A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 29

For Day 29 of the series, I will talk about AMD Turbo CORE technology. AMD Turbo CORE is a technology that was first introduced in the AMD Phenom II X4 desktop processor, but the way AMD implemented it in the Bulldozer family and Piledriver family of processors is greatly enhanced. AMD Turbo CORE is similar […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 28

For Day 28 of this series, we are going to talk about some factors to consider if you are thinking about building a desktop SQL Server 2012 system for development or testing use. I get lots of questions about this subject, and I have been thinking about it some anyway, hence today’s topic. In many […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 27

For Day 27 of this series, I am going to talk about Power Management and its effect on processor performance. I have written about this subject a couple of times before, here and here. Other people, such as Paul Randal (blog|Twitter) and Brent Ozar (blog|Twitter) have written about this subject here and here. Power Management […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 26

For Day 26 of this series, I want to talk a little about laptop processor selection (since I get a lot of questions about it).  Many DBAs, Developers, and consultants use laptop computers as their primary workstations for working with SQL Server. Even more than an actual database server, you are pretty much stuck with […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 25

For Day 24 of this series, I want to talk about the recent history of Dell rack-mounted servers, to help illustrate how processor performance and server capacity has dramatically improved over the past seven years. Back in 2005-2006, you could buy a two-socket Dell PowerEdge 1850, with two hyper-threaded Intel Xeon “Irwindale” 3.2GHz processors and […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 24

For Day 24 of this series, I want to talk a little about some things to consider as you make the decision whether to purchase a two-socket database server or a four- socket database server. Traditionally, it was very common to use a four-socket machine for most database server scenarios, while two-socket servers were most […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 23

For Day 23 of this series, I am going to briefly discuss hardware RAID controllers, also known as disk array controllers. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about RAID controllers: A disk array controller is a device which manages the physical disk drives and presents them to the computer as logical units. It almost […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 22

I have written previously about Building a Workstation for SQL Server 2012 Development and Testing and Building a Larger Capacity SQL Server 2012 Workstation. In those posts, I talked about the fact that it becomes increasingly expensive to build a system from parts as you move beyond mainstream desktop systems based on an Intel Core […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 21

For Day 21 of this series, I want to talk a little bit about the TPC-E OLTP benchmark. The TPC Benchmark E (TPC-E) is an OLTP performance benchmark that was introduced in February 2007. TPC-E is a not a replacement for the older TPC-C benchmark, but rather is a completely new OLTP benchmark. It is […]

SQLSaturday #201 Slide Decks

I had the chance to give two presentations at SQLSaturday #201 in Huntington Beach, CA on April 20, 2013. The first one was Dr. DMV and the second one was Hardware 201: Selecting Database Hardware. Just in case you have any problem getting the decks from the SQLSaturday web site, I have links to the […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 20

For Day 20 of this series, I want to talk about the new processor numbering system for Xeon processors that Intel introduced on April 5, 2011. This new system will be used for the Xeon E3, E5 and E7 family processors. The model numbers for older Xeon processors were unchanged when this new numbering system […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 19

For Day 19 of this series, I am going to talk a little about RAID, which stands for Redundant array of independent disks or Redundant array of inexpensive disks, depending on who you believe. RAID is a technology that allows the use of multiple hard drives, combined in various ways, to improve redundancy, availability and […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 18

For Day 18 of this series, I am going to talk about the Intel 910 series PCI-E device that was released back in May of 2012. It is available in 400GB and 800GB capacities. The 400GB model has a suggested retail price about $2000.00 while the 800GB model has a suggested retail price of about […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 17

For Day 17 of this series, I am going to talk about the Intel DC S3700 series of 6Gbps MLC SATA SSDs. The DC S3700 series is available in 100GB, 200GB, 400GB, and 800GB capacities. The DC S3700 uses 25nm HET-MLC NAND technology, which means that you get higher write endurance than standard MLC consumer […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 16

For Day 16 of this series, I am going to talk about a few useful tools you can use to identify some hardware details about a database server. These tools all require that you have access to login to that server, which might be a problem for some people, depending on the policies of their […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 15

For Day 15 of this series, I will be covering a few tools that can be used for hardware identification. Since quite a few database professionals do not have direct access to their database servers (i.e. they cannot login to their database server via RDP), I will talk about what you can learn about your […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 14

