Access Violation Error In SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU4

Lonny Niederstadt tracked down an ugly bug in SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU4:

When I started investigating, the error was known only as an access violation, preventing some operations related to data cleansing or fact table versioning.

It occurred deep within a series of stored procedures.  The execution environment included cross-database DELETE statements, cross-database synonyms, lots of SELECT statements against system views, scalar UDFs, and lots and lots of dynamic SQL.

And… I don’t have access to the four systems where the access violation occurred.

I was able to have some investigation performed on those systems – we learned that by disabling ‘auto stats update’ for the duration of the sensitive operations, the error was avoided.  We also learned that reverting a system from SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU4 to SP2 CU2 avoided the errors.  On those systems, reverting to SP2 CU2 or temporarily disabling ‘auto stats update’ were sufficient temporary mitigations.

Very interesting sleuthing work. It also appears the issue might have been limited to SP2 CU4, as SP2 CU3 and SP2 CU5 return different results in Lonny’s repro.

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