Ungrouped Results In Query Store

Erin Stellato explains why you might see two rows for the same query plan in Query Store’s run-time stats:

You can see that there are two rows for the same query_id and plan_id, but the count_executions is different, as are the avg_duration and avg_logical_io_reads values .  The data is not truly a duplicate.  This behavior occurs because the Query Store data is stored in memory before it is flushed to disk, and when you query the data SQL Server is pulling it from both locations (and doing a UNION ALL) and displaying it in the output.  If I waited a bit and ran the query again, the two rows for that interval would probably disappear – most likely because the in memory data had been flushed to disk.

Read the whole thing.

Good Query Store Default Settings

Erin Stellato gives us a starting point for good values for Query Store settings:

QUERY_CAPTURE_MODE

The default value for SQL Server 2016 and SQL Server 2017 is ALL.  For Azure SQL Database, the default value is AUTO.

With AUTO, queries that are insignificant from a resource utilization perspective, or executed infrequently, are not captured.  If you need to capture queries that may only execute a few times, or those that use very few resources, then use ALL.  Otherwise, use AUTO, as this will capture the relevant majority of your workload.

There is a third option, NONE, where no new queries are captured.  Runtime and wait statistics will continue to be captured for queries that are already in Query Store.

I recommend setting this option to AUTO, as the number of queries in your environment that need tuning/your attention is a small percentage of the total number of queries that execute.  You won’t miss out on important data if you exclude queries that don’t use a lot of resources or don’t execute very often.

Click through for good defaults for all nine settings.

Getting Wait Stats From The Query Store

Erin Stellato shows how to retrieve wait stats per query from Query Store:

In SQL Server 2016 a new DMV is exposed, sys.dm_exec_session_wait_stats, which provides information about waits for an existing, active session. If you know the session_id, you can track waits for a query when it starts and when it completes (snapshot the information at the beginning and end of the query and then diff the information). The challenge is that you have to know the session_id for the query, and you have to set up data capture in advance – which isn’t trivial when you’re in the midst of a high priority issue.

Wait statistics information exists in an actual execution plan starting in SQL Server 2016 SP1. Only the top 10 waits are captured, and there are limitations in terms of what this data represents. For example, CXPACKET is ignored and not included in the output, but it will be included in 2016 SP2 and 2017 CU3 and up – where irrelevant parallelism waits are instead captured by CXCONSUMER (which will not be included in actual plan waits).

So how can we see what a specific query is truly waiting on? We can use Query Store! SQL Server 2017 includes the capture of wait statistics information in Query Store, and this functionality is also available in Azure SQL Database. Wait statistics are tied to a query plan, and are captured over time, just like the runtime statistics. The addition of wait statistics information in Query Store was the number one feature request after its initial release, and all that information together creates powerful troubleshooting capabilities.

Read on for a demo-filled post.  It’s hard to overstate just how useful this information is for query tuning.

Query Store Plan Forcing: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Kendra Little shows an example where trying to force a Query Store plan results in an oddity:

This is not considered a “failure”

When I check the Query Store DMVs, force_failure_count is 0. The last_force_failure_reason_desc is NONE.

Query Store didn’t fail to apply the narrow plan. Instead, it’s just deciding not to give it to me, now that I’ve forced that plan.

Seems kinda like an adolescent, doesn’t it?

The answer remains a bit of a mystery, but read on to see how Kendra troubleshoots this.

Query Store And Availability Groups FAQ

Erin Stellato has a few follow-up questions from her Query Store sessions:

Q: Can you enable Query Store for a read-only replica?

A: No.  Because the replica is read-only, and Query Store inherently writes data TO the database, you cannot enable it to capture queries that are executed against that read-only copy.  I did create a Connect item for this request.  If this is of interest to you, please up-vote it: Enable Query Store for collection on a read-only replica in an Availability Group.  The more votes this has, the better the possibility that Microsoft will implement it, so feel free to share with your friends and have them vote too!

Read on for more questions and answers, and if you’re interested in it, vote on the Connect item above.

Getting SQL Server Context Settings

Frank Gill has a script to find current Query Store context settings:

The following query will return the hex and integer value for each row in the table (NOTE: Query store must be enabled for the database to return values):

USE YourQueryStoreDatabase;
SELECT set_options, CONVERT(INT, set_options) AS IntSetOptions
FROM sys.query_context_settings;

The set_options value represents a bit mask, with each binary digit representing a specific set option. The full list of values can be found here. I created stored procedure ReturnSetOptions to take the IntSetOptions from the query above and return the set options represented. The code for the procedure is listed below.

Read on to get a script which breaks the bitmask field into human-readable results.

Query Store Capture Modes

Arun Sirpal notes an important difference in the default Query Store settings for SQL Server 2017 versus Azure SQL Database:

So just remember the only difference when analyzing settings is the difference in Query Store Capture Mode. For Azure it is set to AUTO whereas with local installed SQL Servers it is set to ALL.

What does this mean? ALL means that it is set to capture all queries but AUTO means infrequent queries and queries with insignificant cost are ignored. Thresholds for execution count, compile and runtime duration are internally determined.

Read on to learn more, including how to change these settings.

Forced Plans And Query Text

Erin Stellato warns us about changing objects with which we use Query Store’s forced plans:

There are different query_id values in sys.query_store_query, as well as different entries for each query in sys.query_store_query_text. Both queries are still tied to the stored procedure (object_id 1483152329) which can be confusing if you don’t understand what occurred. In order to confirm which query has executed most recently, you can use the query below, which joins both system views (replace the query_ids as appropriate)

This is a good thing to keep in mind if you perform formatting changes on procedures.

Query Store And Backups

Kendra Little walks us through Query Store portability via database backups:

Query Store was designed to be clever, and to minimize its impact on your performance. Query Store only flushes its data from memory to disk periodically. You get to control this by setting the data flush interval in the Query Store settings for a database. (Read more about this in Microsoft Documentation here.)

The default value for Query Store data flush is 15 minutes. That means that in the case of a crash, you might lose up to around 15 minutes of activity.

Even if you’ve lowered this, you might want to make sure that a backup contains the very latest activity, particularly if you’re taking the backup to get Query Store data for someone to look at.

Read the whole thing.

SQL Server 2017 Finds Plan Regressions

Jovan Popovic shows off some automatic tuning functionality in SQL Server 2017:

Plan change regression happens when SQL Database changes a plan for some T-SQL query, and the new plan has the worse performance than the previous one. SQL Server 2017 has Automatic Tuning feature that enables you to easily find plan change regressions and fix them. In this post you will see the demo script that you can use to cause plan change regression and manually fix it using new sys.dm_db_tuning_recommendations view.

If you are not familiar with plan regressions and new tuning recommendations in SQL Server 2017, I would recommend to read these two posts:

This would be enough to understand steps in this demo.

Our experience with plan regression recommendations has been uniformly positive so far.  Those tests have been in dev and QA environments, but so far, there hasn’t been a terrible recommendation.

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