Optimizing Join Operations

A key aspect of query optimization in Virtual DataPort is choosing the most suitable method for join operations. Virtual DataPort will select a join method based on internal cost data. However, you can force a specific join method that you consider is most appropriate.

An execution strategy for a join consists of two elements: the method used to implement the join operation and the order in which the join input views are considered. Virtual DataPort supports the following execution methods:

If a query or a view forces the use of this strategy in a scenario where it is not applicable, the Server will return an error message.

Merge Join

The Merge join method is very often the most efficient and with the lowest memory footprint. If the join does not set a specific execution method and cost-based optimization is disabled, the execution engine always tries to execute a merge join, if possible.

The merge join can only be used when the input views of the join are sorted by the join attributes. The execution engine obtains the data sorted in the following cases so it can do a merge join:

  • If the data comes from a JDBC or ODBC base view created from a table/view and it meets all these conditions:

    1. The Source Configuration property “Supports binary ORDER BY collation” of the views is “yes”.

      Important

      If the value of this property is not “yes” by default, do not set it to “yes”. If the value of this property is “no” by default, it means that the source is not capable of sorting the data using a binary collation so the data will not be ordered as expected by the Server even if the query sent to the database has the ORDER BY. This could lead to returning incorrect results.

      The section ORDER BY Properties of the Source Configuration explains in more detail the meaning of this property.

    2. The views have the same i18n.

    If all these conditions are met, the Execution Engine adds the clause ORDER BY to the query sent to the database.

  • The execution engine cannot select merge if the data comes from a JDBC or ODBC base view created from a query and for some reason you had to set to “false” the option “Delegate SQL sentence as subquery” of the base view’s “wrapper source configuration”. However, it can select merge if the SQL query of the base view has an ORDER BY clause that sorts the data by the attributes of the join condition. If this is the case, add the attributes of the ORDER BY clause to the property “Fields by which the data is sorted in the source” of the view. After doing this, the execution engine will be able to select merge.

  • If the data is obtained from non-relational data sources and they return the data sorted by the fields involved in the join condition. If this is the case, set the value of the property “Fields by which the data is sorted in the source” of the base view. This property indicates that the data of the base view is sorted by these fields.

The section View Configuration Properties explains how to set the property “Fields by which the data is sorted in the source” of a view.

If the execution engine cannot select the method merge, it will use hash, unless the cost-based optimization is enabled (see section Cost-Based Optimization) and it considers that executing the join with nested join method is more efficient.

Nested Join

The Nested join method, first, queries the input view of the left side of the join, to obtain the tuples that verify the join condition. Then, it executes a query to the view of the right side, for each combination of values obtained for the field that takes part in the join.

If the view of the right side of the join retrieves the data from a database (from a JDBC or an ODBC data source), Virtual DataPort will retrieve the data from this view “in blocks”, instead of executing a query for each row obtained from the first view.

To retrieve the data “in blocks” it executes a query with the syntax selected in the property “Nested join optimization syntax” of the data sources’ Source configuration. Its values can be:

  • Use OR clause
  • Use IN clause
  • Use WITH clause
  • Use subquery

The values available for this property depend on the database. For example, for data sources that connect to Oracle, you can only select “Use Or clause” or “Use IN clause”.

This property is changed in the “Source Configuration” tab of the “Edit Data Source” dialog.

Example:

Let us say that we have defined the view internet_inc_join_phone_inc as:

CREATE VIEW internet_inc_join_phone_inc
AS
SELECT ...
FROM internet_inc
NESTED ORDERED INNER JOIN
phone_inc
ON internet_inc.iinc_id = phone_inc.pinc_id

And that the values of the field iinc_id of the view internet_inc are: 1, 2, 3 and 4.


If the value of the property “Nested join optimization syntax” is “Use OR clause”, the Server executes the following query in the database to retrieve the data of the view phone_inc:

SELECT ...
FROM phone_inc t0
WHERE ((t0.pinc_id = 1) OR (t0.pinc_id = 2) OR (t0.pinc_id = 3) OR
(t0.pinc_id = 4))

If the value of this property is “Use IN clause”, the Server executes the following query to retrieve the data of the view phone_inc:

SELECT *
FROM phone_inc t0
WHERE t0.pinc_id IN (1, 2, 3, 4)

If the value of this property is “Use WITH clause”, the Server executes the following query to retrieve the data of the view phone_inc:

WITH a0 AS ( SELECT a0.c0 FROM TABLE (VALUES 1, 2, 3, 4) AS a0 (c0) )
SELECT *
FROM phone_inc t0 INNER JOIN a0 ON (t0.PINC_ID = a0.c0)

If the value of this property is “Use subquery”, the Server executes the following query to retrieve the data of the view phone_inc:

SELECT *
FROM phone_inc t0
INNER JOIN TABLE (
    SELECT a0.c0
    FROM TABLE ( VALUES ( 1, 2, 3, 4 ) ) AS a0(c0)
    ) a0 ON (t0.PINC_ID = a0.c0)

If the amount of values obtained from the left-side view of the join (in this example internet_inc) exceeds a certain value, the Server will execute several queries to obtain the data from the right-side view (in this example phone_inc).


If you have created the right side input view using a SQL statement (see section Creating Base Views from SQL Queries), the SQL statement must have the interpolation variable WHEREEXPRESSION (see section Using the WHEREEXPRESSION Variable) so that Virtual DataPort can use this optimization option.

Nested Parallel Join

The Nested parallel join method is similar to the Nested method. The difference is that the subqueries issued to the view of the right side of the join are issued in parallel instead of one after the other. It accepts an additional parameter that specifies the maximum number of subqueries issued in parallel.

If the data from the right side view is obtained from a database, Nested parallel is usually less efficient than Nested because with Nested, the Server will optimize the process by generating a single subquery that retrieves all required data.

Hash Join

The Hash join method is often the most efficient when the data in the input views is not ordered and is large. It is also often the most effective when the query latency times for the data sources are high (e.g. Web sources), as this type of join minimizes the number of sub-queries made to the sources.