SQL SERVER – SSMS: Memory Consumption Report

The next in line in this series of reports is the “Memory Consumption” Report from SQL Server Management Studio. This is a goldmine of a report in my humble opinion and lesser respected. When I used to be consulted or land into performance tuning exercises for customers in the past, there is one question that gets repeated and echoed every now and then – “My SQL Server is eating away my RAM and it is not releasing it back even in non-peak hours”. I always am smiling when this question comes up. SQL Server or for that matter any database system is highly memory oriented processes. If they had taken for some reason, then they are not going to release it because they assume at a later point in time they will require it again. So instead of depending on the OS to allocate, they go with the assumption of grabbing and never releasing even when it is not required in the interim.

Now that brings to the point the fact what is my SQL Server using this memory for? Well, if you search the internet you will be amazed by the plethora of scripts and it is overwhelming how people have killed this subject to death. But this hidden gem inside SQL Server Management Studio is never talked about. So in this blog post, let me take a tour of what this report contains and how one should read the sections.

This report can be launched by going to Server Node in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) right click > Reports > Standard Reports > Memory Consumption.

The report has multiple sections which we would discuss one by one.

Memory Related Counters

These three values can give us a rough indication of memory pressure on SQL Server Instance. These three values are retrieved from SQL Server Memory counters.

SELECT  OBJECT_NAME
,counter_name
,CONVERT(VARCHAR(10),cntr_value) AS cntr_value
FROM sys.dm_os_performance_counters
WHERE ((OBJECT_NAME LIKE '%Manager%')
AND(
counter_name = 'Memory Grants Pending'
OR counter_name='Memory Grants Outstanding'
OR counter_name = 'Page life expectancy'))

As per perfmon counters help, “Memory Grants Outstanding” shows counter shows the current number of processes that have successfully acquired a workspace memory grantgrant, whereas “Memory Grants Pending” counter shows the current number of processes waiting for a workspace memory grant. Page life expectancy is defined as “Number of seconds a page will stay in the buffer pool without references

Top Memory Consuming Components

This section of the report shows various memory consumers (called clerks) in a pie chart based on the amount of memory consumed by each one of them. In most of the situations, SQLBUFFERPOOL would be the biggest consumer of the memory. This output is taken from sys. dm_os_memory_clerks DMV, which is one of the key DMV in monitoring SQL Server memory performance.  We can use sys.dm_os_memory_clerks to identify where exactly SQL’s memory is being consumed.

Buffer Pages Distribution (# Pages)

This particular section of the report shows the state of buffer pages. Behind the scenes it uses DBCC MEMORYSTATUS to get the distribution of buffer in various states. Buffer Distribution can be one of the following as: ‘Stolen’, ‘Free’, ‘Cached’, ‘Dirty’, ‘Kept’, ‘I/O’, ‘Latched’ or ‘Other’. Interestingly, if we run the DBCC MEMORYSTATUS, we may not see all these states. This is because memory status output format has been constantly changing SQL 2000 (KB 271624) and SQL 2005 (KB 907877).

Memory Changes Over Time (Last 7 Days)

This section of the report shows data from default trace. One of the event which is captured by default trace is “Server Memory Change” (Event id 81). Behind the scene, this section reads default trace, looks for event ID 81 and adds a filter (datediff(dd,StartTime,getdate()) < 7) to display last 7 days records. My laptop doesn’t have much load that why we don’t see any memory change. Another reason, as quoted in the text, of no data could be that default trace are disabled.

I am sure in your production or active development boxes these values are not going to be zero for sure.

Memory Usage By Components

At the bottom, there is a table which shows the memory for each component.  This is also taken from the same DMV, which is used in “Top Memory Consuming Components”. The graph earlier shows top 5% consumers by name and the rest would be shown as others. It’s important to note that in SQL 2014, it would always show MEMORYCLERK_XTP which is used by In-Memory OLTP engine (even if it’s not a top consumer).

Here is the little description of various columns:

Allocated Memory Amount of memory allocated to sqlservr.exe
Virtual Memory (Reserved) Memory reserved in Virtual Address Space (VAS)
Virtual Memory (Committed) Memory committed in Virtual Address Space. Once memory is committed in VAS, it would have physical storage (RAM or Pagefile)
AWE Memory Allocated Amount of memory locked in the physical memory and not paged out by the operating system
Shared Memory (Reserved) Amount of shared memory that is reserved
Shared Memory (Committed) Amount of shared memory that is committed

To understand reserve and committed, I always quote this. Imagine that you need to fly to Mumbai on a certain date and you book a flight ticket. This is called reservation. There’s nothing there yet, but nobody else can claim that seat either. If you release your reservation the place can be given to someone else. Committing is actually grabbing the physical seat on the day of travel.

Hope this gives you a fair idea about various pieces of memory consumers. As I mentioned before, this is one of those hidden gem reports that never gets seen. One can learn and know about a current running system and who are using SQL Server Memory from this report easily.

