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Diagnosing Gradual Snowflake Question Efficiency

As a result of Rockset helps organizations obtain the information freshness and question speeds wanted for real-time analytics, we generally are requested about approaches to bettering question velocity in databases typically, and in fashionable databases similar to Snowflake, MongoDB, DynamoDB, MySQL and others. We flip to business consultants to get their insights and we move on their suggestions. On this case, the collection of two posts that comply with tackle find out how to enhance question velocity in Snowflake.

Each developer needs peak efficiency from their software program providers. Relating to Snowflake efficiency points, you will have determined that the occasional gradual question is simply one thing that it’s important to dwell with, proper? Or perhaps not. On this publish we’ll focus on why Snowflake queries are gradual and choices it’s important to obtain higher Snowflake question efficiency.

It’s not at all times straightforward to inform why your Snowflake queries are operating slowly, however earlier than you possibly can repair the issue, it’s important to know what’s occurring. Partially one among this two-part collection, we’ll aid you diagnose why your Snowflake queries are executing slower than normal. In our second article, What Do I Do When My Snowflake Question Is Gradual? Half 2: Options, we have a look at one of the best choices for bettering Snowflake question efficiency.

Diagnosing Queries in Snowflake

First, let’s unmask frequent misconceptions of why Snowflake queries are gradual. Your {hardware} and working system (OS) don’t play a job in execution velocity as a result of Snowflake runs as a cloud service.

The community may very well be one cause for gradual queries, but it surely’s not important sufficient to gradual execution on a regular basis. So, let’s dive into the opposite causes your queries could be lagging.

Verify the Data Schema

In brief, the INFORMATION_SCHEMA is the blueprint for each database you create in Snowflake. It means that you can view historic knowledge on tables, warehouses, permissions, and queries.

You can not manipulate its knowledge as it’s read-only. Among the many principal features within the INFORMATION_SCHEMA, you will discover the QUERY_HISTORY and QUERY_HISTORY_BY_* tables. These tables assist uncover the causes of gradual Snowflake queries. You will see each of those tables in use under.

Needless to say this device solely returns knowledge to which your Snowflake account has entry.

Verify the Question Historical past Web page

Snowflake’s question historical past web page retrieves columns with precious info. In our case, we get the next columns:

  • EXECUTION_STATUS shows the state of the question, whether or not it’s operating, queued, blocked, or success.
  • QUEUED_PROVISIONING_TIME shows the time spent ready for the allocation of an appropriate warehouse.
  • QUEUED_REPAIR_TIME shows the time it takes to restore the warehouse.
  • QUEUED_OVERLOAD_TIME shows the time spent whereas an ongoing question is overloading the warehouse.

Overloading is the extra frequent phenomenon, and QUEUED_OVERLOAD_TIME serves as an important diagnosing issue.

Here’s a pattern question:

      choose *
      from desk(information_schema.query_history_by_session())
      order by start_time;

This offers you the final 100 queries that Snowflake executed within the present session. You too can get the question historical past primarily based on the consumer and the warehouse as effectively.

Verify the Question Profile

Within the earlier part, we noticed what occurs when a number of queries are affected collectively. It’s equally vital to deal with the person queries. For that, use the question profile possibility.

You will discover a question’s profile on Snowflake’s Historical past tab.


The question profile interface seems like a complicated flowchart with step-by-step question execution. You must focus primarily on the operator tree and nodes.


The operator nodes are unfold out primarily based on their execution time. Any operation that consumed over one p.c of the full execution time seems within the operator tree.

The pane on the appropriate aspect exhibits the question’s execution time and attributes. From there, you possibly can work out which step took an excessive amount of time and slowed the question.

Verify Your Caching

To execute a question and fetch the outcomes, it would take 500 milliseconds. If you happen to use that question regularly to fetch the identical outcomes, Snowflake offers you the choice to cache it so the subsequent time it’s quicker than 500 milliseconds.

Snowflake caches knowledge within the consequence cache. When it wants knowledge, it checks the consequence cache first. If it doesn’t discover knowledge, it checks the native arduous drive. If it nonetheless doesn’t discover the information, it checks the distant storage.

Retrieving knowledge from the consequence cache is quicker than from the arduous drive or distant reminiscence. So, it’s best observe to make use of the consequence cache successfully. Information stays within the consequence cache for twenty-four hours. After that, it’s important to execute the question once more to get the information from the arduous disk.

You may take a look at how successfully Snowflake used the consequence cache. When you execute the question utilizing Snowflake, test the Question Profile tab.

You learn the way a lot Snowflake used the cache on a tab like this.


Verify Snowflake Be part of Efficiency

If you happen to expertise slowdowns throughout question execution, it’s best to examine the anticipated output to the precise consequence. You would have encountered a row explosion.

A row explosion is a question consequence that returns much more rows than anticipated. Subsequently, it takes much more time than anticipated. For instance, you would possibly count on an output of 4 million information, however the final result may very well be exponentially greater. This downside happens with joins in your queries that mix rows from a number of tables. The be a part of order issues. You are able to do two issues: search for the be a part of situation you used, or use Snowflake’s optimizer to see the be a part of order.

