I am trying to write a query that would get me the duration of a status in a table. This query needs to work in SQL Server 2008.

Say I have the following table:

Key Value   RecordDate
1   1   2012-01-01
2   1   2012-01-02
3   1   2012-01-03
4   5   2012-01-05
5   5   2012-01-05 12:00:00
6   12  2012-01-06
7   1   2012-01-07
8   1   2012-01-08

I would like to get the following result

Value StartDate   EndDate     Duration
1     2012-01-01  2012-01-05  4 days
5     2012-01-05  2012-01-06  1 days
12    2012-01-06  2012-01-07  1 days
1     2012-01-07  NULL        NULL

Basically I would like the get the duration when of the value before it changes.

I am getting somewhere close, but still can't figure it out:

SELECT [Key], [Value],  
       MIN(RecordDate) OVER(PARTITION BY [Value]) as 'StarDate',
       MAX(RecordDate) OVER(PARTITION BY [Value]) as 'EndDate',
       DATEDIFF(day, (MIN(RecordDate) OVER(PARTITION BY [Value])), 
                     (MAX(RecordDate) OVER(PARTITION BY [Value])))
FROM [RateTable]
Order by RecordDate

I know that SQL Server 2012 has LAG and LEAD function, but since I am deal with SQL Server 2008, I can't use it.

Please advise

Here is the SQL statement that generate the sample data

    [Key] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
    [Value] [int] NULL,
    [RecordDate] [DateTime] NULL

INSERT INTO [RateTable] VALUES (1, '2012-01-01');
INSERT INTO [RateTable] VALUES (1, '2012-01-02');
INSERT INTO [RateTable] VALUES (1, '2012-01-03');
INSERT INTO [RateTable] VALUES (5, '2012-01-04');
INSERT INTO [RateTable] VALUES (5, '2012-01-05 12:00:00');
INSERT INTO [RateTable] VALUES (12, '2012-01-06');
INSERT INTO [RateTable] VALUES (1, '2012-01-07');
INSERT INTO [RateTable] VALUES (1, '2012-01-08');

[Update] Thanks for everyone's inputs. I like to clarify a number of questions here, b/c I simplified many things here so that I won't add extra complexity to the problem that I am working on. The background is that I have a table that logs a tons of vehicle's malfunction light indicate (MIL) status. This MIL status information is logged irregularly based on many factors. What I would like to get is the duration of when the vehicle MIL status is turned on (value of 1). The value can be -1 (undefined) or 0 (off).

  1. The RecordDate is pretty much guarantee to be unique and it should be type DateTime (sorry I didn't have the data type correct the first time I posted this question)
  2. Since it is supposed to be datetime, you won't have to worry about multiple value per day
  3. RecordDate and Value are not Nullable
  4. The duration of the value change is the challenge. Can't really use Group By clause as some of you mentioned, b/c I need to know when the status of the MIL change, not the last record date of the grouped value.
  5. The table has mover 16 millions of record, b/c it is a log table.

Originally when I posted this question I was thought that there is simple sql statement solution, instead of using T-SQL function with Cursor... There are a number of advantages if I can use sql statement b/c it integrate with other third party report app better. It looks like this is rather difficult to do so without SQL 2012 analytic functions. Even if there is a SQL statement solution, I am now worry it can be too complicate to understand and maintain.

[Update 2] I hope that someone could still provide a solution based on sql query. However, due to time constraint for my project, I wrote a function to solve this issue for now.

CREATE Function GetRateReport (@StartDate DateTime,  @EndDate DateTime)
    [RecordDate] DateTime,
    [Value] int,
    [Duration] DateTime
) AS

    DECLARE @PreviousValue INT;
    DECLARE @EarliestRecordDate DateTime;
    DECLARE @CurrentValue INT;
    DECLARE @CurrentRecordDate DateTime;

    --Open a cursor to get source data
    SELECT RecordDate, Value
    FROM   RateTable 
    WHERE RecordDate BETWEEN @StartDate AND @EndDate
    ORDER BY RecordDate;

    --Get the first record
    OPEN sourceCursor 
    FETCH NEXT FROM sourceCursor INTO @CurrentRecordDate, @CurrentValue;

    --Initize value
    SET @EarliestRecordDate = @CurrentRecordDate;
    SET @PreviousValue = @CurrentValue;

    WHILE(@@Fetch_Status = 0) -- check for more row

        -- Insert result when value changed
        IF @CurrentValue <> @PreviousValue
            INSERT INTO @ResultSet(RecordDate, Value, Duration)
            VALUES (@EarliestRecordDate, @PreviousValue, 
                      @CurrentRecordDate - @EarliestRecordDate);

            SET @EarliestRecordDate = @CurrentRecordDate;
            SET @PreviousValue = @CurrentValue;

    FETCH NEXT FROM sourceCursor INTO @CurrentRecordDate, @CurrentValue;

