I originally created this post and observed some rather embarrassing sloppiness and miscalculations. I’ve simply decided to pull the post and rework it. This is the result of those labors.
Recently, I answered a question on dba.stackexchange related to an interesting occurrence with incremental statistics. This led to an good conversation about the efficacy (and utility) of incremental statistics. The primary focus was on Erin Stellato’s confirmation that partition-level stats are not used by the Query Optimizer, thereby identifying a rather sizable gap in the utility of incremental statistics. The only possible benefit I could champion for incremental statistics was that it might allow us to sample at consistently higher rates since the entire table would not need to be sampled – just the ones that presented a compelling enough reason for update (modification counter being a primary focus). Naturally, we’d incur the penalty of the higher sample rate at the initial sampling, but ongoing maintenance would be able to support the higher sample rates because we would only have to sample at the partition level. In this scenario, there are two measures to consider: