Examining the different aspects of an execution plan, from cardinality estimates to parallel execution, and understanding what information you should glean from it can be overwhelming even for the most experienced DBA.
That’s why I’ve put together a series of short videos that will walk you through each aspect of the plan and explain what information you can find there and what to do if the plan isn’t what you were expecting.
What is an Execution Plan?
The series starts at the very beginning with a comprehensive overview of what an execution plan is and what information is displayed in each section. After all, you can’t learn to interpret what is happening in a plan, until you know what a plan actually is.
How to Generate an Execution Plan?
Although multiple different tools will display an Oracle Execution Plan for you, there really are only two ways to generate the plan. You can use the Explain Plan command, or you can view the execution plan of a SQL statement currently in the Cursor Cache using the dictionary view V$SQL_Plan. This session covers both techniques for you and provides insights into what additional information you can get the Optimizer to share with you when you generate a plan. It also explains why you don’t always get the same plan with each approach, as I discussed in an earlier post.
How to use DBMS_XPLAN to FORMAT an Execution Plan
The FORMAT parameter within the DBMS_XPLAN.DISPLAY_CURSOR function is the best tool to show you detailed information about a what’s happened in an execution plan including the bind variable values used, the actual number of rows returned by each step, and how much time was spent on each step. I’ve also covered a lot of the content in this video in a previous post.
Part 2 of the series covers Cardinality Estimates and what you can do to improve them!
Part 3 of the series covers access Methods and what you can do if you don’t get the access method you were expecting.
Part 4 of the series covers Join Methods and when you can expect each one and what to do if you don’t get the join method you were expecting.
Remember you can always get more information on the Oracle Optimizer on the Optimizer team’s blog.
6 thoughts on “Explaining the Explain Plan – How to Read and Interpret Execution Plans”
Thanks a lot.
How do you extract the explain plan for the sql statements contained in pl/sql package and / or procedure
I need to compare the current execution plans to new explain plans after a code change in order to avoid any performance degradation before it’s implemented on a production database
I wrote a blog a couple of years back on the official Oracle Optimizer blog that explains how to extract the execution plan for a SQL statement contained in a PL/SQL package.
Is there by any chance a slide version of this series? 🙁
Yes, the slides are available on Slideshare at https://www.slideshare.net/MariaColgan1/explain-the-explainplan