Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Super undocumented trace flag 144

First of all I would like to thank Slava & Ketan from Microsoft for their very fast and accurate support. It's amazing that people at their level are willing to help customers.

As mentioned in a previous post the UpdateBatch behavior causes half of the memory from our server to be allocated to procedure cache. This might not be a disaster but we didn't really feel comfortable with this situation.

Lucky for us there is a undocumented (gee really) traceflag that changes the behavior of the way plans are cached. With trace flag 144 enabled the (n)varchar variables are cached with their maximum size instead of the defined parameter size for parameterized queries. This has cut down the size of our plan cache with many gigabytes.

We were warned to look for the spinlocks on SQL_MGR with this trace flag enabled. We used another undocumented feature DBCC SQLPERF(SpinLockStats) to monitor the spinlocks. Although we do not see anything alarming (with the limited understanding we have about spinlock internals) we do see different behavior:

With the trace flag:
Collisions: 2091
Spins: 452704

Without the trace flag:
Collisions: 1977661
Spins: 146579351

In case you do have problems with the spinlocks there is hotfix 716 (which is not publicly available as far as I know).

Our good friend Nick adapted our framework which will be released in November (.NET 2.0). This framework copied the UpdateBatch behavior but it has been changed now so we will no longer need the trace flag as of the new framework. The parameter length is now equal to the column length.