There is only one kind of execution plan within SQL Server. I’ve said this several times on this blog. Now, I’d like you to go and read this excellent blog post by Hugo Kornelis. Hugo, Erin Stellato and I are working with Microsoft to hopefully, at long last, make this issue clear.
In the grand scheme of life, like Shakespeare’s rose, the name we use for execution plans doesn’t really matter. However, the fact is, language really does matter. Clarity is so important in communications, of any kind. When we try to teach execution plans, the confusion caused by the old naming standards is one of the first things we have to spend time getting people to un-learn.
I fully support this newly proposed naming standard:
Execution Plan Plus Runtime Metrics (“Exec Plan Plus” for short)
Execution Plan With Live Statistics (“Live Exec Plan” for short)
These are the clearest names we could arrive at that accurately describe what execution plans are and why you may see some differences between plans, depending on when and where you source them. And yes, Exec Plan Plus sounds like an execution plan on steroids, and frankly I find that funny and accurate.
Please, go here now and vote for this name change so we can get this worked directly into the Microsoft tools and end the confusion the old names have caused.
If you have questions or concerns, I’d love to hear them. If you don’t leave them on Hugo’s blog, leave them here. We’re interested in what people think.