I have the following table in my database:

create table [dbo].[tb_StatusLog](
[RequestID] [int] not null,
[statusID] [int] not null,
[startTime] [datetime] not null,
[endTime] [datetime] null,

with the following non-clustered index

create nonclusteredindex [index1] on [dbo].[tb_StatusLog]
requestID asc, 
statusID asc
include ([startTime])

and the following table-valued function fn_getTable

select requestID, max(startTime)
from tb_StatusLog
where statusID=2
group by requestID, statusID

after running profiler trace and running the results by db engine tuning advisor, it proposed that I create the following index (which is the same index I have but with the key columns reversed):

create nonclusteredindex [index2] on [dbo].[tb_StatusLog]
statusID asc, 
requestID asc
include ([startTime])

Now, when running fn_getTable, the execution plan uses index2 instead of index1 and the performance improved.

Why is that?

2 Answers 2


Because you have an equality predicate on where statusID=2.

With the reversed order it is able to seek into exactly the rows matching the status and these can then feed into a stream aggregate to do the grouping.

Your original index supports the group by requestID, statusID but not the WHERE - meaning the whole index will need to be scanned and only rows matching the statusID=2 retained.

  • which index does the group by use then? Jun 1, 2018 at 15:39

Somewhat simplified, but you can think of a composite index as if rows are ordered first by the first column, second by the second column and so forth. Your first example would be:

requestID     statusID
-> A             1
|  A             2
v  A             3
   B             1
   B             2
x  B             4

To find rows with statusId=2 there is no way to tell where to start, the whole index has to be scanned. Compare with:

statusID      requestID
   1             A
   1             B
-> 2             A
v  2             B
x  3             A
   4             B

The DBMS can start with (2,A), read another entry (2,B) and be done with it.

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