Microsoft Tools That Help Query Tuning

SQL Server, T-SQL, Tools
Query tuning is not easy. In fact, for a lot of people, you shouldn't even try. It's much easier to buy more, bigger, better hardware. Yeah, the query is still slow on newer, faster hardware, but not as a slow as it was. However, sooner or later, you're going to have to start to spend time fixing queries. In fact, you can find that fixing queries actually is more cost effective than buying more hardware. The problem is, query tuning is not easy. So, what do you do? Microsoft Can Help There are a number of tools available to you, right now, provided by Microsoft that can help you better and more easily tune your queries. This ranges from extended events to query store, and absolutely includes execution plans and…
Read More

Extended Events Misperceptions: Profiler is Easier

SQL Server
I know, I know, I'm on #teamexevents so I think that Extended Events can do no wrong, but let's address this thought that Profiler is easier. Now, if we're strictly talking knowledge, sure, if you've got a lot of experience with Profiler/Trace and very little with Extended Events, of course Profiler is easer. However, what I'm told is that Profiler doesn't require very much set up, while Extended Events does. That's just wrong, but let's put it to the test. The Test For the comparison, we're not going to do anything special with either tool. I'm just going to start collecting query data with the fewest possible clicks and/or key strokes. I'm going to use both tools short cuts to make this as fast as possible. The goal is, click,…
Read More

Causality Tracking in Extended Events

SQL Server
If you go through all the stuff I've written about Extended Events, you'll find that I use causality tracking quite a bit. However, I've never just talked about what causality tracking is and why I use it so frequently. Let's fix that issue now. Causality Tracking Causality tracking is quite simple to understand. It's property that you set for a given session. A session, of course, is defined by one or more events and a target. You can define things about a session, like it's name, when you define the session itself. Turning on, or enabling, causality tracking is just a matter of defining that the session will have causality tracking. It looks like this in the GUI: It looks like this in the T-SQL code: CREATE EVENT SESSION QueryBehavior…
Read More

Why Don’t People Use Columnstore Indexes?

Professional Development, SQL Server
I saw this question on SQL Server Central the other day and had an immediate, visceral reaction. I know why. Now, before I explain my answer, please, let me reassure you. I get it. You're busy. What I'm about to suggest is not meant as a direct critique of you. It's just an observation of the human condition. Heck, maybe I'm wrong. So, before you write the angry screed about how busy you are and why you can't possibly do what I'm about to suggest, believe me, I already understand. I'm still going to suggest something that's going to make some of you angry. Common Knowledge If you'll permit me, I want to talk about Extended Events before we talk about Columnstore. SIDE NOTE: Standing invitation, any time I'm at…
Read More

Profiler and Trace vs. Extended Events

SQL Server
It's a running joke among the more experienced (read, older) Microsoft Data Platform specialists as to whether you're #teamprofiler or #teamexevents. I'm very much #teamexevents, but I really don't care that you're #teamprofiler. If you want to use the old way of doing things, that's fine. However, I do have a bone to pick. Why on earth would you recommend to new data professionals working on modern systems, let's say at least 2016 or better, who are just getting going on this journey, that they should be using Trace? What are you smoking? Trace vs. Extended Events We're not just talking about where you are comfortable. I get it. You've used Trace/Profiler for 20+ years. Getting it going is all muscle memory. That's fine. As the kids say, you do…
Read More

Which Query Used the Most CPU? Implementing Extended Events

SQL Server, T-SQL, Tools
A question that comes up on the forums all the time: Which query used the most CPU. You may see variations on, memory, I/O, or just resources in general. However, people want to know this information, and it's not readily apparent how to get it. While you can look at what's in cache through the DMVs to see the queries there, you don't get any real history and you don't get any detail of when the executions occurred. You can certainly take advantage of the Query Store for this kind of information. However, even that data is aggregated by hour. If you really want a detailed analysis of which query used the most CPU, you need to first set up an Extended Events session and then consume that data. A…
Read More

system_health Extended Events in Azure SQL Database

Azure, SQL Server
The system_health Extended Events session is incredibly useful. Further, it's running, by default, in every server you have under management that is 2008 or greater. Things are not the same in Azure though. system_health in Azure SQL Database If you look at the documentation for system_health, it shows that it's applicable to Azure SQL Database. However, if you try to run the example query, it won't work. This is because the implementation of Extended Events inside Azure SQL Database is a little different. Instead, you need to use the Azure SQL Database equivalent system views to create the same query like this: SELECT CAST(dxdst.target_data AS XML) FROM sys.dm_xe_database_session_targets AS dxdst JOIN sys.dm_xe_database_sessions AS dxds ON dxds.address = dxdst.event_session_address WHERE dxds.name = 'system_health'; Now, running this in Azure, prepare to be…
Read More

Combine Extended Events and TagWith to Monitor Entity Framework

SQL Server 2016, SQL Server 2017, T-SQL
I'm going to start with a sentence that makes a lot of people crazy; As a DBA and database developer, I love Entity Framework. That's right. Entity Framework is the bomb. It's amazing. It does wonderful stuff. Entity Framework makes the developers lives and jobs easier. It makes my life and job easier. Yes, Entity Framework will improve your job quality and reduce stress in your life. With one caveat, it gets used correctly. That's the hard part right? There is tons of technology that makes things better, if used correctly. There are all sorts of programs that make your life easier, if used correctly. Yet, all of these, used incorrectly, can make your life a hell. One nit that I've always had with Entity Framework is that it's very…
Read More

All Day, Training Day at SQLBits

Azure, SQL Server 2016, SQL Server 2017, T-SQL
It's a somewhat late addition, but I have an all-day Training Day at SQLBits. It takes place on Thursday, February 28th. You can read all about it on the SQLBits web site. I want to take a moment here to expand on the information that we're going to cover. I think the abstract does a good job of conveying what we'll be doing all day, but I figured a little more detail won't hurt. Query Tuning is Hard This is the very first thing I talk about. Query tuning is hard. I've got a nearly 1,000 page book on the topic, which should give you an idea of just how much material there is to cover. With the training day I've decided to focus on the tools that Microsoft gives…
Read More

Using Extended Events to Capture Implicit Conversions

SQL Server, SQL Server 2016, SQL Server 2017, T-SQL
Using the appropriate data type to avoid conversions or implicit conversions is a fundamental approach to good T-SQL coding practices. Implicit conversions can lead to poor performance. However, other than looking at every execution plan in your system, is there a way to see if you are experiencing implicit conversions? Actually, yeah, it's right there in Extended Events. plan_affecting_convert Built right into the Extended Events is an event that captures conversions that would affect execution plans, plan_affecting_convert. This event will show both CONVERT and CONVERT_IMPLICIT warnings that you would normally only see within an execution plan. You can capture this event with others. Capturing events together along with causality tracking makes it very easy to track queries that have the issue. Here's one example of how you might capture implicit…
Read More