Indexing

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Should Index Changes Require Change Control?

We got a phenomenal series of questions from a client, and I wanted to encapsulate the answers into a blog post to help more folks out: Should all index changes require testing in a staging environment, no matter how big or small? What would be a reasonable timeline duration from index identification to deployment? What…
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It’s Okay If You Don’t Create Statistics.

Along with the ability to create indexes (which you most definitely should be doing), SQL Server gives you the ability to create statistics. This helps SQL Server guess how many rows will come back for your searches, which can help it make better decisions on seeks vs scans, which tables to process first, and how…
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A Visual Guide to Choosing an Index Type

Warning: I’m about to overly simplify a whole lot of topics to make things easy. Armchair architects, warm up your flamethrowers. Your table has rows and columns kinda like a spreadsheet: In most applications, your users care about all of the rows, and all of the columns. However, they put certain columns in the where…
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[Video] Interpreting Missing Index Recommendations

This week, we’re sharing Instant Replay videos from our training classes. Next up is Pinal Dave talking about missing index requests from the dynamic management views. It doesn’t matter whose script you use – they’re all built atop SQL Server’s missing-index DMVs, and they all have the same limitations. Treat the missing index requests the…
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Management Studio Hides Missing Indexes From You.

SQL Server Management Studio only shows you the first missing index recommendation in a plan. Not the best one. Not all of them. Just whichever one happens to show up first. Using the public Stack Overflow database, I’ll run a simple query: Transact-SQL SELECT c.CreationDate, c.Score, c.Text, p.Title, p.PostTypeId FROM dbo.Users me INNER JOIN dbo.Comments c…
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Does It Matter Which Field Goes First in an Index?

Let’s take the dbo.Users table from the Stack Overflow database, which holds exactly what you think it holds – the list of users: StackOverflow.dbo.Users Say I want to count up all of the people with 1 reputation point: Transact-SQL SELECT COUNT(*) FROM dbo.Users WHERE Reputation = 1; 1 SELECT COUNT(*) FROM dbo.Users WHERE Reputation =…
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Can Non-SARGable Predicates Ever Seek?

Cheating At Candy Crush The short answer is that yes, they can. But only with a little extra preparation. Before I show you what I mean, we should probably define what’s not SARGable in general. Wrapping columns in functions: ISNULL, COALESCE, LEFT, RIGHT, YEAR, etc. Evaluating predicates against things indexes don’t track: DATEDIFF(YEAR, a_col, b_col),…
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Mysterious Forwarded Records

Thinking Of You When people think about Heaps and the problems they can cause, they don’t often think of temp tables and table variables as Heaps. Of course, without a clustered index, any table is a Heap. This isn’t an argument for or against indexing temp tables, but while working with a client we came…
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Trivial Plans, Simple Parameterization and Check Constraints

Trivial Plans Are Weird They’re the optimizer’s “Yes, Dear”.  The thing is, sometimes “Yes, Dear” can miss some important details. Cost based decisions about operators Potential index improvements Contradiction detection for check constraints Simple parameterization, according to… uh… Official Microsoft documentation? Can only occur in a Trivial Plan. Which makes sense. Simple parameterization is considered…
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Where Clustered Index Keys Dare

Colonel Clustered We’ve blogged a couple times about how clustered index key columns get stored in your nonclustered indexes: here and here. But where they get stored is a matter of weird SQL trivia. You see, it depends on how you define your nonclustered index. “It Depends” We all scream for dependencies! Hooray! If you…
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When Query Plans Lie Part 2

Getting Weirder In Part 1, we looked at how query plans can tell us little lies. Now we’re going to look at how those little lies can turn into bigger lies. Adding An Index Right now, this is our query: Transact-SQL SELECT u.UpVotes, u.DownVotes FROM dbo.Users AS u WHERE u.Reputation >= 100000; 123 SELECT u.UpVotes,…
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Hey, That’s Not My Sort!

Understand Your Plan Mr. Optimizer does the rock n roll hoochie koo with Mrs. Optimizer, c. 1953. When reading query plans, you may sometimes see a sort when you didn’t explicitly ask for data to be sorted. Sometimes they show up to support order-preserving operators like stream aggregates, merge joins, or segments. Other times, they…
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