Database SQL Server 2017 Enterprise CU16 14.0.3076.1

We recently tried switching from the default Index Rebuild maintenance jobs to the Ola Hallengren IndexOptimize. The default Index Rebuild jobs had been running for a couple of months without any issues, and the queries and updates were working with acceptable execution times. After running IndexOptimize on the database:

EXECUTE dbo.IndexOptimize
@Databases = 'USER_DATABASES',
@FragmentationLow = NULL,
@FragmentationLevel1 = 5,
@FragmentationLevel2 = 30,
@UpdateStatistics = 'ALL',
@OnlyModifiedStatistics = 'Y'

performance was extremely degraded. An update statement that took 100ms before IndexOptimize took 78.000ms afterwards (using an identical plan), and queries were also performing several orders of magnitude worse.

Since this still is a test database (we're migrating a production system from Oracle) we reverted to a backup and disabled IndexOptimize and everything returned to normal.

However, we would like to understand what IndexOptimize does differently from the "normal" Index Rebuild that could have caused this extreme performance degradation in order to make sure we avoid it once we go to production. Any suggestions on what to look for would be greatly appreciated.

Execution plan for the update statement when it is slow. i.e.
After IndexOptimize
Actual execution plan (coming asap)

I haven't been able to spot a difference.
Plan for the same query when it is fast
Actual execution plan


3 Answers 3


I suspect you've got a different sample rate defined between your two maintenance approaches. I believe Ola's scripts use default sampling unless you specify the @StatisticsSample parameter, which it doesn't look like you're currently doing.

At this point, this is speculation, but you can check to see what sampling rate is currently being used on your statistics by running the following query in your database:

SELECT  OBJECT_SCHEMA_NAME(st.object_id) + '.' + OBJECT_NAME(st.object_id) AS TableName
    ,   col.name AS ColumnName
    ,   st.name AS StatsName
    ,   sp.last_updated
    ,   sp.rows_sampled
    ,   sp.rows
    ,   (1.0*sp.rows_sampled)/(1.0*sp.rows) AS sample_pct
FROM sys.stats st 
    INNER JOIN sys.stats_columns st_col
        ON st.object_id = st_col.object_id
        AND st.stats_id = st_col.stats_id
    INNER JOIN sys.columns col
        ON st_col.object_id = col.object_id
        AND st_col.column_id = col.column_id
    CROSS APPLY sys.dm_db_stats_properties (st.object_id, st.stats_id) sp

If you see this is coming through a 1s (e.g. 100%) chances are this is your issue. Maybe try Ola's scripts again including the @StatisticsSample parameter with the percentage getting returned by this query and see if that fixes your problem?

As additional supporting evidence for this theory, the execution plan XML shows vastly different sampling rates for the slow query (2.18233 %):

<StatisticsInfo LastUpdate="2019-09-01T01:07:46.04" ModificationCount="0" 
    SamplingPercent="2.18233" Statistics="[INDX_UPP_4]" Table="[UPPDRAG]" 
    Schema="[SVALA]" Database="[ulek-sva]" />

Versus the fast query (100 %):

<StatisticsInfo LastUpdate="2019-08-25T23:01:05.52" ModificationCount="555" 
    SamplingPercent="100" Statistics="[INDX_UPP_4]" Table="[UPPDRAG]" 
    Schema="[SVALA]" Database="[ulek-sva]" />
  • @JoshDarnell LOL, this is the second occurrence where you found some supporting stats info in the query plan that I failed to see. Thanks for the edit! Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 14:36
  • Haha I forgot that was you, John! I promise I'm not stalking you 😅 Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 14:38
  • @JoshDarnell I appreciate the additional insights and it's another good reminder that there is so much information in the execution plans you just shouldn't skip over. Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 14:40
  • Glad to help! And yeah, there's stuff I miss all the time too (I've been burned by the stats thing, so I tend to go there quickly to see what's up). Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 14:43
  • Thank you for this explanation, it was indeed the problem. Most of the statistics had a default sample rate of 2.2% however a few that were created after the migration from Oracle had sample rate 100%. It seems the default index rebuild kept the 100% but when we used IndexOptimize it applied the default of 2.2% to those as well. Applying the @StatisticsSample parameter and running the queries again verified that this was what had caused the problem. Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 9:52

John's answer is the correct solution, this is just an addition as to what parts of the execution plan changed and en example on how to easily spot the differences with Sentry One Plan explorer

An update statement that took 100ms before IndexOptimize took 78.000ms afterwards (using an identical plan)

When looking at all the query plans when your performance was degraded, you can easily spot the differences.

