Recommended Intel Processors For SQL Server 2014 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 2014 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 […]

SQL Server Diagnostic Information Queries for April 2014

I made some small improvements to a few of the queries this month. I plan to add several more SQL Server 2014 specific queries over the next couple of months, along with a lot more comments on how to interpret the results of each query in the entire set. Rather than having a separate blog […]

SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 CU9

On March 17, 2014, Microsoft released SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 9. This is Build 11.0.3412, and it has 30 hotfixes in the public fix list. This CU is only for SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1. If you are still on the SQL Server 2012 RTM branch, you do not want […]

SQL Server Diagnostic Information Queries for March 2014

I made a couple of changes in the order of the queries this month and made some other small improvements to a few queries. Rather than having a separate blog post for each version, I’ll just put the links for all five major versions in this single post. There are two separate links for each […]

Bigger Database Servers Get Faster

For quite some time, I have been talking about how current Intel-based four-socket database servers have had significantly lower single-threaded processor performance than current Intel-based two-socket database servers. This is because the first generation Intel Xeon E7 processors were using the relatively old 32nm Westmere microarchitecture that was introduced in early 2011 for the initial […]

SQL Server Diagnostic Information Queries for February 2014

I improved the file-level latency query this month and made some other small improvements to a few other queries. Rather than having a separate blog post for each version, I’ll just put the links for all five major versions in this single post. There are two separate links for each version. The first one on […]

Spring SQLintersection Conference in Orlando

This year the Spring 2014 SQLintersection Conference will be in Orlando, FL at the JW Marriott Grand Lakes from April 12th to April 17, (including the pre-con and post-con workshops). There will be an informal “Ask the Experts” area with many of the speakers, including two Microsoft Premier Field Engineers, – David Pless and Tim […]

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) […]

SQL Server Diagnostic Information Queries for January 2014

I spent some time this month to true up the SQL Server 2005 version, with the other versions for the queries that are common between all of these versions, since some small differences had cropped up over time across those versions. I also added the drive-level latency query to the 2005 version. Rather than having […]

SQL Server 2012 Diagnostic Information Queries (December 2013)

I have made quite a few updates and improvements to this set of queries for December 2013. I have added several new queries, and changed the order of some of the existing queries in the set, which now has a total of 63 separate queries. I also spent some time this month to true up […]

Performance and Stability Related Fixes in Post-SQL Server 2012 SP1 Builds

Updated to include SP1 CU9: There have already been nine Cumulative Updates (CU) for the Service Pack 1 branch of SQL Server 2012. There have been a fairly high number of hotfixes in every one of these Cumulative Updates, as more people are using SQL Server 2012 over the past eighteen months. SQL Server 2012 […]

Creating SQL Server Agent Alerts for Critical Errors

One necessary part of being a responsible DBA is to try to configure your SQL Server instances in such a manner so they will be as reliable as possible. This begins with how you initially install and configure the operating system and SQL Server, and what you do over time to maintain and monitor your […]

Most Recent Cumulative Updates for SQL Server

Here are the most recent cumulative updates for SQL Server 2012, 2008 R2 and 2008. SQL Server 2012 RTM CU10 (11.0.2420)          released on October 21, 2013 SQL Server 2012 SP1 CU6 (11.0.3381)            released on September 16, 2013 If you are on SQL Server 2012, both RTM and Service Pack 1 are still a “supported service […]

SQL Server 2012 RTM Cumulative Update 10

Microsoft has released SQL Server 2012 RTM Cumulative Update 10 (Build 11.0.2420). This CU only has four fixes in the Public hotfix list. Two for SSAS, one for SSRS, and one for the Database Tuning Advisor (DTA). From a Database Engine perspective, there is not too much to get excited about for this particular cumulative […]

Performance Related Fixes in Post-SQL Server 2012 SP1 Builds

There have already been six Cumulative Updates (CU) for the Service Pack 1 branch of SQL Server 2012. There have been a fairly high number of hotfixes in every one of these early Cumulative Updates, as more people are using SQL Server 2012 over time. SQL Server 2012 SP1 has all of the fixes through […]

Scaling SQL Server 2012 Pre-Conference Session

In just a couple of weeks, I will be giving a full day pre-conference session at the SQLPASS 2013 Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. My pre-conference session will be on Monday, October 14, 2013. This pre-con’s going to be a lot of fun, and it will be a great way to kick off the SQLPASS […]

SQL Server Diagnostic Information Queries for September 2013

I have made some minor updates and bug fixes for all of my SQL Server Diagnostic Information Queries for this month. I have also added a new version for SQL Server 2014. Rather than having a separate blog post for each version, I’ll just put the links for all five versions here. SQL Server 2005 […]

How To Avoid Orphaned Database Users with SQL Server Authentication

One common issue that database administrators often run into is the old, familiar “orphaned” user problem. This happens when you use SQL Server Authentication to create a SQL Server login on your database server. When you do this, SQL Server generates a unique SID for that SQL Server login. After you create the SQL Server […]

SQL Server 2012 Diagnostic Information Queries for August 2013

I have gone through and made some minor updates and bug fixes for all of my SQL Server 2012 Diagnostic Information Queries for this month, along with adding two new queries at the end of the script. The links for the queries and the blank results spreadsheet are below. SQL Server 2012 Diagnostic Information Queries                […]

Experiments with SQL Server VLFs, Part 1

Since SQL Server 2012 is relatively easy to install and get running, using just the default configuration settings, I thought it would be interesting to explore the negative performance effects of some of these default configuration settings, using a simple, repeatable test. My test machine is a desktop machine with an Intel Core i7-3770K processor […]

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 […]

