When you are making changes to an existing Non-Clustered index SQL Server provides a wide variety of options. One of the more frequently used methods is DROP EXISTING; in this post you will learn all about that option. This option automatically drops an existing index after recreating it, without the index being explicitly dropped. Let us take a moment understand the behavior of this choice.
What I really want is
DROP_IF_EXISTS. I want idempotent commands: if I run it once or a thousand times, I end up in the same state whether there was an index there at the start or not (or if attempt #793 failed due to running out of sort space in tempdb or something, leaving me with no index).
DROP_EXISTING is only idempotent if the index already existed, but then you have to ask, why is it important if an index of that name is already there? The important part of the statement is that I want an end state which includes this index in this form.