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Category: Performance Tuning

Troubleshooting Tez Performance

Dmitry Tolpeko digs through Tez logs to figure out a performance issue:

Why did it take so long to run the job? Is there any way to improve its performance?

Tez Application Master Log
I am going to use the Tez AM log to investigate vertex performance and find possible bottlenecks.
Note that there is the Timeline Server REST API that you can use to get the statistics for Tez jobs, but the application master log is “event-driven”, shows the exact order of all events and contains much more details in general.

Click through for the process.

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Plan Hashes and Ad-Hoc Workloads

Erin Stellato has an experiment for us:

Borrowing and adapting code from a previous post, Examining the Performance Impact of an Adhoc Workload, we will first create two stored procedures. The first, dbo.RandomSelects, generates and executes an ad hoc statement, and the second, dbo.SPRandomSelects, generates and executes a parameterized query.

Erin then shows how to review query stats and group together executions which are the same save for a change in literals. Read the whole thing.

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Benchmarking JSON Query Times

Silvano Coriani compares different options for loading and querying JSON data in Azure SQL Database:

Storing and retrieving data from JSON fragments is a common need in many application scenarios, like IoT solutions or microservice-based architectures. These fragments can be persisted in a variety of data stores, from blob or file shares, to relational and non-relational databases, and there’s a long standing debate in the industry on what’s the database technology that fits “better” for this task.
Azure SQL Database offers several options for parsing, transforming and querying JSON data, and this article doesn’t pretend to provide a definitive answer to that debate, but rather to explore these options for common scenarios like data loading and retrieving, and benchmarking results to provide a clear indication of how Azure SQL Database will perform manipulating JSON data.

Read on for the results.

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Query Folding with Power BI Dataflows

Matthew Roche shares a few important points about Power BI dataflows and query folding:

In a recent post I mentioned an approach for working around the import-only nature of Power BI dataflows as a data source in Power BI Desktop, and in an older post I shared information about the enhanced compute engine that’s currently available in preview.

Some recent conversations have led me to believe that I should summarize a few points about dataflows and query folding, because these existing posts don’t make them easy to find and understand.

Read on for those points.

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Fixing Key Lookup Problems

Erik Darling has a couple techniques for mitigating key lookup-related performance problems:

They’re one of those things — I’d say even the most common thing — that makes parameterized code sensitive to the bad kind of parameter sniffing, so they get a lot of attention.

The thing is, most of the attention that they get is just for columns you’re selecting, and most of the advice you get is to “create covering indexes”.

That’s not always possible, and that’s why I did this session a while back on a different way to rewrite queries to sometimes make them more efficient. Especially since key lookups may cause blocking issues.

Read on to see what you can do when a covering index isn’t a viable option.

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Thinking Like the SQL Server Engine

Brent Ozar has started a series based on a video of the same name:

7,405 pages is about 15 reams of paper.
You know those 500-page packs of paper that you put into the copier or the printer? (No? Do you remember copiers and printers? Honestly, me neither.) The Users table is one of the smallest tables in the Stack Overflow database export, but it’s still 15 of those packs.

As we work through demos in the upcoming posts, I want you to visualize a stack of 15 reams of paper over in the corner of your room. When I ask you to query the table, I want you to think about how you’d execute that as a human being facing data spread across 15 reams of paper. It’d be a hell of a lot of work, and you wouldn’t be so eager to go grab the first piece of paper to start work. You’d wanna build a really good plan before you go tackle that stack of paper.

That’s a lot of paper.

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Predicting Application Problems from the Database

Ed Pollack has a pattern for rooting out application problems based on database activity:

We can approach I/O file stats very similarly to how we handled row counts above: Regularly collect data, store it in a reporting table, and then run analytics against it as needed. Since these database metrics are reset when SQL Server services restart, we need to collect a bit more often. We’ll also want to collect often enough to be able to correlate changes to ongoing application activity. Hourly is typically an acceptable collection frequency, but your environment may lend itself to the more frequent or less frequent collection.

What’s nice is that you can get a long way with heuristics and domain knowledge, even before applying data science techniques.

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Power BI Performance Tuning

Eugene Meidinger gives us a detailed guide to Power BI performance tuning:

As a report developer, it can be frustrating a report developer, knowing that something is slow, but not being able to put your finger on it. In my mind, there are 4 main areas where there might be a slowdown:

1. Data refresh
2. Model calculations
3. Visualization rendering
4. Everything else

Identifying which one of these is the problem is the first step to improving performance. In most cases, if a report is slow it’s an issue with step 2, your data model.

Eugene has plenty of good advice here.

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Batch Mode Normalization

Paul White digs into batch mode normalization and its consequences for performance:

I mentioned in the introduction that not all eight-byte data types can fit in 64 bits. This fact is important because many columnstore and batch mode performance optimizations only work with data 64 bits in size. Aggregate pushdown is one of those things. There are many more performance features (not all documented) that work best (or at all) only when the data fits in 64 bits.

In our specific example, aggregate pushdown is disabled for a columnstore segment when it contains even one data value that does not fit in 64 bits. SQL Server can determine this from the minimum and maximum value metadata associated with each segment without checking all the data. Each segment is evaluated separately.

Paul goes deep into the concept, making this well worth your while.

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Comparing CAST and CONVERT Performance

Max Vernon runs a performance test of CAST versus CONVERT:

This post is a follow-up to my prior post inspecting the performance of PARSE vs CAST & CONVERT, where we see that PARSE is an order of magnitude slower than CONVERT. In this post, we’ll check if there is a similar difference between using CAST or CONVERT. But just to be clear, CONVERT offers a lot more functionality than CAST; this post will not help you decide which of these functions to use for a specific use-case – I leave that to the reader to decide for themselves.

Max gets slightly different numbers but under the covers they both call the same CONVERT() function. The difference in numbers is noise: both of them have standard deviations of ~200ms, so a t-test can’t distinguish the two. The big choice is whether you’d rather have ANSI standard code (if so, use CAST()) or if you’d prefer additional functionality around dates and times (like CONVERT() offers).

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