In the Argument column, the Merge Join operator contains a MERGE:() predicate if the operation is performing a one-to-many join, or a MANY-TO-MANY MERGE:() predicate if the operation is performing a many-to-many join. The Argument column also includes a comma-separated list of columns used to perform the operation. The Merge Join operator requires two inputs sorted on their respective columns, possibly by inserting explicit sort operations into the query plan. Merge join is particularly effective if explicit sorting is not required, for example, if there is a suitable B-tree index in the database or if the sort order can be exploited for multiple operations, such as a merge join and grouping with roll up.
Optimizing SQL Database Performance
Optimizing Database Performance