A couple of fixes for Plan Explorer
April 26th, 201113
A couple of fixes for Plan Explorer
April 26th, 201113

This evening SQL Sentry has pushed out a new build of Plan Explorer 1.2 (build #6.1.32), fixing a couple of minor issues brought to our attention by users.

  1. Eric Humphrey (@lotsahelp) pointed out that our query timeout for generating an actual plan was set to 30 seconds. This was an oversight, but chances are you wouldn't see this in most cases:
    • if your query started returning rows right away, the timeout wouldn't occur, even if the query took longer than 30 seconds to complete;
    • if your query returned no rows (e.g. WAITFOR > 30 seconds), or took more than 30 seconds to start returning rows, the timeout would occur.
  2. Geoff Hiten (@SQLCraftsman) came across a plan that opened fine in Management Studio, but failed to open in Plan Explorer. This was certainly a first for us; usually, it is the other way around – SSMS frequently chokes on large or complicated plans that Plan Explorer opens with ease. In this case, the issue was caused by a self-referencing expression causing memory troubles in our new "Expressions" tab – which shows, among other expression details, a tree view of expression dependencies. So you can imagine what might happen with a circular reference – the code was prepared for a cap of 100 nested expansions per reference, but only if rendering them required less memory than what was available on the machine.

Both of these issues have been fixed and tested in the current download, which I recommend you apply to your system(s):


As always, please let me know if you have any questions about Plan Explorer, or come across any issues at all using the free tool.

By: Aaron Bertrand

I am a passionate technologist with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. I am a long-time Microsoft MVP, write at Simple Talk, SQLPerformance, and MSSQLTips, and have had the honor of speaking at more conferences than I can remember. In non-tech life, I am a husband, a father of two, a huge hockey and football fan, and my pronouns are he/him.

13 Responses

  1. Seth Phelabaum says:

    Heh, indeed.  I guess I should read more than a single line!

  2. AaronBertrand says:

    It's not a feature, it's a defect. The name of the defect describes the symptom that has been fixed. Take a look at the other items under "FIXES" and you will see that the tone is the same, e.g. "Batches with identical statements can be sorted incorrectly" – surely we do not want to intentionally sort statements incorrectly?

  3. Seth Phelabaum says:

    Thanks for the explanation and notes of the timeout fix.  I was hitting this today and couldn't figure out what the heck was going on (as I'd run queries in the past that took far longer than 30 seconds to complete).  The actual change log is a bit misleading for this one:  3070 PA-Plan Explorer Actual plan collection will time out after 30 seconds.  That makes it sound like this was a change that was made intentionally, rather than the bug that was fixed.
    In any case, got the new version and all good to go.  

  4. Brooke Philpott says:

    Thanks for the kind words and bug reports. We strive to make the product bug-free and we appreciate your taking the time to let us know about this. The particular issue you reported was ironically found internally while developing some new features for the next version. When you reported it I actually tried to repro with the main trunk and couldn't and then realized it was the same root issue (albeit a different manifestation). All I had to do was move it over and do a new build.

  5. Michael Codanti says:

    I got the new version and it appears to resolve my problem with some seek predicates not being shown as well. Amazing support for a free product, I wish I got as good of support for products we pay maintenance on. Thanks!

  6. AaronBertrand says:

    Michael, if you send me your e-mail address, I will provide you with a more direct link that will bypass the CDN. Sorry about the inconvenience.

  7. Michael Codanti says:

    It appears that downloads.sqlsentry.net isn't accessible from our corporate network. (I can get to it from home.) I have reported the problem to the HelpDesk, so hopefully they will get it resolved soon.

  8. AaronBertrand says:

    Michael, can you be more specific – what do you mean by "can't download"?
    The links seem to be working fine for me. What is the actual symptom, and have you tried a different browser (in case some setting or add-in is blocking downloads)?

  9. Michael Codanti says:

    I would update if I could download it. (I'm curious to see if the bug I reported got fixed in this version.)
    I tried last night, and this morning, and I can't download either the change list or the application.

  10. AaronBertrand says:

    Yeah, I understand, Geoff… some vendors can really make us learn new things about stretching SQL Server's boundaries. 🙂

  11. SQLCraftsman says:

    Two words:  Vendor Code.

  12. TheSQLGuru says:

    2 minor requests:
    1) can you have the installer determine where plan explorer is currently installed and then default the install of the next patch to that location
    2) can you have the installer ask if/where a shortcut should be placed

  13. AaronBertrand says:

    From Brooke Philpott (@Macromullet), our Senior Technical Lead:
    "The memory issue was exacerbated by the expression referencing itself multiple times, causing exponential growth. Not a common scenario."