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Persistent Memory: A Revolution in Storage for SQL Server

Eric Russo | | October 18, 2016

In early August 2016, Microsoft published a video in which several experts on Microsoft technologies revealed how Windows Server 2016 persistent memory can be utilized to gain performance increases in Microsoft SQL Server 2016. This persistent memory will use NVDIMMs and DAX available on Windows 2016, which is then combined with SQL Server to give a performance boost as never before.

SQL Server, as well as many other relational databases, uses transaction logs to ensure the durability and consistency of data in case of a system failure. It uses a logging mechanism called Write Ahead Logging (WAL), which writes the data changes to a persistent storage before propagating the changes to the database. The downside is that the throughput of the database is dependent on the performance of the device that provides this storage.

The MSSQL Server and Windows product teams are closely collaborating to ensure that the combination of the two products will give better solutions to their customers. With this collaboration, customers will be able to experience a much better enterprise data platform backed by some of the most advanced features of Windows Server 2016.

Inside NVIDMM, we have DIMM, which is typically used for the main memory of the device. It is not equipped with a flash array, and it’s backed by battery power. The benefit of this is that now the persistent storage can be accessed at the same speed as the main memory, which is measured in microseconds.

This is a quite significant performance gain. As far as the SQL Server 2016 is concerned, there’s a code change on how the data is written to log buffers. When committed to the log buffer, the written data is instantly persisted, which leads to double improvement in performance.

In short, the collaboration of Windows Server 2016 and SQL Server 2016 has revolutionized the utilization of SQL Server storage by offering substantial performance gains in transaction storage. This would have a positive impact on all data-driven enterprises if they opt to migrate to the latest editions of these revolutionary Microsoft technology platforms.

To learn more about this collaboration or enterprise data platforms please contact Datavail today. With more than 600 database administrators worldwide, Datavail is the largest database services provider in North America. With 24×7 managed services for applications, BI/Analytics, and databases, Datavail can support your organization, regardless of the build you’ve selected.

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