Row counts and arrow width, missing nodes

I have this month already blogged about good ways to use the Actual Number of Rows and Estimated Number of Rows properties, about the confusing representation on operators that execute more than once, and about the confusing choice to render arrow width based on the Number of Rows Read when it is available. Today I’ll show yet another case where execution plans can mislead you. Not as common as the previous two situations, but with the potential to cause heavy panic when you first encounter it. Misleading estimates caused by missing nodes The issue I will talk about today is…
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Row counts and arrow width, read or returned

In my last two posts, I presented use cases for the Actual Number of Rows and Estimated Number of Rows properties, and showcased one shortcoming. Was that the only problem with these properties? Unfortunately not. Rows read versus rows returned The visual of the arrows in an execution plan strongly suggests that they represent the flow of rows from one operator to another. And hence, the width of that arrow strongly appears to be an indication of how many rows are passed between the connected operators. That used to be always the case. But unfortunately, this changed in December 2017…
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Row counts and arrow width, ignoring execution count

In my previous post, I talked about the Actual Number of Rows and Estimated Number of Rows properties, their visual representation in execution plans, and the most important ways in which this can be used. But life is not always perfect, and Microsoft likes to remind us of that. Sometimes, these properties report values in weird and confusing ways. Sometimes the arrow width, as the visual representation in the execution plan, misleads us. Let’s look at one such case. Average per execution versus total of all executions When looking at the Actual and Estimated Number of Rows properties of an…
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T-SQL Tuesday #118 – My response to COVID-19

The May 2020 edition of T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Glenn Berry (b|t). On the surface, his topic is about “Folding@Home”. But if you read closer, you’ll see that Glenn actually asks: “what are you doing as a response to COVID-19?” And while Glenn does suggest that zooming in on how we optimize our hardware for Folding@Home might be a good idea for this round of T-SQL Tuesday, the topic allows for more freedom. I’ll grab that freedom and use it to talk about something else I do as a response to COVID-19. Execution plans? Yes, execution plans It should…
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Row counts and arrow width, a primer

This month (May 2020), I will post several blog posts, all about the same theme: row counts in execution plans, their representation as arrow width; how to use it, and how it can confuse you. Of all the properties you find in execution plans, the Actual Number of Rows and Estimated Number of Rows properties are perhaps the most useful and most used, and definitely in the top three. They can be used for many things, and are extremely valuable. But there are some gotcha’s that a lot of people are unaware of. In this first post, I will highlight…
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Query Store, force my plan on that other server too, please?

This blog is a follow-up to a discussion I recently had on Twitter, started by Patrick Joliffe asking some people: if you need to force an execution plan, would you prefer to do it through Query Store or through a Plan Guide? Most people agreed that Query Store should be preferred. Not only because it is easier to use, but also (perhaps I should say mainly) because it provides better insight and visibility. The last thing you want to do is to lose track of what queries you have forced an execution plan for. After all, you really need to…
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SSMS 18.5 – small change, huge effect!

The latest version of SSMS has just been released. Version 18.5. And I need all of you to update your version. Now. Yes, right now. Here’s a link to download it. I’ll wait. Why the rush, you ask? Because hidden in between all the little (and some big) improvements and fixes, there is one true gem. One I wish Microsoft had done … oh, let’s say two decades ago? Misleading information If you have been to any of my talks about execution plan, you probably have heard me fuming about (and warning you for) the way estimated and actual number…
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Announcing … the execution plan video training

In the past years, several people have suggested that I should make videos to help people get a better understand of execution plans. I’ve always shied away from the idea. Creating video content, or rather, creating top notch quality video content, takes a lot of time. Would it not make more sense to create more content for other channels? On the other hand, a lot of people learn more from live training, or from video training (the closest alternative), than from reading blogs or articles. And my goal is to educate as many people as possible. It’s impossible for me…
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Stop the name-calling! … Execution plan terminology

It’s time. High time. Time to set the record straight on types of execution plans. There are some severe misconceptions, and they have many causes. One cause is many good folks, including myself, have in the past spread incorrect information. We were young, we didn’t know any better. But now we do, and we want to set the record straight. Another cause is terminology. Terms, originally chosen by Microsoft and then used by everyone else, suggested something not quite true. And we all fell for it, me included. But not anymore. It’s time to set the record straight. And to…
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No I can!

Allow me to interrupt my normal technical posts to share a personal story. I can’t sing Starting in my early youth and continuing all through my adulthood, people have been telling me that I cannot sing. Classmates, colleagues, random people I met. But also people I trust and love. For example, my mother loves to talk about when my, my brother, and my sister were still young children and we used to have times when the us three and mum and dad would sit together and sing songs. She loves the memory, and one part of his we sang “polyphonic”…
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