How to create fast database queries

Archive for July 1st, 2009

Overlapping ranges: MySQL

with one comment

Continuing yesterday's post.

From Stack Overflow:

I have an event table that specifies a date range with start_date and end_date fields.

I have another date range, specified in code, that defines the current week as week_start and week_end.

I'd like to query all events for the week.

Now, let's see how do it in MySQL.

In the previous post we saw that SQL Server is not very good in optimizing this construct:

start_date < @week_end AND end_date > @week_start

and using it leads to a full table scan. A more complex condition is more efficient in SQL Server:

(start_date > @week_start AND start_date < @week_end)
(@week_start BETWEEN start_date AND end_date)

, since two different indexes can be applied to both parts of the condition.

However, the second condition is intrinsically not very efficient which is a problem for almost any datetime range analysis.

A plain B-Tree index is efficient for queries like this:

constant1 < column < constant1

, but not for the queries like this:

column1 < constant < column2

The latter condition is in fact rewritten as following by the optimizer:

column1 < constant AND column2 > constant

and the optimizer is forced to choose between two non-optimal options: either stick to one index and do the filtering (using table lookups) or perform two index lookups and merge the results.

If 1,000,000 rows satisfy the first condition and 1,000,000 satisfy the second one, the engine needs to inspect either 1,000,000 rows with table lookups or 2,000,000 rows using indexes, only to find out that the intersection contains but 10 rows.

Fortunately, MySQL supports R-Tree indexes (called SPATIAL in MySQL because they are primarily used to query spatial data).

Indexes of this kind are particularly good for the queries similar to the one above, and with a little effort they can be used to query time data too.

Let's create a sample table:
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Quassnoi

July 1st, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Posted in MySQL