Query analysis

Ayman Elnory

SQL Server Query Execution Plan for beginners – Clustered Index Operators

March 5, 2018 by

We have discussed how to created estimated execution plans and actual execution plans in various formats in my previous article SQL Server Query Execution Plan for beginners – Types and Options.

In this article we will continue discussing the various execution plan operators related to clustered indexes, and what they do, when do they appear and what happens when they do.

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Ahmad Yaseen

SQL Server table hints – WITH (NOLOCK) best practices

February 14, 2018 by

SQL Server table hints are a special type of explicit command that are used to override the default behavior of the SQL Server query optimizer during the T-SQL query execution This is accomplished by enforcing a specific locking method, a specific index or query processing operation, such index seek or table scan, to be used by the SQL Server query optimizer to build the query execution plan. The table hints can be added to the FROM clause of the T-SQL query, affecting the table or the view that is referenced in the FROM clause only.

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Marko Zivkovic

OpenQueryStore for SQL Server – Installation and configuration

January 24, 2018 by

The OpenQueryStore is an Open source implementation of the popular Query store functionality introduced in SQL Server 2016 CTP2. The OpenQueryStore was first introduced in June 2017. Its main contributors are William Durkin and Enrico van de Laar

The OpenQueryStore collects query runtime execution statistics, wait statistics information against a specific database. This information helps identifying performance problems and troubleshooting by quickly finding performance differences.

The main difference between the OpenQueryStore and the Query store feature is that the OpenQueryStore supports SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2014 while Query Store supports only SQL Server 2016 and higher. Also, the OpenQueryStore is open-source which means that the OpenQueryStore code can be changed whenever you like.

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Ben Richardson

Understanding SQL Server query plan cache

January 18, 2018 by

Whenever a query is run for the first time in SQL Server, it is compiled and a query plan is generated for the query. Every query requires a query plan before it is actually executed. This query plan is stored in SQL Server query plan cache. This way when that query is run again, SQL Server doesn’t need to create another query plan; rather it uses the cached query plan which improved database performance.

The duration that a query plan stays in the plan cache depends upon how often a query is executed. Query plans that are used more often, stay in the query plan cache for longer durations, and vice-versa.

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Marko Zivkovic

SQL Server Query Store – Overview

December 29, 2017 by

The SQL Server Query Store is a relatively new feature introduced in SQL Server 2016. It is basically a SQL Server “flight recorder” or “black box”, capturing a history of executed queries, query runtime execution statistics, execution plans etc. against a specific database. This information helps in identifying performance problems caused by query plan changes and troubleshooting by quickly finding performance differences, even after SQL Server restart or upgrade. All data that SQL Server Query Store capture are stored on disk.

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Esat Erkec

How to use sargable expressions in T-SQL queries; performance advantages and examples

December 22, 2017 by

The challenge

One of the main tasks of a SQL Server database administrator is performance tuning. Sometimes, though, coders or developers don’t always prioritize database performance or query optimization. Here is a typical scenario

  • Imagine that developers create a new table and then insert some records in a test environment and test their queries to retrieve data from it
  • The query executed successfully and does not exhibit any symptoms of performance problems
  • The developer team release this table and query into production
  • One day you take a telephone from your colleague and he says my report is very slow
  • Bingo! In production, this table contains a lot of records and this is resulting in performance bottlenecks when querying it
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Ahmad Yaseen

SQL Server read-ahead mechanism; concept and performance gains

December 21, 2017 by

The user’s read requests in SQL Server are managed and controlled by the SQL Server Relational Engine, that is responsible for determining the most optimized access method, such as index scan or table scan, to retrieve the requested data. These read requests are also optimized internally by the SQL Server Storage Engine, the buffer manager components specifically, that is responsible for determining the general read pattern to be performed.

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Esat Erkec

How to use parallel insert in SQL Server 2016 to improve query performance

December 8, 2017 by


In the first part of this article, we will discuss about parallelism in the SQL Server Engine. Parallel processing is, simply put, dividing a big task into multiple processors. This model is meant to reduce processing time.

