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A Wider View: Experimentations and ruminations on Oracle performance analysis

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Oracle Database performance tuning and analysis experimentation and ruminations.Craig Shallahamer, President/Founder, OraPubhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04109635337570098781noreply@blogger.comBlogger95125
Updated: 18 hours 21 min ago

What Is That Light-Green Oracle Database CPU Wait Time?

Tue, 2015-02-10 20:10
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Thanks, Craig.
What Really Is That Light-Green Oracle Database CPU Wait Time?

Have you ever wondered what that light-green "cpu wait time" really means in Oracle Enterprise Manager? It's what I call, the "gap" time. The "gap" time is the "missing" or the "leftover" time when DB Time does not equal the DB CPU (foreground process CPU consumption) plus the non-idle wait time. And, it happens more often than you might think.
If you have ever noticed that the database time seems too large, then you need to read this article. And, if you really want to know what the light-green "cpu wait time" in your OEM charts is, then you need to read this article. It's that good.

If you're serious about Oracle performance tuning and analysis, you'll want to know I just posted my complete 2015 public training schedule. It's on the main OraPub.com page HERE. Remember, alumni receive a 50% discount...crazy I know.
My Experiment Shows...
My experiment shows a strong relationship between the "gap" time and operating system CPU utilization. This means that a significant portion of the "gap" time is Oracle foreground processes sitting in the CPU run queue ready to consume CPU. This CPU run queue time is not part of DB CPU but it part of DB Time. So, when the CPU run queue time increases, so does DB Time and so does the "gap" time. And I have the data to show it! And you can run the same experiment yourself.
Let me put this another way. Most of the DB Time "gap" is Oracle foreground processes waiting in the operating system CPU run queue so they can eventually and truly consume CPU.

This is really important: When an Oracle foreground process is not consuming CPU but is sitting in the CPU run queue, Oracle Active Session History (ASH) facility records the session sample state as "CPU" and if the Oracle process is a foreground process (not a background process) Oracle's time model records this time as DB Time but not DB CPU. So in both the ASH and time model cases, someone must do some math to calculate this "cpu wait time".

But that name... "cpu wait"!
CPU Wait Time Is A Lousy Name
"CPU wait time" is a lousy name. Why? Mainly because it has caused lots of confusion and speculation. The name would be more appropriately called something like, "cpu queue time." Three reasons come to mind.
First, wait time means something special to Oracle DBAs. To an Oracle DBA anything associate with a "wait" should have a wait event name, a wait occurance, the time should be instrumented (i.e., measured) and should be recorded in the many wait interface related views, such as v$system_event or v$session.
Second, from an Oracle perspective the process is truly "on cpu" because the process is not "waiting." Remember, an Oracle session is either in one of two states; CPU or WAIT. There is no third choice. So the words "CPU Wait" are really confusing.
Third, from an OS perspective or simply a non-Oracle perspective, the Oracle process is sitting in the CPU run queue.
I'm sure in some Oracle Corporation meeting the words "cpu wait" were considered a great idea, but it has caused lots of confusion. And I'm sure it's here to stay.
What Does This "CPU WAIT" Look Like In OEM?
In OEM, the "cpu wait" is a light green color. I grabbed a publically available screenshot off the internet and posted it below. Look familiar? 

OK, so it's really easy to spot in OEM. And if you've seen it before you know EXACTLY what I'm referring to.
What Is CPU Wait Time?
First, let's review what we do know.
1. DB CPU is true Oracle foreground process CPU consumption as reported by the OS through a system call, such as getrusage.
2. CPU Wait time is derived, that is, somebody at Oracle wrote code to calculate the "cpu wait" time.
3. CPU Wait time is a lousy name because it causes lots of confusion.
4. CPU Wait time is shown in OEM as a light green color. DB CPU is shown as a dark/normal green color.
Second, I need to define what I'll call the DB Time "gap." This is not error and I am not implying something is wrong with database time, that it's not useful or anything like that. All I am saying is that sometimes DB Time does not equal DB CPU plus the non-idle wait time. Let's put that in a formula:
DB Time = DB CPU + non Idle Wait Time + gap
Really, What Is CPU Wait Time?
Now I'm ready to answer the question, "What is CPU WAIT time?" Here is the answer stated multiple ways.
"CPU Wait" time is Oracle foreground process OS CPU run queue time.
I ran an experiment (detailed below) and as the OS CPU utilization increased, so did the DB Time "gap" implying that the gap is CPU run queue time or at least a significant part of it.
I ran an experiment and there was a strong correlation between OS CPU utilization and the DB Time "gap" implying that the gap is CPU run queue time.
I ran an experiment and using queuing theory I was able to predict the "gap" time implying that the gap is CPU run queue time. (Whoops... sorry. That's what I'll present in my next post!)
So I'm very comfortable stating that when DB Time is greater than Oracle process CPU consumption plus the non-idle wait time, it's probably the result of Oracle foreground process CPU run queue time.

