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Including my content from SQLBlog.com and some from SQLPerformance.com
Showing posts with label Sorts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sorts. Show all posts

Friday 31 May 2024

Impossible Execution Plan Timings

Erik Darling (@erikdarlingdata) shared an interesting SQL Server execution plan with me recently. The demo script is at the end of this article.

The important section is shown below: 

Impossible timings?

The Gather Streams operator appears to execute for less time (2.16s) than the Sort operator below it (5.431s). This seems impossible on the face of it. 

The Parallelism (Gather Streams) operator runs in row mode (as always), while the Sort and Hash Match (Inner Join) operators both run in batch mode. This mixed mode plan adds a little complexity to interpreting plan timings because: 
  • A batch mode operator reports CPU and elapsed times for that operator alone 
  • A row mode operator reports times for itself and all its children 
I've written about those aspects before in Understanding Execution Plan Operator Timings, which also covers a confusing situation that can arise in exclusively row mode parallel plans.

I showed a hidden option to make all operators report only their individual times in More Consistent Execution Plan Timings in SQL Server 2022. That feature isn't complete yet, so the results aren't perfect, and it's not documented or supported.

I mention all that in case you are interested in the background. None of the foregoing explains what we see in this mixed mode plan. The row mode Gather Streams elapsed time ought to include its children. The batch mode Sort should just be reporting its own elapsed time. With that understanding in mind, there's no way the Sort could run for longer than the Gather Streams. What's going on here?

Monday 13 November 2023

Why Batch Mode Sort Spills Are So Slow

Why Batch Mode Sort Spills Are So Slow

Batch mode sorting was added to SQL Server in the 2016 release under compatibility level 130. Most of the time, a batch mode sort will be much faster than the row mode equivalent.

This post is about an important exception to this rule, as recently reported by Erik Darling (video).

No doubt you’ll visit both links before reading on, but to summarize, the issue is that batch mode sorts are very slow when they spill—much slower than an equivalent row mode sort.

This also seems like a good opportunity to write down some sorting details I haven’t really covered before. If you’re not interested in those details and background to the current issue, you can skip down to the section titled, “Erik’s Demo”.

Thursday 8 October 2020

Closest Match with Sort Rewinds

Closest Match with Sort Rewinds

In When Do SQL Server Sorts Rewind? I described how most sorts can only rewind when they contain at most one row. The exception is in-memory sorts, which can rewind at most 500 rows and 16KB of data.

These are certainly tight restrictions, but we can still make use of them on occasion.

To illustrate, I am going reuse a demo Itzik Ben-Gan provided in part one of his Closest Match series, specifically solution 2 (modified value range and indexing).

As Itzik’s title suggests, the task is to find the closest match for a value in one table in a second table.

As Itzik describes it:

The challenge is to match to each row from T1 the row from T2 where the absolute difference between T2.val and T1.val is the lowest. In case of ties (multiple matching rows in T2), match the top row based on val ascending, keycol ascending order.

That is, the row with the lowest value in the val column, and if you still have ties, the row with the lowest keycol value. The tiebreaker is used to guarantee determinism.