Getting Started Reading Execution Plans: Highest Cost Operator

SQL Server, T-SQL
Reading execution plans in SQL Server is just hard. There's a lot to learn and understand. I previously outlined the basics I use to get started when I'm looking at an execution plan for the first time. However, just those pointers are not enough. I want to explain a little further why and how those basic steps are how you get started reading execution plans. To begin with, instead of talking about the first operator, which I've detailed before, we'll talk about the highest cost operators. Highest Cost Operator Every execution plan within SQL Server includes what the optimizer has determined to be the estimated cost of each operation. All these estimated operator costs are tallied up, and that makes up the estimated cost of the whole execution plan. You…
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Most Costly Statement in a Stored Procedure

SQL Server
A lot of stored procedures have multiple statements and determining the most costly statement in a given proc is a very common task. After all, you want to focus your time and efforts on fixing the things that cause you the most pain. You simply don't have the time to tune every single statement in every single procedure. So, identifying the most costly statement is vital. Happily, Extended Events are here to help. Finding a Costly Statement Query tuning is initially an act of discovery. Which queries, batches, procedures are inflicting the most pain on us. That pain could be measured a bunch of ways. The three most common, in particular order, are: Frequency with with a given query/batch/procedure is called.Resources used by that query.Length of time that it takes…
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Capture Execution Plans Only For Long Running Queries

SQL Server
I love questions. Most of all, I love questions I can answer. I spotted this question recently: How can I use Profiler to capture execution plans for queries over a certain duration? Oh, that's easy. You don't use Profiler. You use Extended Events. Query_post_execution_showplan Extended events are just better than Profiler. Period. One of many things that is superior is the way in which the events are configured. Take for example query_post_execution_showplan. Here are the fields it captures: This event will capture execution plans plus runtime metrics. It can easily be filtered on any of the fields listed, and you can even add the database_name field if you want. So, to filter by duration is pretty simple: CREATE EVENT SESSION ExecPlansDuration ON SERVER ADD EVENT sqlserver.query_post_execution_showplan (WHERE ([duration] > (1000000)))…
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Review: Stellar Repair for SQL Server

SQL Server
I was contacted by Stellar Info quite a while ago. They asked me to try out their software. I said yes, but I was really bad about getting it done. Well, I finally got off my bottom and did the job. So, let's talk about Stellar Repair for SQL Server. Stellar Repair Let's start with the most important piece of information you need: it works. The software itself is really simple to use and just does what you need, repairs your corrupted SQL Server instance. On that alone, I can recommend the tool. However, there are a few gotchas I ran into along the way. Mostly, little stuff. It's things a little polish in the UI and some clean up around language could help out. Don't get me wrong, I'm…
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Extended Events: Filter on Stored Procedure Name

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
I just received a question about Extended Events: What about filtering on the stored procedure name. You know I love writing and talking about Extended Events. The answer is, well, sure, we can do that. However, as with all things, there may be wrinkles worth being aware of. Let's examine this. Filter on Stored Procedure Name Let's create an Extended Event session that captures rpc_starting and rpc_completed: CREATE EVENT SESSION StoredProcedureName ON SERVER ADD EVENT sqlserver.rpc_completed (ACTION ( sqlserver.database_name ) WHERE (object_name = N'AddressByCity') ), ADD EVENT sqlserver.rpc_starting (SET collect_statement = (1) ACTION ( sqlserver.database_name ) WHERE (object_name = N'AddressByCity') ); I've added a WHERE clause to the Extended Event to capture only those procedures that have an object_name equal to 'AddressByCity'. If we look at the output from these…
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Extended Events Capturing the T-SQL of Prepared Statements

SQL Server, T-SQL, Tools
I asked this question myself: Is there a way to use Extended Events to capture the T-SQL of a prepared statement? Why would I be concerned with prepared statements? Wouldn't sql_batch_completed and rpc_completed cover us? Well, no. What happens when you use sp_prepare? What happens when you're using an ORM tool that's using prepared statements? You may see queries that look like this: EXEC sp_execute 5, 48766; What the heck code is that executing? Let's find out. sp_statement_completed Here's a set of sample code that I swiped from Microsoft (they don't mind, but, full attribution like a good citizen, you'll find it here): DECLARE @P1 int; EXEC sp_prepare @P1 output, N'@Param int', N'SELECT * FROM Sales.SalesOrderDetail AS sod INNER JOIN Production.Product AS p ON sod.ProductID = p.ProductID WHERE SalesOrderID =…
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Database Fundamentals #25: Referential Integrity

Database Fundamentals, SQL Server
If you have been reading through all my fundamentals posts and following along, you have built a small sample database, loaded it with data, and learned how to retrieve the data from it. You’ve also learned how to relate one table to another through T-SQL JOIN statements. But that relationship is very temporary. It will last only as long as it takes for that query to run. To create a database that enforces the relationships between the tables, you need to work with declarative referential integrity (DRI), frequently shortened to referential integrity(RI). DRI is the foundation on which the relational part of the relational storage engine is built. It’s not just a nice thing to do for your database. It’s actually a fundamental piece of how SQL Server works. DRI…
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Can We Get Row Counts After Execution?

SQL Server, T-SQL
The general idea for this question came from dba.stackexchange.com: could we, and if we can, how, get row counts after execution. I was intrigued with the idea, so I ran some tests and did a little digging. I boiled it all down in the answer at the link, but I figured I could share a little here as well. Properly Retrieve Row Counts After Execution The right way to do this is obvious and simple. Before you need it, set up an Extended Events session. Done. The only question is what goes into the Session. First blush, sql_batch_completed and/or rpc_completed. Both will return a rows affected value. Although, interestingly, the row_count value is documented as rows returned. However, it's both. But, if you really want to get picky, batches and…
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Find Indexes Used In Query Store

SQL Server
One of the most frequent questions you'll hear online is how to determine if a particular index is in use. There is no perfect answer to this question. You can look at the sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats to get a pretty good picture of whether or not an index is in use. However, this DMV has a few holes through which you could be mislead. I thought of another way to get an idea of how and where an index is being used. This is also a flawed solution, but, still, an interesting one. What if we queried the information in Query Store? Indexes Used in Query Store Now Query Store itself doesn't store index usage statistics. It stores queries, wait statistics and runtime metrics on individual queries. All useful stuff. Oh, and,…
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Database Fundamentals #24: More Filtering Data

Database Fundamentals, SQL Server
In this Database Fundamentals post we continue discussing the functionality of the WHERE clause. We started with the basics of the logic using things like AND, OR and LIKE or '='. Now, we'll expand into some other areas. Functions in the WHERE clause SQL Server provides you with all sorts of functions that can be used to manipulate strings, modify dates or times or perform arcane mathematical equations. The problem with these is that if you do them on columns in tables it can lead to performance issues. The trick then, is to not perform functions on the columns in the tables. We’ll cover this in more detail when we get to indexing, variables, and parameters. Just don’t get into the habit of putting functions on the columns in your…
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