Monday, April 17, 2017

The DB2 12 for z/OS Blog Series - Part 9: Piece-wise Deletion

Adding the FETCH FIRST clause to the DELETE statement at first appears to be a very simple enhancement, but upon closer examination it is really quite powerful.

Prior to DB2 12 for z/OS, the FETCH FIRST n ROWS ONLY clause could be specified on a SELECT statement. The clause had two impacts:
  1. the number specified for n is used by the optimizer to formulate an access path
  2. the result set of the SELECT is limited to no more than n rows
With the advent of FETCH FIRST being allowed in a DELETE statement, the number n limits the number of rows that will be deleted in a single DELETE statement. So let's assume that there are 1000 rows for employees in department 200. When we issue this DELETE statement


All 1000 rows will be deleted. However, if we issue this version of the same statement


Only 500 rows will be deleted... you could then run it again to delete the remaining 500 rows.

So why would you want to do this? Well, our little example here is not really a good case for using FETCH FIRST on DELETE . Instead, it is primarily designed for situations where a large number of rows would be impacted. For example, assume that instead of 1000 rows there were 2 millions rows. Using FETCH FIRST  to DELETE the rows in batches, instead of 2 million all at once, can make an impossible task possible. The lock management when deleting 2 million rows can render a big, bulk deletion unwieldy as it impacts concurrent access of the data on the same pages where rows are being deleted.

So keep FETCH FIRST  in your arsenal of DB2 12 SQL tools that can help when you need to DELETE  a large number of rows.

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