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Watching and (Not) Messing with Optimization Phases

David Alcock giveth:

The full optimisation stage is where the optimiser uses a bag of tricks to optimise our query (surprise, surpise), well technically it has three bags of tricks that are named optimisation phases that each contain a collection of transformation rules (which I cover in this post that you should never do). The optimiser is not limited to using just one of the phases and each has a set criteria which determines if the optimiser can use that particular phase.

In order to see what how the optimiser is using these phases we need to enable Trace Flag 8675 as well as Trace Flag 3604 which will redirect the output to the query messages tab in Management Studio:

And David Alcock taketh away:

Now it has to be said it’s undocumented for a reason, the reason is that it’s really not a good idea to do this. In fact enabling this trace flag is such a bad idea that it will probably cause no end of issues with query performance…so let’s do it, but before we do let me add yet again that please don’t do this! Disabling optimisation features is a really bad idea, just like we did in this post – the purpose for this demo is just to show that we can, and how dangerous it can get.

This is fun to learn and interesting when doing advanced troubleshooting, but maybe not something you want to do very often.