Just a quick tidbit today, but a very useful one.
Ever need to do SELECT Count(*) on a very large table? It can take ages.

Instead, use sp_spaceused

EXEC sp_spaceused 'MyTable'

It returns you a useful result set like

name rows reserved data index_size unused
MyTable 19690290 13637488 KB 3001688 KB 9986416 KB 649384 KB

Not only does it also give you extra useful information about the table, but it comes back virtually instantly.

  name – name of the object requested
  rows – the number of rows in the table (or service broker queue)
  reserved – the total reserved space for the object
  data – amount of space used by the data
  index_size – amount of spaced used by indexes in the object
  unused – total space reserved for the object but not yet used

You can also use sp_spaceused without any parameters, and it will return you the stats for the whole database.

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