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Storage Indexes vs Database Indexes Part II: Clustering Factor (Fast Track) December 19, 2012

Posted by Richard Foote in Clustering Factor, Exadata, Oracle Indexes, Storage Indexes.
2 comments

Two posts in two days !! Well, with Christmas just around the corner, I thought I better finish off a couple of blog posts before I get fully immersed in the festive season :)

The Clustering Factor (CF) is the most important index related statistic, with the efficiency of an index performing multi-row range scans very much dependent on the CF of the index. If the data in the table is relatively well clustered in relation to the index (i.e. it has a “low” CF), then an index range scan can visit relatively few table blocks to obtain the necessary data. If the data is effectively randomised and not well clustered in relation to the index (i.e. has a “high” CF), then an index range scan has to visit many more table blocks and not be as efficient/effective as a result. The CBO will be less inclined to use such an index as a result, depending on the overall selectivity of the query.

It’s something I’ve discussed here many times before.

It’s a very similar story for Exadata Storage Indexes (SI) as well. The better the table data is clustered in relation to the SIs, the more efficient and effective the SIs are likely to be in relation to being able to eliminate accessing storage regions that can’t possibly contain data of interest. By having the data more clustered (or ordered) in relation to a specific SI, the Min/Max ranges associated with the SI are more likely to be able to determine areas of the table where data can’t exist.

For the data I’ll be using in the following examples, I refer you to the previous post where I setup the necessary data.

The following query is on a 10 million row table, based on the ALBUM_ID column that has an excellent CF:

SQL> select * from big_bowie where album_id = 42;
100000 rows selected.

Elapsed: 00:00:01.07

Execution Plan
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 | Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 | 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 100K| 8984K| 1550 (1)| 00:00:19 |
 | 1 | TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| BIG_BOWIE | 100K| 8984K| 1550 (1)| 00:00:19 |
 |* 2 | INDEX RANGE SCAN | BIG_BOWIE_ALBUM_ID_I | 100K| | 199 (1)| 00:00:03 |
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
 ---------------------------------------------------

2 - access("ALBUM_ID"=42)

Statistics
 ----------------------------------------------------------
 0 recursive calls
 0 db block gets
 1590 consistent gets
 1550 physical reads
 0 redo size
 9689267 bytes sent via SQL*Net to client
 733 bytes received via SQL*Net from client
 21 SQL*Net roundtrips to/from client
 0 sorts (memory)
 0 sorts (disk)
 100000 rows processed

An index range scan access path is selected by the CBO to retrieve the 100,000 rows. At just 1590 consistent gets, with such an excellent CF, the index can very efficiently access just the necessary 100,000 rows of data. Notice that most of these consistent gets are still physical reads (1550). If we re-run the query several times and are able to cache the corresponding index/table blocks in the database buffer cache:

SQL> select * from big_bowie where album_id = 42;
100000 rows selected.

Elapsed: 00:00:00.27

Execution Plan
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 | Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 | 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 100K| 8984K| 1550 (1)| 00:00:19 |
 | 1 | TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| BIG_BOWIE | 100K| 8984K| 1550 (1)| 00:00:19 |
 |* 2 | INDEX RANGE SCAN | BIG_BOWIE_ALBUM_ID_I | 100K| | 199 (1)| 00:00:03 |
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
 ---------------------------------------------------

2 - access("ALBUM_ID"=42)

Statistics
 ----------------------------------------------------------
 0 recursive calls
 0 db block gets
 1590 consistent gets
 0 physical reads
 0 redo size
 9689267 bytes sent via SQL*Net to client
 733 bytes received via SQL*Net from client
 21 SQL*Net roundtrips to/from client
 0 sorts (memory)
 0 sorts (disk)
 100000 rows processed

The overall execution times reduce down from 1.07 to just 0.27 seconds. Not bad at all considering we’re returning 100,000 rows.

However, if we run the same query on the same data with all the smarts turned on in Exadata (with the index made Invisible so that it doesn’t get used by the CBO):

SQL> select * from big_bowie where album_id = 42;
100000 rows selected.

Elapsed: 00:00:00.27
 Execution Plan
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 | Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 | 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 100K| 8984K| 36663 (1)| 00:07:20 |
 |* 1 | TABLE ACCESS STORAGE FULL| BIG_BOWIE | 100K| 8984K| 36663 (1)| 00:07:20 |
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
 ---------------------------------------------------

1 - storage("ALBUM_ID"=42)
 filter("ALBUM_ID"=42)

Statistics
 ----------------------------------------------------------
 1 recursive calls
 0 db block gets
 134834 consistent gets
 134809 physical reads
 0 redo size
 4345496 bytes sent via SQL*Net to client
 73850 bytes received via SQL*Net from client
 6668 SQL*Net roundtrips to/from client
 0 sorts (memory)
 0 sorts (disk)
 100000 rows processed

 SQL> select name , value/1024/1024 MB from v$statname n, v$mystat s where n.statistic# = s.statistic# and n.name in
 ('cell physical IO interconnect bytes returned by smart scan', 'cell physical IO bytes saved by storage index');

NAME MB
 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ----------
 cell physical IO bytes saved by storage index 1042.24219
 cell physical IO interconnect bytes returned by smart scan 9.56161499

We notice that although a Full Table Scan is being performed, the overall performance of the query is practically identical to that of using the index. That’s because the SIs are kicking in here and by saving 1042 MB (approximately 99% of the table), Oracle only has to actually physically access a tiny 1% of the table (basically, the 1% selectivity of the query itself). SIs based on the well clustered ALBUM_ID column are therefore very effective at eliminating the access of unnecessary data.

