Some operations in SQL Server will turn your entire query plan serial (single-threaded), others will just reserve a so-called “serial zone”. I read up on this stuff a number of years ago (including a great post by Paul White), and thinking that some things must have changed since, I decided to go see for myself.
It’s not entirely uncommon to want to group by a computed expression in an aggregation query. The trouble is, whenever you group by a computed expression, SQL Server considers the ordering of the data to be lost, and this will turn your buttery-smooth Stream Aggregate operation into a Hash Match (aggregate) or create a corrective Sort operation, both of which are blocking.
Is there anything we can do about this? Yes, sometimes, like when those computed expressions are YEAR() and MONTH(), there is. But you should probably get your nerd on for this one.
Encrypting your SQL Server’s TDS connections should be high on your list of things to do if you’re concerned with the privacy of your data. This often boils down to one big problem: can you get a valid certificate without paying a ton of money, and will it work with SQL Server?
So follow me down the rabbit hole, as we work out the steps to using Let’s Encrypt to create (and auto-renew!) a certificate for SQL Server. This is going to get technical.
Performance tuning the other day, I was stumped by a query plan I was looking at. Even though I had constructed a covering index, I was still getting a Key Lookup operator in my query plan. What I usually do when that happens is to check the operator’s properties to see what its output columns are, so I can include those columns in my covering index.
Here’s the interesting thing: there weren’t any output columns. What happened?
A popular form of organizing dimensions is in parent-child structures, also known as “unbalanced” or “ragged” dimensions, because any branch can have an arbitrary number of child levels. There are many advantages to this type of representation, but their recursive nature also brings some challenges. In this post, we’re going to look at circular references, and how you can trap them before they run out of control.
Back in 2014 I wrote a blog post on how to calculate a median value using the NTILE window function. It’s far from the best performing solution there is, but it worked on SQL Server 2008, before the introduction of OFFSET-FETCH i SQL Server. In this post, I’m going to look at creating a generalized function that calculates the median (or any percentile) of a series of values.
For windowed functions, SQL Server introduces two new operators in the execution plan; Segment and Sequence Project. If you’ve tried looking them up in the documentation, you’ll know that it’s not exactly perfectly obvious how they work. Here’s my stab at clarifying what they actually do.
A number of OLTP systems store dimension data in SCD2-like tables in order to retain all the revisions whenever the dimension information changes. In certain situations, you may come across a need to join two or more SCD tables, while keeping all the versions information intact. Sound tricky? Not really.
In the two previous parts of this series, we’ve looked at how parallelism works, how you can control it, and how it affects your query (and server) performance in different environments. In this, the third part, we’re going to take a more technical look at how the different Parallelism operators work.
Continuing on last week’s post on parallelism, here’s part two, where we take a closer look at when parallel plans are considered and what you can do to either force or prevent a query from running parallel as well as things you want to avoid if you’re trying to achieve a parallel query plan.