I would be curious to know if in any of your systems if there is any other component apart from BufferPool or SOSNode as the top memory consumers?

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

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SQL SERVER – Plan Cache and Data Cache in Memory

I get following question almost all the time when I go for consultations or training. I often end up providing the scripts to my clients and attendees. Instead of writing new blog post, today in this single blog post, I am going to cover both the script and going to link to original blog posts where I have mentioned about this blog post.

Plan Cache in Memory

USE AdventureWorks
GO
SELECT [text], cp.size_in_bytes, plan_handle
FROM sys.dm_exec_cached_plans AS cp
CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_sql_text(plan_handle)
WHERE cp.cacheobjtype = N'Compiled Plan'
ORDER BY cp.size_in_bytes DESC
GO

Further explanation of this script is over here: SQL SERVER – Plan Cache – Retrieve and Remove – A Simple Script

Data Cache in Memory

USE AdventureWorks
GO
SELECT COUNT(*) AS cached_pages_count,
name AS BaseTableName, IndexName,
IndexTypeDesc
FROM sys.dm_os_buffer_descriptors AS bd
INNER JOIN
(
SELECT s_obj.name, s_obj.index_id,
s_obj.allocation_unit_id, s_obj.OBJECT_ID,
i.name IndexName, i.type_desc IndexTypeDesc
FROM
(
SELECT OBJECT_NAME(OBJECT_ID) AS name,
index_id ,allocation_unit_id, OBJECT_ID
FROM sys.allocation_units AS au
INNER JOIN sys.partitions AS p
ON au.container_id = p.hobt_id
AND (au.TYPE = 1 OR au.TYPE = 3)
UNION ALL
SELECT OBJECT_NAME(OBJECT_ID) AS name,
index_id, allocation_unit_id, OBJECT_ID
FROM sys.allocation_units AS au
INNER JOIN sys.partitions AS p
ON au.container_id = p.partition_id
AND au.TYPE = 2
) AS s_obj
LEFT JOIN sys.indexes i ON i.index_id = s_obj.index_id
AND i.OBJECT_ID = s_obj.OBJECT_ID ) AS obj
ON bd.allocation_unit_id = obj.allocation_unit_id
WHERE database_id = DB_ID()
GROUP BY name, index_id, IndexName, IndexTypeDesc
ORDER BY cached_pages_count DESC;
GO

Further explanation of this script is over here: SQL SERVER – Get Query Plan Along with Query Text and Execution Count

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

SQL SERVER – Minimum Maximum Memory – Server Memory Options

I was recently reading about SQL Server Memory Options over here. While reading this one line really caught my attention is minimum value allowed for maximum memory options.

The default setting for min server memory is 0, and the default setting for max server memory is 2147483647. The minimum amount of memory you can specify for max server memory is 16 megabytes (MB).

This was very interesting to me as I was not familiar with this details. This was one interesting detail for me. In reality I will never set up my max server memory to 16 MB, it will be right out suicide for the server looking at current systems capabilities.

If you try to reset this to lower than 16 MB, SQL Server will automatically make it 16 MB and will not take lower number.

This information was new to me. How about you?

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

 

SQL SERVER – Queries Waiting for Memory Allocation to Execute

In one of the recent projects, I was asked to create a report of queries that are waiting for memory allocation. The reason was that we were doubtful regarding whether the memory was sufficient for the application. The following query can be useful in similar case. Queries that do not have to wait on a memory grant will not appear in the resultset of following query.

SELECT TEXT, query_plan, requested_memory_kb,
granted_memory_kb,used_memory_kb, wait_order
FROM sys.dm_exec_query_memory_grants MG
CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_sql_text(sql_handle)
CROSS
APPLY sys.dm_exec_query_plan(MG.plan_handle)

Please note that wait_order will give order of query waiting on memory to execute. This is a very important script, I suggest that you keep it in the permanent list of queries. If ever you notice that your queries are running slow and think that memory is the culprit, do run this query. If there are lots of rows in the result, please try to optimize the queries or increase the memory capacity.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

SQL SERVER – AWE (Address Windowing Extensions) Explained in Simple Words

I was asked question by Jr. DBA that “What is AWE?”. For those who do know what is AWE or where is it located, it can be found at SQL Server Level properties. AWE is properly explained in BOL so we will just have our simple explanation.

Address Windowing Extensions API is commonly known as AWE.  AWE is used by SQL Server when it has to support very large amounts of physical memory. AWE feature is only available in SQL Server Enterprise, Standard, and Developer editions with of SQL Server 32 bit version.

Microsoft Windows 2000/2003 server supports maximum of 64GB memory. If we have installed SQL Server 32 bit version which can support maximum of 3 GB memory on Windows 2000/2003, we can enable AWE feature to use available physical memory of server to improve performance of SQL Server. In simple words, AWE provides memory management functions which lets windows to allow more than 3GB memory to standard 32 bit application.

There are many other modification needs to be done before AWE option can be used. Please refer SQL Server BOL Using AWE for additional details.

Reference : Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)