The answer of the question I asked in my last post is Statistics. Query Optimizer is a cost(and rule) based optimizer. It calculates the costs for each operator based on its formulars behind and get the total estimated cost of query. If there are more alternatives to implement the same logic, SQL Server will know the cost of each alternative, then it can pickup a most efficient one to run. However, databases nowadays are usually complicated. Very frequently, implementing a logic for data accessing can have millions of alternatives. Getting cost for each and find the cheapest best one is just so time consuming. It doesn’t make sense to take a day to find a best plan to execute where the returning of the query can be done in 10 minutes by using the wrost plan. There are definitely some rules behind. We will come back to the rule in the future. Now let’s see how SQL Server gets estimated number of rows on the data it maniputes on.