3

Question

I have a query which outputs one column, created through a series of CASE statements. That same column is used as part of a CASE logic for a 2nd column in the same SELECT statement.

If I were to construct a CTE with the inner logic applied so I can reference the inner logic when I have to use it as a decision later down the road. What is the overall additional overhead?

As I understand it there is not any real overhead added. (Some research and a simple test case I used are below). Are there articles that talk about this or instances where this is not the case?


Research and Simple Test Case

I found a couple of articles which don't indicate this specific question but send me in the direction of there isn't operational overhead added.

I wrote a small query against one of our existing databases to test this theory out. The results, and execution times were the same, as well as The statistics and the Query Execution Plan.

Code, Execution Plan and Statistics for Non-CTE version:

SELECT PC.CompanyID,
PC.ClientID,
PC.ProgramID,
PC.PatientID,
PC.CaseID,
CASE
    WHEN PFH.FulFilHdrCreateDateTime IS NULL
        THEN PC.CaseCreateDateTime
    ELSE
        PFH.FulFilHdrCreateDateTime
    END AS [ImportantDate],
DATEDIFF(Day, CASE WHEN PFH.FulFilHdrCreateDateTime IS NULL THEN PC.CaseCreateDateTime ELSE PFH.FulFilHdrCreateDateTime END, GETDATE())
FROM PATIENTCASES PC
    LEFT OUTER JOIN PATFULFILLMENTHEADER PFH
        ON PFH.CompanyID = PC.CompanyID
        AND PFH.ClientID = PC.ClientID
        AND PFH.ProgramID = PC.ProgramID
        AND PFH.PatientID = PC.PatientID
        AND PFH.CaseID = PC.CaseID
        AND PFH.FulFilHdrID = (SELECT TOP(1) temp.FulFilHdrID
                                FROM PATFULFILLMENTHEADER temp
                                WHERE temp.CompanyID = PC.CompanyID
                                AND temp.ClientID = PC.ClientID
                                AND temp.ProgramID = PC.ProgramID
                                AND temp.PatientID = PC.PatientID
                                AND temp.CaseID = PC.CaseID
                                ORDER BY temp.FulFilHdrID
                            )
WHERE PC.CompanyID = 'RxCRoads'

Non-CTE Execution Plan

+---------------------------------------------------------+----------+
| Query Profile Statistics                                |          |
|   Number of INSERT, DELETE and UPDATE statements        | 0        |
|   Rows affected by INSERT, DELETE, or UPDATE statements | 0        |
|   Number of SELECT statements                           | 2        |
|   Rows returned by SELECT statements                    | 2880384  |
|   Number of transactions                                | 0        |
| Network Statistics                                      |          |
|   Number of server roundtrips                           | 3        |
|   TDS packets sent from client                          | 3        |
|   TDS packets received from server                      | 38523    |
|   Bytes sent from client                                | 2128     |
|   Bytes received from server                            | 157781300|
| Time Statistics                                         |          |
|   Client processing time                                | 10158    |
|   Total execution time                                  | 10158    |
|   Wait time on server replies                           | 0        |
+---------------------------------------------------------+----------+

Code, Execution Plan and Statistics for CTE Version:

WITH CTE (CompanyID, ClientID, ProgramID, PatientID, CaseID, ImportantDate)
AS
(
    SELECT PC.CompanyID,
    PC.ClientID,
    PC.ProgramID,
    PC.PatientID,
    PC.CaseID,
    CASE
        WHEN PFH.FulFilHdrCreateDateTime IS NULL
            THEN PC.CaseCreateDateTime
        ELSE
            PFH.FulFilHdrCreateDateTime
        END AS [ImportantDate]
    FROM PATIENTCASES PC
        LEFT OUTER JOIN PATFULFILLMENTHEADER PFH
            ON PFH.CompanyID = PC.CompanyID
            AND PFH.ClientID = PC.ClientID
            AND PFH.ProgramID = PC.ProgramID
            AND PFH.PatientID = PC.PatientID
            AND PFH.CaseID = PC.CaseID
            AND PFH.FulFilHdrID = (SELECT TOP(1) temp.FulFilHdrID
                                    FROM PATFULFILLMENTHEADER temp
                                    WHERE temp.CompanyID = PC.CompanyID
                                    AND temp.ClientID = PC.ClientID
                                    AND temp.ProgramID = PC.ProgramID
                                    AND temp.PatientID = PC.PatientID
                                    AND temp.CaseID = PC.CaseID
                                    ORDER BY temp.FulFilHdrID
                                )
)
SELECT CompanyID, 
ClientID, 
ProgramID, 
PatientID, 
CaseID, 
ImportantDate,
DATEDIFF(Day, [ImportantDate], GETDATE())
FROM CTE
WHERE CompanyID = 'RxCRoads'

CTE Execution Plan

+---------------------------------------------------------+-----------+
| Query Profile Statistics                                |           |
|   Number of INSERT, DELETE and UPDATE statements        |         0 |
|   Rows affected by INSERT, DELETE, or UPDATE statements |         0 |
|   Number of SELECT statements                           |         2 |
|   Rows returned by SELECT statements                    |   2880383 |
|   Number of transactions                                |         0 |
| Network Statistics                                      |           |
|   Number of server roundtrips                           |         3 |
|   TDS packets sent from client                          |         3 |
|   TDS packets received from server                      |     38523 |
|   Bytes sent from client                                |      2348 |
|   Bytes received from server                            | 157781800 |
| Time Statistics                                         |           |
|   Client processing time                                |      9985 |
|   Total execution time                                  |      9985 |
|   Wait time on server replies                           |         0 |
+---------------------------------------------------------+-----------+
5

It looks like you've done some solid analysis here, so I may not be able to add much.

One thing that often comes to my mind when folks start throwing around CTEs is this post from Erik Darling:

CTEs, Inline Views, and What They Do

To sum things up, CTEs are a great base from which you can reference and filter on items in the select list that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to (think windowing functions), but every time you reference a CTE, they get executed. The fewer times you have to hit a larger base set, and the fewer reads you do, the better. If you find yourself referencing CTEs more than once or twice, you should consider a temp or persisted table instead, with the proper indexes.

So in your specific case, since you are not joining to the CTE, or otherwise correlating it with other datasets, it's unlikely that the CTE will cause you any issues.

Just be aware that if someone comes along and starts mucking with the query, joining the CTE to other tables, or back to itself, or adding another level of CTE "nesting" (to crunch more numbers for the final select) - then you will start to get into "operational overhead" territory.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.