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Use find_in_batches to process many records without tearing down the server

Occasionally you need to do something directly on the server – like having all records recalculate something that cannot be done in a migration because it takes a long time.

Let's say you do something like this:

Project.all.each(&:recalculate_statistics!)

Even though you may have been successful with this on your development machine or the staging server, keep in mind that production machines often hold a lot more records. Using all may just work, even with lots of records, but when you iterate over such records and fetch associations for every object, those will be attached to them and kept in memory as well – which causes more and more memory to be consumed over time.

When you need to process many records prefer find_in_batches:

Project.find_in_batches do |projects| projects.each do |project| project.recalculate_statistics! end end

If the default of 1000 records per batch is still too much just set your own size like find_in_batches(:batch_size => 50).

When you only want to iterate in batches (and don't need to do anything on the scope find_in_batches gives you), you can use find_each (it does the each from above for you) as a shortcut:

Project.find_each do |project| project.recalculate_statistics! end

If you are on Rails 2.3, be aware that find calls inside the block are implicitly scoped. This is fixed in Rails 3+.

Does your version of Ruby on Rails still receive security updates?
Rails LTS provides security patches for old versions of Ruby on Rails (3.2 and 2.3).

Author of this card:

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Arne Hartherz
Last edit:
over 1 year ago
by Dominik Schöler
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Posted by Arne Hartherz to makandropedia