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Indexing question

P: n/a
I need some advice on the best way to load data to a table while
maintaining an index. I have a table that is very small at the moment
but will have more than 70 million rows by the end of the year. Data
is added to it several times a day, parsed from a text file. I'd like
to create an index on the table now, when it is small, and maintain it
as the table grows. What is the fastest way to both load the data and
maintain the index? Should I drop the index, load the data and then
reindex? Is there any benefit to loading the data to a temporary file,
indexing that file and then inserting the data into the master table
which is indexed on the same field? Sorry if this is a really newbie
question but I'd appreciate any advice you can give.

Jul 23 '05 #1
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2 Replies


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On 12 Jan 2005 17:59:04 -0800, ka*******@gmail.com wrote:
I need some advice on the best way to load data to a table while
maintaining an index. I have a table that is very small at the moment
but will have more than 70 million rows by the end of the year. Data
is added to it several times a day, parsed from a text file. I'd like
to create an index on the table now, when it is small, and maintain it
as the table grows. What is the fastest way to both load the data and
maintain the index? Should I drop the index, load the data and then
reindex?
Hi kaelin358,

It depends.

If large numbers of rows are inserted in the table, it is often useful to
drop all indexes before the insert and recreate them afterwards. This goes
especially for nonclustered indexes; the gain for a clustered index is
less, because the cost of rebuilding the clustered index is higher than
the cost of rebuilding a nonclustered index.

However, if the amount of data added is only a fraction of what's already
there (e.g. 60 million rows in the table and a mere 100,000 rows to be
added), then the cost of rebuilding indexes for 60 million rows might well
exceed the cost of updating the index with 100,000 new rows. In that case,
it's cheaper to just keep the index during the insert.

Another consideration is whether the insert is during down time or on a
live system. If you drop, then recreate the indexes, other processes
reading from or writing to the table will slow down. On the other hand, if
you keep the index, other processes writing to the table have a higher
chance of being blocked.

Since performance depends on lots of things (hardware, row size, size of
indexed columns, etc), the only way to know for sure what method is the
quickest is to test both and compare the results.

Is there any benefit to loading the data to a temporary file,
indexing that file and then inserting the data into the master table
which is indexed on the same field?


I would definitely recommend this if you have to do the insert on a live
system. The actual import process will probably be relatively slow; if you
use a staging table to import the data, clean it up (if needed) and only
then import if to the actual table, you'll keep the time that the actual
table is blocked by the import process as low as possible. You'll have to
experiment to find out what (if any) indexes on the staging table result
in the quickest copying to the actual table.

If you only do the insert during down time AND you're sure that you'll
never have to cleanup bad data, then I wouldn't bother and simply insert
straight into the actual table.

Best, Hugo
--

(Remove _NO_ and _SPAM_ to get my e-mail address)
Jul 23 '05 #2

P: n/a
Thanks Hugo. It looks like we need to do some experimentation to see
what works best. I'm thinking that the temp table procedure will be
the way to go.

Jul 23 '05 #3

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