Table Structure, Trading Maintenance with Performance [SQL Server]

We recently migrated a database from SQL Server 2005 X86 to 2008 R2 X64. Running an Enterprise Edition License, we were able to take advantage of partitioning. It had several tables with similar structures; row count north of 2 Billion rows.

Old Structure:

  1. 3 fields
    1. TypeId INT
    2. ContentData VARCHAR(100)
    3. insertionDate DATETIME
  2. Unique constraint: TypeId, ContentData. Added InsertionDate to comply with partitioning requirements.
  3. Table had a partition per month.

Pros

  1. On the first week of each new month we marked the previous month partition as read-only.
  2. A one-time File backup was performed to the previous month partition.
  3. Deltas (new data) would always be located on the last partition
  4. The current months’ partition would be the only piece left in Read-Write mode.

Cons

  1. Searching for ContentData for a particular TypeId scanned as many times as partitions used
  2. Bulk Data comparison between new and old
    TypeId + ContentData performed an index seek on each partition
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SELECT ContentData
INTO #temp
FROM sampletable
WHERE TypeId  = 41;
1
Table 'sampletable'. Scan count 92, logical reads 7613, physical reads 223, read-ahead reads 7808, lob logical reads 0, lob physical reads 0, lob read-ahead reads 0.
Original Plan

Original Plan

New Structure:

  1. 3 fields
    1. TypeId INT
    2. ContentData VARCHAR(100)
    3. insertionDate DATETIME
  2. Unique constraint: TypeId, ContentData.
  3. Table has a partition per TypeId (range of 50 items each, e.g. 1,2, … ,50).
  4. Index on insertionDate with TypeId as include
  5. Page Compression enabled.

Pros

  1. Searching for a particular TypeId + ContentData generates a unique index seek plan, 1 scan count (1 partition).
  2. Scanning for ContentData for a particular TypeId generates an index scan for only 1 partition
  3. Bulk Data comparison between new and old TypeId + ContentData performs an index seek in one partition only
  4. Compression reduced I/O reads by 50%

Cons

  1. All datafiles are in read-write mode. Every file needs to considered in the backup maintenance plan
  2. Any partition can suffer block update even if it holds data from 4 years ago (cannot be tagged as historical)
  3. Retrieving deltas performs an index seek on every partition
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SELECT ContentData
INTO #temp
FROM sampletable
WHERE TypeId  = 41;
1
Table 'sampletable'. Scan count 1, logical reads 5449, physical reads 66, read-ahead reads 5445, lob logical reads 0, lob physical reads 0, lob read-ahead reads 0.
New Plan

New Plan

Conclusion:

The table is mostly used for retrieving and comparing data. The retrieval call will always pass in TypeId as parameter. The system now performs an index scan for 1 partition (1 scan count). For data comparison, an index seek is performed for a unique value under 1 partition only. Data compression reduced I/O reads by 50%.

In the past, data extraction and comparison scanned through all the partitions generating excessive I/O calls, but we did not need to worry about continuously backing up older partitions as they were already flagged as read-only and backed up.

With this exercise we have effectively increased performance at the expense of maintenance. Well worth the change.

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