Execution plans in depth

This page contains the description for my conference session “Execution plans in depth”, and links to the slide deck and demo code used in this presentation.


Target audience Database developers and DBAs who want to improve their query tuning skills by increasing their understanding of execution plans. Some prior experience in this area is expected.
Short description A very thorough explanation of how various execution plan operators work, and how they interact with each other.
Duration This session is a full-day workshop
Full abstract For troubleshooting slow queries, looking at the execution plan is a good starting point. But sometimes, just looking at the plan does not help. Sometimes you need to dig deeper.

In this full-day workshop, you will learn everything you need to be take your understanding of execution plans to the next level. For most of the operators you’ll find in execution plans, we will look at the inner workings, and at properties that affect their behavior. We will also look at how the operators within a plan interact with each other. This will increase your understanding on why the optimizer picks a plan, and what you can do to make it pick a better plan.

Aside from explaining most operators, we will also look at how these operators interact, which will help you understand which areas in complex execution plans can cause performance issues.

If you have seen some execution plans but feel you need to bring your understanding to the next level, then this workshop is for you!


Click here to download a ZIP file containing the slide deck and demo code used in this presentation. Note that the ZIP file is encrypted with a password that will be given to you during the precon. Please respect the huge time investment to create the content for a full-day workshop by not sharing the password or the content of this archive with others.

Note that Windows’ built-in unzip functionality doesn’t support passwords in some versions. Please use a too such as WinRAR, WinZIP, or 7-Zip to open this file. For a Mac, try iZip.

(Note: my presentations tend to evolve over time, so the version you find here may not be an exact match for the version you witnessed).

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