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Workshop: SQL Server 2019 Workshop

A Microsoft workshop from the SQL Server team

SQL Server 2019 Mission Critical Availability

SQL Server 2019 includes new capabilities to keep your database and application highly available:

  • Online Index Enhancements
  • Enhancements to Availability Groups
  • Accelerated Database Recovery

You can read more details about all of these enhancements at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/sql-server/what-s-new-in-sql-server-ver15?view=sqlallproducts-allversions.

You will cover the following topics in this Module:

4.0 Accelerated Database Recovery

4.0 Accelerated Database Recovery

In this module you will learn about a new capability in SQL Server 2019 to solve problems caused by long running transactions. This enhancement to SQL Server 2019 is called Accelerated Database Recovery.

Accelerated Database Recovery started years ago as a project within Microsoft called Constant Time Recovery (CTR). The idea was to enhance the database engine so that the time it took to recover a database was constant instead of based on the length of the oldest active transaction as recorded in the transaction log. You can read more about the project in this detailed paper at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/publication/constant-time-recovery-in-azure-sql-database.

The Challenge

Long running transactions can take the following forms:

  • A transaction that does not make a large number of modifications but is held open for a long period of time
  • A transaction that makes a large number of data modifications (think deleting all rows in a 1 billion row table)

Both of these scenarios can lead to the following problems:

  • A long time to recover the database should it be taken offline or SQL Server shutdown while a long running transaction is active.
  • Transaction rollback for queries with alot of modifications can take a long time holding locks.
  • The transaction log may grow unexpectedly because it cannot be truncated due to an active transactions.

The Solution

Accelerated Database Recovery (ADR) attempts to solve these problems by using a concept called the Persistent Version Store (PVS). This is not the same version store that is kept in tempdb for snapshot isolation. The PVS is stored in the user database inside the rows of a page or in an off-row store internal table. Because it is persistent (i.e. survives restarts) it can be used for recovery purposes.

Now the redo and undo phases of recovery can be significantly faster (hence the term accelerated) because versions can be used to determine the state of a transaction (vs having to logically undo uncommitted transactions).

These diagrams from the documentation show the recovery process with and without ADR.

Recovery without ADR (this is the default)

Recovery without ADR

Recovery with ADR (a new option with ALTER DATABASE)

Recovery with ADR

Both the documentation at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/sql-database/sql-database-accelerated-database-recovery and the paper at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/publication/constant-time-recovery-in-azure-sql-database have detailed explanations of how ADR works including the PVS and a concept called the SLog (for system transactions).

Because of this design, not only is recovery must faster and no longer affected by a long running transaction but ADR provides two other benefits:

  • rollback is instant. Because versions are tracked rollback involves simply marking a transaction as aborted
  • Log truncation is no longer dependent on an active transaction.

Here are some frequently asked questions about ADR:

  • Will my database be larger with the PVS?

It will be larger than without ADR. However, it may not grow extremely large due to concepts like logical revert and cleanup processes designed with ADR. Testing is the only way to know but the paper has some observations from the engineering team.

  • Will it affect performance?

As with any feature performance impact will vary. However, extremely "write-heavy" applications may see some effect. Typically those applications don't use long running transactions so they may not benefit from ADR. The paper has testing observations using benchmarks derived from TPC.

  • How is the Persistent Version Store different than the Version Store in TempDB?

SQL Server uses TempDB to store versions for rows for queries that use SNAPSHOT transaction isolation levels (or the database option READ_COMMITTED_SNAPSHOT_ISOLATION). If you enable ADR for a database, any queries using SNAPSHOT transaction isolation levels will use the persistent version store instead.

  • How does this affect Always On Availability Groups?

Secondary replicas receive all changes to the persistent version store and log records. ADR can help speed up failover times because undo processing can be extremely fast. In addition read-only queries on secondary replicas will now use the persistent version store instead of TempDB on the secondary. Secondary replicas signal the primary replica which versions need to be kept to service read queries on secondaries. If a secondary replica needs to be restarted, the persistent version store can easily be used where as with TempDB, the version store is lost and read queries may be held up for transactions to commit or undo.

