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Performance Degradation for Query on DBA_SEGMENTS.BYTES in 11gR2

I have been troubleshooting a performance issue in a DWH environment, which is quite interesting. It was a query on DBA_SEGMENTS in 11gR2 with lots of partitions and it was taking almost 10 minutes versus only a few seconds in 10gR2. The problem could be stripped downt to this SQL query:

select bytes from dba_segments

The dba_segment view can be seen in DBA_VIEWS:

SELECT ...
       decode(bitand(segment_flags, 131072), 131072, blocks,
           (decode(bitand(segment_flags,1),1,
            <strong>dbms_space_admin.segment_number_blocks</strong>(tablespace_id, relative_fno,
            header_block, segment_type_id, buffer_pool_id, segment_flags,
            segment_objd, blocks), blocks)))*blocksize,
      ...
FROM sys_dba_segs

The response time was dominated by Waits for “db file sequential reads” taking almost all of the response time.

11gR2:

call     count       cpu    elapsed       disk      query    current        rows
------- ------  -------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------  ----------
Parse        1      0.00       0.00          0          0          0           0
Execute      1      0.00       0.00          0          0          0           0
Fetch    12563     23.17     546.74     157447     580414          1      188421
------- ------  -------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------  ----------
total    12565     23.17     546.74     157447     580414          1      188421

10gR2:

call     count       cpu    elapsed       disk      query    current        rows
------- ------  -------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------  ----------
Parse        1      0.06       0.06          0          0          0           0
Execute      1      0.00       0.00          0          0          0           0
Fetch     5104      1.77       2.54          0      96688          0       76542
------- ------  -------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------  ----------
total     5106      1.83       2.61          0      96688          0       76542

The 10046 Trace File contains more data regarding those waits:

WAIT #4: nam='db file sequential read' ela= 134 file#=21 block#=2313482 blocks=1 obj#=-1 
WAIT #4: nam='db file sequential read' ela= 120 file#=15 block#=2128019 blocks=1 obj#=-1 
WAIT #4: nam='db file sequential read' ela= 128 file#=21 block#=2313490 blocks=1 obj#=-1 
WAIT #4: nam='db file sequential read' ela= 372 file#=21 block#=2313498 blocks=1 obj#=-1 
WAIT #4: nam='db file sequential read' ela= 108 file#=21 block#=2313506 blocks=1 obj#=-1 
WAIT #4: nam='db file sequential read' ela= 130 file#=21 block#=2313514 blocks=1 obj#=-1 
WAIT #4: nam='db file sequential read' ela= 132 file#=21 block#=2313522 blocks=1 obj#=-1 
WAIT #4: nam='db file sequential read' ela= 121 file#=21 block#=2313530 blocks=1 obj#=-1 
WAIT #4: nam='db file sequential read' ela= 158 file#=15 block#=2128003 blocks=1 obj#=-1 
WAIT #4: nam='db file sequential read' ela= 146 file#=21 block#=2313538 blocks=1 obj#=-1 
WAIT #4: nam='db file sequential read' ela= 116 file#=21 block#=2313546 blocks=1 obj#=-1 
(Output modified for formatting)

Strange thing that obj# is -1. I made some block dumps of those blocks and found out that all those blocks (file#/block#) have something in common: They were all segment header blocks. Another strange thing was that when the query was executed a second time, all those I/O requests were performed again – so no caching.

At that point, I opened a Support service request. After a couple of weeks, Support suggested running this for each tablespace of the user segments:

EXEC  dbms_space_admin.TABLESPACE_FIX_SEGMENT_EXTBLKS('<tablespace_name>');

Finally this fixed the problem. Now, we are trying to find out why this was necessary for a database, that was freshly created with dbca 11.2.0.2 from the seeded template and filled with data pump import.