How to build indexes for slow first execution SQL – SQL Server?

You may suffer from SQL statements with a slow first execution time due to the long data cache process. The following SQL is simple that retrieves records from the EMPLOYEE table that if EMP_SALARY < 500000 and the result set is ordered by EMP_NAME.

Select emp_id,
    emp_name,
    emp_salary,
    emp_address,
    emp_telephone
from    employee
where  emp_salary < 500000
order by emp_name;

The following is the query plan that takes 9.51 seconds for the first execution and takes 0.99 seconds for the second execution without data cache.

The SQL cannot be tuned by SQL syntax rewrite or hints injection for both the first execution and the second execution, it is because SQL Server has selected the best query plan for this simple SQL statement. But the problem is that if the condition “where emp_salary < 500000” is changed; say from 500000 to 510000 or the EMPLOYEE data is flushed out from the memory, the execution time will then be prolonged up to 9.51 seconds.

Let’s see if we can build indexes to improve this situation. There is a common perception that a good index can help to improve both the first execution time and the second execution time. So, I use a tool to explore a lot of indexes configurations, but none of them can improve both executions’ performance. Here the following is the performance of the second execution with data cached for different indexes proposed by the tool. You can see the performance of “Index Set 1” is close to the original SQL performance with a little performance variation due to the system’s loading status and all other indexes sets are worse than the original SQL. Normally, we will give up the tuning of the SQL statement without even trying to see whether those recommended indexes are good for the first execution time.

I did a test for those recommended indexes to see whether they are helpful to improve the first execution time, it surprises me that the “Index Set 1” is tested with a significant improvement and improves the first execution time from 9.51 seconds to 0.65 seconds. It is a 14 times improvement that can make my database run more efficiently. So, you should be very careful to tune your SQL with new indexes that may not be good for your second execution with all data cached, but it may be very good for your first execution without data cached.

This kind of indexes recommendation can be achieved by Tosska SQL Tuning Expert Pro for SQL Server automatically.

Tosska SQL Tuning Expert Pro (TSES Pro™) for SQL Server – Tosska Technologies Limited

Transferring Data in SQL Server with an Eye on Performance

improve performance of sql query

A lot of database professionals often need to archive older data in SQL Server by transferring it from one table to another. There are multiple ways to achieve the transfer, the most useful of which we will discuss in this blog. We will also provide tips to ensure the performance of the database doesn’t get affected as these approaches are carried out.

Different Methods to Move Data from One Table to Another

Consider the following techniques that various DBAs take when they have to take data from a table to add to another table along with some ways to improve performance of SQL query while using them:

  1. Insert data with the INSERT INTO command – The INSERT INTO query is one of the basic methods of moving data from table 1 to table 2. You can help decrease the time it takes to enter information using this method. If the database is running under the full recovery model, just change it to the bulk-logged model. Doing this saves execution time as it skips over complete logging of bulk operations. The following query should help with this:

ALTER DATABASE <database name> SET RECOVERY <BULK_LOGGED>

Once you switch to the bulk-logged recovery model, you will have to use a truncate statement to flush table 2 (destination). You can carry out the same script you were using to transfer data after this.

  1. Use the SELECT INTO query – Using the SELECT INTO rather than the INSERT INTO command can prove useful in some cases. However, the benefits are significant when the recovery model is bulk-logged due to the reason mentioned above. Although users lack the ability to place the data in an existing table, SQL Server brought with it a feature to make things easier. It essentially enables them to pick the filegroup where they want to create a table.
  1. INSERT INTO query + Tab lock hint – Using both in combination has been known to provide better database performance. To achieve this, you will have to use TABLOCK for table 2. If the destination table is without a clustered index or other constraints, that data will remain as a heap. It helps to use the TABLOCK hint for the destination table during data insertion into a heap using the INSERT INTO statement. Doing this enhances query logging and locking since a shared lock is placed on the whole table rather than every row or page.
  2. Adding data using the SWITCH TO query – You can also try moving the data with the help of the SWITCH TO command. Although this query typically finds its use while transferring information between partitions among separate tables, it can help here as well. How? By moving data from one partition to the next using the ALTER TABLE command. If there are no allocated partitions, the data will transfer through tables instead. Before you begin data insertion, make sure you disable any constraints or indexes that exist on the table. It is better to enable constraints and rebuild indexes after insertion from a performance perspective.

