AFTER triggers are never executed if a constraint violation occurs; therefore, these triggers cannot be used for any processing that might prevent constraint violations.
INSTEAD OF triggers are executed instead of the triggering action. These triggers are executed after the inserted and deleted tables reflecting the changes to the base table are created, but before any other actions are taken. They are executed before any constraints, so can perform preprocessing that supplements the constraint actions.
If an INSTEAD OF trigger defined on a table executes a statement against the table that would usually fire the INSTEAD OF trigger again, the trigger is not called recursively. Instead, the statement is processed as if the table had no INSTEAD OF trigger and starts the chain of constraint operations and AFTER trigger executions. For example, if a trigger is defined as an INSTEAD OF INSERT trigger for a table, and the trigger executes an INSERT statement on the same table, the INSERT statement executed by the INSTEAD OF trigger does not call the trigger again. The INSERT executed by the trigger starts the process of performing constraint actions and firing any AFTER INSERT triggers defined for the table.
If an INSTEAD OF trigger defined on a view executes a statement against the view that would usually fire the INSTEAD OF trigger again, it is not called recursively. Instead, the statement is resolved as modifications against the base tables underlying the view. In this case, the view definition must meet all of the restrictions for an updatable view. For a definition of updatable views, see Modifying Data Through a View. For example, if a trigger is defined as an INSTEAD OF UPDATE trigger for a view, and the trigger executes an UPDATE statement referencing the same view, the UPDATE statement executed by the INSTEAD OF trigger does not call the trigger again. The UPDATE executed by the trigger is processed against the view as if the view did not have an INSTEAD OF trigger. The columns changed by the UPDATE must be resolved to a single base table. Each modification to an underlying base table starts the chain of applying constraints and firing AFTER triggers defined for the table.
Trigger performance overhead is usually low. The time involved in running a trigger is spent mostly in referencing other tables, which can be either in memory or on the database device. The deleted and inserted tables are always in memory. The location of other tables referenced by the trigger determines the amount of time the operation requires.
Note The use of cursors in triggers is not recommended because of the potentially negative impact on performance. Use rowset-based logic rather than cursors to design a trigger that affects multiple rows.