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Parallel Execution Plans. Joe Chang [email protected] About Joe Chang. SQL Server Execution Plan Cost Model True cost structure by system architecture Decoding statblob (distribution statistics) SQL Clone – statistics-only database Tools

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about joe chang
About Joe Chang
  • SQL Server Execution Plan Cost Model
  • True cost structure by system architecture
  • Decoding statblob (distribution statistics)
    • SQL Clone – statistics-only database
  • Tools
    • ExecStats – cross-reference index use by SQL-execution plan
    • Performance Monitoring,
    • Profiler/Trace aggregation
so you bought a 64 core box
So you bought a 64+ core box


  • Learn all about Parallel Execution
    • All guns (cores) blazing
    • Negative scaling
    • Super-scaling
    • High degree of parallelism & small SQL
    • Anomalies, execution plan changes etc
  • Compression
  • Partitioning

Yes, this can happen, how will you know

No I have not been smoking pot

How much in CPU do I pay for this?

Great management tool, what else?

parallel execution plans4

Parallel Execution Plans

Reference: Adam Machanic PASS

execution plan quickie
Execution Plan Quickie

I/O and CPU Cost components


Estimated Execution Plan

Cost is duration in seconds on some reference platform

IO Cost for scan: 1 = 10,800KB/s, 810 implies 8,748,000KB

IO in Nested Loops Join: 1 = 320/s, multiple of 0.003125

index key lookup scan
Index + Key Lookup - Scan

Actual CPU Time (Data in memory)

LU 1919 1919

Scan 8736 8727

(926.67- 323655 * 0.0001581) / 0.003125 = 280160 (86.6%)

True cross-over approx 1,400,000 rows

1 row : page

1,093,729 pages/1350 = 810.17 (8,748MB)

index key lookup scan7
Index + Key Lookup - Scan

Actual CPU Time

LU 2138 321

Scan 18622 658

(817- 280326 * 0.0001581) / 0.003125 = 247259 (88%)

8748000KB/8/1350 = 810

actual execution plan
Actual Execution Plan



Note Actual Number

of Rows, Rebinds,




row count and executions
Row Count and Executions




For Loop Join inner source and Key Lookup,

Actual Num Rows = Num of Exec × Num of Rows

parallelism operations
Parallelism Operations
  • Distribute Streams
    • Non-parallel source, parallel destination
  • Repartition Streams
    • Parallel source and destination
  • Gather Streams
    • Destination is non-parallel
parallel execution plans13
Parallel Execution Plans

Note: gold circle with double arrow, and parallelism operations

parallel scan and index seek
Parallel Scan (and Index Seek)


IO Cost same

CPU reduce by degree of parallelism, except no reduction for DOP 16





IO contributes most of cost!



hash match aggregate
Hash Match Aggregate

CPU cost only reduces

By 2X,

parallel scan
Parallel Scan
  • IO Cost is the same
  • CPU cost reduced in proportion to degree of parallelism, last 2X excluded?

On a weak storage system, a single thread can saturate the IO channel,

Additional threads will not increase IO (reduce IO duration).

A very powerful storage system can provide IO proportional to the number of threads. It might be nice if this was optimizer option?

The IO component can be a very large portion of the overall plan cost

Not reducing IO cost in parallel plan may inhibit generating favorable plan,

i.e., not sufficient to offset the contribution from the Parallelism operations.

A parallel execution plan is more likely on larger systems (-P to fake it?)

hash join cost
Hash Join Cost




Search: Understanding Hash Joins

For In-memory, Grace, Recursive


hash join cost23
Hash Join Cost

CPU Cost is linear with number of rows, outer and inner source

See BOL on Hash Joins for In-Memory, Grace, Recursive

IO Cost is zero for small intermediate data size,

beyond set point proportional to server memory(?)

IO is proportional to excess data (beyond in-memory limit)

Parallel Plan: Memory allocation is per thread!

Summary: Hash Join plan cost depends on memory if IO component is not zero, in which case is disproportionately lower with parallel plans. Does not reflect real cost?


