SQL Server 2014 SP2 CU9

On December 18, 2017, Microsoft released SQL Server 2014 SP2 CU9, which is Build 12.05563.0. By my count, this CU has seven public hotfixes, nearly all of which are for the SQL Engine of SQL performance.

Since SQL Server 2014 SP1 and earlier are no longer “supported service packs”, there is no corresponding CU for the SP1 or RTM branches of SQL Server 2014.

As always, I think it is a good idea to make an effort to stay current on cumulative updates, as does Microsoft.

SQL Server 2017 CU2 Is Available

On November 28, 2017, Microsoft released SQL Server 2017 CU2, which is build 14.0.3008.27.  I count 33 hotfixes in this CU. What is interesting is that there is a new column in the fix list called Platform, which will have a value of All, Linux, or Windows to indicate which platform the fix is relevant for. There are six Linux-only fixes, ten Windows-only fixes, with the remaining 17 fixes being for all platforms (Linux and Windows).

Keep in mind that with the Modern Servicing Model (MSM) that will be used for SQL Server 2017, there will be no Service Packs, and there will be monthly Cumulative Updates for the first twelve months after GA. After the first twelve months, there will be quarterly CUs for the next four years.

Microsoft has also changed their previous commitment to release CUs during the week of the 3rd Tuesday of the month of release. Going forward, they will just be released sometime during the month. This is fine with me, since I would rather see a solid release rather than one rushed out the door to hit a specific week of the month.

In my experience, checking the SQL Server 2017 build versions page is the best way to find out when a new CU has been released. You can also just follow me on Twitter, since I always tweet a link when a new CU is released.


Recent TPC-E Results on SQL Server 2017

Lenovo has submitted the two most recent TPC-E OLTP benchmark results, both using SQL Server 2017 running on Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition, using 28-core Intel Xeon Platinum 8180 processors.

The most recent result was for a four-socket Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 with 3TB of RAM using a 48TB initial database size. This system had an official result of 11,357.28, which is the highest score ever submitted for a four-socket server. This system has a total of 112 physical cores, so if you divide the total score of 11,357.28 by 112, you get a measure of the single-threaded performance of the Intel Xeon Platinum 8180 processor under a full load (where the clock speed of the individual cores will be pretty close to the 2.5GHz base clock speed). In this case, the result is 101.40 score/core.

Back on June 27, 2017, Lenovo submitted a result for a two-socket Lenovo ThinkSystem SR650 with 1.5TB of RAM using a 28.5TB initial database size. This system had an official result of 6,598.36, which is the highest score ever submitted for a two-socket server. This system has a total of 56 physical cores, so if you divide the total score of 6,598.36 by 56, you get a score/core of 117.83, which is significantly higher than the result for the Lenovo ThinkSystem SR950 configured to use four-sockets (using the exact same Intel Xeon Platinum 8180 processor).

I would attribute most of this difference to the added NUMA overhead from a four-socket system, compared to a two-socket system. Another difference, which probably hurt the score of the two-socket system was the fact that it had to be running on a pre-release version of SQL Server 2017, based on the submission date of the benchmark.

This is just another piece of evidence that even with NUMA, capacity does not scale in a linear fashion as you add sockets to a server. Assuming you can split your workload across multiple database servers rather than just one, having two, two-socket servers instead of one, four-socket server will give you both more CPU capacity and better single-threaded CPU performance even when using the exact same model processor.

I would also argue that you could purposely pick a lower core count, but higher base clock speed processor from the same Intel Xeon Scalable Processor Family to find a sweet spot for SQL Server 2017 usage, where you have fewer physical cores to license, with better single-threaded performance across a higher number of servers.