Apr 042012
 

Hash is used in 2 most commonly seen physical operators, Hash Join and Hash Aggregate. Those 2 happen when there are no any other alternatives (merge, nested loop, or stream aggregate) which can be used for more efficient operation. For instance, when SQL Server joins 2 tables together but none of them has an index. SQL Server has no idea whether the joining keys are sorted or not.  In most of the case for such scenarios, hash join will take place.  As its name, hash join uses hash algorithm to encode the joining keys from both side, compares the hashed values, and produce the result. This sounds very complex — yes, it is a very heavy operator.
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