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Index Fragmentation and dm_db_index_physical_stats December 12, 2007

Posted by furrukhbaig in DMV's, dm_db_index_physical_stats, Fragmentation, Index Fragmentation, Index tuning, Index usefulness, Indexes, Optimize, Performance, Performance Tuning, SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2005 features, Tips.
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Fragmentation can cause serious performance issues and its vital to understand how this can impact performance before I tell you how to fix it.

Fragmentation can cause slow running queries due to more disk IO then usual which itself cause by page spliting. Fragmentation not only cause query performance it can also slow down write operation such as INSERT, DELETE and UPDATE.

SQL Server write data on 8k data pages. This limit can be reached very quickly, for wide tables storing lots of varchar/nvarchar columns (nvarchar take 2 bytes to store 1 character), will cause request for more data pages. When SQL Sever uses whole page then it occupy another page to store more data. If table has got cluster index then data needs to be stored in sorted order as cluster index ensure physical order of data according to the cluster key and thats why you can only have one clustered index per table.

Now assume you have compound clustered index on CountryID and CustomerNo colums on a transactional table which recieve 10 transactions per minute for an online car rental portal. Clustered index will make sure that data is stored in sorted order on CountryID and CustomerNo. Having millions of rows in table consider what will happen when you recieve transaction row which needs to be inserted on page 1 (CountryId = 1, CustomerId = 100) . Above will require to make some room on 1st data page (depending on FILLFACTOR, default is 100%). If require data page has not got enough room for the row to fit then rows on the data pages needs to be move forward (called PageSplit) in order to make some room for new row to fit on page in sorted order. This can cause lot of page split and fragmentation as new pages required (caused by page splits on existing data pages)  can not be guarantee to be in sequence with other page. This can seriously hurt performance for data modification (due to pagesplit) and data read (due to out of order pages) operations.

dm_db_index_physical_stats can be used to check fragmentation.

SELECT * FROM sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats(DB_ID(N’YourDB’), OBJECT_ID(N’dbo.CarRental’), NULL, NULL , ‘DETAILED’);

The above SQL will return fragmentation information for given Database name (Parameter 1) and Table Name (Parameter 2). Last parameter suggest the mode of analysis.

It is good practice to create clustered indexes on incrementing value (e.g. IDENTITY) to avoid page splits and out of order pages.

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Comments»

1. Ola Hallengren - April 16, 2008

I have made a stored procedure that can be used to remove index fragmentation.

The stored procedure does index rebuild online or offline, index reorganization, statistics update, index reorganization and statistics update or nothing based on fragmentation level, LOB existence and index size. It is using the DMV sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats.

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