Views: better performance with condition pushdown

May 20, 2010

Justin's A workaround for the performance problems of TEMPTABLE views post on mysqlperformanceblog.com reminded me of a solution I once saw on a customer's site.

The customer was using nested views structure, up to depth of some 8-9 views. There were a lot of aggregations along the way, and even the simplest query resulted with a LOT of subqueries, temporary tables, and vast amounts of data, even if only to return with a couple of rows.

While we worked to solve this, a developer showed me his own trick. His trick is now impossible to implement, but there's a hack around this.

Let's use the world database to illustrate. Look at the following view definition:

CREATE
  ALGORITHM=TEMPTABLE
VIEW country_languages AS
  SELECT
    Country.CODE, Country.Name AS country,
    GROUP_CONCAT(CountryLanguage.Language) AS languages
  FROM
    world.Country
    JOIN world.CountryLanguage ON (Country.CODE = CountryLanguage.CountryCode)
  GROUP BY
    Country.CODE;

The view presents with a list of spoken languages per country. The execution plan for querying this view looks like this:

mysql> EXPLAIN SELECT * FROM country_languages;
+----+-------------+-----------------+--------+---------------+---------+---------+-----------------------------------+------+----------------------------------------------+
| id | select_type | table           | type   | possible_keys | key     | key_len | ref                               | rows | Extra                                        |
+----+-------------+-----------------+--------+---------------+---------+---------+-----------------------------------+------+----------------------------------------------+
|  1 | PRIMARY     | <derived2>      | ALL    | NULL          | NULL    | NULL    | NULL                              |  233 |                                              |
|  2 | DERIVED     | CountryLanguage | index  | PRIMARY       | PRIMARY | 33      | NULL                              |  984 | Using index; Using temporary; Using filesort |
|  2 | DERIVED     | Country         | eq_ref | PRIMARY       | PRIMARY | 3       | world.CountryLanguage.CountryCode |    1 |                                              |
+----+-------------+-----------------+--------+---------------+---------+---------+-----------------------------------+------+----------------------------------------------+

And, even if we only want to filter out a single country, we still get the same plan:

mysql> EXPLAIN SELECT * FROM country_languages WHERE Code='USA';
+----+-------------+-----------------+--------+---------------+---------+---------+-----------------------------------+------+----------------------------------------------+
| id | select_type | table           | type   | possible_keys | key     | key_len | ref                               | rows | Extra                                        |
+----+-------------+-----------------+--------+---------------+---------+---------+-----------------------------------+------+----------------------------------------------+
|  1 | PRIMARY     | <derived2>      | ALL    | NULL          | NULL    | NULL    | NULL                              |  233 | Using where                                  |
|  2 | DERIVED     | CountryLanguage | index  | PRIMARY       | PRIMARY | 33      | NULL                              |  984 | Using index; Using temporary; Using filesort |
|  2 | DERIVED     | Country         | eq_ref | PRIMARY       | PRIMARY | 3       | world.CountryLanguage.CountryCode |    1 |                                              |
+----+-------------+-----------------+--------+---------------+---------+---------+-----------------------------------+------+----------------------------------------------+

So, we need to scan the entire country_language and country tables in order to return results for just one row.

A non-working solution

The solution offered by the developer was this:

CREATE
  ALGORITHM=MERGE
  VIEW country_languages_non_working AS
  SELECT
    Country.CODE, Country.Name AS country,
    GROUP_CONCAT(CountryLanguage.Language) AS languages
  FROM
    world.Country
    JOIN world.CountryLanguage ON
      (Country.CODE = CountryLanguage.CountryCode)
  WHERE
    Country.CODE = @country_code
  GROUP BY Country.CODE;

And follow by:

mysql> SET @country_code='USA';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT * FROM country_languages_2;
+------+---------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| CODE | country       | languages                                                                                          |
+------+---------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| USA  | United States | Chinese,English,French,German,Italian,Japanese,Korean,Polish,Portuguese,Spanish,Tagalog,Vietnamese |
+------+---------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+

So, pushdown a WHERE condition into the view's definition. The session variable @country_code is used to filter rows. In the above simplified code the value is assumed to be set; tweak it as you see fit (using IFNULL, for example, or OR statements) to allow for full scan in case the variable is undefined.

This doesn't work. It used to work a couple years back; but today you cannot create a view which uses session variables or parameters. It is a restriction imposed by views.

A workaround

Justin showed a workaround using an additional table. There is another workaround which does not involve tables, but rather stored routines. Now, this is a patch, and an ugly one. It may not work in future versions of MySQL for all I know. But, here it goes:

DELIMITER $$
CREATE DEFINER=`root`@`localhost` FUNCTION `get_session_country`() RETURNS CHAR(3)
    NO SQL
    DETERMINISTIC
BEGIN
  RETURN @country_code;
END $$
DELIMITER ;

CREATE
  ALGORITHM=MERGE
  VIEW country_languages_2 AS
  SELECT
    Country.CODE, Country.Name AS country,
    GROUP_CONCAT(CountryLanguage.Language) AS languages
  FROM
    world.Country
    JOIN world.CountryLanguage ON
      (Country.CODE = CountryLanguage.CountryCode)
  WHERE
    Country.CODE = get_session_country()
  GROUP BY Country.CODE;

And now:

mysql> SET @country_code='USA';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT * FROM country_languages_2;
+------+---------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| CODE | country       | languages                                                                                          |
+------+---------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| USA  | United States | Chinese,English,French,German,Italian,Japanese,Korean,Polish,Portuguese,Spanish,Tagalog,Vietnamese |
+------+---------------+----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
1 row in set, 1 warning (0.00 sec)

mysql> EXPLAIN SELECT * FROM country_languages_2;
+----+-------------+-----------------+--------+---------------+---------+---------+------+------+--------------------------+
| id | select_type | table           | type   | possible_keys | key     | key_len | ref  | rows | Extra                    |
+----+-------------+-----------------+--------+---------------+---------+---------+------+------+--------------------------+
|  1 | PRIMARY     | <derived2>      | system | NULL          | NULL    | NULL    | NULL |    1 |                          |
|  2 | DERIVED     | Country         | const  | PRIMARY       | PRIMARY | 3       |      |    1 |                          |
|  2 | DERIVED     | CountryLanguage | ref    | PRIMARY       | PRIMARY | 3       |      |    8 | Using where; Using index |
+----+-------------+-----------------+--------+---------------+---------+---------+------+------+--------------------------+

Since views are allowed to call stored routines (Justing used this to call upon CONNECTION_ID()), and since stored routines can use session variables, we can take advantage and force the view into filtering out irrelevant rows before these accumulate to temporary tables and big joins.

Back in the customer's office, we witnessed, what with their real data and multiple views, a reduction of query times from ~30 minutes to a few seconds.

Another kind of use

Eventually we worked to make better view definitions and query splitting, resulting in clearer code and fast queries, but this solution plays nicely into another kind of problem:

Can we force different customers to see different parts of a given table? e.g., only those rows that relate to the customers?

There can be many solutions: different tables; multiple views (one per customer), stored procedures, what have you. The above provides a solution, and I've seen it in use.

tags: , , , ,
posted in MySQL by shlomi

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1 Comment to "Views: better performance with condition pushdown"

  1. Giuseppe Maxia wrote:

    "Can we force different customers to see different parts of a given table? e.g., only those rows that relate to the customers?"
    This takes me back 5 years ago, when I did something similar in multi-user arrays
    http://datacharmer.blogspot.com/2005/12/mysql-5-general-purpose-routine_20.html

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