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Never Ignore a Sort Warning in SQL Server

It is always bad news if your SQL queries are having to use the SORT operator. It is worse news if you get a warning that sort operations are spilling onto TempDB. If you have a busy, slow TempDB, then the effect on performance can be awful. You should check your query plans to try to eliminate SORTs and never leave a SORT warning unheeded. Fabiano Amorim shows the range of ways of getting information on what is going on with a query that is doing a SORT and when requests are made for memory.… Read more

Using Optimizer_WhatIF and StatsStream to Simulate a Production Environment

SQL Server's Query optimiser judges the best query plan from the data in the relevant tables and the server's hardware. How, then, can you investigate the query plans being generated for slow-running queries on a customer's production server when you can neither access the server, nor recreate the database from a backup?… Read more

Window Functions in SQL Server

When SQL Server introduced Window Functions in SQL Server 2005, it was done in a rather tentative way, with only a handful of functions being introduced. This was frustrating, as they remove the last excuse for cursor-based operations by providing aggregations over a partition of the result set, and imposing an ordered sequence over a partition. Now, with SQL Server 2012, we are soon to enjoy a full range of Window Functions. They are going to make for some much simpler SQL queries.… Read more

Statistics on Ascending Columns

It comes as rather a shock to find out that one of the commonest circumstances in an OLTP database, an ascending primary key with most querying on the latest records, can throw the judgement of the Query Optimiser to the extent that perfomance nose-dives. Fabiano once again puts on snorkel and goggles to explore the murky depths of execution plans to find out why. … Read more

Showplan Operator of the Week – Merge Interval

When Fabiano agreed to undertake the epic task of describing each showplan operator, none of us quite predicted the interesting ways that the series helps to understand how the query optimiser works. With the Merge Interval, Fabiano comes up with some insights about the way that the Query optimiser handles overlapping ranges efficiently… Read more

Showplan Operator of the Week – Stream Aggregate

Fabiano continues his mission to explain the Query Optimiser in practical terms, describing, one week at a time, all the major Showplan Operators used by SQL Server's Query Optimiser to build the Query Plan. He discusses the Stream Aggregate function and shows how easy it is to get performance gains in GROUP BY clauses by choosing the right index.… Read more

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