The historical performance benefit of stored procs have generally been from the following (in no particular order):
Pre-generated query execution plan
Reduced network latency
Potential cache benefits
Pre-parsed SQL -- similar benefits to compiled vs. interpreted code, except on a very micro level.
Still an advantage? Not very noticeable at all on the modern CPU, but if you are sending a single SQL statement that is VERY large eleventy-billion times a second, the parsing overhead can add up.
Pre-generated query execution plan. If you have many JOINs the permutations can grow quite unmanageable (modern optimizers have limits and cut-offs for performance reasons). It is not unknown for very complicated SQL to have distinct, measurable (I've seen a complicated query take 10+ seconds just to generate a plan, before we tweaked the DBMS) latencies due to the optimizer trying to figure out the "near best" execution plan. Stored procedures will, generally, store this in memory so you can avoid this overhead.
Still an advantage? Most DBMS' (the latest editions) will cache the query plans for INDIVIDUAL SQL statements, greatly reducing the performance differential between stored procs and ad hoc SQL. There are some caveats and cases in which this isn't the case, so you'll need to test on your target DBMS.
Also, more and more DBMS allow you to provide optimizer path plans (abstract query plans) to significantly reduce optimization time (for both ad hoc and stored procedure SQL!!).
Reduced network latency A) If you are running the same SQL over and over -- and the SQL adds up to many KB of code -- replacing that with a simple "exec foobar" can really add up. B) Stored procs can be used to move procedural code into the DBMS. This saves shuffling large amounts of data off to the client only to have it send a trickle of info back (or none at all!). Analogous to doing a JOIN in the DBMS vs. in your code (everyone's favorite WTF!)
Still an advantage? A) Modern 1Gb (and 10Gb and up!) Ethernet really make this negligible. B) Depends on how saturated your network is -- why shove several megabytes of data back and forth for no good reason?
Potential cache benefits Performing server-side transforms of data can potentially be faster if you have sufficient memory on the DBMS and the data you need is in memory of the server.
Still an advantage? Unless your app has shared memory access to DBMS data, the edge will always be to stored procs.
Of course, no discussion of Stored Procedure optimization would be complete without a discussion of parameterized and ad hoc SQL.
Parameterized / Prepared SQL
Kind of a cross between stored procedures and ad hoc SQL, they are embedded SQL statements in a host language that uses "parameters" for query values, e.g.:
SELECT .. FROM yourtable WHERE foo = ? AND bar = ?
These provide a more generalized version of a query that modern-day optimizers can use to cache (and re-use) the query execution plan, resulting in much of the performance benefit of stored procedures.
Ad Hoc SQL Just open a console window to your DBMS and type in a SQL statement. In the past, these were the "worst" performers (on average) since the DBMS had no way of pre-optimizing the queries as in the parameterized/stored proc method.
Still a disadvantage? Not necessarily. Most DBMS have the ability to "abstract" ad hoc SQL into parameterized versions -- thus more or less negating the difference between the two. Some do this implicitly or must be enabled with a command setting (SQL server: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms175037.aspx , Oracle: http://www.praetoriate.com/oracle_tips_cursor_sharing.htm).
Lessons learned? Moore's law continues to march on and DBMS optimizers, with every release, get more sophisticated. Sure, you can place every single silly teeny SQL statement inside a stored proc, but just know that the programmers working on optimizers are very smart and are continually looking for ways to improve performance. Eventually (if it's not here already) ad hoc SQL performance will become indistinguishable (on average!) from stored procedure performance, so any sort of massive stored procedure use ** solely for "performance reasons"** sure sounds like premature optimization to me.
Anyway, I think if you avoid the edge cases and have fairly vanilla SQL, you won't notice a difference between ad hoc and stored procedures.Ermahesh2009, if this helps please login to Mark As Answer. | Alert Moderator