  • SQL Server can execute queries in parallel
  • SQL Server creates a path for every query. This path is execution plan
  • The SQL Server query optimizer creates execution plans
  • SQL Server query optimizer decides the most efficient way for create execution plan

Execution plans are the equivalent to highways and traffic signs of T-SQL queries. They tell us how a query is executed.

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Ahmad Yaseen


July 4, 2017 by

In the previous article of this two-part series SQL Server SET Options that Affect the Query Result – SET ANSI_NULLS, SET ANSI_PADDING, SET ANSI_WARNINGS and SET ARITHABORT, we described the first four SQL Server SET options and showed practically how setting these options ON and OFF affects the SQL Server Database Engine behavior and the query result. To recall, SQL Server SET options are a group of session-level options that control how the SQL Server behaves on the database session level, and the option value can be changed using the SET T-SQL command for the current session that you execute the SET command on.

In this article, we will describe another five SET options and see how turning it ON and OFF will change the SQL Server behavior and the query result.

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Ahmad Yaseen


June 30, 2017 by

SQL Server provides us with a number of options to control SQL Server behavior on the connection level. These session-level options are configured using the SET T-SQL command that change the option value for the session on which the SET command is executed. Changing the default value of these session-level configuration affects how the session queries will be executed affecting the query result. The performed change on a session-level option will be applied to the current session until its value is reset or until the current user’s session is terminated.

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How to identify slow running queries in SQL Server

May 31, 2017 by


Slow running queries are one of the most common problems in every organization dealing with huge amounts of data. And the most challenging problem, in almost all the clients, I work with, is how to find the queries running slow and figuring out what is the actual cause behind the performance problem. Thankfully, the solution, in most cases, is simple.

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Ahmad Yaseen

Saving the Plan Cache storage using the Optimize for Ad hoc Workloads option

February 23, 2017 by

When you run a query in SQL Server, the SQL Server Query Optimizer will draw the road map for that query, specifying the optimal way to execute it, which is called the query execution plan.

Generating the execution plan will take few milliseconds from the CPU cycles, which is negligible for one query or small load, but it will be considerable for a very heavy transactional workload. Because of this, SQL Server caches these generated plans in a special type of memory called the Plan Cache to eliminate the overhead generated by the query plan if the same query is executed again. When you submit your query to the SQL Server Engine, it will search in the plan cache if there is any existing execution plan that can be reused, if an available execution plan is found in the plan cache, the plan will be used to execute that query, otherwise, the SQL Server Query Optimizer will create a new plan and keep it in the plan cache for future use.

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Ahmad Yaseen

SQL Server Estimated Vs Actual Execution Plans

December 29, 2016 by

A SQL Server execution plan is the most efficient and least cost road map that is generated by the Query Optimizer’s algorithms calculations to execute the submitted T-SQL query. Execution plans are used by the database administrators to troubleshoot the performance of poorly performing queries to isolate the part of the query that is at the root of the performance issue.

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Ahmad Yaseen

What’s new in SQL Server 2014 Cardinality Estimator?

November 14, 2016 by

The Cardinality Estimator is a SQL Server Query Processor component that is responsible for predicting the number of rows that the query will return. This estimation of the number of rows in addition to the SQL Server statistics will be used by the SQL Server Query Optimizer to create the optimal and the most accurate execution plan for your query that has the lowest processing cost to execute.

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Ahmad Yaseen

SQL Server 2016 Parameter Sniffing

October 19, 2016 by

SQL Server tries always to generate the most optimized execution plan for each stored procedure the first time that the stored procedure is executed. The SQL Server Engine looks at the stored procedure passed parameter values when compiling the stored procedure, the first execution, in order to create the optimal plan including the parameters and keep that plan for future use in the plan cache. This parameter analysis process is called the Parameter Sniffing.

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