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This is pretty easy, but exiting the program may be an easier solution. Exiting the session normally (exit from SQL*Plus for example) causes additional information to be written that captures the explain plan in the trace file.  This will not work for three-tier applications, as the sessions are persistent across multiple user connections. It will be necessary to use the ALTER SESSION SET EVENTS command in these instances to turn tracing off to avoid a huge trace file that is not properly scoped.


Besides the ALTER SESSION command, the dbms_support package provides a procedure called start_trace.  This procedure accepts two parameters both of which are Boolean values.  If the first is TRUE, information on WAIT is collected, and if the second is TRUE, information on BIND values is collected.  Figure 3.2 is an expanded version of Figure 3.1 showing the various Level settings. 

Figure 3.2 – dbms_support to trace level conversion

Using this procedure is fairly simple.  An example follows:

SQL>  execute sys.dbms_support.start_trace (true,true);

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

One that is done, proceed to do the work that is being traced.  After tracing is completed, either exit the session, or use the stop_trace procedure as follows:

SQL> execute sys.dbms_support.stop_trace; 

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed. 

Be aware that the dbms_support package is not always installed by default. However, it can be installed, by running $ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/admin/dbmssupp.sql.

A note about rights 

Sometimes when trying to trace a session and the user is unable to start tracing, it is probably just a rights issue. This can be fixed by granting the user execute privileges on this package as demonstrated in the following example. 

SQL> conn kevin/kevin


SQL> execute sys.dbms_support.start_trace (true,true);

BEGIN sys.dbms_support.start_trace (true,true); END;


ERROR at line 1:

ORA-06550: line 1, column 7:

PLS-00201: identifier 'SYS.DBMS_SUPPORT' must be declared

ORA-06550: line 1, column 7:

PL/SQL: Statement ignored 

SQL> conn / as sysRemote DBA


SQL> grant execute on dbms_support to kevin;

Grant succeeded.

SQL> conn kevin/kevin


SQL>  execute sys.dbms_support.start_trace (true,true); 

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

The above book excerpt is from:

Oracle Wait Event Tuning

High Performance with Wait Event Interface Analysis 

ISBN 0-9745993-7-9  

Stephen Andert 


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