    --Edge case, retrieve the last value with duration up to current date
    INSERT INTO @ResultSet(RecordDate, Value, Duration)
    VALUES (@CurrentRecordDate, @CurrentValue, GETDATE() - @CurrentRecordDate);


Select [RecordDate], [Value], 
  DateDiff(day, '1900-01-01', [Duration]) as 'Day Duration' 
  from GetRateReport('2012-01-01', '2012-01-31')
  • A few things: 1. The SQL statements to generate the test data don't match the data given at the top of the question. Please update that and the expected results to match. This is really confusing. 2. Can any assumptions be made about the data? Is RecordDate unique? Will the rows always be in Key order? Is there always exactly 1 RecordDate per day? 3. Should NULL Value or RecordDate be handled? The given schema allows this.
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 2:45
  • 2
    Without the advanced window functions of version 2012, I think the most efficient would be a cursor solution. See this "running-total" question/answer at SO: Recursive SQL- How can I get this table with a running total? or even better follow the link to Aaron Bertrand's article: Best approaches for running totals (you don't want running total but you want to run through the table in similar way/order) Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 9:02
  • I don't think cursors are necessarily required. My second point in the comment above was aimed at finding a way to use a set-based operation to get the desired results.
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 15:56
  • 1
    Good suggestion, next time I will remember to highlight changes to make it easier for the reader
    – dsum
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 18:24
  • Be very careful with shorthand math, e.g. datetime - datetime. This won't work with newer types such as date and datetime2. Always use DATEADD / DATEDIFF. Commented Jul 21, 2013 at 14:15

2 Answers 2


This solution assumes there is only a single Value for each RecordDate. Performance will be better with tuned indexes, and probably breaking up the process using a temporary table or table variable. I used your script for test data. The output may not be exactly how you want it, but the process to get you close is what's important -- it works by filtering the rows to only the rows that start an interval, and then fabricates the end date by offsetting the results from the previous step.

        ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY RecordDate) AS RN
        FROM [dbo].[RateTable] rt
b AS
        ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY a1.RecordDate) AS RN
        FROM a a1
        LEFT OUTER JOIN a a2 ON a2.RN = a1.RN - 1
            (a1.Value != a2.Value) OR
            (a2.RN IS NULL)
    b1.RecordDate AS StartDate,
    b2.RecordDate AS EndDate,
    DATEDIFF(DAY, b1.RecordDate, b2.RecordDate) + 1 AS Duration /* Fixme? */
    FROM b b1
    LEFT OUTER JOIN b b2 ON b2.RN = b1.RN + 1
    ORDER BY b1.RecordDate;


Value   StartDate                EndDate                  Duration
1       2012-01-01 00:00:00.000  2012-01-04 00:00:00.000  4
5       2012-01-04 00:00:00.000  2012-01-06 00:00:00.000  3
12      2012-01-06 00:00:00.000  2012-01-07 00:00:00.000  2
1       2012-01-07 00:00:00.000  NULL                     NULL
  • Thanks Jon, you nail the problem. Other than you don't really need to do the + 1 for the duration, your solution is pretty what I imagined, except I couldn't figure out how to write it in a signle query: 1. Eliminate the non-essential rows and query only the row with changed value 2. Then left join the temp table again to get the duration different. I will test your solution to my real problem and see if I can add indexes to optimize it, b/c the table has over 16 mil of records.
    – dsum
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 15:24
  • @dsum: You're welcome. Let me know how it goes. If you have a clustered index with RecordDate as the leading column (and hopefully unique!), then it shouldn't be too bad in terms of performance. As I mentioned, you probably will want to store the intermediate results in a temp table or table variable, as it does scan the base table 4x as written.
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 21:42

I was just playing around and was able to get this output (not the strongest T-SQL writer):

1     1/1/2012   1/8/2012   7
5     1/4/2012   1/5/2012   1
12    1/6/2012   1/6/2012   0

I know there is a way to add the text "days" to that column but can't think of it off the top of my head... query: (SQLFiddle)

;with DayDuration
SELECT value, DATEDIFF(dd, MIN(RecordDate), MAX(RecordDate)) AS Duration
FROM RateTable
GROUP BY value
SELECT r.value, MIN(r.RecordDate) AS StartDate, ISNULL(MAX(r.RecordDate),NULL) AS EndDate,
  DayDuration.Duration AS TotalDays
FROM RateTable AS r
INNER JOIN DayDuration ON DayDuration.value = r.value
GROUP BY r.value, DayDuration.Duration
  • Because the values in the Value column can repeat over non-contiguous time intervals, grouping by that column produces incorrect results as all the intervals for a single value get merged together. Also, according to the expected output, the StartDate of row n+1 should always be the EndDate of row n (seems kind of weird to me, but that's the spec).
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 3:12

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