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Catching a session waiting on a resource used to be hit or miss.

Let's take a lo
ok at how Oracle has helped give us a better mousetrap for seeing the waits expe
rienced by sessions.
It used to be that a DBA would sit in front of the terminal screen and continual
ly hit the ENTER key to watch activity in the V$SESSION_WAIT view to try and get
a glimpse of the bottleneck and wait activity for connected sessions. This in i
tself was a very tedious task and honestly I would often get paranoid that I wou
ld miss some valuable information if I did not hit the ENTER key fast enough and
thus I would never see the important wait event. Yes there was the V$SESSION_EV
ENT view that gave us a total for all waits but we never knew when the wait migh
t have occurred. DBAs very quickly got smarter and started to sample the data in
the V$SESSION_WAIT table and write it out to another table or dump it to an ext
ernal list file. This was fine but the overhead of actually creating and then ru
nning the task that would populate these statistics could get high, and manageme
nt of the task could get tedious.
To the Rescue
With Oracle 10g this has all been nicely taken over for us. Oracle will now samp
le data through internal kernel code for statistics similar to what was seen in
the V$SESSION_WAIT view and store it in a limited amount of buffer space, 2 Meg
per CPU. We can view these statistics by querying the new V$ACTIVE_SESSION_HISTO
RY view. The V$ACTIVE_SESSION_HISTORY view contains one row of sampled activity
for each session that was active, either on the CPU or actually waiting for a re
source. As this buffer gets full, because of the activity on the system, Oracle
will move the captured statistics to disk as part of the Automatic Workload Repo
sitory (AWR) snapshot mechanism and it will now be available through the DBA_HIS
T_ACTIVE_SESS_HISTORY view. When querying for current information, depending on
the activity of your system, you may need to go to both views to construct a val
id picture of what has happened. The important thing to remember here is that th
is is historical activity of the waits that have occurred for SQL executed and w
e can now go back in time and look at what was the true cause of performance bot
tlenecks. Be forewarned that since the statistics are stored in the rotating buf
fer and are only moved to the DBA_HIST_ACTIVE_SESS_HISTORY through a snapshot, y
ou may loose statistics. In addition, when the snapshot mechanism (AWR) does kic
k in and does its work to move database statistics between V$ACTIVE_SESSION_HIST
ORY and DBA_HIST_ACTIVE_SESS_HISTORY, it only takes a sampling of the data in V$
ACTIVE_SESS_HISTORY for the snapshot. Furthermore, when AWR does kick in, it onl
y takes a sampling of the data in V$ACTIVE_SESS_HISTORY for the snapshot. What t
his means is that you need to either catch what you want in the V$ACTIVE_SESS_HI
STORY view before a snapshot or have your own scrapping utility again. For this
reason, this article will only be concerned with querying off of the V$ACTIVE_SE
SS_HISTORY view to show a few ways you might want to query for information that
had not been available before.
What resource is currently in high demand?
While we have always been able to look at the system or a currently running sess
ion as a whole and see the resources that are in most use through the V$SYSTEM_E
VENT and V$SESSTAT views, we really have not ever had a good way to determine fo
r a current time frame what the resources being used were. This query will give
you for the last 30 minutes those resources that are in high demand on your syst
1 select active_session_history.event,
2 sum(active_session_history.wait_time +
3 active_session_history.time_waited) ttl_wait_time
4 from v$active_session_history active_session_history
5 where active_session_history.sample_time between sysdate - 60/2880 and sys
6* group by active_session_history.event
7 order by 2
------------------------------ -------------
SQL*Net message to client 4
null event 5
LGWR wait for redo copy 161
ksfd: async disk IO 476
direct path read 30025
latch: cache buffers chains 33258
direct path write 93564
log file sequential read 178662
db file sequential read 458653
log file sync 612660
control file single write 1127626
read by other session 2024242
db file parallel write 2278618
control file parallel write 3091888
enq: CF - contention 4108238
rdbms ipc reply 4283877
db file scattered read 4357653
class slave wait 5123780
control file sequential read 6971659
rdbms ipc message 11899157
jobq slave wait 14732974
log file parallel write 15310721
log buffer space 21405250
SQL*Net message from client 26272575
log file switch completion 66115558
enq: HW - contention 100841479
buffer busy waits 114070065
What user is waiting the most?