If we now run a query based on the TOTAL_SALES column in which the data is randomly distributed all over the place and so the associated index has a very poor CF:

SQL> select album_id, artist_id from big_bowie where total_sales between 42 and 142;
2009 rows selected.

Elapsed: 00:00:01.45

Execution Plan
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 | Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes |Cost (%CPU)| Time |
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 | 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 2040 | 26520 | 2048 (1)| 00:00:25 |
 | 1 | TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| BIG_BOWIE | 2040 | 26520 | 2048 (1)| 00:00:25 |
 |* 2 | INDEX RANGE SCAN | BIG_BOWIE_TOTAL_SALES_I | 2040 | | 7 (0)| 00:00:01 |
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
 ---------------------------------------------------

2 - access("TOTAL_SALES">=42 AND "TOTAL_SALES"<=142)

Statistics
 ----------------------------------------------------------
 1 recursive calls
 0 db block gets
 2150 consistent gets
 2005 physical reads
 0 redo size
 43311 bytes sent via SQL*Net to client
 1987 bytes received via SQL*Net from client
 135 SQL*Net roundtrips to/from client
 0 sorts (memory)
 0 sorts (disk)
 2009 rows processed

We notice that although only 2009 rows are retrieved with this query, 2150 consistent gets have been performed (practically 1 for each row returned) . This is somewhat more than the 1590 consistent gets of the previous example when a full 100,000 rows were returned. Using this index therefore is nowhere near as efficient/effective in retrieving data as was the index in the previous example.

If all this data can be cached in the buffer cache however, we can again improve overall execution times:

SQL> select album_id, artist_id from big_bowie where total_sales between 42 and 142;
2009 rows selected.

Elapsed: 00:00:00.02

Execution Plan
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 | Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes |Cost (%CPU)| Time |
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 | 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 2040 | 26520 | 2048 (1)| 00:00:25 |
 | 1 | TABLE ACCESS BY INDEX ROWID| BIG_BOWIE | 2040 | 26520 | 2048 (1)| 00:00:25 |
 |* 2 | INDEX RANGE SCAN | BIG_BOWIE_TOTAL_SALES_I | 2040 | | 7 (0)| 00:00:01 |
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
 ---------------------------------------------------

2 - access("TOTAL_SALES">=42 AND "TOTAL_SALES"<=142)

Statistics
 ----------------------------------------------------------
 0 recursive calls
 0 db block gets
 2150 consistent gets
 0 physical reads
 0 redo size
 43308 bytes sent via SQL*Net to client
 1987 bytes received via SQL*Net from client
 135 SQL*Net roundtrips to/from client
 0 sorts (memory)
 0 sorts (disk)
 2009 rows processed

So with all the index/table data now cached, we can return the 2000 odd rows in just 0.02 seconds.

If we now run the same query with the same data in Exadata:

SQL> select album_id, artist_id from big_bowie where total_sales between 42 and 142;
2009 rows selected.

Elapsed: 00:00:01.25

Execution Plan
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 | Id | Operation | Name | Rows | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time |
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 | 0 | SELECT STATEMENT | | 2040 | 26520 | 36700 (1)| 00:07:21 |
 |* 1 | TABLE ACCESS STORAGE FULL| BIG_BOWIE | 2040 | 26520 | 36700 (1)| 00:07:21 |
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Predicate Information (identified by operation id):
 ---------------------------------------------------

1 - storage("TOTAL_SALES"<=142 AND "TOTAL_SALES">=42)
 filter("TOTAL_SALES"<=142 AND "TOTAL_SALES">=42)

Statistics
 ----------------------------------------------------------
 1 recursive calls
 0 db block gets
 134834 consistent gets
 134809 physical reads
 0 redo size
 47506 bytes sent via SQL*Net to client
 1987 bytes received via SQL*Net from client
 135 SQL*Net roundtrips to/from client
 0 sorts (memory)
 0 sorts (disk)
 2009 rows processed

 SQL> select name , value/1024/1024 MB from v$statname n, v$mystat s where n.statistic# = s.statistic# and n.name in
 ('cell physical IO interconnect bytes returned by smart scan', 'cell physical IO bytes saved by storage index');

NAME MB
 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ----------
 cell physical IO bytes saved by storage index 72.65625
 cell physical IO interconnect bytes returned by smart scan .383415222

We noticed that the physical IO bytes saved by the SIs has significantly reduced from the previous example (just 72 MBs down from 1042 MBs), even though at just 2000 odd rows we require much less data than before. In this example, only approximately 7% of table storage need not be accessed, meaning we still have to access a significant 93% of the table as the required data could potentially exist throughout the majority of the table. The poor clustering of the data in relation the TOTAL_SALES column has effectively neutralised the effectiveness of the associated SIs on the TOTAL_SALES column.

Note also that the 1.25 seconds is as good as it gets when performing a FTS with the fully generated SIs in place. In this case, using a fully cached database index access path can outperform the FTS/SI combination and provide a more efficient and ultimately more scalable method of accessing this data. As the required selectively on this column is low enough to warrant the use of a database index despite the poor CF, this is again another example of an index we may not necessarily want to automatically drop when moving to Exadata.

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