Tuesday, March 04, 2008


This post is dedicated to all those field DBAs who like to call up the prod DBAs and tell them how busy the server is based on the number of spids or short-term blocks returned by sp_who(2).

See this is the hidden cost of generic logins that have too many rights. Everyone on the planet can read BOL and try to interpret the results. And whatever they mark in their heads as being the sign of a server being too busy is what they're going to call you with. Our users have 2 criteria for a busy server. The number of spids (active or inactive), and how many short-term blocks they see.

Of course I used to try to explain to them that you could bring the server down with a single spid so the number doesn't matter... and that blocks are fine as long as they don't persist. Since I've been here for quite a while though, and none of them have gotten the hint yet, I usually just thank them for letting us know and that we'll get right on it.

One of my favorite analogies used to be that judging the server on the amount of spids is like loading your car up with people and declaring that traffic is really bad today. Somehow that still didn't get the point across.


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Sean McCown
I am a Contributing Editor for InfoWorld Magazine, and a frequent contributor to SQLServerCentral.com as well as SSWUG.org. I live with my wife and 3 kids, and have practiced and taught Kenpo for 22yrs now.
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