Performance - Share Point 2010

Extracting data using CAML is a pretty efficient operation. There is, of course, the overhead of converting the CAML query into a SQL statement and the performance implications of the highly abstracted database schema, but all in all, the process works well and the minor performance hit is a reasonable price to pay for the flexibility available. There’s a problem when the data access pattern gets a bit more complicated. For example, using SQL, we can easily write a complex statement such as this:

This statement will execute a query and use the rows returned by the query to select other rows in a second table that will then be updated. However, CAML does not support updates, and as a consequence, in order to perform a similar action on SharePoint, an appropriate CAML query will be executed and the resulting list will be loaded in memory. The SharePoint runtime will then iterate through the list, making the necessary updates one row at a time. This presents a few problems, and the first is memory usage. If the query returns a huge amount of data, either because the rows contain a lot of content or because there are a large number of rows, the memory requirements will be considerable. To make this problem worse, remember that SharePoint is a web-based platform. Many users could be performing similar operations at the same time, exponentially increasing the memory requirements. The second problem is timeouts and perceived application performance; if such an operation is performed during a page post-back, the user will need to wait for the operation to complete before the page is refreshed. For very large operations, the process may take so long that the page request times out and the user subsequently refreshes the page, compounding the performance problem.Of course, complicated data access operations such as this are not very common, and with some careful programming, you can work around them. But what about simpler operations that can be performed using the user interface? You’ve seen how nontechnical users can create custom views of a list or library. What if a user creates a view that returns 10,000 rows on a single page? All of that data needs to be loaded into memory to renderthe page, and worse still, the resultant page then needs to be downloaded to the browser, causing network performance issues.

List Throttling
To prevent rogue database operations from bringing down a SharePoint server, SharePoint 2010 introduces the concept of list throttling. List throttling allows an administrator to specify the maximum number of items that can be retrieved in a single request. So in our example, if a user created a view with a page size of 10,000 but the administrator had specified a List View Threshold of 2000 items, no rows would be returned and instead the user would receive an error message indicating that the query exceeded the specified threshold.
Here’s how to configure list throttling:

  1. From SharePoint Central Administration, select Manage Web Applications.
  2. Select the appropriate application from the list, and then in the ribbon select Resource Throttling under General Settings, as shown next:

List Throttling
The Resource Throttling dialog has a number of options that warrant explanation:

  1. List View Threshold This value determines the maximum number of items that can be returned by a single query. For our example, we could set this to 2000 (which is the minimum value).
  2. Object Model Override In some situations, it is necessary to execute larger queries, and a few options are available regarding how to tackle this problem. Object Model Override allows developers to override the List View Threshold on a per-query basis using code similar to this:
  3. List View Threshold for Auditors and Administrators This value is the upper limit for auditors and administrators. Note that when using the Object Model Overrides the limit is not removed; this value is used instead of the List View Threshold.
  4. Daily Time Windows for Large Queries This is the preferred solution for dealing with large queries. Administrators can define a time window when usage is low and allow large queries to execute. During this window of time, no limits are applied.

Column Indexes
When a list or library contains a large number of rows, executing a CAML query to return a selection of data can take some time. To improve the performance of such operations, you can apply indexes to columns in a list, although this approach has a few caveats. Bearing in mind that the SharePoint database schema mandates the storage of all user data in a single table, the indexes that we’re creating using the SharePoint object model or user interface are not indexes in the SQL sense of the word. Such an index is not possible, because in the underlying database schema, a single column may contain values for different fields and different lists in subsequent rows. Applying an index to the column would have unintended consequences. Without going into technical minutiae, to get around this limitation of the database schema, when an index is created on a column, the value being indexed is copied to a separate table. As a consequence, if a list has 10,000 rows, for each column being indexed, a further 10,000 rows are created in the separate index table. For example, if 5 columns were indexed, 50,000 rows would be added to the index table. The drawback with this is that the table has to be kept in sync with the main data table, and as the number of rows in the table increases, it creates an element of diminishing returns. Here’s how to add an index to a column using the user interface:

  1. Open the list containing the column to be indexed. In the ribbon, select List Settings from the List Tools tab, as shown:
  2. Column Indexes
  3. Select Indexed columns in the Columns section of the page, and then click Create A New Index.

Here’s how to add an index using code:

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