Outline Hint from dbms_xplan does not contain PARALLEL hint

I was tuning a parallel query and was a little surprised to find that an outline hint from EXPLAIN PLAN and dbms_xplan.display did not contain a PARALLEL hint. So, a query I was testing did not run in parallel with the outline hint. I had to add the PARALLEL hint. It is surprising because I think of an outline hint as a full set of hints.

I built a testcase to demonstrate this. Here is a zip of its script and output on a 19c database: blogparalleloutlinehints.zip.

I created a small test table and got the outline for the plan of a select statement with a parallel hint:

drop table test;

create table test noparallel as select * from dba_tables;

explain plan into plan_table for 
select /*+ parallel(test,8) */ sum(blocks) from test;

set markup html preformat on

select * from table(dbms_xplan.display('PLAN_TABLE',NULL,'ADVANCED'));

The outline hint looks like this:

  /*+
      BEGIN_OUTLINE_DATA
      FULL(@"SEL$1" "TEST"@"SEL$1")
      OUTLINE_LEAF(@"SEL$1")
      ALL_ROWS
      DB_VERSION('19.1.0')
      OPTIMIZER_FEATURES_ENABLE('19.1.0')
      IGNORE_OPTIM_EMBEDDED_HINTS
      END_OUTLINE_DATA
  */

Notice that it just has a FULL hint and nothing about running the query in parallel.

Next, I ran the query with the outline hint but without any parallel hint like this:

select   /*+
      BEGIN_OUTLINE_DATA
      FULL(@"SEL$1" "TEST"@"SEL$1")
      OUTLINE_LEAF(@"SEL$1")
      ALL_ROWS
      DB_VERSION('19.1.0')
      OPTIMIZER_FEATURES_ENABLE('19.1.0')
      IGNORE_OPTIM_EMBEDDED_HINTS
      END_OUTLINE_DATA
  */ sum(blocks) from test;

It ran with a serial (non-parallel) plan:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Id  | Operation          | Name | Rows  | Bytes | Cost (%CPU)| Time     |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT   |      |       |       |    27 (100)|          |
|   1 |  SORT AGGREGATE    |      |     1 |     3 |            |          |
|   2 |   TABLE ACCESS FULL| TEST |  1785 |  5355 |    27   (0)| 00:00:01 |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Then I ran the query with both a parallel hint and the same outline hint:

select   /*+ parallel(test,8)
      BEGIN_OUTLINE_DATA
      FULL(@"SEL$1" "TEST"@"SEL$1")
      OUTLINE_LEAF(@"SEL$1")
      ALL_ROWS
      DB_VERSION('19.1.0')
      OPTIMIZER_FEATURES_ENABLE('19.1.0')
      IGNORE_OPTIM_EMBEDDED_HINTS
      END_OUTLINE_DATA
  */ sum(blocks) from test;

It ran the desired parallel plan:

-------------------------------------------...---------------------
| Id  | Operation              | Name     |...|IN-OUT| PQ Distrib |
-------------------------------------------...---------------------
|   0 | SELECT STATEMENT       |          |...|      |            |
|   1 |  SORT AGGREGATE        |          |...|      |            |
|   2 |   PX COORDINATOR       |          |...|      |            |
|   3 |    PX SEND QC (RANDOM) | :TQ10000 |...| P->S | QC (RAND)  |
|   4 |     SORT AGGREGATE     |          |...| PCWP |            |
|   5 |      PX BLOCK ITERATOR |          |...| PCWC |            |
|*  6 |       TABLE ACCESS FULL| TEST     |...| PCWP |            |
-------------------------------------------...---------------------

In other tuning situations with plans that did not execute in parallel the outline hints from dbms_xplan.display_cursor did a great job of capturing all the details of the plan. But when extracting an outline hint from a query that has a parallel hint in it, I needed both the outline hint and the parallel hint to get the same plan.

Bobby

About Bobby

I live in Chandler, Arizona with my wife and three daughters. I work for US Foods, the second largest food distribution company in the United States. I have worked in the Information Technology field since 1989. I have a passion for Oracle database performance tuning because I enjoy challenging technical problems that require an understanding of computer science. I enjoy communicating with people about my work.
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