3 Tips on How to Monitor SQL Server Memory Usage 

By Staff Contributor on February 9, 2023

When it comes to your SQL Server, performance degradation is a costly, time-consuming issue. There may be any number of reasons why your SQL Server performance may be diminishing, but one of the biggest culprits tends to be memory usage. Whether the database is using too much or has access to too little, knowing how to monitor SQL Server memory usage effectively can help database administrators (DBAs) troubleshoot issues and optimize resource consumption without having to dish out big money on significant hardware upgrades.

This guide will discuss the impactmemory usage and availability can have on SQL Server performance and offer three tips on how to monitor memory usage, including using specialized DBA tools like SolarWinds® Database Performance Analyzer. With the right tools and guidance, you can transform how you monitor database performance and gaininsights into how to boost SQL Server functionality while handling enterprise-levels of data.

Why Memory Usage (and Visibility) Matters

SQL Server relies on extensive memory usage to perform operations efficiently, such as caching data, which allows it to lower the number of read requests it makes during execution. Limited memory availability in a buffer pool can significantly affect performance and lead to issues affecting theend-user experience, such as longer query result speeds.

While memory usage is an essential aspect of SQL Server performance, so is memory availability. Those applications will also require memory if you’re running additional software on a server. And if your SQL Server is taking up too much memory, it can starve that other software of the resources it needs to operate.

Investing in SQL Server Performance

When first encountering performance issues, an instinct is to blame the hardware. While this may be a contributing factor, it is always a best practice to assess the state of current systems and find methods to optimize these before committing to a complete infrastructure overhaul.

Making major upgrades to your hardware can be arduous and expensive; worst of all, those changes may not even be necessary. Visualizing database software performance can help you pinpoint the cause of memory pressure. This can be done by conducting thorough database analysis across queries, client machines, and more. In doing so, you can identify and address issues directly causing SQL Server bottlenecks without having to devote funds to acquiring all-new hardware.

Improving current resources is a smart investment designed to be made now that will ultimately help enterprises protect their bottom line while still enhancing user experience.

3 Tips on How to Monitor SQL Server Memory Usage

If you’re experiencing significant performance degradation, these three tips can aid your process of SQL Server high memory usage troubleshooting.

1.   Diagnose with Dynamic Management Views

Dynamic management views (DMVs) are queries that can be used to analyze the current health status of a server and give insights into what may be causing resource bottlenecks and other performance issues.

DMVs have several SQL Server memory usage query options that return information such as high-memory consuming system objects and user tables, poor statements, and cache entry memory sources that can be vital to diagnosing the root of a performance issue. Examples of DMV memory usage queries include:

  • sys.dm_os_memory_clerks
  • sys.dm_os_memory_nodes
  • sys.dm_os_memory_objects
  • sys.dm_os_sys_info

By having a detailed overview of the state of the database and resource usage, you optimize the troubleshooting process and uncover ways to calibrate system performance without needing to upgrade hardware.

2.   Utilize the MEMORYSTATUS Command

While DMVs provide ample information to monitor memory consumption, the DBCC MEMORYSTATUS command can reveal even more detailed insights unavailable through DMVs. This command is used by Microsoft’s customer support team to diagnose issues and provides a high-level overview of SQL Server’s current memory status.

MEMORYSTATUS returns a series of helpful and detailed information, including:

  • Memory Usage
  • Aggregate Memory
  • Buffer Distribution & Buffer Pool Insights
  • Procedure Cache Makeup
  • Query Memory Information

3.   Leverage Performance Monitoring Tools

A performance monitoring tool is the most efficient way to monitor SQL Server memory usage and be proactive about handling performance issues. These tools allow you to monitor efficacy across your entire database environment and identify where you can limit SQL Server memory usage to tackle slowdowns or other pain points.

We feel that a good software solution is SolarWinds DPA. This feature-rich database performance monitoring tool allows you to:

  • Monitor server activity and view performance metrics on a centralized, user-friendly dashboard
  • Personalize alerts to improve response time and reduce notification fatigue
  • Pinpoint the root cause of deadlocks that are exhausting resources
  • Anticipate future storage needs using algorithms that examine workload patterns
  • Refine queries to eliminate the usage of long-running queries that increase memory consumption

Explore everything DPA offers by registering for your free 14-day trial here.

Improve & Tune SQL Server Memory Usage

Memory usage is a critical factor in SQL Server performance. If you’re not actively monitoring consumption, you may look in the wrong areas while trying to diagnose degrading server functionality.

You can quickly give yourself a synopsis of server and database health by harnessing the insights available through DMVs and using specific memory usage queries. Then boost observability across your database with powerful DBA tools. You can diagnose, refine, and manage Microsoft SQL memory usage. Enhancing enterprise data performance management helps organizations avoid making costly and unnecessary hardware upgrades.

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