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SQL417: Advanced T-SQL Querying, Programming and Tuning for SQL Server 2012 – 2017


  • 5 Days
  • Taught by MVP Itzik Ben-Gan
  • Master Query Tuning
  • This class can also be attended online with RemoteLive™
  • Replay recordings not included due to content licensing

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Course Description

This advanced T-SQL course focuses on writing and tuning queries and programming with T-SQL in SQL Server 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017 and in Azure SQL Database. In this course you will learn the details and capabilities of T-SQL in the following areas: Logical Query Processing; Query Tuning (Internals and Index Tuning, including Columnstore Indexes, Query Store, New Cardinality Estimator, Temporary Tables, Sets vs. Cursors, Query Tuning with Query Revisions); Subqueries and Table Expressions (Derived Tables, CTEs, Views, Inline Table-Valued Functions), Recursive Queries, APPLY Operator, Joins and Set Operators; Aggregating, Pivoting and Windowing (including Aggregate, Ranking and Offset Window Functions), Custom Aggregates and STRING_AGG; TOP and OFFSET-FETCH; Data Modification; Working with Date and Time (including System-Versioned Temporal Tables); Programmable Objects (Dynamic SQL, User Defined Functions, Stored Procedures, Triggers, Transactions and Concurrency, Exception Handling); In-Memory OLTP.

Along the course you will learn how to use T-SQL to solve practical problems such as: Relational Division, Missing and Existing Ranges (Gaps and Islands), Separating Elements, Pivoting and Unpivoting, Ranking and Offset, Running Totals, Moving Averages, YTD, Custom Aggregations, TOP and OFFSET-FETCH Problems, Paging, Top N Per Group, Median, Data De-Duplication, Handling Sequences, Merging Data, Treatment of Temporal Intervals (Intersection, Max Concurrent, Packing), Dynamic Search Condition (aka Dynamic Filtering), Migrating On-Disk to Memory Optimized Data, and more.

You will learn how to tune your queries, how to develop efficient routines including user defined functions, stored procedures and triggers, work in multi-user environments with transactions and isolation levels, and use dynamic SQL securely and efficiently.

The course provides a dedicated module focusing on query tuning. The module covers internals and index tuning, including coverage of Columnstore data, index access methods, cardinality estimations, query store, temporary tables, set vs. cursors, and query tuning using query revisions. Moreover, query tuning is in the heart of this course and is incorporated in the different modules throughout the course.

With each querying/programming task the discussions will revolve around logical aspects, set-based vs. iterative/procedural programming and optimization of the solutions.
The course workbook also contains a bonus self-study appendix on Graphs and Recursive queries. This appendix covers graphs, trees and hierarchies. It explains how to model and query such structures. It also covers the HIERARCHYID datatype, and the SQL Graph feature.

This course was developed by Itzik Ben-Gan, a mentor and one of the founders of SolidQ, author of award winning books about T-SQL, a columnist in SQL Server Pro magazine, a Microsoft Data Platform MVP since 1999, and a regular speaker in SQL Server related events.


Module 01: Logical Query Processing

  • Logical Query Processing Order
  • Logical Query Processing Example
  • Phase Details



Module 02: Query Tuning

  • Internals and Index Tuning


  • New Cardinality Estimator
  • Temporary Tables
  • Sets vs. Cursors
  • Query Tuning with Query Revisions


Module 03 - Multi-Table Queries

  • Subqueries, Table Expressions and Recursive Queries
  • APPLY Operator
  • Joins
  • Set Operators

LAB 03


Module 04: Grouping, Pivoting and Windowing

  • Window Functions
  • Pivoting and Unpivoting Data
  • Custom Aggregations
  • Grouping Sets (bonus self-study unit)

LAB 04


Module 05: TOP and OFFSET-FETCH

  • TOP
  • Top N Per Group

LAB 05


Module 06: Data Modification

  • Inserting Data
  • Sequences
  • Deleting Data
  • Updating Data
  • Merging Data
  • The OUTPUT Clause

LAB 06


Module 07 - Working with Date and Time

  • Date and Time Datatypes
  • Date and Time Functions
  • Date and Time Challenges
  • System-Versioned Temporal Tables
  • Date and Time Querying Problems

LAB 07


Module 08: Programmable Objects

  • Dynamic SQL
  • User Defined Functions
  • Stored Procedures
  • Triggers
  • Transactions and Concurrency
  • Exception Handling

LAB 08


Module 09: In-Memory OLTP

  • Intro to In-Memory OLTP
  • Architecture
  • Memory Optimized Tables and Indexes
  • Natively Compiled Modules
  • Transaction Semantics

LAB 09


Appendix A: Graphs and Recursive Queries (Bonus Self-Study Material)

Graphs, Described

Materialized Paths


Using the HIERARCHYID datatype

Nested Sets

Nested Iterations


Recursive Queries

SQL Graph




This course is intended for:
• T-SQL Programmers, DBAs, BI Specialists, Data Scientists, Architects, and Analysts
• Those that need to write or review T-SQL code in SQL Server 2012 -2017 and Azure SQL.


Before attending this course, it is recommended that students have the following skills:

  • At least one year of T-SQL querying and programming experience in SQL Server or Azure SQL Database
What You Will Learn

Upon completion of this course, the student will:
• Understand logical query processing
• Understand SQL Server’s internal data structures
• Be able to analyze and tune query performance
• Be able to analyze query execution plans
• Describe the changes between the legacy and new cardinality estimators
• Be able to solve complex querying and programming tasks
• Think in terms of sets
• Be able to compare set based and iterative solutions
• Use window functions to improve your solutions
• Handle date and time data including intervals
• Create system-versioned temporal tables
• Describe performance problems related to use of user defined functions and possible workarounds
• Understand compilations, recompilations, plan caching and reuse
• Understand transactions and concurrency aspects of database programming
• Know how to handle hierarchical data and write recursive queries
• Be able to migrate on-disk data to memory optimized data
• Describe T-SQL enhancements in SQL Server 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017

Student Comments (28)
Comments about the Instructor
"Thank you InterfaceTT for booking and retaining Itzik Ben Gan as an instruction at the school. Keeping him on the training schedule and \or engaging more world class instructors like him will be ensure the success and popularity of the school!Also, I would recommend a less advanced course offered by the same instructor ( or someone of his caliber) this way the pool of potential attendees and and class audience will increase manifold.Thank you!"
September 14, 2018 | SQL417 Student
Comments about the Instructor
"Itzek is one of the best instructors in the history of technical instructors. This was my 2nd class I've had from him and he didn't disappoint."
September 14, 2018 | SQL417 Student
Comments about the Instructor
"Itzik is a great professor, not monologue or boring to listen to, keeps the discussions on task and interesting while maintaining course with the curriculum."
April 6, 2018 | SQL417 Student
Comments about the Instructor
"This class exceeded all of my expectations. I was blown away by the information taught and think this course should be mandatory for all database developers."
April 6, 2018 | SQL417 Student
Comments about enhancing the Courseware
"The labs are very helpful (but that's because I learn best by "doing") so I would like extra time with the labs. However, in this training, I would prefer to hear the instructor since he is so knowledgeable. Thankfully we have access to the labs [lab files] after the seminar so this is a perfect balance"
April 6, 2018 | SQL417 Student
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