Accessing a query plan

To access the estimated plans, which are the direct result of the optimization process, we can use either T-SQL commands or graphical tools. For the examples shown in this chapter, we use SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).

For most users, query plans in text format are harder to read and analyze; therefore, we will use graphical query plan examples throughout the book.

The SHOWPLAN_TEXT, SHOWPLAN_ALL, and SHOWPLAN_XML commands provide text-based information on query plans with different degrees of detail. Using any of these commands means SQL Server will not execute the T-SQL statements, but show the query plan as produced by the Query Optimizer.

Take an example of a query that can be executed in the scope of the ...

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