From my personal experience, performance instability of SQLite queries 
(drastically jumping from milliseconds to seconds and back) that is fixable by 
running ANALYZE means that your queries are not optimal (some crucial indices 
are missing). The reason ANALYZE helps is because the info that planner 
receives helps to mitigate the absence of important indices by adapting the 
strategy. Say for example, you have a query that involves few tables being a 
JOIN-ed. There may be the case when SQLite has to scan one of the tables but is 
does not know which, so it uses some default logic that does not account table 
size (since SQLite does not know it). As the result, wrong table may be chosen 
(the largest one).

Why this happens exactly after the first record is inserted? Probably because 
Query Planner is smart and uses some meta info. Probably SQLite does not 
allocate a page for empty tables before the first record is inserted. Query 
Planner may take an advantage of this knowledge and optimizing query 

All of this is just a speculation, of course. What you definitely should do is 
run EXPLAIN QUERY PLAN on the sluggish query. Better yet, run EXPLAIN QUERY 
PLAN on *every* query, just to be sure.


> >Don't do that
> Mostly sure, but there's some cases SQLite will skip the busyhandler and 
> immediately return, but they're not permanently-busy conditions. We have 
> multiple threads across multiple processes using the database
> > why you’re doing "PRAGMA optimize" while other parts of your program are 
> > accessing the database
> Because we don't necessarily know there's other work in progress, and we 
> don't have a good opportunity to ensure we do it later but-no-later than when 
> we need it
> >It makes more sense just to put ANALYZE into some sort of end-of-month 
> >procedure
> >or a manual maintenance procedure your users run only when nobody else is 
> >using the system
> That's what we did but the real world isn't that simple
> Last month we did...
> * ANALYZE when the staterepository service starts (effective boot time) if it 
> hasn't been done in a while (1 or 3 days, I forget)
> * ANALYZE at the end of a deployment operation if it hasn't been done in a 
> while (1min I think)
> @ 1st login there's 30+ operations in a short window (1-2 minutes?) and folks 
> are very anal^H^H^H^Hconscious re 1st login perf. The workload is rather 
> variable all told thus the 1min delay. We usually wind up hitting this a 
> couple of times @ 1st login. That primes sqlite_stat1 sufficiently that 
> statements execute in ms (at most) as expected. .
> We recently found a problem where you click on a hyperlink in Edge which 
> (among other things) queries the database and _sometimes_ takes 30s+ instead 
> of near-zero. But we couldn't repro it, and in the rare case someone hit it 
> the problem went away on its own for no apparent reason either. We finally 
> found the problem was a table involved in the query had 1 record and 
> executing the raw SQL took an abnormally long time - but ANALYZE and re-query 
> and time was near-zero. As if we'd added a row to the table for the first 
> time but didn't do ANALYZE so SQLite had no stats to inform its planning, and 
> of course if you reboot after a day or 3 the 'maintenance' would kick in and 
> update stats. Or if something else happened to get installed on the system 
> causing a new deployment operation to call ANALYZE. But the user experience 
> was poor and too unpredictable... 
> PRAGMA optimize; fixed this. We get the ANALYZE benefits we need, but only 
> for those tables that grew significantly (and 0 to >0 qualifies), and 
> We also cache connections for what can be lifetime of a service, so optimize 
> @ connection close is too long to wait.
> My quick hack is to change the PRAGMA optimize per deployment operation to a 
> best-effort - remove the busy handler, try it and restore. I suspect I need 
> something more involved but I'm still weighing my options. The big Q is 
> understanding PRAGMA optimize (and ANALYZE) in relation to busy|locked 
> conditions.
> What do you think of an option to only analyze tables that have grown from 0 
> records to >0 e.g. PRAGMA optimize(0x10002) so 2=ANALYZE if beneficial and 
> 0x10000=change the criteria from "increased by 25 times or more since the 
> last" to "increased from 0 records to 1+ record since the last? I've seen 
> problems when we have data w/o analyze but not if we grow from N to >N, 
> thought that could be coincidental where we analyze often enough stats never 
> get too out of proportion to the data. So far the only definitive statement I 
> can make is ANALYZE on a table that went from 0 records to 1+ notably 
> improves queries by orders of magnitude.
>  - Howard
> -----Original Message-----
> From: sqlite-users [] On 
> Behalf Of Simon Slavin
> Sent: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 5:31 PM
> To: SQLite mailing list <>>
> Subject: Re: [sqlite] PRAGMA optimize; == no busy handler?
> On 4 Oct 2017, at 12:54am, Howard Kapustein <> 
> wrote:
> > We use the default busy-handler w/timeout=250ms and call 
> > sqlite_exec("PRAGMA optimize;") in a loop until success or non-busy/locked 
> > error or some ungodly amount of time elapses (~5min). The logs indicate 
> > PRAGMA optimize; fails due to SQLITE_BUSY w/o ever going through the 
> > busy-handler, and then we spin trying a few thousand times.
> Don’t do that.  It defeats the purpose of the timeout you set.  If you want a 
> longer timeout than 250ms, set that as your timeout.  SQLite’s own retry 
> process is clever.  It uses exponential backoff and can get at the locks at a 
> lower level than your own code.
> I’ve used timeouts in my own code of 5 minutes.  And I never had a user 
> report the error message they’d see if that failed.
> > Docs for PRAGMA optimize; says nothing about busy|locked scenarios, nor any 
> > need to call this in a transaction (nor even if that's legal). Ditto 
> > ANALYZE docs say nothing about busy|locked scenarios
> > 
> > What's expected if PRAGMA optimize hits a busy|locked scenario?
> > What am I the caller expected to do?
> The only locking in SQLite is to lock the entire database.  So the initial 
> question is whether you do have some other thread/process accessing the 
> database.
> I would ask you to reconsider why you’re doing "PRAGMA optimize" while other 
> parts of your program are accessing the database. Right now it tells you only 
> whether ANALYZE is needed, and there’s no harm in doing ANALYZE when it’s not 
> needed.
> It makes more sense just to put ANALYZE into some sort of end-of-month 
> procedure or a manual maintenance procedure your users run only when nobody 
> else is using the system.  That way the routine takes a more predictable 
> amount of time, which users like.
> Simon.
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