Degraded performance

enter image description here

Two counts of over 35 seconds of cpu time & elapsed time

Expected performance

enter image description here

Much better

The main degradation is twice on this update query:

                              UPPDRAGAVSLUTAT = @NEW$AVSLUTAT
                        WHERE INGÅENDEANALYS.ID IN 
                              SELECT IA.ID
                                 SVALA.INGÅENDEANALYS  AS IA 
                                    JOIN SVALA.INGÅENDEANALYSX  AS IAX 
                                    ON IAX.INGÅENDEANALYS = IA.ID 
                                    JOIN SVALA.ANALYSMATERIAL  AS AM 
                                    ON AM.ID = IA.ANALYSMATERIALID 
                                    JOIN SVALA.ANALYSMATERIALX  AS AMX 
                                    ON AMX.ANALYSMATERIAL = AM.ID 
                                    JOIN SVALA.INSÄNTMATERIAL  AS IM 
                                    ON IM.ID = AM.INSÄNTMATERIALID 
                                    JOIN SVALA.INSÄNTMATERIALX  AS IMX 
                                    ON IMX.INSÄNTMATERIAL = IM.ID

the execution plan for this query with degraded performance

The estimated query plan of this update query has very high estimates when performance was degraded:

enter image description here

While in reality (the actual execution plan) it still has to do work, just not the crazy amount that the estimates show.

The biggest impact on performance is the two scans & hash match joins below:

Actual scan on degraded performance #1

enter image description here

Actual scan on degraded performance #2

enter image description here

The execution plan for this query with expected performance

When you compare that to the estimates (or actuals) of the query plan with normal expected performance, the differences are easy to spot.

enter image description here

Also, the previous two table accesses did not even happen:

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

You don't see this elimination on the hash join because the build (top) input is inserted into the hash table first. Afterwards zero values are probed in this hash table, returning zero values.

  • 1
    Thank you for the detailed description of the plans, it was very helpful to my understanding of why the problem occured. I will definitely take a look at Sentry One Plan Explorer, it looks very useful! Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 9:56
  • @MartinBergström That is great to hear, thank you for providing the query plans and providing us with all relevant info we asked about in the comments :). The best thing about the plan explorer is that it is free! It can also work from inside ssms (by right clicking the execution plan and press "view with sentryone plan explorer"). Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 10:00

Without more information we can only take lightly informed stabs in the dark, so you should edit the question to provide a little more. For instance the query plans for that update statement that you have given the timings for, both before and after the index maintenance operations as the plans may differ due to the index stats having been updated (https://www.brentozar.com/pastetheplan/ is useful for this, rather than filling the question with what might be a huge chunk of XML or giving a screen-grab which doesn't include some of the pertinent information the text of the plan contains).

Two very simple points off the bat though:

  1. Has the optimise run definitely completed? If your tests are competing with the IO of long running index rebuilds that will affect the timings.
  2. Did you test multiple times? If the update is based on data from a query that considers a lot of data (rather than a simple `UPDATE TheTable SET ThisColumn = 'A Static Value') then it may be that this data is normally in memory but has been flushed out in which the first runs of related queries will be slower than usual due to hitting disk rather than finding the needed pages already in the buffer pool in memory.
  • Thank you for taking the time to reply. I have updated the question with pastetheplan links. The optimise had definitely completed it ran for approx 1hr the day before the problems occured. We did test multiple times, and it actually affected two copies of the database running in two different test environements in the same way. The Update statement was just the simplest example I found, there were numerous other inserts and selects affected Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 10:05
  • By "multiple times" I was meaning trying the updates multiple times after one instance of the index changes, rather than running the index optimisation script multiple times independently (though that is itself a useful way to verify the result is reproducible). If memory flushing is (or is part of) the issue then the first updates-from-selects will prime the buffer pool so the later ones will potentially be faster due to significantly reduced IO. Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 10:13
  • Apologies if my reply was unclear. Yes we tried the updates multiple times. The slowdowns occured on a database used by testers to test the application and the queries and updates where run multiple times during the day without a performance improvement. Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 10:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.