Which Oracle Databases use most CPU on my server?


  • You have many (hundreds) of instances and more than a couple of servers
  • One of your servers have high CPU Load
  • You have Enterprise Manager 12c but the Database Load does not filter by server
  • You want to have an historical representation of the user CPU utilization, per instance

Getting the data from the EM Repository

With the following query, connected to the SYSMAN schema of your EM repository, you can get the hourly max() and/or avg() of user CPU by instance and time.

Suppose you select just the max value: the result will be similar to this:


Putting it into excel

There are one million ways to do something more reusable than excel (like rrdtool scripts, gnuplot, R, name it), but Excel is just right for most people out there (including me when I feel lazy).

  • Configure an Oracle Client and add the ODBC data source to the EM repository:


  • Open Excel, go to “Data” – “Connections” and add a new connection:
    • Search…
    • New Source
    • DSN ODBC
  • Select your new ODBC data source, user, password
  • Uncheck “Connection to a specific table”
  • Give a name and click Finish
  • On the DSN -> Properties -> Definition, enter the SQL text I have provided previously


The result should be something similar: ( but much longer :-))

first_step_excelPivoting the results

Create e new sheet and name it “pivot”, Click on “Create Pivot Table”, select your data and your dimensions:

pivotThe result:

pivotedCreating the Graph

Now that the data is correctly formatted, it’s easyy to add a graph:

just select the entire pivot table and create a new stacked area graph.

The result will be similar to this:


With such graph, it is easy to spot which databases consumed most CPU on the system in a defined period, and to track the progress if you start a “performance campaign”.

For example, you can see that the “green” and “red” databases were consuming constantly some CPU up to 17.05.2017 and then some magic solved the CPU problem for those instances.

It is also quite convenient for checking the results of new instance caging settings…

The resulting CPU will not necessarily be 100%: the SYS CPU time is not included, as well as the user CPU of all the other processes that are either not DB or not monitored with Enterprise Manager.



Loading resolved Adaptive Plans in the SQL Plan Management

In my previous post, I have shown that loading Adaptive Plans in the SQL Plan Baseline leads to using the original plan. Well, actually, this is true when you capture them via the OPTIMIZER_CAPTURE_SQL_PLAN_BASELINES parameter.

Thanks to a tweet by Neil Chandler, I’ve realized that it was a good idea to show also the case when the plan is loaded manually.

When the adaptive plan switches to the alternative plan, the plan_hash_value also changes, and can be loaded manually in the baseline with DBMS_SPM.

Let’s reset everything and retry quickly to:

  • Capture the plan automatically (this will lead to the original plan)
  • Load the plan manually (I will specify to load the alternative plan, if resolved)
  • Drop the plan captured automatically
  • Use the newly accepted baseline

To recap:

  • The capture process will always load the original plan
  • It is possible to decide to load manually the original one or the alternative one (if resolved)
  • Using automatic capture is a bad idea



How Adaptive Plans work with SQL Plan Baselines?

Disclaimer: after writing this post (but before publishing it) I have seen that other people already blogged about it, so I am ashamed of publishing it anyway… but that’s blogger’s life ūüôā

Wednesday I have got a nice question after my presentation about Adaptive Features at the DOAG16 conference:

What happens when you load an adaptive plan in a SQL Plan Baseline?
Does it load only the final plan or does it load the whole plan including the inactive operations? Will the plan be evaluated again using the inflection point?

I have decided to do some tests in order to give the best possible answer. I did not spend the time to rethink about producing an adaptive plan. Tim Hall already did an excellent test case to create and alter an adaptive plan in his blog, so I have reused massively most of its code. Thanks Tim :-).

I will not post all the code (please find it in Tim’s post), I will go straight to the plans.

First: I have an adaptive plan that resolves to NESTED LOOPS:

Second: I load the plan (lazy way: using baseline capture at session level)

Third: re-run the statement and check the plan

It does not look adaptive, but I can also check from the function DBMS_XPLAN.DISPLAY_SQL_PLAN_BASELINE:

Again, despite in the Note section it says it is adaptive, it does not look like an adaptive plan.

Can I trust this information? Of course I did not and tried to check the plan with and without baseline after changing the rows to force a plan switch to HJ (again taking Tim’s example):

After changing the rows:

  • when I do not use the baseline, the plan resolves to HASH JOIN
  • when I use it, the baseline forces to NESTED LOOPS.

So the plan in the baseline is not adaptive and it forces to what has been loaded. Is it the final plan or the original one? I have to capture it again to see if a new baseline appears:

A new baseline does not appear, so it looks that the original plan is considered by the capture process and not the resolved one! To be 100% sure, let’s try to drop the existing one and redo the test:

So, despite the fact that I have an adaptive plan that switches from NL to HJ, only the NESTED LOOPS operations are captured in the baseline, I can infer the only the original plan is loaded as SQL Plan Baseline.


