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How to get row counts for arbitrary SELECTs

One of the good side-effects of using Joe bot is the ability that any EXPLAIN plan with actual execution provides: one can get row counts for any SELECT without having direct access to the data.

This can be useful when you develop or troubleshoot something and need to learn how many rows a query would return in real life (on production). Of course, it makes sense only if your Database Lab Engine is set up to work with production-like data.

To get exact row counts, use the Actual rows parameter of the query execution plan which satisfies the specified condition.

In the following steps let's assume that we need to answer the question: "How many rows in the table table1 have col1 = 1?" So, our SELECT would be select * from table1 where col1.

  1. Execute explain select * from table1 where col1 = 1 command to get the query execution plan. The session will start automatically, and a new clone will be created in a few seconds by the Database Lab Engine.

Notice that using count(*) is not really needed – select * from table1 (or even select from table1) is absolutely enough.


Keep in mind that the clone you are working with might be, depending on the settings and the state of Database Lab Engine, somewhat outdated. In the very beginning, Joe reports the timestamp to help you understand the version of data you are working with: Snapshot data state at: 2020-01-02 03:04:05 UTC.

Run command / Automatic session creation / Web UI

  1. Open the full execution plan. You can get the rows number from the first line. For example, if you see (actual ... rows=1000), it means that 1000 rows match the specified criteria.

This recipe may be very useful for quite complex queries. You can benefit from one of the key features of Database Lab Engine and Joe bot: your session is fully independent, your work doesn't affect the production performance of your colleague's work, even if the query your use is suboptimal and runs many hours.

Query plan with execution / Web UI