New AMD-based TPC-E Benchmark Result

HP recently submitted a TPC-E benchmark result for a two-socket HP ProLiant DL385p Gen 8 system that is using two 2.8GHz AMD Opteron 6386SE, 16-core processors. This system had a score of 1416.37 TpsE, which does not sound too bad until you compare it to a very similar two-socket HP ProLiant DL380p Gen 8 system […]

SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 4

On May 31, Microsoft finally posted SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 4, which is Build 11.0.3368. This release was about two weeks later than expected, which is a little unusual for Cumulative Updates. I count 38 fixes in the public fix list. These are probably the two most interesting fixes for the […]

The Accidental DBA (Day 4 of 30): SQL Server Installation and Configuration Best Practices

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 from […]

SQL Server Agent Does Not Start After Uninstalling/Reinstalling SQL Server 2012

A little while back, I ran into an interesting little problem after uninstalling and then reinstalling SQL Server 2012 on the same machine. In order to record a nice, pretty demonstration of installing SQL Server 2012 on a test machine for one of my Pluralsight courses, I decided to completely uninstall SQL Server 2012, 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 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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

Clarification of Microsoft’s SQL Server 2012 Servicing and Support Policy

I recently recently got some very helpful clarification from a friend at Microsoft about Microsoft’s plans for how they will be servicing SQL Server 2012 over the rest of 2013, and how these plans will work with their mainstream support policy. I don’t think this is any great change, but it is a welcome explanation […]

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 […]

Microsoft DreamSpark Program

Back in 2008, Microsoft rolled out the DreamSpark program as a means to get Microsoft software design and development tools in the hands of students at no charge. It was initially only for university or college students, but it has been expanded to also cover high school students. Basically, this means that any high school, […]

Microsoft Offering SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 on Microsoft Update

Starting on March 14, 2013, Microsoft started offering SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 as an Optional update on Microsoft Update (as shown in Figure 1). That means that it will not be pushed down automatically, and you will not even see it unless you are running Microsoft Update (which is an optional superset of […]

Speaking at SQLSaturday #188 in Lisbon, Portugal

I have the opportunity to present a full-day preconference session on Friday, March 15, 2013, and then present two regular sessions on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at SQLSaturday #188 in Lisbon, Portugal. This is the first time I have spoken at a SQLSaturday outside of the United States, and I am really looking forward to […]

Microsoft Update offering SQL Server 2012 SP1 Cumulative Update 2

I was doing some routine maintenance on one of the SQLskills lab servers (a pretty nice Dell PowerEdge R720) on Sunday night when I noticed that Microsoft Update (which is a superset of Windows Update) was offering “Update Rollup for SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 (KB2790947)” as an Optional Update for a Windows Server […]

SQL Server 2012 RTM Cumulative Update 6

On February 18, 2013 Microsoft released SQL Server 2012 RTM Cumulative Update 6, which is Build 11.0.2401. This CU has 22 fixes listed in the public fix list, which is quite a bit fewer hotfixes than in the first five cumulative updates for the RTM branch of SQL Server 2012. I take this as a […]

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 […]

SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 2

On January 21, 2013, Microsoft released SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 2, which is Build 11.0.3339. This Cumulative Update has 50 hotfixes by my count, and two new features (which is quite unusual for a SQL Server Cumulative Update). This CU gets the SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 branch to parity […]

Important Hotfix for SQL Server 2008 and Newer

Microsoft recently released a hotfix for a memory leak leak issue that affects SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 R2, and SQL Server 2012. This memory leak only occurs if the have the AUTO_UPDATE_STATISTICS_ASYNC database level setting enabled for any of your databases. Here is how Microsoft describes the issue in the hotfix KB article: […]

Performance Related Fixes in Post-SQL Server 2012 RTM Builds

There have already been five Cumulative Updates (CU) for the RTM branch of SQL Server 2012. Microsoft has also released SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1, along with SQL Server 2012 SP1 Cumulative Update 1, with Cumulative Update 2 being due in the near future. There have been a high number of hotfixes in every […]

Top 10 Learning Resources for Accidental DBAs

So what should you do if you are an “accidental DBA”, who ends up dealing with SQL Server in some capacity on a regular basis without the benefit of any training or experience?  What if you are what I like to call a “captive DBA”, because you must install, maintain, and support some other Microsoft […]

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 […]

Oracle versus Microsoft on Vaporware Fantasies

A couple of weeks ago, Oracle’s SVP of Communications Bob Evans wrote a pretty inflammatory blog post that was on ForbesBrandVoice, which seeks to “connect marketers to the Forbes audience”. The original post was removed on November 20, so my link points to a cached copy. In the post, he calls the Microsoft Hekaton project […]

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 […]

Task Manager Enhancements in Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2012 was released to manufacturing on August 1, 2012, and it became “generally available” to customers on September 4, 2012. It is now being offered as an available server operating system from the Tier 1 hardware vendors, such as Dell, HP, IBM, etc. That means that you are likely to see new servers […]

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 […]

How to Create SQL Server Agent Alerts for Critical Errors

One necessary part of being a responsible DBA is to try to configure your SQL Server instances in such a manner so they will be as reliable as possible. This begins with how you initially install and configure the operating system and SQL Server, and what you do over time to maintain and monitor your […]

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 […]

How to Obtain and Install SQL Server Service Packs and Cumulative Updates

If you are in charge of one or more SQL Server instances, whether they are on your laptop, or a large Production data center, you should be aware of how SQL Server updates and fixes are released, and how you can obtain them from Microsoft. First, a few definitions: RTM means Release to Manufacturing. It […]

How to Perform a Rolling Edition Upgrade While Using Database Mirroring

Imagine that you are using synchronous database mirroring with SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 R2 or SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition, but you want to upgrade the instances on both sides of the mirroring partnership to SQL Server Enterprise Edition so that you can take advantage of some of the valuable […]

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 […]