Query Store And Forcing Plans

Andy Kelly explains that forcing query plans using Query Store doesn’t always result in exactly the same plan being used:

Let’s summarize the situation. We have 2 query plans in the Query Store and the most recent one is also the current plan in the plan cache that is being used for all new executions of this procedure. But that plan is bad for all but .1% of the values we may pass in to the procedure. The previous plan in the Query Store is a much better plan overall and that is the one we want to ensure is used regardless of the value passed in. As such we go ahead and force the plan using the provided tools or TSQL which sets the is_forced_plan to 1 for the 1st plan in sys.query_store_plan. As a simplified explanation this action invokes a recompile and the current plan (which was bad) is replaced with a new plan that is based on the one we forced. That new plan now becomes the current one in the cache and is now the one in the Query Store that all new statistics are tied to as well.

Most people would think that if they forced a particular plan that was in the Query Store and it was marked as forced we would in fact be using that very same plan identified by the plan_id and query_plan_hash which is tied to the plan we forced. Keep in mind that if there were problems with the recompile such as it was missing an index that was there when the original plan was created we would get an error which would be listed in the force failure columns and a different plan would obviously need to be used. Errors aside most of the time when we force a plan it gets recompiled and we end up with the same plan as that which we forced. If that plan is the same as the original one we forced it will have the same query_plan_hash and thus the same plan_id.  All future executions will now use that plan and all statistics will be tied to it as well.  This is exactly what we would expect once we forced a plan in the Query Store.

If you’re looking at using Query Store, definitely read this post.

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