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November 11, 2010

SQL Sentry introduces Plan Explorer for query plan analysis

Colour scaling, plan fits on screen, and optimised layout algorithms

By CBR Staff Writer

SQL Sentry, the developer of software for Microsoft SQL Server, has introduced the SQL Sentry Plan Explorer, a free software tool which the company says enhances the work with SQL Server Query plans.

Plan Explorer builds upon the graphical plan view in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to make query plan analysis and it also contains plan analysis features being introduced in SQL Sentry v6, and does not require a collection service or database.

The Plan Explorer features include estimated costs label that use colour scaling by CPU, IO, or CPU+IO so highest cost operations are instantly obvious, even on larger plans

Using the new tool cumulative costs can be shown in lieu of per node costs, and when combined with colour scaling it enables to see which subtrees are contributing most to the plan cost.

It also features optimised layout algorithms that render plans in a condensed view, so more of the plan fits on the screen without having to zoom out.

It has a top operations view, which is a sortable list view of all plan operations, sorted descending by total cost by default so users can see the highest cost operations.

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SQL Sentry president and CEO Greg Gonzalez said that they had originally envisioned query analysis features only as part of the licensed version of SQL Sentry Performance Advisor.

"The new features are so useful that they wanted to share the tool with anyone that wants it, so they are making it available to the SQL Server community for free," Greg said.

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