The Pain Of Multi-Statement TVFs

Andy Mallon walks through a multi-statement table-valued function in Microsoft Dynamics CRM:

Look at all those table-valued function calls! Followed immediately by a really expensive hash match. My Spidey Sense started to tingle. What is fn_GetMaxPrivilegeDepthMask, and why is it being called 30 times? I bet this is a problem. When you see “Table-valued function” as an operator in a plan, that actually means it’s a multi-statement table-valued function. If it were an inline table-valued function, it would get incorporated into the larger plan, and not be a black box. Multi-statement table-valued functions are evil. Don’t use them. The Cardinality Estimator isn’t able to make accurate estimates. The Query Optimizer isn’t able to optimize them in the context of the larger query. From a performance perspective, they don’t scale.

Even though this TVF is an out-of-the-box piece of code from Dynamics CRM, my Spidey Sense tells me that it’s the problem.

That said, Joe Sack and team are working on making multi-statement TVFs faster in SQL Server 2017.  Whether it will move the needle from Andy’s excellent advice, we’ll have to wait and see.

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