows Bytes Cost (%CPU) Time
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
0 SELECT STATEMENT 1832K 15M 5374 (5) 00:01:05
* 1 TABLE ACCESS FULL EMP 1832K 15M 5374 (5) 00:01:05
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

SQL> select ename from scott.emp where emp_status='N';

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Id Operation Name Rows Bytes Cost (%CPU) Time
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
0 SELECT STATEMENT 1832K 15M 5374 (5) 00:01:05
* 1 TABLE ACCESS FULL EMP 1832K 15M 5374 (5) 00:01:05
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conclusion: Optimizer is using full table scan for the query which returns 3670016 records as well as it using full table scan for query which returns just only one record. This is obvisouly incorrect. This problem will be resolved by collecting histogram. Let us see in the next scenario.

Scenario 2 : Let us generate the statistics with histogram and see what kind of execution path optimizer is using. FOR COLUMN SIZE 2 EMP_STATUS will create two bucket for column emp_status. If we are not sure the distinct number of values in the column, then we can use AUTO option to collect histogram. With this histogram, oracle optimizer knows that, the column emp_status is highly skewed and it has two bucket and one bucket has around 3.6 million records with emp_status Y and another bucket has only one record with emp_status N. Now depends upon the query, optimizer decides whether to use index or Full table scan.

SQL> execute DBMS_STATS.GATHER_TABLE_STATS(OWNNAME => 'SCOTT', TABNAME => 'EMP',ESTIMATE_PERCENT =>
10, METHOD_OPT => 'FOR COLUMNS SIZE 2 EMP_STATUS',CASCADE => TRUE);

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL> select ename from scott.emp where emp_status='Y';

3670016 rows selected.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Id Operation Name Rows Bytes Cost (%CPU) Time
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
0 SELECT STATEMENT 3681K 31M 5375 (5) 00:01:05
* 1 TABLE ACCESS FULL EMP 3681K 31M 5375 (5) 00:01:05
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

SQL> select ename from scott.emp where emp_status='N';

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Id Operation Name Rows Bytes Cost (%CPU) Time
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
0 SELECT STATEMENT 1 9 1 (0) 00:00:01
1 TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID EMP 1 9 1 (0) 00:00:01
2 BITMAP CONVERSION TO ROWIDS
* 3 BITMAP INDEX SINGLE VALUE IDX_EMP
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conclusion: Optimizer is using full table scan for the query which returns 3670016 records. At the same time, optimizer is using index scan when for other query which returns one record. This scenario, the optimizer choose the right execution plan based on the query WHERE clause.

Data dictionary objects for Histogram:
user_histograms
user_part_histograms
user_subpart_histograms
user_tab_histograms
user_tab_col_statistics

8 comments:

zakuzi said...

Nice and simple explanation on the use of Histrograms.
Thanks

Muhammad Abdul Halim said...

hi Govind

Nice Explanation about histogram.
many thanks

regards
Muhammad Abdul Halim
http://halimju.blogspot.com

Sakthivel Manickam said...

Thank you sir on sharing this valuable information.

Venkatrao Rao said...

Let us generate the statistics without any histogram and see what kind of execution path optimizer is using. Without the histogram, oracle assume that, the data is evenly distributed and optimizer think that, we will have around 3.6 million record for emp_status Y and around another 1 records for emp_status N.
-- numbers should be converted like this




ಹರಟೆ ಮಲ್ಲ said...

Really Helped a lot... great write up...

Somi said...

GOOD content. Simple and crispy.

Chandra said...

Excellent examples for understanding about histogram

Chandra said...

Excellent examples for understanding about histogram