I Made That Slow Query Run, Run, Run

I have been tuning queries and one of the first things I noticed was Sub-queries in the SELECT Clause.

			FROM HideOut H1
			WHERE TypeDesc = 'Villain' 
			AND H1.Storyline = S.Storyline) AS VillainHideOut
     , (SELECT H2.FormalName
			FROM HideOut H2
			WHERE TypeDesc = 'Hero' 
			AND H2.Storyline = S.Storyline) AS HeroHideOut
     , S.HeroName AS Hero
     , V.VillainName AS Villain
FROM dbo.SuperHero S
	INNER JOIN [dbo].[Villain] V
		ON S.HeroLink = V.HeroLink
WHERE V.IsActive = 1 AND S.IsActive = 1

Why is this query slow? If this query were to return 50 rows, it would run each query in the SELECT clause 50 times, and since there are two of them, that is 100 query runs. What if I returned 100,000 rows? That would be 200,000 query runs. How could I do this differently?

SELECT H1.FormalName AS VillainHideOut
     , H2.FormalName AS HeroHideOut
     , S.HeroName AS Hero
     , V.VillainName AS Villain
FROM dbo.SuperHero S
	INNER JOIN [dbo].[Villain] V
		ON S.HeroLink = V.HeroLink
	LEFT JOIN HideOut H1 
		ON H1.Storyline = S.Storyline AND H1.TypeDesc = 'Villain'
	LEFT JOIN HideOut H2 
		ON H2.Storyline = S.Storyline AND H2.TypeDesc = 'Hero'
WHERE V.IsActive = 1 AND S.IsActive = 1

I moved the two correlated sub-queries into the JOIN clause and then simplified them to just join to the tables. This means I will only select from each table once, instead of for each row and will drop my query runs significantly. I could have left them as correlated sub-queries in the JOIN clause and it still would have performed better than having them in the SELECT clause.

In the query I was working with, I checked the statistics IO output and saw my logical reads on the HeroHideOut table drop from 24,103,280 logical reads down to 10,064 logical reads by making this one change.

Happy Tuning!

The song for this post is OneRepublic’s Run.

Oh my my, yeah I’m loving extra tuning time. ‘Cause I’m a sucker for Auto Tuning life.

A few weeks ago, we were talking to a new employee about how much time we spend with Query Store and they asked, “Why aren’t you using the Auto Tuning?”


This awesome, Enterprise-only feature has been a bit of a trial and error for me.

Let’s start with turning it on, the only place I have found to turn it on is by using T-SQL:


Now, there are a couple of cool things that we can check behind the scenes to see what is driving the auto-tuning. Once Auto-Tuning is enabled, it will collect information that can be viewed by running this query:

FROM sys.dm_db_tuning_recommendations

The first column (name) is the QueryID with “PR_” added to it. I like to read through the columns, the “reason” the plan was chosen, the current “state” of the plan. When it was initiated and when it was reverted, all of this is fun for me to dig through and see what plans my system is finding that are better.

I also really like the Microsoft example with the JSON:

SELECT reason, score,
      script = JSON_VALUE(details, '$.implementationDetails.script'),
      estimated_gain = (regressedPlanExecutionCount + recommendedPlanExecutionCount)
                  * (regressedPlanCpuTimeAverage - recommendedPlanCpuTimeAverage)/1000000,
      error_prone = IIF(regressedPlanErrorCount > recommendedPlanErrorCount, 'YES','NO')
FROM sys.dm_db_tuning_recommendations
CROSS APPLY OPENJSON (Details, '$.planForceDetails')
    WITH (  [query_id] int '$.queryId',
            regressedPlanId int '$.regressedPlanId',
            recommendedPlanId int '$.recommendedPlanId',
            regressedPlanErrorCount int,
            recommendedPlanErrorCount int,
            regressedPlanExecutionCount int,
            regressedPlanCpuTimeAverage float,
            recommendedPlanExecutionCount int,
            recommendedPlanCpuTimeAverage float
          ) AS planForceDetails;

Now to the other stuff. It isn’t perfect. Sometimes I have to manually go in and pin plans that are better than what the system is finding. If I manually pin a plan, it will honor it and not unpin or try to find a better plan for that query. It has helped me spend a bunch less time on tuning, but since many of my servers are on Standard Edition I am still using Query Store a lot.

Happy Tuning!

The song for this post is Oh My My by Blue October