I’ve had this script in my toolbox for a few years now. I didn’t create it initially, and I have no idea who did. This script helps you to identify duplicate indexes. Why is that important? I’m glad you asked, mostly because I’m tired of answering my own questions and it’s good to have someone to talk with.

As I progressed through my DBA career (and continue to progress, I might add) I came to realize that a LOT of issues are caused by problems that I usually equate with stubbing your big toe on something. In other words, a lot of issues can be cleared up with a few simple remedies. One of those remedies happens to be duplicate indexes. See, over time a database will get used and abused by a lot of people. Some of those people have an idea of what they are doing and some will not. And at some point everyone will think “hey, if I add some indexes then this thing will run faster.” So they go off and create some indexes, their particular query or statement runs faster for the time being, and they are happy.

Unfortunately they never see the likely side effects of the additional indexes. Possible side effects include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • nausea
  • loss of vision
  • slower DUI (Delete, Update, Inserts) statements
  • slower batch loads
  • renal failure (from drinking heavily)
  • nightly phone calls (problems sleeping)
  • longer maintenance windows (increased appetite)
  • larger databases and backups (weight gain)
  • dizziness
  • increased transaction log size (constipation)
  • hiccups

OK, so maybe I exaggerated a bit there, I doubt you’ll get hiccups from adding more indexes. The main point here is that blindly adding indexes to your database is not always the right thing to do. And that is especially true if indexes already exist for you to use (or reuse). Years ago I had under my care a 300GB database that had roughly 45GB of space wasted by duplicate indexes alone. That’s a lot of additional overhead and cost for little to no benefit. And that’s when I came across the script I am sharing with you here. It helped us to identify duplicate indexes (BTW, wouldn’t it be nice if SQL Server didn’t allow for duplicate indexes to even be created?)

I normally don’t share scripts on this blog but I may start posting more of them in the future. For now I’ll share the standard disclaimer that Buck Woody (blog | twitter) uses:

Script Disclaimer, for people who need to be told this sort of thing:

Never trust any script, including those that you find here, until you understand exactly what it does and how it will act on your systems. Always check the script on a test system or Virtual Machine, not a production system. Yes, there are always multiple ways to do things, and this script may not work in every situation, for everything. It’s just a script, people. All scripts on this site are performed by a professional stunt driver on a closed course. Your mileage may vary. Void where prohibited. Offer good for a limited time only. Keep out of reach of small children. Do not operate heavy machinery while using this script. If you experience blurry vision, indigestion or diarrhea during the operation of this script, see a physician immediately.

/* This script will generate 3 reports that give an overall or high level
view of the indexes in a particular database. The sections are as follows:
1.  Lists ALL indexes and constraints along with the key details of each
2.  Lists any tables with potential Redundant indexes
3.  Lists any tables with potential Reverse indexes
*/
--  Create a table variable to hold the core index info
DECLARE @AllIndexes TABLE (
 [Table ID] [int] NOT NULL,
 [Schema] [sysname] NOT NULL,
 [Table Name] [sysname] NOT NULL,
 [Index ID] [int] NULL,
 [Index Name] [nvarchar](128) NULL,
 [Index Type] [varchar](12) NOT NULL,
 [Constraint Type] [varchar](11) NOT NULL,
 [Object Type] [varchar](10) NOT NULL,
 [AllColName] [nvarchar](2078) NULL,
 [ColName1] [nvarchar](128) NULL,
 [ColName2] [nvarchar](128) NULL,
 [ColName3] [nvarchar](128) NULL,
 [ColName4] [nvarchar](128) NULL,
 [ColName5] [nvarchar](128) NULL,
 [ColName6] [nvarchar](128) NULL,
 [ColName7] [nvarchar](128) NULL,
 [ColName8] [nvarchar](128) NULL,
 [ColName9] [nvarchar](128) NULL,
 [ColName10] [nvarchar](128) NULL
)
 
