SQL Server 2017 Cumulative Update 6

On April 17, 2018, Microsoft released SQL Server 2017 CU6, which is Build 14.0.3025.34 I count 39 fixes or improvements in the public fix list.

Remember, there are not going to be any Service Packs for SQL Server 2017. We are still in the monthly release cycle for SQL Server 2017 Cumulative Updates which will last for the first year after release. After that the CU release cycle will change to quarterly until SQL Server 2017 falls out of Mainstream Support on October 11, 2022.

As always, my recommendation is to try to stay as current as possible with your SQL Server Cumulative Updates. That doesn’t mean that you should deploy them to Production the day they are released, with absolutely no testing, but it also doesn’t mean that you should not make any effort to stay current. Try to find a deployment cadence that makes sense for your organization.

PASS Summit 2018 Pre-con:Fixing Query Performance Problems from Estimates, Statistics, Heuristics, and Cardinality

PASS has publicly announced their Pre-conference Sessions for the PASS Summit 2018 in Seattle, WA. There are seven sessions on Monday, November 5, 2018, and nine sessions on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. There are good sessions on both days, from many well-known speakers.

In my honest opinion, the most valuable session for most database professionals who care about query performance is Kimberly Tripp’s Fixing Query Performance Problems from Estimates, Statistics, Heuristics, and Cardinality on Tuesday. Kimberly is the world-class master on this subject, as evidenced by her many blog posts, presentations, and Pluralsight courses.

Kimberly is a very talented and passionate presenter and teacher. Long before I worked for SQLskills (way back in 2006 when I was working at NewsGator), I had the chance to take the week-long predecessor class to the current IEPTO1: Immersion Event on Performance Tuning and Optimization – Part 1. That class was a life-changer for me, and it had a huge effect on my career.

Since then, I have seen how Kimberly presents and teaches many times over the years. I have learned so much from both her content and from her presentation and teaching style by watching her. Unlike some well-known presenters, she doesn’t use cute pictures or silly marketing gimmicks in her presentation content. She is not there to just “put on a show” for entertainment purposes.

She prepares very detailed, content-dense slides that are a very useful resource to keep and review long after the session is over. She also has the depth of knowledge and experience to actually improvise and modify her demonstrations in response to questions during a session. As any experienced presenter knows, that is a pretty big deal.

She actually understands what she is teaching at a very deep level, and she has the many years of teaching experience to explain it clearly to people with any level of experience. Despite the lack of cute pictures or costumes, she does her presentations in a very engaging manner because of her real passion for the subject.

Here are her relevant Pluralsight courses that I would recommend watching to prepare for this pre-conference session:

SQL Server: Optimizing Stored Procedure Performance

SQL Server: Optimizing Stored Procedure Performance – Part 2

SQL Server: Optimizing Ad Hoc Statement Performance

SQL Server: Indexing for Performance

SQL Server: Why Physical Database Design Matters

BTW, Kimberly did not put me up to writing this post. In fact, she might be a little embarrassed by all of this praise. She might even mock fire me on Twitter once she sees it. I just felt I needed to spread the word about this pre-conference session.

New TPC-E Result for SQL Server 2017

On March 31, 2018, Fujitsu submitted a new TPC-E result for a two-socket PRIMERGY RX2540 M4 system running SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition on Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition. The official TPC-E Throughput score was 6,606.75, which is a new record for a two-socket system. It was barely a new record though, since Lenovo had a previous result of 6,598.36 for a two-socket Lenovo ThinkSystem SR650 system also running SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition on Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition.

Both systems were using the same flagship 28-core Intel Xeon Platinum 8180 processor which will give you the most overall CPU capacity per socket, along with the highest SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition license costs.

Most organizations would be much better off with a lower core count, higher base clock speed processor from the same Intel Xeon Scalable Processor family, which would give them better single-threaded CPU performance and much lower SQL Server 2017 license costs. This is especially true if you can split your database workload across two servers rather than using just one server.

For example, using two, two-socket servers with the faster 12-core Intel Xeon Gold 6146 processor rather than one, two-socket server with the flagship 28-core Intel Xeon Platinum 8180 processor would give you about 10% more CPU capacity (not to mention twice the total memory and I/O capacity), about 32% better single-threaded CPU performance, and also save you about $57K in SQL Server 2017 license costs.

One unfortunate fact is that none of the server vendors besides Lenovo and Fujitsu have even bothered to submit a new TPC-E benchmark since February 2014. I would really like to see this change in the future, with new TPC-E submissions from vendors like Dell and HPE. I would also like to see submissions on AMD EPYC 7000 series machines, both for one and two-socket servers.