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Preparing Oracle for Stored Outlines
Oracle Tips by Burleson

Several steps need to be completed before Oracle will use stored outlines. These include:

  • Setting the use_stored_outlines command

  • Verifying important initialization parameters

  • Creating the outline package

  • Defining the tablespace for the stored outlines

Setting the use_stored_outlines Command

Oracle provides a parameter called use_stored_outlines to enable optimizer plan stability. The use_stored_outlines parameter is not an initialization parameter, although it probably will become an initialization parameter in Oracle. To enable the use of stored outlines for the whole database, you can issue the following command:

alter system set use_stored_outlines=true;

However, a new parameter called USE_PRIVATE_OUTLINES enables the use of a category of outlines strictly for the current session while other sessions may use a different set. In addition 9i OEM has a outline editor to facilitate changing the outlines.

Of course, this command must be reissued each time the database is restarted. Most Oracle DBAs add this command to the post-startup procedure that executes dbms_shared_pool.keep to pin Oracle packages into the shared pool.

You can also enable optimizer plan stability at the session level by issuing the alter session set use_stored_outlines=true command, but it is much more effective to enable stored outlines at the database level, provided that your system does not generate SQL with embedded literal values.

WARNING: The outln users default system tablespace can become exhausted if the you alter system set create_stored_outlines=true and your application issues lots of nonreusable SQL with literal values. If this happens, set cursor_sharing=force in your initialization file and use the drop_unused function of the outline package to remove the unused outlines.

Verifying Important Initialization Parameters

Oracle recommends several initialization parameters that must be set in order to use stored outlines. These parameters include:

  • cursor_sharing=forceSet this parameter if your system uses SQL with embedded literal values. With cursor_sharing set, the SQL will be rewritten to replace the literals with host variables, making the stored outlines reusable.

  • query_rewrite_enabled=trueThis enables materialized views.

  • star_transformation_enabled=true This enables the star join.

  • optimizer_features_enable=trueThis will enable the initialization parameters b_tree_bitmap_plans, complex_view_merging, fast_full_scan_enabled, and push_join_predicate.

Create the Outline Package

You will need to install the outln_pkg package to get the procedures available to maintain your stored outlines. Upon installation of the Oracle8i software, a user named outln is created with a password of outln. The script to create the outn_pkg packages is called dbmsol.sql in the $ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/admin directory. Here is a listing from the creation:

SQL> connect / as sysdba;
SQL> @$ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/admin/dbmsol

Also, note that the catproc.sql script builds this  using the following calls:


rem - If catol.sql and prvtol.sql aren’t run you won’t get the catalog views or
he package body.

Note that this script creates the following synonyms and grants after installing the sys.outln_pkg package:

CREATE PUBLIC SYNONYM outln_pkg FOR sys.outln_pkg;
GRANT EXECUTE ON outln_pkg TO dba;
GRANT EXECUTE ON outln_pkg TO outln;

CREATE PUBLIC SYNONYM outline FOR sys.outln_pkg;
GRANT EXECUTE ON outline TO dba;
GRANT EXECUTE ON outline TO outln;

As we can see, you can reference the outline package by the names outln_pkg or outline. Now that the outline package is installed, you can now describe the outline procedure and see all of the available functions:

SQL> desc outline;
 Argument Name                  Type               In/Out Default?
 ------------------------------ ------------------ ------ --------
 CAT                            VARCHAR2           IN
 Argument Name                  Type               In/Out Default?
 ------------------------------ ------------------ ------ --------
 OLDCAT                         VARCHAR2           IN     DEFAULT
 NEWCAT                         VARCHAR2           IN     DEFAULT

Next let’s look at how to create a tablespace for the outln user to hold the stored outlines.

Create the Stored Outline Tablespace

The outln user requires a separate tablespace because your database may store thousands of stored outlines and it is a good idea to segregate the outlines into a separate tablespace for improved manageability. Here is the syntax to create the tablespace:

create tablespace
default storage
   (initial 10K next 20K minextents 1 maxextents unlimited)

Tablespace created.

Next, we alter the outln user to use this tablespace by default.

alter user


default tablespace


User altered.

We are now ready to start capturing stored outlines. Let’s take a look at how it works.

This is an excerpt from "Oracle High-Performance SQL Tuning" by Donald K. Burleson, published by Oracle Press.


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