Getting the Best Performance From an Intel DC P3700 Flash Storage Card

I recently had the opportunity to work on a new Dell PowerEdge R720 system that has two, 2TB Intel DC P3700 PCIe Flash Storage Cards installed. This particular card is the largest capacity model of the high-end P3700 series (Intel has lower-end P3600 and P3500 cards in this same family). As with most flash storage, […]

Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 Product Family and SQL Server

Intel finally announced their latest 22nm Xeon E5 v3 Product Family (Haswell-EP) today, which includes 27 different processor models (SKUs) for both one and two-socket servers. These SKUs go from four-core models, all the way up to eighteen-core models. This is an Intel Tock release, meaning a new microarchitecture, but still using the 22nm manufacturing […]

One Intel Processor Family to Avoid For SQL Server 2012/2014

On January 9, Intel launched the 22nm Intel Xeon E5-2400 v2 Product Family (Ivy Bridge-EN) of processors for two-socket servers. For SQL Server usage, this is not a good processor family to choose for a new server. While these processors are a nice improvement over the older 32nm Intel Xeon E5-2400 Product Family (Sandy Bridge-EN) […]

Affordable Intel Haswell Laptop

As we move towards the end of 2013, 4th generation Intel Core processors are becoming more readily available in new machines at a wider range of price points. Since I know a few people are looking for a new laptop this time of year, I thought I would pass along one pretty affordable possibility that […]

Building an Intel Haswell Desktop System for SQL Server 2012 Development

The 22nm 4th generation Intel Core desktop processors (aka Haswell) have been available for sale for a couple of months now, so I have had some requests to put together a suggested component list for a desktop system that would be suitable for SQL Server 2012 development and testing usage. As you may know, the […]

Updates on Intel Xeon Ivy Bridge Server Processor Launch Schedules

It still looks like the 2nd generation, 22nm Intel Xeon E5-1600 v2 and E5-2600 v2 families (Ivy Bridge-EP), for single and two-socket servers, will launch sometime this quarter. Some sources I have talked to think that Intel may wait until the Intel IDF13 in San Francisco, on September 10-12 to release the Ivy Bridge-EP. These […]

Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 Series Processors (Ivy Bridge-EP) in Q3 2013

More details about the upcoming 22nm Intel Xeon E5-2600 series processors (aka Ivy Bridge-EP) are starting to leak out. Initially, we will see the single-socket Xeon E5-1600 v2 series and the two-socket Xeon E5-2600 v2 series processors, that share the 22nm Ivy Bridge microarchitecture. They use the same LGA2011 socket as the current 32nm E5-1600 […]

First Intel Haswell Desktop Build

Last Sunday, I was in line at 11AM at the Denver Micro Center (along with a number of other computer geeks) to buy the parts for a new Intel 4th generation Core (aka Haswell) desktop system. This system was destined for my fiancé, Veronica Thomas, as a replacement for a system I built for her […]

The Accidental DBA (Day 1 of 30): Hardware Selection: CPU and Memory Considerations

This month the SQLskills team is presenting a series of blog posts aimed at helping Accidental/Junior DBAs ‘keep the SQL Server lights on’. It’s a little taster to let you know what we cover in our Immersion Event for The Accidental/Junior DBA, which we present several times each year. If you know someone who would benefit […]

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 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 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 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 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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

What is the Difference Between Physical Sockets, Physical Cores, and Logical Cores?

I witnessed an interesting conversation on Twitter today where someone was talking about how he uses the terms sockets and cores interchangeably, since everyone else does, or words to that effect. This made me think that there may still be some confusion about how these terms are used and what they mean in relation to […]

CPUID PerfMonitor 2 Utility

CPUID has released a new processor performance and monitoring tool called PerfMonitor 2, which allows you to track four processor-related counters chosen from a processor-specific list. It lets you see things like overall CPU temperature, package and core temperatures, package power usage, L2 and L3 cache hit ratios to name just a few of the […]

Building a Larger Capacity SQL Server 2012 Workstation

I have received quite a bit of positive feedback about my recent post, Building a Workstation for SQL Server 2012 Development and Testing, so I thought I would write a similar post that goes into some detail about how to select components to build a larger capacity workstation or test server. This is only needed […]

Intel Flash Storage Products for SQL Server

Intel has recently introduced a couple of flash-based storage products that are aimed at the Enterprise and server market. These are both quite price competitive with some of the other storage products in the marketplace. The first is the Intel 910 series that was released back in May of 2012. It is a PCI-E device […]

Building a Workstation for SQL Server 2012 Development and Testing

With the current crop of high-performance and very affordable desktop computer components, it is not very difficult to assemble an extremely high performance workstation for SQL Server 2012 development and testing at a very reasonable cost. Depending on how much of a purist you are and what your available budget is, you can take several […]

Two New TPC-E Submissions for SQL Server 2012

Just when I was not looking, two new official TPC-E results have been posted in the last week. IBM has a 3218.46 TPC-E score for an IBM System x3850 X5 that has four Intel Xeon E7-4870 processors, while HP has an 1881.76 TPC-E score for an HP ProLiant DL380p Gen8 system with two Intel Xeon […]

Deciding What Processor to Choose for SQL Server 2012

If you have read my SQL Server Hardware book, watched my Understanding Server Hardware course on Pluralsight or ever heard me speak at a conference, you are probably aware of my very strong advocacy for modern, two-socket Intel-based database servers for many database server workloads. I make this argument because of the excellent single-threaded processor […]

Two Database Server Models Compared

If you have read my SQL Server Hardware book, or ever heard me do one of my hardware presentations, you have probably heard my exhortations to “Never let anyone talk you into reusing old hardware for a new version of SQL Server”.  This is especially true with SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition and its core-based […]

Dell 12th Generation Rack Mounted Server Comparison

I think it is useful to examine the various 12th generation, rack-mounted server models available from Dell, comparing them from a SQL Server perspective. There are currently seven models in this line, ranging from an entry-level, single-socket server to a four-socket server. All of these servers use the Intel Xeon E5 processor (Sandy Bridge), but […]

Save Money on SQL Server 2012 Licensing Costs

I recently had a chance to record a 33 minute podcast interview on RunAs Radio #281 with Richard Campbell, where I talked about the licensing changes in SQL Server 2012 and how to select your new hardware to minimize your SQL Server 2012 licensing costs. I also talked about Intel versus AMD processors, and talked […]

Hardware 101 Presentation in Bellevue, WA – August 14, 2012

I recently had the opportunity to give a one hour presentation called Hardware 101: An Introduction to Database Hardware during the evening, after a full day of SQLskills Immersion Event 2 (IE2) training. Even though it was an evening event, after almost 10 hours of intense training that day, nearly all of the students stayed […]

Recommended Intel Processors For SQL Server 2012 OLTP Workloads

If you are in the process of evaluating and selecting the components for a new database server to run an OLTP workload on SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition, you have several initial choices that you have to make as a part of the decision process. First you have to decide whether you want to go […]