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For the sake of leaning and exploring, I'd like to look at how some of the system functions are built. Is there a way to do this in sql server 2008 or R2?

I've tried sp_helptext 'Sum' but I get an error saying that the resource cannot be found.

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I don't think Sum is stored as a T-SQL function in your system that you could "peek" into. That's most likely code deep inside the SQL Server core.

As a proof - you can e.g. get the body of other system stored functions using sp_helptext:

sp_helptext 'sys.fn_isrolemember'

That works just fine - so that leads me to believe that Sum isn't a stored function as such.

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Maybe functions like sum are built using the clr integration? –  Brian Dishaw Feb 10 '12 at 14:21
    
@BrianDishaw: there are newer options that are indeed built using the SQL-CLR (things like the HierarchyID type and its operations) - but I'm pretty sure sum is so common that it's in the SQL Server core code base. –  marc_s Feb 10 '12 at 14:22

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