Tips for Enhancing Performance During Data Transfer and Insertion

  • Reduce IO lag – Latency can negatively impact the process of writing database files on disk. You can decrease latency and bottlenecks using SSD drives that are comparatively better than SATA or SCSI drives.
  • Maintain Robust Server Infrastructure – The system needs to be properly built to ensure competent performance for various database operations. The greater the pressure on the resources, the greater the effect on performance.
  • Follow ACID Properties – ACID properties make sure each transaction contains certain properties when it gets processed. In the case of data insertion, the isolation factor is also important to consider because the values have another source. Here, the statements should contain the suitable isolation level to maintain integrity within the database.
  • Database Settings – One of the best ways to achieve improved outcomes is to maintain the right database configuration. This is because the settings can have a significant effect on performance. For instance, the location of the database files on the disk along with TempDB settings.

These are the various ways in which you can gain better performance at the query, trace, and constraint levels along with additions that can improve the execution of insert operations.

How to build indexes for multiple Max() functions for SQL Server?

For some SQL statements with multiple Max() functions in the select list and nothing in the Where clause, we have different methods to create new indexes to improve the SQL speed.

Here is an example SQL, it is to retrieve the maximum name and age from the employee table.

select max(emp_name),
     max(emp_age)
from  employee

The following is the query plan that takes 9.27 seconds.

The SQL cannot be tuned by SQL syntax rewrite or hints injection, and the SSMS cannot recommend any index to improve the SQL.

For this kind of SQL that we can consider building a composite index or two individual indexes for emp_name and emp_age.  A new composite of these two columns (emp_age, emp_name) can improve the SQL around 7 times. The following is the query plan shows that the new composite index is used, but it has to scan the entire index for these two stream aggregate operations before getting the max(emp_name) and max(emp_age).

How about if we build two individual indexes for emp_name and emp_age. The following is the result and query plan of these two indexes created. A Top operator selects the first row from each index and returns to the Stream Aggregate operation, and then a Nested Loops join the two maximum results together. It is 356 times much faster than the original SQL.

This kind of indexes recommendation can be achieved by Tosska SQL Tuning Expert Pro for SQL Server automatically.

Tosska SQL Tuning Expert Pro (TSES Pro™) for SQL Server – Tosska Technologies Limited

Creating an Index in Oracle, and the Best Way to Make Use of It

Create index oracle

Indexes are among the most useful and underutilized components of SQL. The user can create an Oracle index and store values along with their location in it.

Similar to the index at the end of a book, an index enables the user to go straight to the data they are interested in. Indexes are most useful when a user has to find a few rows. Therefore, they can use an index in statements that return a handful of rows – after creating one, of course!

Simple Techniques to Create an Index in Oracle Database

Creating an index is a simple task in MySQL query optimization as you only need to know two things:

  • The columns that require indexing
  • The name you will give the index

Here’s how to create one:

create index <indexname> on <tablename> ( <col1>, <col2>, <col3>, … <coln> );

Eg. create index cars_colour_metallic on cars (colour);

However, there are a few things to know about indexes before you begin:

  • You can place several columns in a single index, which then becomes a composite or compound index.

For instance, in the above example, you could also add the types of cars in the index like this: create index cars_colour_metallic on cars (colour, type);

  • The order in which you set columns in the index affects its use by the optimizer.

Next, let’s take a look at two of the most important index types users create in Oracle.

Two Major Index Types – and When to Pick Each

There are several kinds of indexes in the Oracle database that can improve your SQL. However, one of the most significant decisions you’ll have to make is likely to involve choosing between B-trees and bitmaps.

Create Index Oracle: B-tree Versus Bitmap Indexes

B-trees:– Indexes are in balanced B-tree format by default, which means all the leaf nodes are located at the same depth. It takes equal effort (O(log n)) to access any value, and one leaf index entry contains one row of data.