Yes, there could be some math problems on Oracle's side, there could be uninstrumented time (for sure it's happened before), the operating system could be reporting bogus values or a host of other potential issues. But unless there is an obvious wrong value, I'm sticking with the experimental evidence.
Now I'm going to show the experimental "evidence" that is, that the DB Time "gap" time correlates with the OS CPU utilization.
Let The Data Drive Our Understanding
You can download all the data collection scripts, raw experimental data, Mathematica notepad files, graphic files, etc HERE in a single zip file.

You should be able to run the experiment on any Linux Oracle test system. All you need is a logical IO load and for that I used my free opload tool which, you can download HERE.
The experiment placed an increasing logical IO load on an Linux Oracle 12c system until the operating system CPU utilization exceeded 90%. The load was increased 18 times. During each of the 18 loads, I gathered 31 three minute samples. Each sample contains busy time (v$osstat), idle time (v$osstat), logical IO (v$sysstat "session logical reads"), non-idle wait time (v$system_event where wait_class != 'Idle'), DB CPU (v$sys_time_model), background cpu time (v$sys_time_model), database time (v$sys_time_model DB time) and the sample time (dual table current_timestamp).
The CPU utilization was calculated using the "busy idle" method that I blog about HERE. This method is detailed in my Utilization On Steroids online video seminar.
The workload is defined as the logical IOs per second, lio/s.
Below is a table summarizing the experimental data. The times shown are the averages. If you look at the actual raw experimental data contained in the analysis pack, you'll notice the data is very consistent. This is not suprising since the load I placed should produce a very consistent workload.
Do you see the gaps? Look closely at load 18. The DB Time is 8891.4 seconds. But the sum of DB CPU (996.8 seconds) and the non-idle wait time (2719.2) seconds only equals 3716.0. Yet DB Time is 8891.4. So the "gap" is 5175.3 which is DB Time (8891.3) minus DB CPU (996.8) minus the non-idle wait time (2719.2).

Note: Load 11 and 12 where excluded because of a problem with my data collection. Sorry.

While we can numberically see the DB Time "gap" increase as the CPU utilization increases, check out the graphic in the next section!

The Correlation Between CPU Utilization And DB Time Gap
We can numerically and visually see that as the CPU utilization increases, so does the DB Time "gap." But is there a strong mathematical correlation? To determine this, I used all the experimental samples (except load 11 and 12). Because there was 17 different workloads and with each workload I gathered 31 samples, the correlation comprises of something like 527 samples. Pretty good sample set I'd say.

The correlation coefficient is a strong 0.891. The strongest is 1.0 and the weakest is 0.

Graphically, here is the scatterplot showing the relationship between the CPU utilization and the workload.

Don't expect the DB Time "gap" and OS CPU utilization correlation to be perfect. Remember that DB Time does not include Oracle background process CPU consumption, yet it is obviously part of the OS CPU utilization.

Summary
My experiment indicated the light-green "CPU wait time" is primarily Oracle foreground process operating system CPU run queue time. This is DB Time "gap" time.

My experiment also showed the "gap" time is highly correlated with CPU utilization. Which means, as the CPU utilization increases, so does the "gap" time.

If there are Oracle Database instrumentation bugs or a host of other potential problems, that will also affect the "gap" time.

If you want a more complete and detailed DB Time formula is would be this:

DB Time = DB CPU + Non Idle Wait Time + gap time

In my next post, I'll show you how to calculate the gap time based on queuing theory!

Thanks for reading!

Craig.








Categories: DBA Blogs

How To Approach Different Oracle Database Performance Problems

Tue, 2015-02-03 19:32
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Thanks, Craig.How To Approach Different Oracle Database Performance ProblemsJump Start Your Oracle Database Tuning Effort
Every Oracle Database Administrator will tell you no two performance problems are the same. But a seasoned Oracle DBA recognizes there are similarities...patterns. Fast problem pattern recognition allows us to minimize diagnosis time, so we can focus on developing amazing solutions.

I tend to group Oracle performance problems into four patterns. Quickly exploring these four patterns is what this article is all about.


You Can Not Possibly List Every Problem And Solution
When I teach, some Oracle Database Administrators want me to outline every conceivable problem along with the solution. Not only is the thought of this exhausting, it's not possible. Even my Stori product uses pattern matching. One of the keys to becoming a fantastic performance analyst is the ability quickly look at a problem and then decided which diagnosis approach is the best. For example, if you don't know the problem SQL (assuming there is one) tracing is not likely to be your best approach.

The Four Oracle Database Performance Patterns
Here are the four performance patterns I tend to group problems into.

The SQL Is Known
Many times there is a well know SQL statement that is responsible for the poor performance. While I will always do a quick Oracle Time Based Analysis (see below) and verify the accused SQL, I will directly attack this problem by tuning with SQL specific diagnostic and tuning tools.

