April 24, 2016

Heap Table

Tables without clustered indexes are called heaps.
They’re scattered on disk anywhere that SQL Server can find a spot, and they’re not stored in any order whatsoever. This can make for really fast inserts – SQL Server can just throw the data down – but slow selects, updates, and deletes.
These tables have a index_id value of 0 in the sys.indexes catalog view
Cases where heaps perform better than tables with clustered indexes.

1.Fast inserts
2. Since there is no clustered index, additional time is not needed to maintain the index and there is not the need for additional space to store the clustered index tree.
3. If your heap table only has INSERTS occurring, your table will not become fragmented, since only new data is written.

Drawback of Heaps:
1. Specific data can not be retrieved quickly, unless there are also non-clustered indexes.
2. Data is not stored in any particular order.
3. Fragmentation:
Resolving the fragmentation for a Heap table not easy as there is no rebuilding or reorganizing your clustered index. You need to create a new table and insert data from the heap table into the new table based on some sort order or Export the data, truncate the table and import the data back into the table

In following scenarios, you should use Heap tables:
  • Tables containing OLTP transactions
  • Data Warehouse fact tables
  • Log tables of all kinds
  • Telco Call Detail Records (CDR)
  • Event from Web Servers and social media


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