If you’ve ever seen my session on Guillotines and the Query Optimiser I demonstrated how we can use query hints to switch off certain transformation rules in a query. Transformation rules use a pattern substitution which essentially swaps one expression for another. In SQL Server terms the best example of this is a join as although we use the logical expressions such as left join or inner join the physical join type used in the execution plan operator is substituted to be something like a Hash Match or Nested Loop Join.
This means we can force the behaviour of an execution plan by disabling certain rules. Now I can’t think of any practical reason for this and remember we can also use join hints in our queries but this is different as it affects the entire optimisation process for a query and not just one join so please follow in a sandbox environment.
In case you haven’t seen David’s session, it’s available on YouTube.