How The Plan Cache Lies: Triggers

Simpler Times


Let’s say we’ve got a simple update query. When we run it, it finishes instantly, and the query plan has no surprises.

BEGIN TRAN
UPDATE u
SET u.Reputation = 2147483647
FROM dbo.Users AS u
WHERE u.Id = 22656;

ROLLBACK
One to the two

Then one day DevOps comes along and says that every time Reputation gets updated in the Users table, we have to check a bunch of conditions and then do a bunch of stuff based on the value.

One of those checks is to see if anyone has the 🎉INT MAX🎉 and then insert a row into Badges.

Because I’m lazy (Agile?), I’m going to stick a waitfor in the trigger to simulate all the other checks and actions.

CREATE OR ALTER TRIGGER dbo.one_time
ON dbo.Users
AFTER UPDATE
AS
BEGIN
    
    IF EXISTS ( SELECT 1/0 
                FROM Inserted 
                WHERE Inserted.Reputation = 2147483647 )

    INSERT dbo.Badges ( Name, UserId, Date )
    SELECT N'INT MAX OMG', Id, GETDATE()
    FROM Inserted

    WAITFOR DELAY '00:00:10.000'

END;
GO

Less Simpler Times


Now when we run our update, the plan looks like this.

Ass-mar

What’s important here is that we can see the work associated with the triggers.

What sucks is when we look at the plan cache.

Back To Easy


I’m gonna stick that update in a stored procedure to make life a little easier when we go looking for it.

CREATE PROCEDURE dbo.update_reputation 
AS
BEGIN
    BEGIN TRAN
    UPDATE u
    SET u.Reputation = 2147483647
    FROM dbo.Users AS u
    WHERE u.Id = 22656;
    
    ROLLBACK    
END;

After running the proc, here’s what we get back from the plan cache.

    SELECT OBJECT_NAME(deps.object_id) AS proc_name, 
           deps.last_elapsed_time / 1000. / 1000. AS last_elapsed_time_seconds,
           deqp.query_plan,
           dest.text
    FROM sys.dm_exec_procedure_stats AS deps
    CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_query_plan(deps.plan_handle) AS deqp
    CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_sql_text(deps.plan_handle) AS dest
    WHERE deps.object_id = OBJECT_ID('dbo.update_reputation');
Investigative Reports

We have a procedure reporting that it ran for 10 seconds (which it did, sort of…).

But no mention of the trigger. Hm.

Of course, we can get this information from trigger stats, but we’d have to know to go looking:

    SELECT OBJECT_NAME(object_id) AS trigger_name,
           dets.last_elapsed_time / 1000. / 1000. AS last_elapsed_time_seconds,
           deqp.query_plan,
           dest.text
    FROM sys.dm_exec_trigger_stats AS dets
    CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_query_plan(dets.plan_handle) AS deqp
    CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_sql_text(dets.plan_handle) AS dest
    WHERE OBJECT_ID = OBJECT_ID('dbo.one_time');
Get busy

Lying Liars


When seemingly simple modification queries take a long time, things may not be as simple as they appear.

Blocking, and triggers might be at play. Unfortunately, there’s not a great way of linking any of that together right now.

Thanks for reading!



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