About This Blog

SQL Server internals information including my content from SQLBlog.com and SQLPerformance.com.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

sql_handle and the SQL Server batch text hash

sql_handle and the SQL Server batch text hash

This article describes the structure of a sql_handle and shows how the batch text hash component is calculated.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Closest Match with Sort Rewinds

Closest Match with Sort Rewinds

In When Do SQL Server Sorts Rewind? I described how most sorts can only rewind when they contain at most one row. The exception is in-memory sorts, which can rewind at most 500 rows and 16KB of data.

These are certainly tight restrictions, but we can still make use of them on occasion.

To illustrate, I am going reuse a demo Itzik Ben-Gan provided in part one of his Closest Match series, specifically solution 2 (modified value range and indexing).

As Itzik’s title suggests, the task is to find the closest match for a value in one table in a second table.

As Itzik describes it:

The challenge is to match to each row from T1 the row from T2 where the absolute difference between T2.val and T1.val is the lowest. In case of ties (multiple matching rows in T2), match the top row based on val ascending, keycol ascending order.

That is, the row with the lowest value in the val column, and if you still have ties, the row with the lowest keycol value. The tiebreaker is used to guarantee determinism.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

SQL Server 2019 Aggregate Splitting

SQL Server 2019 Aggregate Splitting

The SQL Server 2019 query optimizer has a new trick available to improve the performance of large aggregations. The new exploration abilities are encoded in two new closely-related optimizer rules:

  • GbAggSplitToRanges
  • SelOnGbAggSplitToRanges

The extended event query_optimizer_batch_mode_agg_split is provided to track when this new optimization is considered. The description of this event is:

Occurs when the query optimizer detects batch mode aggregation is likely to spill and tries to split it into multiple smaller aggregations.

Other than that, this new feature hasn’t been documented yet. This article is intended to help fill that gap.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

A bug with Halloween Protection and the OUTPUT Clause

A bug with Halloween Protection and the OUTPUT Clause

Background

The OUTPUT clause can be used to return results from an INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, or MERGE statement. The data can be returned to the client, inserted to a table, or both.

There are two ways to add OUTPUT data to a table:

  1. Using OUTPUT INTO
  2. With an outer INSERT statement.

For example:

-- Test table
DECLARE @Target table
(
    id integer IDENTITY (1, 1) NOT NULL, 
    c1 integer NULL
);

-- Holds rows from the OUTPUT clause
DECLARE @Output table 
(
    id integer NOT NULL, 
    c1 integer NULL
);

Sunday, 5 July 2020

How MAXDOP Really Works

How MAXDOP Really Works

A few days ago I ran a Twitter poll:

Twitter poll

The most popular answer gets highlighted by Twitter at the end of the poll, but as with many things on social media, that doesn’t mean it is correct:

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Pulling Group By Above a Join

Pulling Group By Above a Join

One of the transformations available to the SQL Server query optimizer is pulling a logical Group By (and any associated aggregates) above a Join.

Visually, this means transforming a tree of logical operations from:

Group By Below Join

…to this:

Group By Above Join

The above diagrams are logical representations. They need to be implemented as physical operators to appear in an execution plan. The options are:

  • Group By
    • Hash Match Aggregate
    • Stream Aggregate
    • Distinct Sort
  • Join
    • Nested Loops Join
    • Nested Loops Apply
    • Hash Match Join
    • Merge Join

When the optimizer moves a Group By above a Join it has to preserve the semantics. The new sequence of operations must be guaranteed to return the same results as the original in all possible circumstances.

One cannot just pick up a Group By and arbitrarily move it around the query tree without risking incorrect results.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Batch Mode Bitmap Demos

Batch Mode Bitmap Demos

This is a companion post to my main article Batch Mode Bitmaps in SQL Server. This post provides demos and illustrations to supplement the technical article.

The scripts presented here were run on SQL Server 2017 CU 16.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Apply versus Nested Loops Join

Apply versus Nested Loops Join

SQL is a declarative language. We use SQL to write a logical query specification that defines the results we want. For example, we might write a query using either APPLY or JOIN that logically describes exactly the same results.

It is up to the query optimizer to find an efficient physical implementation of that logical requirement. SQL Server is free to choose any plan it likes, so long as the results are guaranteed to be the same as specified in the original SQL.

The optimizer is capable of transforming an apply to a join and vice versa. It generally tries to rewrite apply to join during initial compilation to maximize the searchable plan space during cost-based optimization. Having transformed an apply to a join early on, it may also consider a transformation back to an apply shape later on to assess the merits of e.g. an index loops join.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Cardinality Estimation for Disjunctive (OR) Predicates in SQL Server 2014 Onward

Cardinality Estimation for Disjunctive Predicates in SQL Server 2014

Introduction

Back in January 2014, I wrote an article called Cardinality Estimation for Multiple Predicates that described the cardinality estimation process for queries with multiple predicates, from the point of view of the old and new cardinality estimators.

The article describes the various behaviours and formulas involved, along with the usual sprinkling of documented and undocumented trace flags. I described the formula SQL Server 2014 uses to calculate a cardinality estimate for multiple predicates connected with AND (conjunctive predicates), which was already relatively well-known.

Despite some fairly energetic research, and basic-to-intermediate skills with Excel, I was unable to deduce a similar formula for the disjunctive case, where predicates are connected by OR. The trace flag output I describe in the other article clearly showed that exponential backoff was used in the new 2014 cardinality estimator, but the precise formula eluded me.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Nested Loops Prefetching

Nested Loops Prefetching

Nested loops join query plans can be a lot more interesting (and complicated) than is commonly realized.

One query plan area I get asked about a lot is prefetching. It is not documented in full detail anywhere, so this seems like a good topic to address in a blog post.

The examples used in this article are based on questions asked by Adam Machanic.