BOL: Optimizing Data Warehouse Query Performance Through Bitmap Filtering

A bitmap filter uses a compact representation of a set of values from a table in one part of the operator tree to filter rows from a second table in another part of the tree. Essentially, the filter performs a semi-join reduction; that is, only the rows in the second table that qualify for the join to the first table are processed.

SQL Server uses the Bitmap operator to implement bitmap filtering in parallel query plans. Bitmap filtering speeds up query execution by eliminating rows with key values that cannot produce any join records before passing rows through another operator such as the Parallelism operator. A bitmap filter uses a compact representation of a set of values from a table in one part of the operator tree to filter rows from a second table in another part of the tree. By removing unnecessary rows early in the query, subsequent operators have fewer rows to work with, and the overall performance of the query improves. The optimizer determines when a bitmap is selective enough to be useful and in which operators to apply the filter. For more information, see Optimizing Data Warehouse Query Performance Through Bitmap Filtering.

parallel execution plan summary
Parallel Execution Plan Summary
  • Queries with high IO cost may show little plan cost reduction on parallel execution
  • Plans with high portion hash or sort cost show large parallel plan cost reduction
  • Parallel plans may be inhibited by high row count in Parallelism Repartition Streams
  • Watch out for (Parallel) Merge Joins!
parallel execution strategy
Parallel Execution Strategy
  • Partition work into little pieces
    • Ensures each thread has same amount
    • High overhead to coordinate
  • Partition into big pieces
    • May have uneven distribution between threads
    • Small table join to big table
      • Thread for each row from small table
  • Partitioned table options
what should scale
What Should Scale?




Trivially parallelizable:

1) Split large chunk of work among threads,

2) Each thread works independently,

3) Small amount of coordination to consolidate threads

more difficult
More Difficult?







1) Split large chunk of work among threads,

2) Each thread works on first stage

3) Large coordination effort between threads

4) More work


partitioned tables
Partitioned Tables

No Repartition Streams

Regular Table

Partitioned Tables

No Repartition Streams operations!

scaling reality

Scaling Reality

8-way Quad-Core Opteron

Windows Server 2008 R2

SQL Server 2008 SP1 + HF 27

test queries
Test Queries
  • TPC-H SF 10 database
    • Standard, Compressed, Partitioned (30)
  • Line Item Table SUM, 59M rows, 8.75GB
  • Orders Table 15M rows
cpu sec


CPU-sec to SUM 1 or 2 columns in Line Item


speed up
Speed Up



line item sum 1 column
Line Item sum 1 column


Speed up relative to DOP 1

hash join
Hash Join



key lookup and table scan
Key Lookup and Table Scan


1.4M rows


parallel execution summary
Parallel Execution Summary
  • Contention in queries w/low cost per page
    • Simple scan,
  • High Cost per Page – improves scaling!
    • Multiple Aggregates, Hash Join, Compression
  • Table Partitioning –
    • alternative query plans
  • Loop Joins – broken at high DOP
  • Merge Join – seriously broken (parallel)
scaling dw summary
Scaling DW Summary
  • Massive IO bandwidth
  • Parallel options for data load, updates etc
  • Investigate Parallel Execution Plans
    • Scaling from DOP 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 etc
    • Scaling with and w/o HT
  • Strategy for limiting DOP with multiple users
fixes from microsoft needed
Fixes from Microsoft Needed
  • Contention issues in parallel execution
    • Table scan, Nested Loops
  • Better plan cost model for scaling
    • Back-off on parallelism if gain is negligible
  • Fix throughput degradation with multiple users running big DW queries
    • Sybase and Oracle, Throughput is close to Power or better
test systems46
Test Systems
  • 2-way quad-core Xeon 5430 2.66GHz
    • Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL 2008 R2
  • 8-way dual-core Opteron 2.8GHz
    • Windows Server 2008 SP1, SQL 2008 SP1
  • 8-way quad-core Opteron 2.7GHz Barcelona
    • Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL 2008 SP1

Build 2789

8-way systems were configured for AD- not good!

test methodology
Test Methodology
  • Boot with all processors
    • Run queries at MAXDOP 1, 2, 4, 8, etc
  • Not the same as running on 1-way, 2-way, 4-way server
  • Interpret results with caution
  • Search Adam Machanic PASS