Monday, 26 April 2010

How to understand SQL Server execution plans

SQL Server Execution Plans by Grant Fritchey

Query Execution Plans are something that a DBA or TSQL developer will get to encounter pretty soon after starting to work with SQL Server. They are found in a number of guises - graphical, text or even XML. In either format they are a daunting array of information that seems really important but also pretty complex and technical. With Grant's book by your side you will soon be reading the execution plans and relating them to the query you have written and then be able to alter your script or adjust parts of the database to improve the efficiency of your queries.

The book starts of in a basic way, with worked examples that you can follow on any version of SQL Server that has an AdventureWorks database. You will work your way from the simplest of queries up in complexity to examples using JOINS and GROUP BY and then examining what indexes are being used (or possibly more importantly, why they are not being used).

The book also covers how to see what the execution plans are and also how to control the way the execution plan is created with HINTS so that it is compiled the way you want it if you have a preference for a certain method.

This book is something that I will be referring to regularly as I build up my understanding of SQL Server Execution Plans. An excellent cover-to-cover read and a great reference book.

There are various versions of the book:
electronic version available from Simple Talk Publishing - SQL Server Execution Plans - eVersion
in print from - SQL Server Execution Plans- in print
and it should be available soon via I will put a link here when it is.

Please be sure to read the code disclaimer page before you use any code in this blog.

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