--  Load up the table variable with the index information to be used in follow on queries
INSERT INTO @AllIndexes
 ([Table ID],[Schema],[Table Name],[Index ID],[Index Name],[Index Type],[Constraint Type],[Object Type]
 ,[AllColName],[ColName1],[ColName2],[ColName3],[ColName4],[ColName5],[ColName6],[ColName7],[ColName8],
 [ColName9],[ColName10])
SELECT o.[object_id] AS [Table ID] ,u.[name] AS [Schema],o.[name] AS [Table Name],
 i.[index_id] AS [Index ID]
 , CASE i.[name]
 WHEN o.[name] THEN '** Same as Table Name **'
 ELSE i.[name] END AS [Index Name],
 CASE i.[type]
 WHEN 1 THEN 'CLUSTERED'
 WHEN 0 THEN 'HEAP'
 WHEN 2 THEN 'NONCLUSTERED'
 WHEN 3 THEN 'XML'
 ELSE 'UNKNOWN' END AS [Index Type],
 CASE
 WHEN (i.[is_primary_key]) = 1 THEN 'PRIMARY KEY'
 WHEN (i.[is_unique]) = 1 THEN 'UNIQUE'
 ELSE '' END AS [Constraint Type],
 CASE
 WHEN (i.[is_unique_constraint]) = 1
 OR (i.[is_primary_key]) = 1
 THEN 'CONSTRAINT'
 WHEN i.[type] = 0 THEN 'HEAP'
 WHEN i.[type] = 3 THEN 'XML INDEX'
 ELSE 'INDEX' END AS [Object Type],
 (SELECT COALESCE(c1.[name],'') FROM [sys].[columns] AS c1 INNER JOIN [sys].[index_columns] AS ic1
 ON c1.[object_id] = ic1.[object_id] AND c1.[column_id] = ic1.[column_id] AND ic1.[key_ordinal] = 1
 WHERE ic1.[object_id] = i.[object_id] AND ic1.[index_id] = i.[index_id]) +
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].['+ o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 2) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE ', '+INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].['+ o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],2) END +
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 3) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE ', '+INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],3) END +
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 4) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE ', '+INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],4) END +
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].['+ o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 5) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE ', '+INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],5) END  +
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 6) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE ', '+INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],6) END +
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 7) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE ', '+INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 7) END +
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],8) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE ', '+INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],8) END +
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].['+ o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 9) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE ', '+INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],9) END +
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].['+ o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 10) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE ', '+INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],10) END  AS [AllColName],
 (SELECT COALESCE(c1.[name],'') FROM [sys].[columns] AS c1 INNER JOIN [sys].[index_columns] AS ic1
 ON c1.[object_id] = ic1.[object_id] AND c1.[column_id] = ic1.[column_id] AND ic1.[key_ordinal] = 1
 WHERE ic1.[object_id] = i.[object_id] AND ic1.[index_id] = i.[index_id])   AS [ColName1],
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].['+ o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 2) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],2) END AS [ColName2],
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 3) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],3) END AS [ColName3],
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].['+ o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 4) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],4) END AS [ColName4],
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].['+ o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 5) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],5) END AS [ColName5],
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].['+ o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 6) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],6) END AS [ColName6],
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 7) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],7) END AS [ColName7],
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].['+ o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],8) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],8) END AS [ColName8],
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].['+ o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 9) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],9) END AS [ColName9],
 CASE
 WHEN INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].['+ o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id], 10) IS NULL THEN ''
 ELSE INDEX_COL('[' + u.[name] + '].[' + o.[name] + ']', i.[index_id],10) END AS [ColName10]
FROM [sys].[objects] AS o WITH (NOLOCK)
 LEFT OUTER JOIN [sys].[indexes] AS i WITH (NOLOCK)
 ON o.[object_id] = i.[object_id]
 JOIN [sys].[schemas] AS u WITH (NOLOCK)
 ON o.[schema_id] = u.[schema_id]
WHERE o.[type] = 'U' --AND i.[index_id] < 255
 AND o.[name] NOT IN ('dtproperties')
 AND i.[name] NOT LIKE '_WA_Sys_%'
 
-----------
SELECT 'Listing All Indexes' AS [Comments]
 
SELECT I.*
 FROM @AllIndexes AS I
 ORDER BY [Table Name]
 
-----------
SELECT 'Listing Possible Redundant Index keys' AS [Comments]
 
SELECT DISTINCT I.[Table Name], I.[Index Name] ,I.[Index Type],  I.[Constraint Type], I.[AllColName]
 FROM @AllIndexes AS I
 JOIN @AllIndexes AS I2
 ON I.[Table ID] = I2.[Table ID]
 AND I.[ColName1] = I2.[ColName1]
 AND I.[Index Name] <> I2.[Index Name]
 AND I.[Index Type] <> 'XML'
 ORDER BY I.[Table Name], I.[AllColName]
 
----------
SELECT 'Listing Possible Reverse Index keys' AS [Comments]
 
SELECT DISTINCT I.[Table Name], I.[Index Name], I.[Index Type],  I.[Constraint Type], I.[AllColName]
 FROM @AllIndexes AS I
 JOIN @AllIndexes AS I2
 ON I.[Table ID] = I2.[Table ID]
 AND I.[ColName1] = I2.[ColName2]
 AND I.[ColName2] = I2.[ColName1]
 AND I.[Index Name] <> I2.[Index Name]
 AND I.[Index Type] <> 'XML'

And there you go. When you come across a system that is having performance problems, use this script to help you locate possible duplicate indexes and see if removing them helps you to improve performance. Of course you need to perform some analysis on the indexes, their usage, the system, etc., before you just removing indexes without notice, but at the very least you are doing your part to help someone who just stubbed their big toe.