Creating Indexes in Software

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Creating Indexes
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When you create an index on a table, you can specify it either in the create statement for the table (only if it is the primary key or a unique index), or after the table is created using the CREATE INDEX statement Following is a simple create statement showing the most commonly used options (SQL Server 2008 Books Online has an exhaustive reference on the syntax of this statement)
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Implementing Indexes in SQL Server
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CREATE NONCLUSTERED INDEX idx_Customer_LastName_FirstName ON Customer (LastName ASC, FirstName ASC) WITH (FILLFACTOR = 70, SORT_IN_TEMPDB = ON, ONLINE = ON) N IndexFileGroup
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This statement creates our index on the Customer table, sorting by last name in ascending alphabetical order and then by first name in ascending alphabetical order The fillfactor, which specifies the amount of page space to fill with the index information, is set to 70 This means that for all the index pages created to hold the index data, each page will be filled no more than 70 percent This specification allows for some growth in the pages By doing this, we leave room for the insertion of rows that will fall in the middle of the ranges of each page It lowers the overhead of maintaining the index, because we should have fewer pages being rearranged to handle the new rows as they come in We then tell SQL Server to do all the sorting of the data for the new index in the tempdb This moves the processing of the data, which requires temporary physical storage, to the temp database, keeping it out of the actual user database that the index is being created in Then we tell it to leave the underlying tables online during the index creation process By default, the underlying tables would be offline, preventing anyone from reading or writing to the tables while the index was being created Note that this option is available only in SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, so don t try it otherwise Finally, we specify the filegroup on which to place this index
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Filegroups are a method of storing database data files in a separated fashion By default, every new SQL Server database has a single filegroup, called Primary, where the first data file lives Users can create additional files and filegroups and create objects in those files and filegroups We ve specified that there be a user-defined filegroup called IndexFileGroup and that we want the index created there (and not in the same filegroup as the underlying table) One of the primary reasons to do something like this is to both manage disk space and improve performance If we separate our indexes from our source tables, we can add disk spindles to satisfy the query, thereby not tying up the same set of spindles to search for the data and retrieve the
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Indexing Considerations
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data In addition, we can keep an eye on our disk space usage at a more granular level
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Setting Up Index Maintenance
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Finally we arrive at the last piece of the index puzzle: maintenance We ve discussed why you need to perform maintenance but haven t said very much about what it is and when you need to do it As mentioned before, index maintenance is primarily in the realm of the DBA, but if you can provide guidance about the frequency and type of maintenance that is likely to be needed, the DBA will be grateful Here are the things you need to know Indexes, because of the insertion and deletion of data, can become very fragmented That is, to perform as fast as possible, SQL Server executes these changes in a very efficient manner Whenever changes are made that require index pages to be split or allocated, SQL Server grabs the quickest available page and allocates it to the index in question Over time, this means that the index information is scattered throughout the database, in terms of physical location on disk This in turn has a negative effect on performance When we refer to performing maintenance on an index, we are referring to fixing this problem
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