8.12.1 Measuring the Speed of Expressions and Functions

To measure the speed of a specific MySQL expression or function, invoke the BENCHMARK() function using the mysql client program. Its syntax is BENCHMARK(loop_count,expression). The return value is always zero, but mysql prints a line displaying approximately how long the statement took to execute. For example:

mysql> SELECT BENCHMARK(1000000,1+1);
+------------------------+
| BENCHMARK(1000000,1+1) |
+------------------------+
|                      0 |
+------------------------+
1 row in set (0.32 sec)

This result was obtained on a Pentium II 400MHz system. It shows that MySQL can execute 1,000,000 simple addition expressions in 0.32 seconds on that system.

The built-in MySQL functions are typically highly optimized, but there may be some exceptions. BENCHMARK() is an excellent tool for finding out if some function is a problem for your queries.