Today i asked question about bad query performance. That query had a lot of joins over a lot of views. I think i have found which view is a trouble for SQL server. Here is actuall query plan for select run on that view https://www.brentozar.com/pastetheplan/?id=BJB4WOV6S As you can see SQL Server highly overestimates number of rows and needed memory. Outter apply is used to run TVF that is returning processed XML, xmls are rather very small. I wonder how to avoid such overestimation(and what cuase them)? Should i create xml indexes for my table?

One of the TVF FUNCTION [schema].[functionname](@xmlData XML) RETURNS TABLE AS return SELECT Tbl.Col.value('PN[1]', 'nvarchar(32)') as PPN FROM @xmlData.nodes('PI') Tbl(Col) GO example declare @para as xml set @para = '<PI><PGID>00000000000000000000000000000000</PGID><PN>0</PN></PI>' Select * from [schema].[functionname](@para)

  • Your TVFs are seriously underestimated though.
    – Alex
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 1:14
  • @Alex what do you mean? I know what they are returning and it is very simply processing. I would even say they are iTVF but i'm not sure if that can be said about TVF that are processing xmldata
    – whd
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 8:18
  • Could you add a (reproducable) example of one of the multi statement TVFs being used? (if they are alike). Do they have to be multi statement? If you could rewrite them to be inline table valued functions your performance should improve. The estimates of these TVFs are way too high. Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 10:50
  • @RandiVertongen i edited question with code and example, actually i think this is indeed iTVF already and i was thinking maybe changing it to regular TVF will help
    – whd
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 10:56

2 Answers 2


The first part here is removing the high estimates on the TVF.

Test data:

declare @para as xml 
set @para = '<PI><PGID>00000000000000000000000000000000</PGID><PN>0</PN></PI>'

CREATE TABLE dbo.Test(id int identity(1,1) primary key not null, val int, xmldata xml)

INSERT INTO dbo.Test WITH(TABLOCK)(val,xmldata)
SELECT TOP(400000) 
FROM master..spt_values spt1
CROSS APPLY master..spt_values spt2

Primary Index used

    ON dbo.Test(xmldata);  

Query rewrite #1:

SELECT t.*, Tbl.Col.value('PN[1]', 'nvarchar(32)') as PPN
FROM dbo.Test t
OUTER APPLY t.xmldata.nodes('PI') as Tbl(Col);

This first part removes the high estimates, execution plans found here:

Original plan without the xml index, high estimates

Plan with the xml index, lower estimates

Query rewrite #2:

We could simplify the query to this:

SELECT t.*, xmldata.value('(PI/PN)[1]', 'nvarchar(32)') as PPN
FROM dbo.Test t;

Index #2, selective index:

A selective index could then be created:

ON dbo.Test(xmldata)

With the final execution statistics:

 SQL Server Execution Times:
   CPU time = 2109 ms,  elapsed time = 11066 ms.

Cpu time is ~ 3 times lower compared to the query stats of the original query:

FROM dbo.Test 
OUTER APPLY [dbo].[functionname](xmldata);

 SQL Server Execution Times:
   CPU time = 6000 ms,  elapsed time = 10196 ms.

And the query plan for the simplified query & selective index:

enter image description here

With the estimates matching the actual values.

Query plan

The selective index could also be used by the outer apply solution:

SELECT t.*, Tbl.Col.value('PN[1]', 'nvarchar(32)') as PPN
FROM dbo.Test t
OUTER APPLY t.xmldata.nodes('PI') as Tbl(Col);

In that case, the cpu time is at 3.5seconds:

CPU time = 3594 ms,  elapsed time = 10979 ms.

on my instance.

  • i wonder if this will work without xml index? i wanted to create one but then i noticed that i trequires primary key to be clustered and it is not on my DB (Btw im using sql server 2012)
    – whd
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 14:51
  • 1
    @whd high row estimates persist without the indexes on my end unfortunately. Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 14:57
  • is it possible to tell engine that it should not try estimate rows returned by TVF? I know that in my case every TVF for each execution will always return just one row.
    – whd
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 18:50

I think the base cardinality estimate for XML TVF is 10,000 rows - I read it in a presentation by Michael Rys

To improve estimates, you can either add a schema to your XML or create an XML index.

Other than that I could only direct you to row goal hints and estimates trick I first heard from Adam Machanic here

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