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how to troubleshoot when select count(*) spins for a long time on a small table...

a table has 18k records. (can see from sysindexes). when i did a select COUNT(*) from tablename, it runs for 10 minutes or so and still ran.. so i had to cancel it..
                         when i did a select * from tablename, it shows records upto 16995, then it just spined and spined.. (again so many minutes run by before i canceled it).
                         
                         when i did a checkdb, the database returns 'fine with no errors'. i tried to drop the index (thinking I will add them again, which may help), but that also ran for minutes but nothing happened.
                         this was a small database. i checked similar databases on the same server, and they also responded very fast and fine.
                         
                         then i came this morning and tried the select, and it ran in less than a second..
                         
                         what do you think might have been happening. how would you troubleshoot this (if it happened again). this is a test environment.. so only 1 person (or 2 at max) would hit this database for now..
                         i also checked the maintenance plan.. every night rebuild/reindex happened on this database as well as other user databases without any single error or timeout.

this is a 2008 database with latest patches.
0
25112
Asked:
25112
3 Solutions
 
Vitor MontalvãoMSSQL Senior EngineerCommented:
There is any index on that table?
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Scott PletcherSenior DBACommented:
Something is blocking you.

If the table has a nonclustered index that is not filtered, you can do this:
SELECT COUNT(first_column_in_index)
FROM tablename
and maybe avoid the blocking.

You can also add a nolock hint:
FROM tablename WITH (NOLOCK)
but that risks giving you an incorrect total.
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Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Developer, Architect, and AuthorCommented:
Don't have a direct answer for you, and don't know if this will help but you can try to execute the DMV to get rowcounts
SELECT t.name as table_name, st.row_count
FROM sys.dm_db_partition_stats st
	JOIN sys.tables t ON st.object_id = t.object_id
ORDER BY t.name

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