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  • SQL Server Internals: Nested Loops Prefetching

    Nested loops join query plans can be a lot more interesting (and complicated!) than is commonly realized. One query plan area I get asked about a lot is prefetching. It is not documented in full detail anywhere, so this seems like a good topic to address in a blog post. The examples used in this article are based on questions asked by Adam ...
    Posted to Paul White: Page Free Space (Weblog) by Paul White on August 30, 2013
  • Execution Plan Analysis: The Mystery Work Table

    I love SQL Server execution plans. It is often easy to spot the cause of a performance problem just by looking at one. The task is considerably easier if the plan includes run-time information (a so-called ‘actual’ execution plan), but even a compiled plan can be very useful. Nevertheless, there are still times where the execution plan does not ...
    Posted to Paul White: Page Free Space (Weblog) by Paul White on March 7, 2013
  • Optimizing T-SQL queries that change data

    Most tuning efforts for data-changing operations concentrate on the SELECT side of the query plan. Sometimes people will also look at important storage engine considerations like locking and transaction log throughput that can have dramatic effects. As a consequence, a number of common practices have emerged, such as avoiding large numbers of ...
    Posted to Paul White: Page Free Space (Weblog) by Paul White on January 25, 2013
  • Forcing a Parallel Query Execution Plan

    This post is for SQL Server developers who have experienced the special kind of frustration, which only comes from spending hours trying to convince the query optimizer to generate a parallel execution plan.  This situation often occurs when making an apparently innocuous change to the text of a moderately complex query; a change which ...
    Posted to Paul White: Page Free Space (Weblog) by Paul White on December 22, 2011
  • Join Performance, Implicit Conversions, and Residuals

    You probably already know that it’s important to be aware of data types when writing queries, and that implicit conversions between types can lead to poor query performance.  Some people have gone so far as to write scripts to search the plan cache for CONVERT_IMPLICIT elements, and others routinely inspect plans for that type of thing when ...
    Posted to Paul White: Page Free Space (Weblog) by Paul White on July 18, 2011
  • A Tale of Two Index Hints

    If you look up Table Hints in Books Online, you’ll find the following statement: If a clustered index exists, INDEX(0) forces a clustered index scan and INDEX(1) forces a clustered index scan or seek. If no clustered index exists, INDEX(0) forces a table scan and INDEX(1) is interpreted as an error. The interesting thing there is ...
    Posted to Paul White: Page Free Space (Weblog) by Paul White on September 22, 2010
  • Inside the Optimizer: Row Goals In Depth

    Background One of the core assumptions made by the SQL Server query optimiser’s model is that clients will consume all of the rows produced by a query.  This results in plans that favour the overall execution cost, though it may take longer to begin producing rows.  Let’s look at an example: The optimiser chooses to perform the ...
    Posted to Paul White: Page Free Space (Weblog) by Paul White on August 18, 2010
  • The Impact of Non-Updating Updates

    From time to time, I encounter a system design that always issues an UPDATE against the database after a user has finished working with a record – without checking to see if any of the data was in fact altered.  The prevailing wisdom seems to be that “the database will sort it out”.  This raises an interesting question: how smart is SQL ...
    Posted to Paul White: Page Free Space (Weblog) by Paul White on August 10, 2010
  • Iterators, Query Plans, and Why They Run Backwards

    Iterators SQL Server uses an extensible architecture for query optimisation and execution, using ‘iterators’ as basic building-blocks.  Iterators are probably most familiar in their graphical showplan representation, where each icon represents a single iterator.  They also show up in XML query plan output as RelOp nodes. Each ...
    Posted to Paul White: Page Free Space (Weblog) by Paul White on August 4, 2010
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