SQL Server 7.0: Hash Joins

September 7, 2000


SQL Server 7.0 supports three types of join operations:

  • Nested-Loop joins
  • Merge joins
  • Hash joins
  • In this article I want to tell you about Hash joins, what kinds of Hash joins exist, and when SQL Server will choose this kind of join operation.

    The Hash join will be used, if there are no adequate indexes on the join columns. This is a worst situation. In that case, hash table will be created. Hash join is most efficient when one of the tables is significantly differ in size than another one.

    The query optimizer make a Hash join in two phases: build and probe. So Hash join has two inputs: the build input and the probe input.

    On the build phase, hash table will be created by scanning each value in the build input and applying the hashing algorithm to the key.

    Let me to describe Hash join on the example with two tables.

    Look at this example:

    if object_id('dbo.Table1') is not null drop table Table1
    GO
    CREATE TABLE Table1 (id int, Name char(10))
    GO
    if object_id('dbo.Table2') is not null drop table Table2
    GO
    CREATE TABLE Table1 (id int, Name char(20))
    GO
    
    DECLARE @i int
    SELECT @i = 1
    WHILE @i < 1000
      BEGIN
        INSERT INTO Table1 VALUES (@i, LTRIM(str(@i)))
        SELECT @i = @i + 1
      END
    GO
    
    DECLARE @i int
    SELECT @i = 1
    WHILE @i < 1000
      BEGIN
        INSERT INTO Table2 VALUES (@i, LTRIM(str(@i)))
        SELECT @i = @i + 1
      END
    GO
    
    SET SHOWPLAN_TEXT ON
    GO
    SELECT a.Name FROM Table1 a INNER JOIN Table2 b
      ON a.Name = b.Name
    GO
    SET SHOWPLAN_TEXT OFF
    GO
    

    These are the results:

    StmtText
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      |--Hash Match(Inner Join, HASH:([a].[Name])=([b].[Name]), 
    RESIDUAL:([a].[Name]=[b].[Name]))
           |--Table Scan(OBJECT:([pubs].[dbo].[Table1] AS [a]))
           |--Table Scan(OBJECT:([pubs].[dbo].[Table2] AS [b]))
    

    The smaller table will be build input, the other - probe input. Field Name (column that joins the tables) is called hash key. The hash table consists of linked lists called hash buckets. The result of using a hash function on a hash key is called hash value. Hash value and RID (row identifier) will be placed into hash table.

    Hash value must be smaller than hash key. So, query processor economies on the size of the hash table. The real example of hashing is notebook. You can open notebook on the appropriate letter and scan all surnames on this letter to find necessary ones. So, notebook is the example of hash table, and pages on the appropriate letter is the example of hash bucket.

    During the probe phase, the entire probe input is scanned, and for each probe row computes the same hash value on the hash key to find any matches in the corresponding hash bucket.

    There are two main kinds of Hash join:

  • In-memory Hash join
  • Grace Hash join
  • In-memory Hash Join will be used if entire build input can be placed into memory.

    Grace Hash join will be used if your server have not enough memory to hold the entire build input. In that case, query processor proceeds Hash Join in several steps (hash table will be divided into multiple partitions and relevant partition will be loaded as need).

    Because the query optimizer usually selects the best execution plan for a given select statement, it is not necessary to change the kind of join, but sometimes it can be useful. You can enforce the desirable join type with OPTION clause.

    This is the example to enforce Hash join:

    USE pubs
    GO
    SET SHOWPLAN_TEXT ON
    GO
    SELECT a.au_id FROM authors a JOIN titleauthor b
       ON a.au_id = b.au_id OPTION (HASH JOIN)
    GO
    SET SHOWPLAN_TEXT OFF
    GO
    

    These are the results:

    StmtText
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SELECT a.au_id FROM authors a JOIN titleauthor b
       ON a.au_id = b.au_id OPTION (HASH JOIN)
    
    (1 row(s) affected)
    
    StmtText
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      |--Hash Match(Inner Join, HASH:([a].[au_id])=([b].[au_id]), 
    RESIDUAL:([a].[au_id]=[b].[au_id]))
           |--Index Scan(OBJECT:([pubs].[dbo].[authors].[aunmind] AS [a]))
           |--Index Scan(OBJECT:([pubs].[dbo].[titleauthor].[titleidind] AS 
    [b]))
    
    (3 row(s) affected)
    


    » See All Articles by Columnist Alexander Chigrik









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