Large Updates on Replicated Tables

Late last night, I executed a 70mm update on a replicated table. This was a somewhat low priority update, so the primary goal (aside from the data change) was to avoid any issues on the publishing and subscribing servers, including replication latency errors. I have performed many large updates in the past, but this was the first on a replicated table.

To minimize impact, one of our system DBA’s suggested the use of a replicated stored procedure. Basically, instead of replicating each of the 70mm updates as a singleton transaction, the replicated stored procedure is called on the subscribing server, which then performs the bulk update locally. This was my first time using it and it worked beautifully.

Another of my colleagues, Jeff M., suggested the use of a control table. Normally, I would just output the last affected ID and update the script manually. However, this also worked so well that it will be adopted in all future update scripts.

Using the following pseudo-script and a replicated stored procedure, I was able to execute the update on 70mm records in 11.5 hours with *zero* impact on the servers and replication. I could’ve probably increased the batch size and reduced the execution time even further, but as I mentioned, this was a low priority update, so there was no need to push it.

This process should work equally well on non-replicated updates; merely replace the Execute statement with the actual update.

/************ Chunked Update Script with Control Table ************/
/* --------------------- Preparation Script --------------------- */
/* Note: Execute this section in a separate query window */
Use yourDatabase;
Set NoCount On;
/* Create a control table to facilitate tweaking of parameters */
Create Table dbo.scratch_largeUpdate_control
      sizeOfBatch       int
    , waitForDelay      char(8)
    , minRecordToUpdate int 
    , maxRecordToUpdate int
/* Create your control data; you only want 1 row in this table */
Insert Into dbo.scratch_largeUpdate_control 
(sizeOfBatch, waitForDelay, minRecordToUpdate, maxRecordToUpdate)
Select 10000, '00:00:05', 40297132, 107459380;
/* Update Script */
Update dbo.scratch_largeUpdate_control
Set sizeOfBatch  = 100000
  , waitForDelay = '00:00:30';
/* ------------------------ Update Script ------------------------ */
Use yourDatabase;
Set NoCount On;
      @batchSize        int
    , @minID            int
    , @maxID            int
    , @procMinID        int
    , @procMaxID        int
    , @delay            char(8)
    , @statusMsg        varchar(1000);
Begin Try
        RAISERROR('Sorry, this cannot be executed here!', 16, 1);
    If Not Exists(
            Select object_id 
            From sys.objects 
            Where [name] = 'scratch_largeUpdate_control' 
            And type = 'U' )
        RaisError ('ERROR: Control table does not exist!', 16, 1)
            With NoWait;
              @minID        = minRecordToUpdate 
            , @maxID        = maxRecordToUpdate 
            , @batchSize    = sizeOfBatch
            , @delay        = waitForDelay
        From dbo.scratch_largeUpdate_control With (NoLock);
    Set @statusMsg = 'Beginning update; batch size of ' 
        + Cast(@batchSize As varchar(10)) + ', delay of ' 
        + @delay + ' defined.  Estimate ' 
        + Cast((((@maxID - @minID) / @batchSize) + 1) As varchar(10)) 
        + ' iterations to be performed.'
    RaisError (@statusMsg, 10, 1) With NoWait;
    While @minID < @maxID
        Select @procMinID = @minID
            , @procMaxID = (@minID + (@batchSize - 1));
        /* Execute actual update code here 
           Call a replicated stored procedure, i.e. */
        Execute dbo.myReplicatedUpdateProc 
              @minRecordID = @procMinID
            , @maxRecordID = @procMaxID;
        Set @statusMsg = 
            'Updating records ' + Cast(@minID As varchar(10)) 
            + ' through ' + Cast((@minID + (@batchSize - 1)) 
            As varchar(10)) + '...';
        RaisError (@statusMsg, 10, 1) With NoWait;
        /* Update our control table with the last successfully
           updated record ID.  In the event of an error,
           we can start from here. */
        Update dbo.scratch_largeUpdate_control 
        Set minRecordToUpdate = @minID + @batchSize;
        Select @minID = @minID + @batchSize; 
        WaitFor Delay @delay; -- breather for the server
        /* Check to see if our control values have changed */
        If Not Exists(
            Select * 
            From dbo.scratch_largeUpdate_control With (NoLock) 
            Where @batchSize = sizeOfBatch And @delay = waitForDelay)
            /* There was a change, so grab our new values */
            Select @batchSize = sizeOfBatch
                 , @delay = waitForDelay
            From dbo.scratch_largeUpdate_control With (NoLock)
            /* Print a status message with the new values */
            Set @statusMsg = 'Parameters changed:  batch size = ' 
                + Cast(@batchSize As varchar(10)) 
                + ', delay = ' + @delay;
            RaisError (@statusMsg, 10, 1) With NoWait;
    RaisError ('Success!', 10, 1) With NoWait;
End Try
/* Handle your errors */
Begin Catch
        Set @statusMsg = 'An error has occurred and the last '
                         + 'transaction has been rolled back. '
                         + 'Last record successfully updated was '
                         + 'record_id = ' 
                         + Cast((@minID + (@batchSize - 1)) 
                            As varchar(10));
        RaisError (@statusMsg, 16, 1) With NoWait;
        /* Return the error message */
        Select Error_Number()
            , Error_Procedure()
		    , DB_Name()
		    , Error_Line()
		    , Error_Message()
		    , Error_Severity()
		    , Error_State();
End Catch;
/* -------------------------- Clean-Up ----------------------------
Drop Table dbo.scratch_largeUpdate_control;
----------------------------------------------------------------- */
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