SQL Server Cursor Operators – Part4

Hi Geeks,

Welcome to the Part4 of SQL Server Cursor Operators. You can read previous posts by clicking Part1Part2  and Part3.

In our previous posts, we have covered dynamic cursor operation but what happens if we change CURSOR type to STATIC, let’s see.

-- Database used in example is [AdventureWorks2012]
-- Please click on Display Estimated Execution Plan icon


SELECT SalesTerritory.Name FROM [Sales].[SalesTerritory]
WHERE SalesTerritory.[Group] LIKE '%America%'

OPEN TerritoryName

	FETCH NEXT FROM TerritoryName

CLOSE TerritoryName
DEALLOCATE TerritoryName




Entire execution plan is broken into 3 parts as shown above and we are going to discuss on the top most image which represents the cursor definition and remaining ones are same as dynamic cursor.

To start from the Top right, first operator is Clustered Index Scan to get data out of SalesTerritory table. This data is then passed to the Segment operator which divides the input into segments based on the columns and in our example it is based on derived column Segment1006. This derived column then split data and pass onto the next operator and then assign a unique key. Cursor operations requires work tables and for these tables to be efficient, SQL Server creates a clustered index with a unique key and in our static cursor, this key gets generated after segments are defined.



Next we see Sequence Project operator which adds new columns as part of computing set of data. In our example, this create row numbers through internal routine and they are used as identifiers within clustered index.


This data then passed to Clustered Index Insert and then Population Query cursor operator. This operator populates the work table for a cursor when it is opened. FETCH operation retrieves the rows from the CURSOR via Index Seek on the tempdb. Note, the Fetch Query operation is defined in a separate sequence as this cursor is static.

In the very end, Snapshot cursor operator representing a cursor that does not see any changes made by others.

Stay tuned, more to come on cursor operators. Happy Learning!



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About Kanchan Bhattacharyya

Kanchan is an astute IT professional, a seasoned SQL Database Administrator with 13+ years of industry experience. A calculated risk taker with deep technical knowledge and has gained proficiency in database consulting and solutions across different environments. Kanchan holds MBA degree in IT and an International Executive MBA in Project Management. He is very passionate about SQL Server and holds MCSE (Data Platform), MCSA – SQL 2012, MCITP – SQL 2008 certifications. Currently he is focusing on cloud and latest releases of SQL Server. When not working, Kanchan likes to spend his time reading on new technical developments specifically on SQL Server and other related technologies.

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