How to fix CPU usage problem in 12c due to DBMS_FEATURE_AWR

I love my job because I always have suprises. This week’s surprise has been another problem related to SQL Plan Directives in 12c. Because it is a common problem that potentially affects ALL the customers, I am glad to share the solution on my blog ūüėÄ

Symptom of the problem: High CPU usage on the server

My customer’s DBA team has spotted a consistent high CPU utilisation on its servers:


Everyday, at the same time, and for 20-40 minutes, the servers hosting the Oracle databases run literally out of CPU.




Ok, it would be too easy to give the solution now. If you cannot wait, jump at the end of this post. But what I like more is to explain how I came to it.

First, I gave a look at the processes consuming CPU. Most of the servers have many consolidated databases on them. Surprisingly, this is what I have found:

spd_awr_high_cpu_m001It seems that the source of the problem is not a single database, but all of them. Isn’t it? And I see another pattern here: the CPU usage comes always from the [m001] process, so it is not related to a user process.

My customer has Diagnostic Pack so it is easy to go deeper, but you can get the same result with other free tools like s-ash, statspack and snapper. However, this is what I have found in the Instance Top Activity:

spd_awr_high_cpu_instOk, everything comes from a single query with sql_id auyf8px9ywc6j. This is the full sql_text:

It looks like something made by a DBA, but it comes from the MMON.

Looking around, it seems closely related to two PL/SQL calls that I could find in the SQL Monitor and that systematically fail every day:

spd_cpu_sql_monitorDBMS_FEATURE_AWR function calls internally the SQL auyf8px9ywc6j.

The MOS does not know anything about that query, but the internet does:

spd_awr_franckOh no, not Franck again! He always discovers new stuff and blogs about it before I do ūüôā

In his blog post, he points out that the query fails because of error ORA-12751 (resource plan limiting CPU usage) and that  it is a problem of Adaptive Dynamic Sampling. Is it true?

What I like to do when I have a problematic sql_id, is to run sqld360 from Mauro Pagano, but the resulting zip file does not contain anything useful, because actually there are no executions and no plans.

During the execution of the statement (or better, during the period with high CPU usage), there is an entry in v$sql, but no plans associated:

And this is very likely because the statement is still parsing, and all the time is due to the Dynamic Sampling. But because the plan is not there yet, I cannot check it in the DBMS_XPLAN.DISPLAY_CURSOR.

I decided then to trace it with those two statements:

At the next execution I see indeed the Adaptive Dynamic Sampling in the trace file, the errror due to the exhausted CPU in the resource plan, and the directives that caused the Adaptive Dynamic Sampling:



So, there are some SQL Plan Directives that force the CBO to run ADS for this query.

This query touches three tables, so instead of relying on the DIRECTIVE_IDs, it’s better to get the directives by object name:


At this point, the solution is the same already pointed out in one of my previous blog posts: disable the directives individually!

This very same PL/SQL block must be run on ALL the 12c databases affected by this Adaptive Dynamic Sampling problem on the sql_id auyf8px9ywc6j.

If you have just migrated the database to 12c, it would make even more sense to programmatically “inject” the disabled SQL Plan Directives into every freshly created or upgraded 12c database (until Oracle releases a patch for this non-bug).

It comes without saying that the next execution has been very quick, consuming almost no CPU and without using ADS.




Get information about Cursor Sharing for a SQL_ID

Yesterday I’ve got a weird problem with Adaptive Cursor Sharing. I’m not sure yet about the issue, but it seems to be related to cursor sharing histograms. Hopefully one day I will blog about what I’ve learnt from this experience.

To better monitor the problem on that specific query, I’ve prepared this script (tested on

The result is something similar (in my case it has 26 child cursors):

It’s a quick way to get the relevant information in a single result.

Off course, if you need deeper details, you should consider something more powerful like SQLd360 from Mauro Pagano.

Credits: I’ve got the unpivot idea (and copied that part of the code) from this post by Timur Akhmadeev.


Querying the dba_hist_sys_time_model to get historical data

This quick post is mainly¬†for myself… I will certainly use it for reference in the future.

Debugging problems due to adaptive dynamic sampling and in general adaptive features sometimes needs to get historical data about, e.g., parse time.

In order to get this information you may need to query the view DBA_HIST_SYS_TIME_MODEL (take care, it needs Diagnostic Pack license!)

You can use this query as an example.


In this specific example, it shows the “parse time elapsed”, the “DB time” and the percentage parse/dbtime, along with the value of the parameter “optimizer_adaptive_features“. You can use it to check if changing the parameters related to adaptive dynamic sampling improves or not the parse time.

