Statistics gathering and SQL Tuning Advisor

Posted in: Technical Track

Our monitoring software found a long running job on one of our client’s databases. The job was an Oracle’s auto task running statistics gathering for more than 3 hours. I was curious to know why it took so long and used a query to ASH to find out the most common SQL during the job run based on the module name. Results were surprising to me: top SQL was coming with SQL Tuning Advisor comment.

Here is the SQL I used:

SQL> select s.sql_id, t.sql_text, s.cnt
  2  from
  3    (select *
  4     from
  5      (
  6        select sql_id, count(*) cnt
  7        from v$active_session_history
  8        where action like 'ORA$AT_OS_OPT_SY%'
  9        group by sql_id
 10        order by count(*) desc
 11      )
 12     where rownum <= 5
 13    ) s,
 14    dba_hist_sqltext t
 15  where s.sql_id = t.sql_id;

SQL_ID        SQL_TEXT                                                                                CNT
------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------
020t65s3ah2pq select substrb(dump(val,16,0,32),1,120) ep, cnt from (select /*+ no_expand_table        781
byug0cc5vn416 /* SQL Analyze(1) */ select /*+  full(t)    no_parallel(t) no_parallel_index(t)          43
bkvvr4azs1n6z /* SQL Analyze(1) */ select /*+  full(t)    no_parallel(t) no_parallel_index(t)          21
46sy4dfg3xbfn /* SQL Analyze(1) */ select /*+  full(t)    no_parallel(t) no_parallel_index(t)        1559

So most queries are coming with “SQL Analyze” comment right in the beginning of SQL which is running from DBMS_STATS call, which is confusing. After some bug search I have found a MOS Doc ID 1480132.1 which includes a PL/SQL stack trace from a DBMS_STATS procedure call, and it is going up to DBMS_SQLTUNE_INTERNAL, which means DBMS_STATS has a call to the SQL Tuning package; very odd:

SQL> select * from dba_dependencies where name = 'DBMS_STATS_INTERNAL' and referenced_name = 'DBMS_SQLTUNE_INTERNAL';

OWNER                          NAME                           TYPE               REFERENCED_OWNER       REFERENCED_NAME
------------------------------ ------------------------------ ------------------ ------------------------------ ----------------------------------
REFERENCED_TYPE    REFERENCED_LINK_NAME                                                                                                     DEPE
------------------ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SYS                            DBMS_STATS_INTERNAL            PACKAGE BODY       SYS                    DBMS_SQLTUNE_INTERNAL
PACKAGE                                                                                                                                     HARD

Turns out, this call has nothing to do with the SQL Tuning. It is just a call to a procedure in this package, which happen to look like an SQL from SQL Tuning Advisor. I have traced a GATHER_TABLE_STATS call in a test database first with SQL trace and then with DBMS_HPROF and here is how the call tree looks like:

SELECT RPAD(' ', (level-1)*2, ' ') || fi.owner || '.' || fi.module AS name,
FROM   dbmshp_parent_child_info pci
       JOIN dbmshp_function_info fi ON pci.runid = fi.runid AND pci.childsymid = fi.symbolid
WHERE  pci.runid = 1
CONNECT BY PRIOR childsymid = parentsymid
  START WITH pci.parentsymid = 27;
NAME                                     FUNCTION                       SUBTREE_ELAPSED_TIME FUNCTION_ELAPSED_TIME                CALLS
---------------------------------------- ------------------------------ -------------------- --------------------- --------------------
SYS.DBMS_STATS_INTERNAL                  GATHER_SQL_STATS                           21131962                 13023                    1
  SYS.DBMS_ADVISOR                       __pkg_init                                       88                    88                    1
  SYS.DBMS_SQLTUNE_INTERNAL              GATHER_SQL_STATS                           21118776                  9440                    1
    SYS.DBMS_SQLTUNE_INTERNAL            I_PROCESS_SQL                              21107094              21104225                    1
      SYS.DBMS_LOB                       GETLENGTH                                        37                    37                    1
      SYS.DBMS_LOB                       INSTR                                            42                    42                    1
      SYS.DBMS_LOB                       __pkg_init                                       15                    15                    1
      SYS.DBMS_SQLTUNE_INTERNAL          I_VALIDATE_PROCESS_ACTION                        74                    39                    1
        SYS.DBMS_UTILITY                 COMMA_TO_TABLE                                   35                    35                    1
      SYS.DBMS_SQLTUNE_UTIL0             SQLTEXT_TO_SIGNATURE                            532                   532                    1
      SYS.DBMS_SQLTUNE_UTIL0             SQLTEXT_TO_SQLID                                351                   351                    1
      SYS.XMLTYPE                        XMLTYPE                                        1818                  1818                    1
    SYS.DBMS_SQLTUNE_UTIL0               SQLTEXT_TO_SQLID                                528                   528                    1
    SYS.DBMS_UTILITY                     COMMA_TO_TABLE                                   88                    88                    1
    SYS.DBMS_UTILITY                     __pkg_init                                       10                    10                    1
    SYS.SQLSET_ROW                       SQLSET_ROW                                       33                    33                    1
    SYS.XMLTYPE                          XMLTYPE                                        1583                  1583                    1
  SYS.DBMS_STATS_INTERNAL                DUMP_PQ_SESSTAT                                  73                    73                    1
  SYS.DBMS_STATS_INTERNAL                DUMP_QUERY                                        2                     2                    1

So there is a procedure DBMS_SQLTUNE_INTERNAL.GATHER_SQL_STATS which is being called by DBMS_STATS_INTERNAL, and this procedure actually runs a SQL like this:

/* SQL Analyze(0) */ select /*+  full(t)    no_parallel(t) no_parallel_index(t) dbms_stats cursor_sharing_exact use_weak_name_resl dynamic_sampling(0) no_monitoring no_substrb_pad  */to_char(count("ID")),to_char(substrb(dump(min("ID"),16,0,32),1,120)),to_char(substrb(dump(max("ID"),16,0,32),1,120)),to_char(count("X")),to_char(substrb(dump(min("X"),16,0,32),1,120)),to_char(substrb(dump(max("X"),16,0,32),1,120)),to_char(count("Y")),to_char(substrb(dump(min("Y"),16,0,32),1,120)),to_char(substrb(dump(max("Y"),16,0,32),1,120)),to_char(count("PAD")),to_char(substrb(dump(min("PAD"),16,0,32),1,120)),to_char(substrb(dump(max("PAD"),16,0,32),1,120)) from "TIM"."T1" t  /* NDV,NIL,NIL,NDV,NIL,NIL,NDV,NIL,NIL,NDV,NIL,NIL*/

Which is basically approximate NDV calculation. So, nothing to be afraid of, it’s just the way the code is organized: DBMS_STATS uses API of SQL Tuning framework when you are using DBMS_STATS.AUTO_SAMPLE_SIZE as the ESTIMATE_PERCENT (which is the default & recommended value in 11g+).


Interested in working with Timur? Schedule a tech call.

3 Comments. Leave new

Great info – thanks for sharing


I see the SQL Analyze queries in my database from 1 AM to 8 AM. The default maintenance window for DBMS auto task is 10 PM to 2 AM. Any idea why it would run after the maintenance window is closed? Also why I see upto 20 SQL Analyze queries at one time?


Hello Timur,

So based on sql text only, can we distinguish between actual “sql tuning advisor” and “dbms stats” sqls based on presence of “dbms_stats” in the sqltext? meaning the “sql tuning advisor” sqls would have only the /* sql Analyze(0) */ part without the “dbms_stats” in the hint.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *