SQL Server Indexed Views Barney Style

June 26, 2012

During my first few weeks at a new client I was asked to do some DBA tasks that I don’t normally do.  They were in the process of developing a new application and as a result a legacy DB was being carried over inside a new DB as a series of views instead of physical tables.  While the views rendered the data correctly they query performance went from a matter of less than 10 seconds to more than 10 minutes, and this was just on development data, not a full production cycle.  So with the performance blown out of the water they asked me to do a some research and see what was causing the slow down.

The first thing I did was looked at the tables in the legacy DB to see if there were indexes on the corresponding tables, and as I’m sure you’ve guessed, there were.  As I’m sure you have also deduced the indexes weren’t created in the new DB on the views.

At this point the only thing I really knew about creating indexes on views was that you could.  So I did a little digging and found out what was required to create and indexed view.  Of course I didn’t discover all of this at once, but instead after every hurdle I cleared I was presented another one.  So for your benefit and mine, I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned about indexed views.  As you can tell by the title, this is not an all inclusive dissertation on SQL Server indexed views.  This will be very much an introduction so I hope you get what you need from it.

So the first thing that I tried that didn’t work was scripting out the index from the old table and try adding it to the view.  This brought up the first requirement I found.  I got an error saying the view didn’t have Schema Binding on it.  I had no idea what this meant but I found the MSDN article that listed what Schema Binding was:


Binds the view to the schema of the underlying table or tables. When SCHEMABINDING is specified, the base table or tables cannot be modified in a way that would affect the view definition. The view definition itself must first be modified or dropped to remove dependencies on the table that is to be modified. When you use SCHEMABINDING, the select_statement must include the two-part names (schema.object) of tables, views, or user-defined functions that are referenced. All referenced objects must be in the same database.

Views or tables that participate in a view created with the SCHEMABINDING clause cannot be dropped unless that view is dropped or changed so that it no longer has schema binding. Otherwise, the Database Engine raises an error. Also, executing ALTER TABLE statements on tables that participate in views that have schema binding fail when these statements affect the view definition.

So I did what was suggested and dropped and created the view with schema binding.  Great the view was created so I was ready to create the index again.  That was of course when the next error popped up.  The underlying tables where in different schemas which isn’t a big deal except, on top of that they had different owners for each schema, and that my friends is not allowed.

At this point my brain actually started to work properly, and in a stroke of, well not genius but somewhere above a drunken stupor and genius, I decided to search out how to create an indexed view instead of figuring out each error as it popped up.  That lead me to this MSDN article.

A view must meet the following requirements before you can create a clustered index on it:

  • The ANSI_NULLS and QUOTED_IDENTIFIER options must have been set to ON when the CREATE VIEW statement was executed. The OBJECTPROPERTY function reports this for views through the ExecIsAnsiNullsOn or ExecIsQuotedIdentOn properties.

  • The ANSI_NULLS option must have been set to ON for the execution of all CREATE TABLE statements that create tables referenced by the view.

  • The view must not reference any other views, only base tables.

  • All base tables referenced by the view must be in the same database as the view and have the same owner as the view.

  • The view must be created with the SCHEMABINDING option. Schema binding binds the view to the schema of the underlying base tables.

  • User-defined functions referenced in the view must have been created with the SCHEMABINDING option.

  • Tables and user-defined functions must be referenced by two-part names in the view. One-part, three-part, and four-part names are not allowed.

  • All functions referenced by expressions in the view must be deterministic. The IsDeterministic property of the OBJECTPROPERTY function reports whether a user-defined function is deterministic….

The list goes on from there, but you get the point.  There is a lot of prep work to do before creating an indexed view.  You might find it hard to go back and create an index on a view if you hadn’t planned it out well in advance.  with that being said here is the basic syntax for creating an indexed view, assuming all other conditions are met.


IF OBJECT_ID ('dbo.vTest', 'view') IS NOT NULL
DROP VIEW dbo.vTest ;
SELECT SUM(ColA*ColB) AS Revenue,
ColC, ColD
FROM dbo.TableA AS a, dbo.TableB AS b
WHERE a.ColE = b.ColE

ON dbo.vTest (ColC, ColD);

I hoped this helped get you on your way to creating indexed view.  For more information please check out these MDSN Articles 1, 2  and 3


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