Again, the power in this SQL query is that we are now able to determine what use
r is consuming the most resource at a point in time, independent of the total re
sources that the user has used. You can now, with this query, answer the questio
n of who is waiting the most for resources at a point in time. If a user calls y
ou up on the phone and says they are experiencing delays, you can use this query
to verify that they are actually waiting in the database for a result set for a
given time period. This SQL is written for a 30-minute interval from current sy
stem time so you may need to change.
1 select sesion.sid,
2 sesion.username,
3 sum(active_session_history.wait_time +
4 active_session_history.time_waited) ttl_wait_time
5 from v$active_session_history active_session_history,
6 v$session sesion
7 where active_session_history.sample_time between sysdate - 60/2880 and sys
8 and active_session_history.session_id = sesion.sid
9 group by sesion.sid, sesion.username
10* order by 3
----- ---------- -------------
135 SCOTT 91167481
149 SCOTT 107409491
153 SCOTT 110796799
What SQL is currently using the most resources?
This query will get you started in the proper direction of zeroing in on
what SQL statement is consuming the most resource wait times on your system.
No longer do you have to go to the V$SQLAREA and try to pick out the top 10
or 20 SQL hogs on your system by disk reads or executions. Now you really know
what SQL statements are consuming resources and waiting the most.
These are the SQL that you really need to tune because the fact that a
SQL statement performs 20,000 reads does not mean that it is a bottleneck in you
r system.
1 select active_session_history.user_id,
2 dba_users.username,
3 sqlarea.sql_text,
4 sum(active_session_history.wait_time +
5 active_session_history.time_waited) ttl_wait_time
6 from v$active_session_history active_session_history,
7 v$sqlarea sqlarea,
8 dba_users
9 where active_session_history.sample_time between sysdate - 60/2880 and sys
10 and active_session_history.sql_id = sqlarea.sql_id
11 and active_session_history.user_id = dba_users.user_id
12 group by active_session_history.user_id,sqlarea.sql_text, dba_users.usernam
13* order by 4
------- ------ ----------------------------------------------------- ---------
57 SCOTT insert into sys.sourcetable (select * from sys.source$) 30416
What object is currently causing the highest resource waits?
This is a great query. Now we can actually see which objects a SQL statement is
Moreover, if you take a further look at the V$ACTIVE_SESSION_HISTORY view
you will see that you can tailor this query to report on the actual blocks that
being accessed within the objects for the SQL statement. This is great help in
if you may need to reorg your object or redistribute to reduce the contention o
n that object.
1 select dba_objects.object_name,
2 dba_objects.object_type,
3 active_session_history.event,
4 sum(active_session_history.wait_time +
5 active_session_history.time_waited) ttl_wait_time
6 from v$active_session_history active_session_history,
7 dba_objects
8 where active_session_history.sample_time between sysdate - 60/2880 and sys
9 and active_session_history.current_obj# = dba_objects.object_id
10 group by dba_objects.object_name, dba_objects.object_type, active_session_h
11* order by 4
-------------- ------------ ------------------------------ -------------
SOURCE$ TABLE ksfd: async disk IO 23
SOURCETABLE TABLE ksfd: async disk IO 453
SOURCETABLE TABLE latch: cache buffers chains 33258
SOURCETABLE TABLE db file scattered read 82593
SOURCETABLE TABLE db file sequential read 111202
SOURCETABLE TABLE control file parallel write 137237
SOURCETABLE TABLE read by other session 165501
SOURCETABLE TABLE log file sync 612660
SOURCE$ TABLE log buffer space 932308
SOURCETABLE TABLE control file sequential read 1428575
SOURCE$ TABLE log file switch completion 1856281
SOURCE$ TABLE read by other session 1858741
SOURCE$ TABLE db file scattered read 4275060
SOURCETABLE TABLE rdbms ipc reply 4283877
SOURCETABLE TABLE log buffer space 14152000
SOURCE$ TABLE enq: HW - contention 25483656
SOURCETABLE TABLE log file switch completion 59228080
SOURCETABLE TABLE enq: HW - contention 75357823
SOURCETABLE TABLE buffer busy waits 114055403
The new information that Oracle has given us through the V$ACTIVE_SESSION_HISTOR
view is invaluable. Now we can really zero in on those resources, session, users
SQL statements, and objects that are causing our systems to be resource intensiv
By reducing the resource usage, you can in fact tune your systems better.