10 SQL Server 2019 Disk Configuration Best Practices

SQL Server 2019 is here, and with it come a whole host of new features and improvements. In this article, we'll go over 10 disk configuration best practices that you should be aware of.

SQL Server 2019 is the latest version of Microsoft’s popular database management system. It offers a range of features and performance improvements over previous versions, but it also requires careful configuration to ensure optimal performance. One of the most important aspects of configuring SQL Server 2019 is disk configuration.

In this article, we’ll discuss 10 best practices for configuring disks for SQL Server 2019. We’ll cover topics such as RAID levels, disk partitioning, and storage performance optimization. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your SQL Server 2019 installation is optimized for maximum performance.

1. Use RAID 10 for Data and Log Files

RAID 10 is a combination of RAID 1 (mirroring) and RAID 0 (striping). This means that data is mirrored across multiple disks, providing redundancy in case one disk fails. At the same time, striping allows for faster read/write speeds since data can be spread out across multiple disks.

RAID 10 also offers better performance than other RAID levels such as RAID 5 or 6 because it does not require parity calculations. This makes it ideal for applications with high I/O requirements like SQL Server 2019. Additionally, RAID 10 requires at least four disks, so you will need to have enough physical disks available to use this configuration.

2. Put TempDB on its Own Array

TempDB is a system database that stores temporary objects such as global and local temporary tables, table variables, cursors, and other internal objects. It’s used heavily by SQL Server for sorting, joining, and grouping operations.

By putting TempDB on its own array, you can ensure that it has the resources it needs to perform optimally without competing with other databases for disk I/O. This will help improve overall performance of your server and reduce contention between databases. Additionally, having TempDB on its own array makes it easier to manage and monitor since all of its activity is isolated from other databases.

3. Don’t Over-Allocate Space

When you over-allocate space, it can lead to disk fragmentation and poor performance.

When allocating disks for SQL Server 2019, make sure that the amount of allocated space is equal to or greater than the size of the database files. This will ensure that there is enough free space available on the disk for optimal performance. Additionally, consider using multiple disks instead of one large disk to spread out the load and improve performance.

4. Keep the OS on a Separate Drive

Having the OS on a separate drive from your SQL Server data and log files helps to ensure that any disk I/O operations related to the operating system don’t interfere with the performance of your database. Additionally, it’s important to keep the OS on its own drive so that you can easily back up or restore the OS in case of an emergency. Finally, having the OS on its own drive makes it easier to upgrade or patch the OS without affecting the rest of your server configuration.

5. Avoid Using SAN Snapshots to Back Up SQL Server Databases

SAN snapshots are not a reliable method of backing up SQL Server databases because they can be corrupted or incomplete. Additionally, SAN snapshots do not provide the same level of protection as traditional backups and restores.

Instead, it is recommended to use native SQL Server backup and restore commands for backing up and restoring SQL Server databases. This will ensure that your data is backed up correctly and completely, and that you have a reliable way to recover from any potential disasters.

6. Test Your Backups Regularly

Backups are the only way to recover data in case of a disaster. If you don’t test your backups, you won’t know if they’re working properly or not. This means that when disaster strikes, you may find out too late that your backups weren’t successful and you’ve lost valuable data.

Testing your backups regularly ensures that you can restore them successfully in the event of an emergency. It also helps you identify any issues with your backup configuration so that you can address them before it’s too late.

7. Monitor Disk Performance

Disk performance is critical for the overall performance of your SQL Server. Poor disk performance can lead to slow query execution, poor database availability, and even data loss. To ensure that your disks are performing optimally, you should monitor their performance regularly.

You can use Windows Performance Monitor or other third-party tools to track disk performance metrics such as read/write latency, IOPS, throughput, queue length, etc. This will help you identify any potential bottlenecks in your system and take corrective action before they become a major issue.

8. Consider SSDs

SSDs are much faster than traditional hard drives, and they can significantly improve the performance of your SQL Server.

SSDs also have a longer lifespan than traditional hard drives, so you won’t need to replace them as often. Additionally, SSDs use less power than traditional hard drives, which helps reduce energy costs. Finally, SSDs are more reliable than traditional hard drives, meaning fewer data loss incidents.

For these reasons, it’s important to consider using SSDs when configuring your SQL Server 2019 disk configuration.

9. Always Have Enough Redundancy

Redundancy ensures that if one disk fails, the data stored on it can be recovered from another disk. This is especially important for mission-critical applications and databases where data loss could have serious consequences.

To ensure redundancy, you should use RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) technology to create multiple copies of your data across different disks. The most common types of RAID are RAID 1 (mirroring), RAID 5 (striping with parity) and RAID 10 (combination of mirroring and striping). Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so make sure to choose the right one for your needs. Additionally, you should also consider using a backup solution such as SQL Server Backup & Restore or Azure Backup to protect against data loss in case of hardware failure.

10. Size Drives Appropriately

When you size drives appropriately, it helps to ensure that your data is stored in the most efficient way possible. This means that when SQL Server 2019 needs to access a file or database, it can do so quickly and without any delays. Additionally, sizing drives correctly also helps to prevent disk fragmentation, which can lead to slower performance and degraded system stability.

Finally, proper drive sizing also helps to reduce the amount of wasted space on your disks. By ensuring that each drive has enough capacity for its intended purpose, you can avoid having to purchase additional storage down the line.


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