Development

When You’re Troubleshooting Blocking, Look at Query #2, Too.

When I’m troubleshooting a blocking emergency, the culprit is usually the query at the head of a blocking chain. Somebody did something ill-advised like starting a transaction and then locking a whole bunch of tables. But sometimes, the lead blocker isn’t the real problem. It’s query #2. Here’s a sample scenario: A long-running select with…
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How Scalar User-Defined Functions Slow Down Queries

T-SQL
6 Comments
When your query has a scalar user-defined function in it, SQL Server may not parallelize it and may hide the work that it’s doing in your execution plan. To show it, I’ll run a simple query against the Users table in the Stack Overflow database. SELECT TOP 100 DisplayName, Location, Reputation, Id FROM dbo.Users ORDER…
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Why Full Text’s CONTAINS Queries Are So Slow

T-SQL
14 Comments
SQL Server’s full text search is amazing. Well, it amazes me at least – it has so many cool capabilities: looking for prefixes, words near each other, different verb tenses, and even thesaurus searches. However, that’s not how I see most people using it: I’ve seen so many shops using it for matching specific strings,…
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Using Triggers to Replace Scalar UDFs on Computed Columns

T-SQL
46 Comments
Your database is riddled with computed columns whose definition includes a scalar user-defined function. Even up to & including SQL Server 2019, which boasts faster scalar function processing, any table that includes a scalar function cause all access to that table to go single-threaded. In that case, a trigger can actually be a great replacement.…
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How to Create a Table with a Partitioned Clustered Columnstore Index

T-SQL
7 Comments
If you need to create a table and you want it to be partitioned right from the start, AND you want it to have a clustered columnstore index, here’s a creation T-SQL example: CREATE TABLE dbo.MyTableName( Id int IDENTITY(1,1), SalesDate datetime NOT NULL, INDEX MyIndexName CLUSTERED COLUMNSTORE ) ON ps_MyPartitionFunction(SalesDate); GO 123456 CREATE TABLE dbo.MyTableName(…
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“Not to write any procedure over 50 lines”

Development
22 Comments
In Joe Celko’s Stairway to Database Design series, he writes: The rules of thumb for T-SQL are not to write any procedure over 50 lines (one page) This seems so radical at first, but it has precedence in NASA’s 10 Rules for Developing Safety-Critical Code: Avoid complex flow constructs, such as goto and recursion. All loops must have fixed…
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Bonfire of the vanities

“UPDATE, INSERT, and DELETE are not normally processed in parallel”

Execution Plans
12 Comments
Years ago, when troubleshooting performance, I stumbled across this Microsoft documentation on parallel query processing that says: Certain types of statements cannot be processed in parallel unless they contain clauses, however. For example, UPDATE, INSERT, and DELETE are not normally processed in parallel even if the related query meets the criteria. But if the UPDATE…
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Half Of You Don’t Understand Variables and Transactions.

T-SQL
30 Comments
Do table variables and variables respect transactions? If I set the value of a variable during a transaction, and I roll it back, what happens? DECLARE @MySalary INT = 100000; BEGIN TRAN SET @MySalary = @MySalary * 2; ROLLBACK; SELECT @MySalary; 1234567 DECLARE @MySalary INT = 100000; BEGIN TRANSET @MySalary = @MySalary * 2;ROLLBACK; SELECT @MySalary; I…
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