Learn About SQL Server Hardware in Chicago

On May 5-6, 2014, I will be teaching IEHW: Immersion Event on SQL Server Hardware in Chicago, IL. 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 2012/2014 licensing costs. Now […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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) […]

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 […]

New Versions of Useful Tools for SQL Server

There is a completely rewritten version of Geekbench, which is a very useful cross-platform processor and memory performance benchmark that you can use for comparing and validating processor and memory performance on anything from your laptop to a very expensive database server in just a few minutes, with no configuration of the benchmark needed. As […]

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 […]

Upcoming Speaking Events

On July 25, I will be presenting for the PASS Performance Virtual Chapter at 12PM Mountain Time. I will be giving my Hardware 201 presentation. Here is the abstract: Hardware 201: Selecting and Sizing Database Hardware for OLTP Performance The foundation of database performance is the underlying server hardware and storage subsystem. Even the best […]

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 […]

Hardware 201: Selecting and Sizing Database Hardware

I had the opportunity to present Hardware 201 in Boulder on June 18 and then do it again in Denver on June 20. It was fun presenting to both user’s groups nearly back to back. Here is the abstract: Hardware 201: Selecting and Sizing Database Hardware for OLTP Performance The foundation of database performance is […]

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 2 of 30): Hardware Selection: Disk Configurations and RAID -> Performance not Capacity

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 […]

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 […]

Speaking at the Rocky Mountain Oracle Users Group Training Days on February 12, 2013

In a change of pace, I will be speaking at an Oracle event in February. It is the Rocky Mountain Oracle Users Group Training Days that goes on from February 11-13, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. This is a pretty large event, with a large list of presentations.  I will be doing a hardware presentation, which […]

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 […]

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 […]