Chapter 14. Cursor Cost Analysis

It is very common to find database applications that use cursors to process one row at a time. Because data manipulation through a cursor in SQL Server incurs significant additional overhead, database applications should avoid using cursors. T-SQL and SQL Server are designed to work best with sets of data, not one row at a time. If a cursor must be used, then use a cursor with the least cost.

In this chapter, I cover the following topics:

  • The fundamentals of cursors

  • A cost analysis of different characteristics of cursors

  • The benefits and drawbacks of a default result set over cursors

  • Recommendations to minimize the cost overhead of cursors

Cursor Fundamentals

When a query is executed by an application, SQL Server returns ...

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