The output will be something like this:



SQL Plan Directives: they’re always good… except when they’re bad!

The new Oracle 12c optimizer adaptive features are just great and work well out of the box in most cases.

Recently, however,¬† I’ve experienced my very first problem with SQL Plan Directives migrating a database to 12c, so I would like to share it.

Disclaimer 1: this is a specific problem that I found on ONE system. My solution may not fit with your environment, don’t use it if you are not sure about what you’re doing!

Disclaimer 2: despite I had this problem with a single SPD, I like adaptive features and I encourage to use them!!

Problem: a query takes a sub-second in 11gR2, in 12c it takes 12 seconds or more.

V_TAB_PROP is a very simple view. It just selects a central table “TAB” and then takes different properties by joining¬† a property table “TAB_PROP”.

To do that, it does 11 joins on the same property table.

On the property table, TAB_PROP_ID and PROP_ID are unique (they compose the pk), so nested loops and index unique scans are the best way to get this data.
The table is 1500Mb big and the index 1000Mb.

This was the plan in 11g:

In 12c, the plan switches to adaptive, and half of the joins are converted to hash joins / full table scans:

However, the inflection point is never reached. The execution keeps the default plan that has half of the joins HJ and the other half NL.

The problem in this case is the SQL Directive. Why?

There are to many distinct values for TAB_ID and the data is very skewed.

The histogram on that column is OK and it always leads to the correct plan (with the adaptive features disabled).
But there are still some “minor” misestimates, and the optimizer sometimes decides to create a SQL Plan directive:

The Directive instructs the optimizer to do a dynamic sampling, but with a such big and skewed table this is not ok, so the Dynamic sampling result is worse than using the histogram. I can check it by simplifying the query to just one join:

What’s the fix?

I’ve tried to drop the directive first, but it reappears as soon as there are new misestimates.
The best solution in my case has been to disable the directive, an operation that can be done easily with the DBMS_SPD package:

I did this on a QAS environment.
Because the production system is not migrated to 12c yet, it’s wise to import these disabled directives in production before the optimizer creates and enables them.

Off course, the directives can’t be created for objects that do not exist, the import¬† has to be done after the objects migrate to the 12c version.

Because the SQL Plan Directives are tied to specific objects and not specific queries, they can fix many statements at once, but in case like this one, they can compromise several statements!

Monitoring the creation of new directives is an important task as it may indicate misestimates/lack of statistics on one side or execution plan changes on the other one.

In-memory Columnar Store hands-on

As I’ve written in my previous post, the inmemory_size¬†parameter is static, so you need to restart¬†your instance to activate it or change its size. Let’s try to set it at 600M.


First interesting thing: it has been rounded to 608M so it works in chunks of 16M. (to be verified)

Which views can you select for further information?

V$IM_SEGMENTS gives a few information about the segments that have a columnar version, including the segment size, the actual memory allocated, the population status and other compression indicators.

The other views help understand the various memory chunks and the status for each column in the segment.

Let’s create a table with a few records:

The table is very simple, it’s a cartesian of two “all_tables” views.

Let’s also create an index on it:

The table uses 621M and the index 192M.

How long does it take to do a full table scan almost from disk?

15 seconds! Ok, I’m this virtual machine is on an external drive 5400 ¬†RPM… ūüôĀ

Once the table is fully cached in the buffer cache, the query performance progressively improves to ~1 sec.

There is no inmemory segment yet:

You have to specify it at table level:

The actual creation of the columnar store¬†takes a while, especially if you don’t specify to create it with high priority. You may have to query the table before seeing the columnar store and its population will also take some time and increase the overall load of the database (on my VBox VM, the performance overhead of columnar store population is NOT negligible).

Once the in-memory store created, the optimizer is ready to use it:

The previous query now takes half the time on the first attempt!

The columnar store for the whole table uses 23M out of 621M, so the compression ratio is very good compared to the non-compressed index previously created!


This is a very short example. The result here (2x improvement) is influenced by several factors. It is safe to think that with “normal” production conditions the gain will be much higher in almost all the cases.
I just wanted to demonstrate that in-memory columnar store is space efficient and really provides higher speed out of the box.

Now that you know ¬†about it, can you live¬†without? ūüėõ

Where are Extended Data Types stored? (12c)

Oracle has introduced Extended Data Types in 12c. If you still don’t know what they are and how enable them, refer to the awesome oracle-base blog or the official documentation.

Here, I’ll show where they are stored, and when.

Tables created with extended varchar2 (length >4000)

If the table is created with a varchar2 length above 4000, a LOBSEGMENT and a LOBINDEX segments are also created automatically. But actually, the rows inserted may be short enough to be stored inline.