Break Down Complex Execution Plans

I've seen this question posted in a lot places and I've seen the search come in to the blog: "How do you break down a complex execution plan?" The short answer; just like eating an elephant, one bite at a time. The longer answer... First you have to define what you mean by a complex execution plan. For example, I've seen 16 page stored procedures that consist of about 50 or more¬†different statements executed in series (and I 've heard of worse). No single statement was very big, but trying to dig through all the statements to identify which may be causing slow execution was a problem. This is the easiest type of complex execution plan to solve. In SQL Server 2005 and 2008, when you turn on a graphical…
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