Loop Joins, More rows on top or bottom?

I've seen this question come by in the web searches multiple times. The nested loop join is also called an iterative join. This is because it takes the rows from the inner part of the join and compares them through an iterative process (one-by-one) to the rows in the outer part of the join. So, if the optimizer has correctly chosen this operation for your query, you should see FEWER rows in the top, or outer, part of the join and MORE rows in the bottom, or inner, part of the join. Take this query as an example (run against AdventureWorks2008): SELECT * FROM [Sales].[SalesOrderHeader] soh JOIN [Sales].[SalesOrderDetail] sod ON soh.[SalesOrderID] = sod.[SalesOrderID] WHERE soh.[SalesOrderID] = 47716 Here we have a single row from the SalesOrderHeader table and 55 rows…
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