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Ghost Records and Availability Groups

Aaron Bertrand ran into an interesting problem:

I recently came across an issue in a¬†SQL Server Availability Group¬†scenario where queries against a heavily-used queue table were taking longer and longer over time. The symptoms of the query were that logical reads were increasing rapidly, and we ultimately tracked it down to ghost records (and version ghost records) that were being created as rows from the queue table were consumed and deleted. Because the database was being used in a readable secondary, the ghost cleanup process simply wasn’t able to keep up with the volume of deletes against the table. The first workaround implemented was to suspend the queue consumers and rebuild the table.

Read on to see how Aaron used filtered indexes and soft deletes to mitigate some of the pain.