I'm looking through the plan cache, looking for low-hanging optimization fruit and came across this snippet:

enter image description here

Why are many of the costs listed above 100% ? Shouldn't that be impossible?

  • I even saw costs of up to 1 mill % from the estimated plan. Just use the real cost, it should be better.
    – Marian
    Apr 10 '13 at 20:52
  • 5
    Because SQL Server's math is messed up. Grab our free Plan Explorer; we don't have this problem. Apr 10 '13 at 21:08
  • I love SQL Sentry Plan Explorer, Aaron - I've been using it for a while now. I want to see what the pro version does!
    – Hannah Vernon
    Apr 10 '13 at 21:18

The visual cost estimator is crap. This sort of stuff happens all the time. Just go with the highest ones are the most expensive and attack those ones first.

  • Have you ever seen this with previous versions of SQL Server? As far as I'm concerned, I've never noticed it on SS 2008R2 for example. Apr 10 '13 at 20:04
  • 5
    I've seen it all the way back to SQL 2000. Far as I know it's just a bug in SSMS (and EM) when it's doing the math to figure out the percentages.
    – mrdenny
    Apr 10 '13 at 20:08

I'd been also curious about why sometimes some cost is displayed as 100%, 200%, 300%...and even more. After analyse xml file of query plan, i got it.

The cost percentage = my EstimatedTotalSubtreeCost / parent node's EstimatedTotalSubtreeCost

For example, your query plan shows Clustered Index Insert take cost 914%, to understand how it calculate this percentage, 1. Move mouse to `Clustered Index Insert` to show popup, you can see the cost `EstimatedTotalSubtreeCost`, e.g, 0.2 2. Move mouse to this node's parent node `COND WITH QUERY`, check the popup to get `EstimatedTotalSubtreeCost`, e.g, 0.0218818 3. Calculate 0.2/0.0218818 = 914%, this is the cost percentage displayed in `Clustered Index Insert` popup

  • 1
    0.002/2.18 is 0.000917 (which is the same as 0.0917%) and not 914%. May 11 '16 at 7:31
  • thank you for your comment. I will modify my answer. After all, it is just a sample to show how to calculate the percentage.
    – osexp2003
    May 16 '16 at 4:17

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