Compatibility Level 130 With Legacy Cardinality

Jos de Bruijn notes that there is a way to use the legacy cardinality estimator even when you are in Compatibility Level 130 (new in SQL Server 2016):

In SQL Server 2016 there are a lot of goodies under Compatibility Level 130, such as performance improvements with Columnstore and In-Memory OLTP and all the Query Optimizer enhancements done over the years under Trace Flag 4199. So we are faced with a situation where there are workloads that can benefit from some enhancements that come with Compatibility Level 130, but that cannot use the new CE.

The solution is to use one of the new database-scoped configuration options, namely the Legacy Cardinality Estimation option. You can enable this using the following ALTER DATABASE command:

I’ve had a very positive experience with the new cardinality estimator, but I certainly appreciate the option being there just in case.

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