When evaluating your output data, consider the number of bytes written by your query. How many bytes are written for your result set? Are you properly limiting the amount of data written? Are you repeatedly writing the same data? The amount of data written by a query impacts query performance (I/O). If you are writing results to a permanent (destination) table, the amount of data written also has a cost.
The following best practices provide guidance on controlling your output data.
Avoid repeated joins and subqueries
Best practice: Avoid repeatedly joining the same tables and using the same subqueries.
If you are repeatedly joining the same tables, consider revisting your schema. Instead of repeatedly joining the data, it might be more performant for you to use nested repeated data to represent the relationships. Nested repeated data saves you the performance impact of the communication bandwidth that is required by a join. It also saves you the I/O costs that are incurred by repeatedly reading and writing the same data. For more information, see using nested and repeated fields.
Similarly, repeating the same subqueries impacts performance through repetitive query processing. If you are using the same subqueries in multiple queries, consider materializing the subquery results in a table. Then consume the materialized data in your queries.
Materializing your subquery results improves performance and reduces the overall amount of data that is read and written by BigQuery. The small cost of storing the materialized data outweighs the performance impact of repeated I/O and query processing.
Carefully consider materializing large result sets
Best practice: Carefully consider materializing large result sets to a destination table. Writing large result sets has performance and cost impacts.
BigQuery limits cached results to approximately 128 MB compressed.
Queries that return larger results overtake this limit and frequently result in
the following error:
Response too large.
This error often occurs when you select a large number of fields from a table with a considerable amount of data. Issues writing cached results can also occur in ETL-style queries that normalize data without reduction or aggregation.
You can overcome the limitation on cached result size by:
- Using filters to limit the result set
- Using a
LIMITclause to reduce the result set, especially if you using an
- Writing the output data to a destination table
Be aware that writing very large result sets to destination tables impacts query performance (I/O). In addition, you will incur a small cost for storing the destination table. You can automatically delete a large destination table by using the dataset's default table expiration. For more information, see Use the expiration settings in the storage best practices.
LIMIT clause with large sorts
Best practice: If you are sorting a very large number of values, use a
Writing results for a query with an
ORDER BY clause can result in
errors. Because the final sorting must be done on a single slot, if you are
attempting to order a very large result set, the final sorting can overwhelm the
slot that is processing the data. If you are using an
ORDER BY clause, also
For example, the following query orders a very large results set and throws a
Resources exceeded error. The query sorts by the
title column in the
title column contains millions of values.
SELECT title FROM `bigquery-samples.wikipedia_benchmark.Wiki1B` ORDER BY title
To remove the error, use a query like the following:
SELECT title FROM
bigquery-samples.wikipedia_benchmark.Wiki1BORDER BY title DESC LIMIT 1000