But... I will also ask a senior application user, if the users are using the application correctly. Sometimes new applications users try and use a new application like their old application. It's like trying to drive a car with moving your feet as you are riding a bicycle... not going to work and it's dangerous!

Business Process Specific
I find that when the business is seriously affected by application performance issues, that's when the "limited budget" is suddenly not so limited. When managers and their business's are affected they want action.

When I'm approached to help solve a problem, I always ask how the business is being affected. If I keep hearing about a specific business process or application module I know two things.

First, there are many SQL statements involved. Second, the problem is bounded by a business process or application. This is when I start the diagnostic process with an Oracle Time Based Analysis approach which, will result in multiple solutions to the same problem.

As I teach in my online seminar How To Tune Oracle With An AWR Report, user feel performance through time. So, if our analysis is time based we can create a quantitative link between our analysis and their experience. If our analysis creates solutions that reduce time, then we can expect the user experience to improve. This combined with my "3 Circle" approach yields spot-on solutions very quickly.

While an Oracle Time Based Analysis is amazing, because Oracle does not instrument CPU consumption we can't answer the question, "What's Oracle doing with all that CPU?" If you want to drill into this topic check out my online seminar, Detailing Oracle CPU Consumption: The Missing Link.

It's Just Slow
How many times have I experienced this... It's Just Slow!


If what the user is attempting to explain is true, the performance issue is affecting a wide range of business processes. The problem is probably not a single issue (but could be) and clearly the key SQL is not know. Again, this is a perfect problem scenario to apply an Oracle Time Based Analysis.

The reason I say this is because an OTBA will look at the problem from multiple perspectives, categorize Oracle time and develop solutions to reduce those big categories of time. If you also do Unit Of Work Time Based Analysis, you can an even anticipate the impact of your solutions! Do an OraPub website search HERE or search my blog for UOWTBA.
Random Incident That Quickly Appears And Vanishes
This is the most difficult problem to fix. Mainly because the problem "randomly" appears and can't be duplicated. (Don't even bother calling Oracle Support to help in this situation.) Furthermore, it's too quick for an AWR report to show it's activity and you don't want to impact the production system by gathering tons of detailed performance statistics.

Even a solid Oracle Time Based Analysis will likely not help in this situation. Again, the problem is performance data collection and retention. The instrumented AWR or Statpack data does not provide enough detail. What we need step-by-step activity...like a timeline.

Because this type of problem scares both DBAs and business managers, you will likely need to answer questions like this:

  • What is that blip all about?
  • Did this impact users?
  • Has it happened before?
  • Will it happen again?
  • What should we do about it?

The only way I know how to truly diagnose a problem like this is to do a session-level time-line analysis. Thankfully, this is possible using the Oracle Active Session History data. Both v$active_session_history and dba_hist_active_sess_history are absolutely key in solving problems like this.

ASH samples Oracle Database session activity once each second (by default). This is very different than measuring how long something takes, which is the data an AWR report is based upon. Because sampling is non-continuous, a lot of detail can be collected, stored and analyzed.

A time-line type of analysis is so important, I enhanced my ASH tools in my OraPub System Monitor (OSM) toolkit to provide this type of analysis. If you want to check them out, download the OSM toolkit HERE, install it and read the osm/interactive/ash-readme.txt file.

As an example, using these tools you can construct an incident time-line like this:

HH:MM:SS.FFF User/Process Notes
------------ ------------- -----------------
15:18:28.796 suspect (837) started the massive update (see SQL below)

15:28:00.389 user (57) application hung (row lock on TM_SHEET_LINE_EXPLOR)
15:28:30.486 user (74) application hung (row lock on TM_SHEET_LINE_EXPLOR)
15:29:30.??? - row locks becomes the top wait event (16 locked users)
15:29:50.749 user (83) application hung (row lock on TM_SHEET_LINE_EXPLOR)

15:30:20.871 user (837) suspect broke out of update (implied)
15:30:20.871 user (57) application returned
15:30:20.871 user (74) application returned
15:30:20.871 user (83) application returned

15:30:30.905 smon (721) first smon action since before 15:25:00 (os thread startup)
15:30:50.974 user (837) first wait for undo - suspect broke out of update
15:30:50.974 - 225 active session, now top event (wait for a undo record)

15:33:41.636 smon (721) last PQ event (PX Deq: Test for msg)
15:33:41.636 user (837) application returned to suspect. Undo completed
15:33:51.670 smon (721) last related event (DFS lock handle)

Without ASH seemingly random problems would be a virtually impossible nightmare scenario for an Oracle DBA.
Summary
It's true. You need the right tool for the job. And the same is true when diagnosing Oracle Database performance. What I've done above is group probably 90% of the problems we face as Oracle DBAs into four categories. And each of these categories needs a special kind of tool and/or diagnosis method.

Once we recognize the problem pattern and get the best tool/method involved to diagnosis the problem, then we will know the time spent developing amazing solutions is time well spent.

Enjoy your work!

Craig.


Categories: DBA Blogs