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Reorganize and Rebuild Indexes

This topic describes how to reorganize or rebuild a fragmented index in SQL Server 2014 by using SQL Server Management Studio or Transact-SQL. The SQL Server Database Engine automatically maintains indexes whenever insert, update, or delete operations are made to the underlying data. Over time these modifications can cause the information in the index to become scattered in the database (fragmented). Fragmentation exists when indexes have pages in which the logical ordering, based on the key value, does not match the physical ordering inside the data file. Heavily fragmented indexes can degrade query performance and cause your application to respond slowly.

You can remedy index fragmentation by reorganizing or rebuilding an index. For partitioned indexes built on a partition scheme, you can use either of these methods on a complete index or a single partition of an index. Rebuilding an index drops and re-creates the index. This removes fragmentation, reclaims disk space by compacting the pages based on the specified or existing fill factor setting, and reorders the index rows in contiguous pages. When ALL is specified, all indexes on the table are dropped and rebuilt in a single transaction. Reorganizing an index uses minimal system resources. It defragments the leaf level of clustered and nonclustered indexes on tables and views by physically reordering the leaf-level pages to match the logical, left to right, order of the leaf nodes. Reorganizing also compacts the index pages. Compaction is based on the existing fill factor value.

In This Topic

Detecting Fragmentation

The first step in deciding which defragmentation method to use is to analyze the index to determine the degree of fragmentation. By using the system function sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats, you can detect fragmentation in a specific index, all indexes on a table or indexed view, all indexes in a database, or all indexes in all databases. For partitioned indexes, sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats also provides fragmentation information for each partition.

The result set returned by the sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats function includes the following columns.

Column

Description

avg_fragmentation_in_percent

The percent of logical fragmentation (out-of-order pages in the index).

fragment_count

The number of fragments (physically consecutive leaf pages) in the index.

avg_fragment_size_in_pages

Average number of pages in one fragment in an index.

After the degree of fragmentation is known, use the following table to determine the best method to correct the fragmentation.

avg_fragmentation_in_percent value

Corrective statement

> 5% and < = 30%

ALTER INDEX REORGANIZE

> 30%

ALTER INDEX REBUILD WITH (ONLINE = ON)*

* Rebuilding an index can be executed online or offline. Reorganizing an index is always executed online. To achieve availability similar to the reorganize option, you should rebuild indexes online.

These values provide a rough guideline for determining the point at which you should switch between ALTER INDEX REORGANIZE and ALTER INDEX REBUILD. However, the actual values may vary from case to case. It is important that you experiment to determine the best threshold for your environment. Very low levels of fragmentation (less than 5 percent) should not be addressed by either of these commands because the benefit from removing such a small amount of fragmentation is almost always vastly outweighed by the cost of reorganizing or rebuilding the index.

Note Note

In general, fragmentation on small indexes is often not controllable. The pages of small indexes are stored on mixed extents. Mixed extents are shared by up to eight objects, so the fragmentation in a small index might not be reduced after reorganizing or rebuilding the index.

Limitations and Restrictions

  • Indexes with more than 128 extents are rebuilt in two separate phases: logical and physical. In the logical phase, the existing allocation units used by the index are marked for deallocation, the data rows are copied and sorted, then moved to new allocation units created to store the rebuilt index. In the physical phase, the allocation units previously marked for deallocation are physically dropped in short transactions that happen in the background, and do not require many locks.

  • Index options cannot be specified when reorganizing an index.

Security

Permissions

Requires ALTER permission on the table or view. User must be a member of the sysadmin fixed server role or the db_ddladmin and db_owner fixed database roles.

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To check the fragmentation of an index

  1. In Object Explorer, Expand the database that contains the table on which you want to check an index’s fragmentation.

  2. Expand the Tables folder.

  3. Expand the table on which you want to check an index’s fragmentation.

  4. Expand the Indexes folder.

  5. Right-click the index of which you want to check the fragmentation and select Properties.

  6. Under Select a page, select Fragmentation.

    The following information is available on the Fragmentation page:

    Page fullness

    Indicates average fullness of the index pages, as a percentage. 100% means the index pages are completely full. 50% means that, on average, each index page is half full.

    Total fragmentation

    The logical fragmentation percentage. This indicates the number of pages in an index that are not stored in order.

    Average row size

    The average size of a leaf level row.

    Depth

    The number of levels in the index, including the leaf level.

    Forwarded records

    The number of records in a heap that have forward pointers to another data location. (This state occurs during an update, when there is not enough room to store the new row in the original location.)

    Ghost rows

    The number of rows that are marked as deleted but not yet removed. These rows will be removed by a clean-up thread, when the server is not busy. This value does not include rows that are being retained due to an outstanding snapshot isolation transaction.

    Index type

    The type of index. Possible values are Clustered index, Nonclustered index, and Primary XML. Tables can also be stored as a heap (without indexes), but then this Index Properties page cannot be opened.

    Leaf-level rows

    The number of leaf level rows.

    Maximum row size

    The maximum leaf-level row size.

    Minimum row size

    The minimum leaf-level row size.

