First let me say that this is not flame bait. I can only
comment on Oracle, but these results should not be
considered useful against any other database besides MySQL.
I'll save the gritty details unless anyone wants to hear
One issue that I've not seen mentioned here is whether the
database lives on the same machine as the code you're
executing. I'm assuming it does, or you have a very fast
network, or you have a small set of data. This is because
if you were running on another machine your query would
have to return the result set over the network, which could
take a long time depending on the size of your data. One
million rows * 1kB is much larger than a single count of
Another optimization you may want to test out would be to
try doing a SELECT COUNT(1) FROM TABLE WHERE BLAH this will
return the same result as COUNT(*) but may run faster
depending on what kind of optimizations are done. This can
be faster because we're not asking the database to return
rows from the table, just the count. An old oracle trick
until they internally optimized COUNT(*)
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