Building a Workstation for SQL Server 2014 Development and Testing

With the existing supply of high-performance and very affordable desktop computer components, it is not very difficult to assemble an extremely high performance workstation for SQL Server 2014 development and testing at a very reasonable cost. Depending on how much performance you want and what your available budget is, you can take several different routes […]

Two New TPC-E Benchmark Results for Intel Xeon Ivy Bridge-EX Processors

A couple of weeks ago, two new TPC-E benchmark submissions showed up for four-socket servers with the new 22nm, 15-core Intel Xeon E7-4890 v2 processor that I discussed a few days ago. NEC submitted a result for a four-socket NEC Express5800/A2040b system with a raw TPC-E score of 5,087.17, while IBM submitted a result for […]

Escape the Winter and Learn About SQL Server Hardware in Tampa

On February 6-7, 2014, I will be teaching IEHW: Immersion Event on SQL Server Hardware in Tampa, FL. This is a great opportunity for you to learn how to properly select and configure your server hardware and storage subsystem to get the best performance and scalability for the lowest SQL Server licensing costs. It is […]

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 […]

CPU-Z Version 1.67 is Available

On October 12, 2013, Frank Delattre released CPU-Z 1.67, which has some support for some new processors and a new validation tool. Even though CPU-Z was originally developed for the hardware enthusiast over-clocking community, it actually is very valuable for server administrators and for database professionals. First, it lets you identify your exact processor model, […]

Using TPC-E OLTP Benchmark Scores to Compare Processors

One of the things I do at SQLskills is paid consulting for customers who are looking to upgrade their database servers to new hardware, a new operating system, and a new version of SQL Server. Part of this process is a comparison of the estimated TPC-E score of the existing system compared to the estimated […]

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 […]

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 30

For the final post in this series, I want to list a few resources that you can use to help stay current with what is happening in the world of server hardware and storage. I really think that a database professional has a professional responsibility to know the details of their database server hardware and […]

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 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 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 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 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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Memory Error Recovery in SQL Server 2012

One under publicized new feature in SQL Server 2012 is called Memory Error Recovery. This feature allows SQL Server 2012 to repair clean pages in the buffer pool by reading the pages again from disk. These “soft” errors are caused by electrical or magnetic interference inside a server that cause single bits inside of DRAM […]

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 […]