    Pages

    The total number of data pages.

    Partition ID

    The partition ID of the b-tree containing the index.

    Version ghost rows

    The number of ghost records that are being retained due to an outstanding snapshot isolation transaction.

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To check the fragmentation of an index

  1. In Object Explorer, connect to an instance of Database Engine.

  2. On the Standard bar, click New Query.

  3. Copy and paste the following example into the query window and click Execute.

    USE AdventureWorks2012;
    GO
    -- Find the average fragmentation percentage of all indexes
    -- in the HumanResources.Employee table. 
    SELECT a.index_id, name, avg_fragmentation_in_percent
    FROM sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats (DB_ID(N'AdventureWorks2012'), OBJECT_ID(N'HumanResources.Employee'), NULL, NULL, NULL) AS a
        JOIN sys.indexes AS b ON a.object_id = b.object_id AND a.index_id = b.index_id; 
    GO
    

    The statement above might return a result set similar to the following.

    index_id    name                                                  avg_fragmentation_in_percent
    ----------- ----------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------
    1           PK_Employee_BusinessEntityID                          0
    2           IX_Employee_OrganizationalNode                        0
    3           IX_Employee_OrganizationalLevel_OrganizationalNode    0
    5           AK_Employee_LoginID                                   66.6666666666667
    6           AK_Employee_NationalIDNumber                          50
    7           AK_Employee_rowguid                                   0
    
    (6 row(s) affected)
    

For more information, see sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats (Transact-SQL).

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To reorganize or rebuild an index

  1. In Object Explorer, Expand the database that contains the table on which you want to reorganize an index.

  2. Expand the Tables folder.

  3. Expand the table on which you want to reorganize an index.

  4. Expand the Indexes folder.

  5. Right-click the index you want to reorganize and select Reorganize.

  6. In the Reorganize Indexes dialog box, verify that the correct index is in the Indexes to be reorganized grid and click OK.

  7. Select the Compact large object column data check box to specify that all pages that contain large object (LOB) data are also compacted.

  8. Click OK.

To reorganize all indexes in a table

  1. In Object Explorer, Expand the database that contains the table on which you want to reorganize the indexes.

  2. Expand the Tables folder.

  3. Expand the table on which you want to reorganize the indexes.

  4. Right-click the Indexes folder and select Reorganize All.

  5. In the Reorganize Indexes dialog box, verify that the correct indexes are in the Indexes to be reorganized. To remove an index from the Indexes to be reorganized grid, select the index and then press the Delete key.

  6. Select the Compact large object column data check box to specify that all pages that contain large object (LOB) data are also compacted.

  7. Click OK.

To rebuild an index

  1. In Object Explorer, Expand the database that contains the table on which you want to reorganize an index.

  2. Expand the Tables folder.

  3. Expand the table on which you want to reorganize an index.

  4. Expand the Indexes folder.

  5. Right-click the index you want to reorganize and select Reorganize.

  6. In the Rebuild Indexes dialog box, verify that the correct index is in the Indexes to be rebuilt grid and click OK.

  7. Select the Compact large object column data check box to specify that all pages that contain large object (LOB) data are also compacted.

  8. Click OK.

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To reorganize a defragmented index

  1. In Object Explorer, connect to an instance of Database Engine.

  2. On the Standard bar, click New Query.

  3. Copy and paste the following example into the query window and click Execute.

    USE AdventureWorks2012; 
    GO
    -- Reorganize the IX_Employee_OrganizationalLevel_OrganizationalNode index on the HumanResources.Employee table. 
    
    ALTER INDEX IX_Employee_OrganizationalLevel_OrganizationalNode ON HumanResources.Employee
    REORGANIZE ; 
    GO
    

To reorganize all indexes in a table

  1. In Object Explorer, connect to an instance of Database Engine.

  2. On the Standard bar, click New Query.

  3. Copy and paste the following example into the query window and click Execute.

    USE AdventureWorks2012; 
    GO
    -- Reorganize all indexes on the HumanResources.Employee table.
    ALTER INDEX ALL ON HumanResources.Employee
    REORGANIZE ; 
    GO
    

To rebuild a defragmented index

  1. In Object Explorer, connect to an instance of Database Engine.

  2. On the Standard bar, click New Query.

  3. Copy and paste the following example into the query window and click Execute. The example rebuilds a single index on the Employee table.

    USE AdventureWorks2012;
    GO
    ALTER INDEX PK_Employee_BusinessEntityID ON HumanResources.Employee
    REBUILD;
    GO
    

To rebuild all indexes in a table

  1. In Object Explorer, connect to an instance of Database Engine.

  2. On the Standard bar, click New Query.

  3. Copy and paste the following example into the query The example specifies the keyword ALL. This rebuilds all indexes associated with the table. Three options are specified.

    USE AdventureWorks2012;
    GO
    ALTER INDEX ALL ON Production.Product
    REBUILD WITH (FILLFACTOR = 80, SORT_IN_TEMPDB = ON,
                  STATISTICS_NORECOMPUTE = ON);
    GO
    

For more information, see ALTER INDEX (Transact-SQL).

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