Accelerated Database Recovery is a feature that exists for both SQL Server 2019 and Azure SQL Database.

Proceed to the Activity to learn an example of how Accelerated Database Recovery works in SQL Server 2019.

Activity: Accelerated Database Recovery

In this activity, you will see how Accelerated Database Recovery affects log truncation and the speed of rollback.

NOTE: If at anytime during the Activities of this Module you need to "start over" you can go back to the first Activity in 4.0 and run through all the steps again.

Activity Steps

All scripts for this activity can be found in the sql2019workshop\sql2019wks\04_Availability\adr folder. The database will be created as part of this activity. There is no need to restore a separate database. The scripts will create a database with a data file of 10Gb and transaction log of 10Gb so there is plenty of space for the activity.

NOTE: For Linux installations change the path to /var/opt/mssql/data in the T-SQL notebook and T-SQL scripts.

STEP 1: Use a T-SQL notebook to complete the rest of the activity.

T-SQL notebooks provide a very nice method to execute T-SQL code with documentation in the form of markdown code. All the steps and documentation to complete the rest of the activity for Module 3.0 can be found in the T-SQL notebook basic_adr.ipynb which can be found in the sql2019workshop\sql2019wks\04_Availability\adr folder.

NOTE: A T-SQL script basic_adr.sql is also provided if you want to go through the same steps as the notebook but use a tool like SQL Server Management Studio.

T-SQL notebooks can be executed with Azure Data Studio. If you are familiar with using Azure Data Studio and T-SQL notebooks open up the basic_adr.ipynb notebook and go through all the steps. When you are done proceed to the Activity Summary section for the Activity below.

If you have never opened a T-SQL notebook with Azure Data Studio, use the following instructions:

Launch the Azure Data Studio application. Look for the icon similar to this one:

The first time you launch Azure Data Studio, you may see the following choices. For the purposes of this workshop, select No to not load the preview feature and use x to close out the 2nd choice to collect usage data.

You will now be presented with the following screen to enter in your connection details for SQL Server. Use connection details as provided by your instructor to connect to SQL Server or the connection you have setup yourself for your SQL Server instance.

Now click the Connect button to connect. An example of a connection looks similar to this graphic (your server, Auth type, and login may be different):

A successful connection looks similar to this (your server may be different):

Azure Data Studio Successful Connection

If you haven't already used Explorer in Azure Data Studio, it can be used to explore files. Use the power of Azure Data Studio Explorer to open up any file including notebooks. Use the File/Open Folder menu to open up the sql2019workshop\sql2019wks folder. Now click the Explorer icon on the left hand side of Azure Data Studio to see all files and directories for the lab. Navigate to the 04_Availability\adr folder, open up the basic_adr.ipynb notebook and go through all the steps.

NOTE: Be sure to only run one notebook cell at a time for the lab.

You can now use Azure Data Studio explorer to open up a notebook or script without exiting the tool.

Azure Data Studio Explorer

When you start using a notebook and use the "Play" button of a cell, you may get prompted for the connection. Choose the connection you used when you first opened up Azure Data Studio.

Play cell in Notebook

There is additional documentation on how to use SQL notebooks at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/azure-data-studio/sql-notebooks.

When you are done proceed to the Activity Summary section for the Activity below.

Activity Summary

In this activity you have learned Accelerated Database recovery can speed up transaction rollback significantly. You have also learned how transaction log truncation is no longer affected by long running transactions.

Advanced Activity

NOTE: Close out any outstanding scripts or notebooks before running this advanced activity.

Use the T-SQL notebook recovery_adr.ipynb or T-SQL script recovery_adr.sql to see how ADR affects the recovery process. This advanced activity can take some time as a large number of modifications are needed to see a bigger effect on recovery. The scripts will create a database with a data file of 5Gb and transaction log of 20Gb so there is plenty of space for the activity. In addition the instructions in the notebook or script file have you stop, start SQL SErver, and examine the ERRORLOG file.

For Further Study

Next Steps

Next, Continue to Modern Development Platform.

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