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Article ID: 78363 - Last Review: February 14, 2005 - Revision: 3.2

 
This article was previously published under Q78363

SUMMARY

To improve performance, SQL Server maintains a cache of the previously read and/or modified ("dirty") pages. Periodically, these pages are physically written to the disk, ensuring that the changes to any rows are reflected in user databases.

MORE INFORMATION

SQL Server will flush pages from the cache to the disk under the following conditions:
  1. When a checkpoint is issued.

    There are five conditions that can cause a checkpoint to be issued:

    1. The database owner or the system administrator (SA) can issue a CHECKPOINT command at any time.
    2. When a DUMP DATABASE or DUMP TRANSACTION command is issued, the first step of the DUMP process is to do a checkpoint in that database.
    3. A checkpoint is issued in each database after the recovery process has finished recovering that database. This feature can be disabled by using the sp_dboption system procedure with the "no chkpt on recovery" option set to true.
    4. A checkpoint will automatically be issued by the checkpoint checking process when it determines that enough transactions have occurred since the last checkpoint. Although the checkpoint checking process wakes up about once per minute to see how much activity has taken place, the frequency with which it actually does a checkpoint is determined by the number of transactions and the value that has been set for the recovery interval. Note that if the "trunc. log on chkpt." option has been set using sp_dboption, a checkpoint will occur every time the checkpoint checking process wakes up (about once per minute).
    5. A checkpoint is issued when the SA issues the SHUTDOWN command.
  2. When a new page needs to be brought into the cache.

    When SQL Server determines that a page is needed that is not currently in the cache, it looks for a free buffer in the cache page chain. When it has finished going through the chain, the page from the oldest buffer is flushed to disk.
  3. At the end of a fast bulk copy or SELECT INTO.

    When the fast BCP (non-logged version) is used, or when a table is created using SELECT INTO, the newly-inserted rows are not logged. Also, many or all of them may still be in the cache. To lessen the chance of losing data in the event that SQL Server is stopped without a checkpoint, all dirty pages are flushed to disk when the BCP or SELECT INTO finishes.
  4. Log pages are flushed when a transaction ends.

    When a transaction ends, either with a COMMIT or ABORT, the log pages are flushed to disk.
  5. When a page is split, the newly allocated page is immediately flushed to disk.
  6. LOAD DATABASE writes all pages to disk.

    When a database is being loaded with the LOAD DATABASE command, all pages in the dump are written directly to disk. In addition, any pages in the database that are not in the dump are also initialized and flushed to disk. For example, if you are loading a dump from a 4 MB database into a 10 MB database, the remaining 6 MB of pages will all be initialized and written to disk.
  7. LAZY WRITER process flushes dirty pages.

    A new system process, Lazywriter, has been added to Microsoft SQL Server version 4.21. The Lazywriter process automatically starts flushing buffers when the number of available free buffers falls below a certain threshold, and it stops flushing buffers when this number goes ~5-6% above the threshold. This threshold value is specified as a percentage of the total number of buffers in the buffer cache. The default threshold is set to 3% of the buffers in the data cache. For more information refer to the Microsoft SQL Server Version 4.21 release notes (\sql\install\readme.txt).
SQL Server requires systems to support ‘ guaranteed delivery to stable media ’ as outlined under the Microsoft SQL Server Always-On Storage Solution Review program. Fo For more information about the input and output requirements for the SQL Server database engine, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
967576  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/967576/ ) Microsoft SQL Server Database Engine Input/Output Requirements

APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft SQL Server 4.21a Standard Edition
  • Microsoft SQL Server 6.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft SQL Server 6.5 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Developer
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Standard
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kbinfo KB78363
Retired KB ArticleRetired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
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