A simple solution to decide whether or not that is the issue is to test the question profile for be a part of operators that show extra rows within the output than within the enter hyperlinks. To keep away from a row explosion, make sure the question consequence doesn’t include extra rows than all its inputs mixed.

Just like the question sample, utilizing joins is within the arms of the developer. One factor is obvious — unhealthy joins end in gradual Snowflake be a part of efficiency, and gradual queries.

Verify for Disk Spilling

Accessing knowledge from a distant drive consumes extra time than accessing it from an area drive or the consequence cache. However, when question outcomes don’t match on the native arduous drive, Snowflake should use distant storage.

When knowledge strikes to a distant arduous drive, we name it disk spilling. Disk spilling is a typical reason behind gradual queries. You may establish cases of disk spilling on the Question Profile tab. Check out “Bytes spilled to native storage.”


On this instance, the execution time is over eight minutes, out of which solely two p.c was for the native disk IO. Meaning Snowflake didn’t entry the native disk to fetch knowledge.

Verify Queuing

The warehouse could also be busy executing different queries. Snowflake can’t begin incoming queries till sufficient assets are free. In Snowflake, we name this queuing.

Queries are queued in order to not compromise Snowflake question efficiency. Queuing could occur as a result of:

  • The warehouse you might be utilizing is overloaded.
  • Queries in line are consuming the mandatory computing assets.
  • Queries occupy all of the cores within the warehouse.

You may depend on the queue overload time as a transparent indicator. To test this, have a look at the question historical past by executing the question under.

      [ SESSION_ID => <constant_expr> ]
      [, END_TIME_RANGE_START => <constant_expr> ]
      [, END_TIME_RANGE_END => <constant_expr> ]
      [, RESULT_LIMIT => <num> ] )

You may decide how lengthy a question ought to sit within the queue earlier than Snowflake aborts it. To find out how lengthy a question ought to stay in line earlier than aborting it, set the worth of the STATEMENT_QUEUED_TIMEOUT_IN_SECONDS column. The default is zero, and it could possibly take any quantity.

Analyze the Warehouse Load Chart

Snowflake presents charts to learn and interpret knowledge. The warehouse load chart is a helpful device, however you want the MONITOR privilege to view it.


Right here is an instance chart for the previous 14 days. Whenever you hover over the bars, you discover two statistics:

  • Load from operating queries — from the queries which might be executing
  • Load from queued queries — from all of the queries ready within the warehouse

The entire warehouse load is the sum of the operating load and the queued load. When there isn’t a rivalry for assets, this sum is one. The extra the queued load, the longer it takes to your question to execute. Snowflake could have optimized the question, however it could take some time to execute as a result of a number of different queries had been forward of it within the queue.

Use the Warehouse Load Historical past

You will discover knowledge on warehouse hundreds utilizing the WAREHOUSE_LOAD_HISTORY question.

Three parameters assist diagnose gradual queries:

  • AVG_RUNNING — the common variety of queries executing
  • AVG_QUEUED_LOAD — the common variety of queries queued as a result of the warehouse is overloaded
  • AVG_QUEUED_PROVISIONING — the common variety of queries queued as a result of Snowflake is provisioning the warehouse

This question retrieves the load historical past of your warehouse for the previous hour:

  use warehouse mywarehouse;

      choose *

Use the Most Concurrency Stage

Each Snowflake warehouse has a restricted quantity of computing energy. Basically, the bigger (and costlier) your Snowflake plan, the extra computing horsepower it has.

A Snowflake warehouse’s MAX_CONCURRENCY_LEVEL setting determines what number of queries are allowed to run in parallel. Basically, the extra queries operating concurrently, the slower every of them. But when your warehouse’s concurrency degree is just too low, it would trigger the notion that queries are gradual.

If there are queries that Snowflake cannot instantly execute as a result of there are too many concurrent queries operating, they find yourself within the question queue to attend their flip. If a question stays within the line for a very long time, the consumer who ran the question might imagine the question itself is gradual. And if a question stays queued for too lengthy, it could be aborted earlier than it even executes.

Subsequent Steps for Enhancing Snowflake Question Efficiency

Your Snowflake question could run slowly for varied causes. Caching is efficient however doesn’t occur for all of your queries. Verify your joins, test for disk spilling, and test to see in case your queries are spending time caught within the question queue.

When investigating gradual Snowflake question efficiency, the question historical past web page, warehouse loading chart, and question profile all supply precious knowledge, supplying you with perception into what’s going on.

Now that you simply perceive why your Snowflake question efficiency is probably not all that you really want it to be, you possibly can slim down potential culprits. The next step is to get your arms soiled and repair them.

Do not miss the second a part of this collection, What Do I Do When My Snowflake Question Is Gradual? Half 2: Options, for tips about optimizing your Snowflake queries and different selections you can also make if real-time question efficiency is a precedence for you.

Rockset is the real-time analytics database within the cloud for contemporary knowledge groups. Get quicker analytics on brisker knowledge, at decrease prices, by exploiting indexing over brute-force scanning.



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