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More On Columnstore String Handling

Niko Neugebauer focuses on two potential columnstore issues, NULL strings and string aggregation:

You can see a filter iterator taking estimated 9% of the resources and filtering over 5,1 million rows that were taken out of the lineitem_cci table (Columnstore Index Scan operation). Before it took place all of the table data was read and the values for the aggregate values were calculated, meaning a significant resource waste (when the data was filtered and while it was occupying memory).

The predicate properties of the Columnstore Index Scan are shown on the left picture and you can see that nothing has been pushed into the Storage Engine, making this query perform quite slow. On my local test VM it takes on average 0.7 seconds to execute while spending over 1.9 seconds of the CPU time. This happens because of the inability of the Columnstore Indexes to push NULL expression predicate into the storage engine.

To solve this problem in this test case I will need to rewrite the query and remove the NULL expression by substituting it by = ‘RAIL’ OR IS NULL logic:

Definitely worth a read.