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Why A Query May be Faster the Second Time it Runs

Today we have a guest editorial from Kendra Little as Steve is away on his sabbatical.

A discussion came up on Twitter recently about database query performance: if you execute a query twice, it may be faster the second time it runs. 

This can happen for a variety of reasons, but often the answer lies in how the database engine takes advantage of memory. For example, SQL Server will cache the data used by the query in the buffer pool whenever it can. If the data is not forced from the buffer pool due to failover, memory pressure, or another action, subsequent executions of this query (or other queries which happen to use the same data) can reference the data directly from memory and skip a slow trip to read the data from disk. 

When testing this from an interactive query window against SQL Server, one of my longtime favorite commands is the following: 



After this statement is run, you will receive information about how many reads were done by the query in the following categories: 

  • Logical reads – the total number of reads done (these may or may not have read from disk) 
  • Physical reads – a physical read copying data from disk into the buffer pool cache. In Statistics IO output this number does not include read-ahead reads. 
  • Read-ahead reads – an optimized type of physical read (from disk).  

You can learn roughly how much your query took advantage of data stored in the buffer pool cache by doing a little math: logical reads – (physical reads + read-ahead reads) = roughly how much data already in memory was used. 

If you’d like to learn more about using the STATISTICS TIME and STATISTICS IO commands, I’ve written a post on some tricks you can use with these commands. 

Kendra Little

Join the debate, and respond to today's editorial on the forums

Redgate Database Devops
  Featured Contents
Stairway to Azure SQL Database

Creating a Logical SQL Server: Level 2 of the Stairway to Azure SQL Database


In this second level of the Stairway to Azure SQL Database, we cover the basics of building a logical server using the portal and PowerShell.

Removing the Square Bracket Decorations with SQL Prompt

Additional Articles and Phil Factor from Redgate

If you avoid illegal characters and reserved words in your identifiers, you'll rarely need delimiters. Sadly, SSMS applies square bracket delimiters indiscriminately, as a precaution, when generating build scripts. Phil Factor provides a handy function that adds quoted delimiters only where they are really needed and then sits back and lets SQL Prompt strip out any extraneous square brackets, in a flash.

Running Database Console Commands (DBCCs) on Azure SQL Database

Additional Articles from Database Journal

Practically every SQL Server Database Administrator operating in an on-premises environment is familiar with Transact-SQL DBCC statements that serve the role of Database Console Commands. However, there are some additional considerations that should be considered when using them in the context of Azure SQL Database deployments.

Free eBook: Troubleshooting SQL Server: A Guide for the Accidental DBA

Press Release from Redgate

Three SQL Server MVPs (Jonathan Kehayias, Ted Krueger and Gail Shaw) provide fascinating insight into the most common SQL Server problems, why they occur, and how they can be diagnosed using tools such as Performance Monitor, Dynamic Management Views and server-side tracing. The focus is on practical solutions for removing root causes of these problems, rather than "papering over the cracks".

From the SQL Server Central Blogs - Microsoft Tools That Help Query Tuning

Grant Fritchey from The Scary DBA

Query tuning is not easy. In fact, for a lot of people, you shouldn’t even try. It’s much easier to buy more, bigger, better hardware. Yeah, the query is...

From the SQL Server Central Blogs - Common commands and tasks to make dealing with Windows Core easier.

Kenneth.Fisher from SQLStudies

I don’t know how many of you are working with Windows Core these days but personally I think it’s a ... Continue reading


  Question of the Day

Today's question (by Steve Jones - SSC Editor):


Read Only Files

I have this python code:
with open("C:\Users\way0u\Documents\lotsofdata.txt", XXX) as data_file:
    # do stuff
What should I put in place of XXX to open this file as a read only file in text mode?

Think you know the answer? Click here, and find out if you are right.



  Yesterday's Question of the Day (by Steve Jones - SSC Editor)

Creating a Node Table

I am creating a member table that I will use in a new application. I want to use the graph query structures to analyze data and need this to be a node table. What is the correct syntax for this?

-- 1
MemberFirstName varchar(100),
MemberLastName varchar(100),
MemberTitle varchar(100)

-- 2
MemberFirstName varchar(100),
MemberLastName varchar(100),
MemberTitle varchar(100)

-- 3
MemberFirstName varchar(100),
MemberLastName varchar(100),
MemberTitle varchar(100)

-- 4
MemberFirstName varchar(100),
MemberLastName varchar(100),
MemberTitle varchar(100)

Answer: 2

Explanation: The correct syntax is 3, which is a CREATE TABLE syntax with AS NODE at the end. Ref: CREATE TABLE -

Discuss this question and answer on the forums




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