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Don Burleson Blog 







How to capture a SQL workload in 11g

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting
March 3, 2008


Staring with Oracle 10g, Oracle introduced database replay  where you can avoid using artificial test data by grabbing real-world workloads.  This allows the DBA more flexibility than ever before, and increases the validity of pre-production testing.

Workload-based optimization is an important part of global SQL optimization, and Oracle codified the "holistic" approach to Oracle tuning, most directly in the 11g SQL Performance Analyzer, called "SPA".  See these related notes on workload-based testing:


Workload management is a major new approach for Oracle, away from contrived test cases, and into testing with empirical, real-world workloads. 

Capturing a workload

First, see 11g SQL Performance Analyzer tips for a detailed discussion of capturing a SQL tuning set.  Ahmed Baraka notes these steps in capturing a SQL workload in 11g:

Preparing to Capture a SQL Workload

Before you capture the workload, perform the following steps:

1. Backup database data that you want to test. Use either RMAN, user-managed online backup, Data Pump utilities or a snapshot standby. Output files of this backup will be used for the replay process.

2. Any transaction that is underway when you start capturing the workload may not be captured. If you want to capture all transactions, you can restart the database in restricted mode, start the capture process, then open the database for users.

3. Create directory object for storing captured workload.

Create directory WORKLOAD_DIR as 'C:\Oracle\admin\ora11g\workload';

4. Decide whether some of the user sessions should not be captured. You may not need to capture DBA sessions, Oracle Enterprise Manager sessions or any sessions created by third party sessions. To achieve this task, use DBMS_WORKLOAD_CAPTURE package as in the following guidelines:

a. Use ADD_FILTER procedure to add any eliminating sessions based on USER, MODULE, ACTION, PROGRAM, SERVICE or INSTANCE_NUMBER:


b. Use DELETE_FILTER procedure to delete any existing filter:


Capturing a SQL Workload

Use START_CAPTURE procedure in DBMS_WORKLOAD_CAPTURE package to start capturing the workload:

DURATION => 40); -- duration in minutes

 Stopping a SQL capture

To stop the capture process before ending of duration period, issue the following command:


Displaying a workload

After capture process finishes, you can issue query about workload captures using the following command:


You can generate a report about the workload capture you have made:

v_capture_id number;
v_capture_rpt clob;



v_capture_rpt := DBMS_WORKLOAD_CAPTURE.REPORT( CAPTURE_ID => v_capture_id , FORMAT => DBMS_WORKLOAD_CAPTURE.TYPE_TEXT); -- format could also be TYPE_HTML

-- display contents of v_capture


Alternatively, you can use the following statements:



If you want to delete from its data dictionary views, used the procedure DELETE_CAPTURE_INFO.

However, this procedure does not delete the workload capture files in its directory. If you want to take a new workload capture with the same name, you should manually get rid of its files otherwise an error will be returned when you execute START_CAPTURE procedure.

Testing with your workloads

Just like a tape recorder, this create an encapsulated set of SQL statements that can be used to ?load down? our test database and make it behave as-if it was production.
Let's make an example, by investigating an optimizer_mode issue and examine the performance differences when running in all_rows ve running in first_rows_1 mode.
1 - Create a SQL Tuning Set (STS) (during a busy time of days)
2 ? Migrate the STS to the test database
3 ? Get the replay mechanism working
4 ? When in all_rows and again in first_rows_1, repeat these steps:
   5a ? Set the parameter
   5b ? Start running the STS
   5c -take an AWR report (several snapshots and reports)
  5d ? Upon completion, run plan9i.sql
  5e - For each case, analyze differences in the performance of the different optimizer modes

compare collected data

We then have the AWR report(s) and plan9i.sql output

See my related notes on Oracle workload techniques:



If you like Oracle tuning, you might enjoy my book "Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference", with 950 pages of tuning tips and scripts. 

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 30%-off and get instant access to the code depot of Oracle tuning scripts.



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