Useful SQL Server DBCC Commands

DBCC FREEPROCCACHE: Used to clear out the stored procedure cache for all SQL Server databases. You may want to use this command before testing to ensure that previous stored procedure plans won’t negatively affect testing results.

Example:

DBCC FREEPROCCACHE

[7.0, 2000, 2005] Updated 10-16-2005

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DBCC MEMORYSTATUS: Lists a breakdown of how the SQL Server buffer cache is divided up, including buffer activity. This is an undocumented command, and one that may be dropped in future versions of SQL Server.

Example:

DBCC MEMORYSTATUS

[7.0, 2000] Updated 10-16-2005

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DBCC OPENTRAN: An open transaction can leave locks open, preventing others from accessing the data they need in a database. This command is used to identify the oldest open transaction in a specific database.

Example:

DBCC OPENTRAN(‘database_name’)

[7.0, 2000] Updated 10-16-2005

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DBCC PAGE: Use this command to look at contents of a data page stored in SQL Server.

Example:

DBCC PAGE ({dbid|dbname}, pagenum [,print option] [,cache] [,logical])

where:

Dbid or dbname: Enter either the dbid or the name of the database in question.

Pagenum: Enter the page number of the SQL Server page that is to be examined.

Print option: (Optional) Print option can be either 0, 1, or 2. 0 – (Default) This option causes DBCC PAGE to print out only the page header information. 1 – This option causes DBCC PAGE to print out the page header information, each row of information from the page, and the page’s offset table. Each of the rows printed out will be separated from each other. 2 – This option is the same as option 1, except it prints the page rows as a single block of information rather than separating the individual rows. The offset and header will also be displayed.

Cache: (Optional) This parameter allows either a 1 or a 0 to be entered. 0 – This option causes DBCC PAGE to retrieve the page number from disk rather than checking to see if it is in cache. 1 – (Default) This option takes the page from cache if it is in cache rather than getting it from disk only.

Logical: (Optional) This parameter is for use if the page number that is to be retrieved is a virtual page rather then a logical page. It can be either 0 or 1. 0 – If the page is to be a virtual page number. 1 – (Default) If the page is the logical page number.

[6.5, 7.0, 2000]Updated 10-16-2005

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DBCC PINTABLE & DBCC UNPINTABLE: By default, SQL Server automatically brings into its data cache the pages it needs to work with. These data pages will stay in the data cache until there is no room for them, and assuming they are not needed, these pages will be flushed out of the data cache onto disk. At some point in the future when SQL Server needs these data pages again, it will have to go to disk in order to read them again into the data cache for use. If SQL Server somehow had the ability to keep the data pages in the data cache all the time, then SQL Server’s performance would be increased because I/O could be reduced on the server.

The process of “pinning a table” is a way to tell SQL Server that we don’t want it to flush out data pages for specific named tables once they are read into the cache in the first place. This in effect keeps these database pages in the data cache all the time, which eliminates the process of SQL Server from having to read the data pages, flush them out, and reread them again when the time arrives. As you can imagine, this can reduce I/O for these pinned tables, boosting SQL Server’s performance.

To pin a table, the command DBCC PINTABLE is used. For example, the script below can be run to pin a table in SQL Server:

DECLARE @db_id int, @tbl_id int
USE Northwind
SET @db_id = DB_ID(‘Northwind’)
SET @tbl_id = OBJECT_ID(‘Northwind..categories’)
DBCC PINTABLE (@db_id, @tbl_id)

While you can use the DBCC PINTABLE directly, without the rest of the above script, you will find the script handy because the DBCC PINTABLE’s parameters refer to the database and table ID that you want to pin, not by their database and table name. This script makes it a little easier to pin a table. You must run this command for every table you want to pin.

Once a table is pinned in the data cache, this does not mean that the entire table is automatically loaded into the data cache. It only means that as data pages from that table are needed by SQL Server, they are loaded into the data cache, and then stay there, not ever being flushed out to disk until you give the command to unpin the table using the DBCC UNPINTABLE. It is possible that part of a table, and not all of it, will be all that is pinned.

When you are done with a table and you no longer want it pinned, you will want to unpin your table. To do so, run this example code:

DECLARE @db_id int, @tbl_id int
USE Northwind
SET @db_id = DB_ID(‘Northwind’)
SET @tbl_id = OBJECT_ID(‘Northwind..categories’)
DBCC UNPINTABLE (@db_id, @tbl_id)

[6.5, 7.0, 2000]Updated 10-16-2005

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