Perl + DBI: Measuring the time of database queries

This post was written by eli on January 6, 2021
Posted Under: MySQL,perl

It’s often desired to know how much wall clock time the SQL queries take. As with Perl, there’s more than one way to do it. This is a simple way, which involves overriding DBI’s execute() method, so it measures the time and issues a warn() with basic caller info and the time in milliseconds.

The same thing can be done with any other method, of course. Go “man DBI” and look for “Subclassing the DBI” for the full story.

So the first thing is to define the RootClass property on the DBI object generation, so that MySubDBI is the root class. Something like

$dbh = DBI->connect( "DBI:mysql::localhost", "thedatabase", "thepassword",
		     { RaiseError => 1, AutoCommit => 1, PrintError => 0,
		       RootClass => 'MySubDBI',
		       Taint => 1});

and then, somewhere, the class needs to be defined. This can be in a separate module .pm file, but also at the end of the same file as the code for the DBI->connect:

package MySubDBI;
use strict;

use DBI;
use vars qw(@ISA);
@ISA = qw(DBI);

package MySubDBI::db;
use vars qw(@ISA);
@ISA = qw(DBI::db);

# Empty, yet necessary.

package MySubDBI::st;
use Time::HiRes qw(gettimeofday tv_interval);
use vars qw(@ISA);
@ISA = qw(DBI::st);

sub execute {
  my ($sth, @args) = @_;
  my $tic = [gettimeofday];
  my $res = $sth->SUPER::execute(@args);
  my $exectime = int(tv_interval($tic)*1000);

  my ($package0, $file0, $line0, $subroutine0) = caller(0);
  my ($package1, $file1, $line1, $subroutine1) = caller(1);

  warn("execute() call from $subroutine1 (line $line0) took $exectime ms\n");
  return $res;


The code can be smarter, of course. For example, issue a warning only if the query time exceeds a certain limit.

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