Insert using Union All - Fast database import

I'm trying to make fast record inserts into a MSSQL database. The input is object oriented xml files (750.000 lines), which are parsed into different sql statements.

This week I have been testing inserts using Union all, but the performance is disappointing (10.000 records in 5 to 7 seconds). Please look at my sample, maybe you can tell me what to do.

/****** Object:  Table [dbo].[Test]    Script Date: 09/09/2011 12:15:52 ******/


CREATE TABLE [dbo].[Test](
	[Id] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
	[Name] [nchar](100) NOT NULL,
	[Address] [nchar](100) NOT NULL,
	[Zip] [int] NOT NULL,
	[City] [nchar](100) NOT NULL,
	[Country] [nchar](100) NOT NULL


static void TestIt()
    int cnt=0;
    StringBuilder sql;
    Stopwatch sw = new Stopwatch();

    for (int y = 0; y < 5; y++)

        SqlConnection conn = new SqlConnection("MyConnectionString");

            for (int i = 0; i < 100; i++)
                sql = new StringBuilder();
                sql.Append("INSERT INTO Test (Name, Address, Zip, City, Country) SELECT \r\n");

                for (int j = 0; j < 100; j++)
                    sql.AppendFormat("'{0}', '{1}', {2}, '{3}', '{4}' UNION ALL SELECT \r\n",
                        "My name is unknown", "Somewhere near the street", cnt, "The big city ABCDEFFGHIJKLMN", "CountryCountryCountryCountryCountry");

                // Subtract the last "union all select"
                sql.Length -= 19;

                // Insert this batch
                SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand(sql.ToString(), conn);

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LowfatspreadConnect With a Mentor Commented:
still cant find the EE question i was refering to

however this maybe useful to you
yes performance is disappointing...

there was a similar question about 9-12 months ago on EE which tried the full range of insert statement
possibilities but couldn't achieve an "adequate" insert rate/time...

unfortunately i cant find it at present...

not that i'm convinced its much better for you , have you considered just passing the xml document to a stored procedure...

or using bulk insert / BCP ?
Srm74Connect With a Mentor Commented:
In my opinion bulk insert is by far the fastest.
But you have to be aware of the size of you bulk...
The SQL server has a buffer of app. 2 MB (configureable).
If you exceed this buffer performance will decrease alot.

So if you cant do it in one bulk insert, do a series.. Alot faster than single insert...

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VPuserAuthor Commented:
I'm not doing single inserts, but at batch of 100 records, and yes I found out that if the "batch" is too large the performance decreases, but I didn't know that i was 2MB.

I think that the xml structure is to complex to parse it to a spc, there is build a lot off business intelligence into the parser.

How does bulk insert work?

BULK INSERT runs in-process with the database engine of SQL Server and thus avoids passing data through the network layer of the Client API - this makes it faster than BCP and DTS / SSIS.

Also, with BULK INSERT, you can specify the ORDER BY of the data, and if this is the same as the PK of the table, then the locking occurs at a PAGE level. Writes to the transaction logs happen at a page level rather than a row level as well.

In the case of regular INSERT, the locking and the Transaction log writes are at a row level. That makes BULK INSERT faster than an INSERT statement.
anankenConnect With a Mentor Commented:
In order to perform a bulk insert, what you have to do is:
Parse the XML you have into a CSV (comma-delimited) format. In case multiple tables are involved, you need multiple CSV's.
Prepare the tables to bulk insert the CSV data into. These can either be concrete DB tables, or Temp tables.
Once everything is ready (files and tables), run the code below:
          BULK INSERT <table name> FROM '<local SQL file path' WITH (FIELDTERMINATOR=',',ROWTERMINATOR ='\n')
For example::


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VPuserAuthor Commented:
Thanks a lot.

SQLBulkCopy performs a lot better (10.000 rows in 0.3sec and 100.000 rows in 3.5sec), and I like the code structure in it.

The Bulk import is a bit slower (100.000 rows in 4.5sec), and the structure is not as nice as BulkCopy, so I will go for the SQLBulkCopy.

VPuserAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys!
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