Optimize Your CockroachDB Serverless Workload

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This page describes how to tune your CockroachDB Serverless workload to reduce costs.

Understanding your resource usage

CockroachDB Serverless clusters consume three kinds of resources:

  • Network egress
  • Storage layer I/O

To understand these resources, you need to understand a bit about the CockroachDB Serverless architecture. A CockroachDB Serverless cluster is divided into two layers that run in separate processes: the SQL layer and the storage layer. The SQL layer receives and runs your SQL queries and background jobs. When the SQL layer needs to read or write data rows, it calls the storage layer, which manages a replicated, transactional row store that is distributed across many machines.

SQL CPU is the CPU consumed by SQL processes (not storage processes) and is converted to Request Units using this equivalency: 1 RU = 3 milliseconds SQL CPU.

Network egress measures the number of bytes that are returned from a SQL process to the calling client. It also includes any bytes sent by bulk operations like EXPORT or changefeeds. It is converted to Request Units using this equivalency: 1 RU = 1 KiB Network egress.

Storage layer I/O includes the read and write requests sent by the SQL layer to the storage layer. These operations are sent in batches containing any number of requests. Requests can have a payload containing any number of bytes. Write operations are replicated to multiple storage processes (3 by default), with each replica counted as a separate write operation. Storage layer I/O is converted to Request Units using these equivalencies:

  • 1 RU = 2 storage read batches
  • 1 RU = 8 storage read requests
  • 1 RU = 64 KiB read request payload (prorated)

  • 1 RU = 1 storage write batch

  • 1 RU = 1 storage write request

  • 1 RU = 1 KiB write request payload (prorated)

Example Request Unit calculation

Say you have a simple key-value pair table with a secondary index:


Now you insert a row into the table:

INSERT INTO kv VALUES (1, '...imagine this is a 1 KiB string...');

The amount of SQL CPU needed to execute this query is about 1.5 milliseconds. The network egress is also minimal, around 50 bytes. Most of the cost comes from 6 write requests to the storage layer with about 6K in request payload (plus a bit of extra overhead). The INSERT needs to be made first for the primary index on the k column and again for the secondary index on the v column. Each of those writes is replicated 3 times to different storage locations, which is a total of 6 requests. All of these costs add up to a total number of RUs:

1.5 SQL CPU milliseconds = 0.5 RU

50 bytes network egress = 50/1024 = 0.05 RU

6 storage write batches = 6 RU

6 storage write requests = 6 RU

6 KiB write payloads = 6 RU

Total cost = 18.55 RU

Note that this is not exact, as there can be slight variations in multiple parts of the calculation.

You can use the EXPLAIN ANALYZE SQL command with your statements to estimate the RU usage of that statement. For example, prepend EXPLAIN ANALYZE to the INSERT statement:

EXPLAIN ANALYZE INSERT INTO kv VALUES (1, '...imagine this is a 1 KiB string...');
  planning time: 13ms
  execution time: 6ms
  distribution: local
  vectorized: true
  maximum memory usage: 10 KiB
  network usage: 0 B (0 messages)
  estimated RUs consumed: 15

  • insert fast path
    nodes: n1
    actual row count: 1
    into: kv(k, v)
    auto commit
    size: 2 columns, 1 row
(14 rows)

Time: 71ms total (execution 20ms / network 50ms)

This will insert the data, and also output information from the optimizer about the execution of the statement. The estimated RUs consumed field represents the optimizer's estimate of RU consumption for the statement. In this case, the optimizer estimated the INSERT statement would consume 15 RUs, which is similar to the estimate of 18.5 RUs we made earlier.

Understanding which queries to optimize

In the CockroachDB Cloud Console, you can monitor your cluster's SQL activity on the Statements and Transactions pages. You can sort queries by the time they took to process, the number of rows processed, or the number of bytes read to see which queries are using the most resources. If you have queries that return more data than needed or have long runtimes, those are good candidates for optimization.

Tips for reducing RU usage

You can reduce the RU cost of a query by reducing the work your cluster must do to execute that query. We recommend the following:

  • Drop indexes that are no longer needed.
  • Use secondary indexes that reduce the number of rows that need to be scanned.
  • Take advantage of SQL filters, joins, and aggregations rather than performing these operations in the application to reduce the amount of data returned to the client.
  • Use batched INSERT statements to insert multiple rows in a single statement, rather than sending a separate statement per row.
  • Use range UPDATE and DELETE statements to affect many rows in a single statement, rather than sending a separate statement per row.
  • Avoid returning columns that your application does not need.
  • Don't disable automatic statistics, as they are needed to power the optimizer.

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