Bitmap:- Bitmaps also store indexed values, but in a completely different manner as compared to B-trees. In it, one value entry is associated with a range of row values. A bitmap has a series of 1s (yes) and 0s (no) to indicate whether any of the range rows contains the value or not.

One major difference between these two index types is that a B-tree doesn’t include null indexed values; a bitmap does. A bitmap can, therefore, answer some statements during MySQL query optimization, such as targeted index searches in which the column has a null value.

Although this won’t work for a B-tree, the user can add a constant at the end of an index to turn it into a composite index.

Bitmaps are also helpful because compressing the bits is simpler, which is why a bitmap index is generally smaller as compared to a B-tree index with identical data.

Why You Need to Keep a Check on the Indexes You Create

With all the benefits an index provides, it is important to create as few of them as possible. This is because you may end up creating one for every specific requirement and forget about them over time. The same goes for other users who may come and go on your team. And no one will have a clue why Brad needed to create that six-column function-based nightmare.

Since you don’t know if the index in question is only used for year-end reporting or never used, you cannot drop an index whenever you want. This can result in awkward situations where a table contains more indexes than columns!

So, if you’re unsure between two excellent indexes and one “good enough” index, it is better to choose the latter. And don’t forget to test!

The Importance of Query Optimization in SQL Server Plus Tips

query optimization in SQL Server

The database is a vital part of a majority of IT systems as it contains that data that needs to be processed for utilization. SQL is the standard language for fetching data from the database using queries and query optimization in SQL Server helps maintain database performance.

The queries used to communicate with the database are almost always simple and quick. The most common operations include the four major data manipulation techniques (create, select, update, and delete) that execute at quick rates in most cases. However, as you already know, they aren’t the only tasks an administrator has to do in a database.

Why Experts Recommend Query Optimization in SQL

Operational databases may have a requirement to execute statements that take a long time. For instance, queries that need access to several tables or include tasks such as aggregation.

Although statements that operate on data warehouses aren’t time-critical, the ones running on operational databases are. They are necessary to fetch the requested information as quickly as possible – which makes SQL Server performance tuning important. One of the best examples of systems that need optimal SQL is one that has access to a geo server. A geo server contains millions of geographical information spread across countless tables.

Moreover, the database operations taking place on this data is often performance heavy. Such tasks may include the intersection of lands and calculations of area, the distance between two geographical locations, etc.

These involve complex geo operations that need a large amount of data present in multiple tables. If the SQL statement used for these operations isn’t efficient, it could take days or months to fetch the results. This is where the DBA will need query optimization in SQL Server to ensure the users don’t have to wait too long to get a result.

Some Quick Tips for Maintaining Optimal Database Query Performance

Take a look at some time-tested techniques of optimizing queries in SQL that not only save a lot of time and resources but are also useful for a wide range of databases:

  • Check efficiency using LIMIT – Many times, the queries have to run on a huge scale of data. You would not want to wait for your statement to execute completely before finding out that you have used the wrong statement or it was inefficient. Therefore, limiting your statement to a smaller amount of information can help you check its validity and with SQL Server performance tuning. Once you’ve run the query and are satisfied with its efficiency, you can carry it out on the scale you want.
  • Long statements can help – At times, you may have written statements that may seem simple to you as they didn’t take long to understand. However, they took too long to actually execute. In databases involving time-critical operations, the opposite would be preferable. Even though the queries will become complex and take a bit longer to understand, they will save a lot of time.
  • Give preference to quicker data structures – This depends on the programming-based knowledge of the DBA. For example, integer comparisons are far quicker than string comparisons.
  • Don’t be tempted to use IN operator – Checking the existence of certain data in a table may be important. But try not to use the IN operator as it slows down the result.

In Conclusion

As mentioned before, these tips are useful for a majority of databases out there. Since SQL is a declarative language, certain databases are likely to optimize for the cases we have talked about above.

However, test the tips before you try to apply them for query optimization in your database. In case some of these don’t work, you may want to consider using a tuning tool to make things easier. Get in touch with us to know how our tuning tool can simplify database query optimization for you.