For Day 14 of this series, I want to give my current recommended Intel Xeon server processors for different sizes of database servers and different workload types. My basic premise is that for a database server running SQL Server 2008 R2 or earlier, you want the very best processor available for each physical socket in […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 13

For Day 13 of this series, I want to talk some more about the Intel Tick-Tock Development model and why it is important for the database professional. For the last seven to eight years, Intel has implemented a pretty consistent and predictable processor development and release cycle. A Tock release is a completely new microarchitecture […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 12

For Day 12 of this series, I want to go through a common hardware upgrade scenario that I have been seeing quite a bit lately. Many people still have relatively ancient database servers (such as a Dell PowerEdge 1950 or 2950, or HP DL380 Gen 5) that are running either 65nm Conroe-based or 45nm Penryn-based […]

Estimating Data Compression Savings in SQL Server 2012

SQL Server Data Compression (which was first introduced in SQL Server 2008, and is an Enterprise Edition only feature) lets you compress individual indexes with either ROW or PAGE compression. It can be a huge win for many SQL Server workloads, by letting you reduce both your required disk I/O and your memory usage at […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 11

For Day 11 of this series, I am going to talk about some of the basic things that you should consider from a hardware perspective when you are trying to increase the basic resiliency and availability of an individual database server. These are some of the first steps you would take as part of designing […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 10

For Day 10 of this series, I am going to talk a little bit about disk performance and one easy benchmark tool that you can use to quickly compare the performance of different types of disks and disk arrays. CrystalDiskMark, which is available from Crystal Dew World is a fairly well-known disk subsystem benchmark. You […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 9

For Day 9 of this series, I want to talk about processor cache size and its relationship to SQL Server 2012 performance. Cache Size and the Importance of the L2 and L3 Caches All Intel-compatible CPUs have multiple levels of cache. The Level 1 (L1) cache has the lowest latency (i.e. the shortest delays associated […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 8

For Day 8 of this series, I want to talk a little bit about the various hardware license limits that are present in SQL Server 2012. These limits vary based on what edition of SQL Server 2012 you will be using, and what operating system you will be using. You need to keep these limits […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 7

For Day 7, I want to talk about one specific Intel processor series that I highly recommend that you do not use for SQL Server 2012 workloads. This processor is the 45nm Intel Xeon 7400 Series, which was released in Q3 of 2008. There were seven specific models in this series, based on the Penryn […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 6

For Day 6 of this series, I am going to talk about Geekbench. Geekbench is a cross-platform, synthetic benchmark tool from Primate Labs. It provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks designed to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance. There are 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Geekbench, but in tryout mode you can only […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 5

For Day 5 of this series, I will talk about the incredibly useful CPU-Z utility, which is available for free from cpuid.com. The latest release of the tool is version 1.63, which came out on February 8, 2013. I always download and use the 64-bit, English, no install zip version of the tool. The release […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 4

Since 2006, Intel has adopted what they call a Tick-Tock strategy for developing and releasing new processor models. Every two years, they introduce a new processor family, incorporating a new microarchitecture; this is the Tock release. One year after the Tock release, they introduce a new processor family that uses the same microarchitecture as the […]

How to Find Out About the Latest SQL Server Service Packs and Cumulative Updates

Since someone asked me about this today, I thought I would write about it.  Aaron Bertrand (blog|twitter) and I sort of have a friendly competition to be the first to blog when a new SQL Server CU is released.  I don’t know of any e-mail notification service for Service Packs and Cumulative Updates from Microsoft. […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 3

Today, I am going to talk about the existing Intel Westmere-EX processor family. Instead of this processor series being called the Intel Xeon 7600 series (as was originally expected by some), it is called the Intel Xeon E7 series, with separate model numbers for two socket, four socket and eight socket servers. This includes the […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 2

For Day 2 of this blog series, I am going to talk about some of the upcoming Intel Xeon processors that we can look forward to seeing over the next six to twelve months. The two-socket Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 family (Ivy Bridge-EP) is due to be released in Q3 of 2013. They will have […]

A SQL Server Hardware Tidbit a Day – Day 1

Well, I apparently have not learned my lesson yet, after I did a month long series called “A DMV a Day” back in 2010 and and then another series called A SQL Server Hardware Nugget a Day back in 2011, where I wrote a blog post every day during the month of April, since I […]