Indirect Checkpoints in SQL Server prior to 2012

Just a short post this time. I was preparing a transaction log demo for my local user group the other day. For this I needed to load a bunch of data into my test database without the log growing. Unfortunately I was loading the data so fast that the log grew several times. Now I’m a somewhat impatient kind of guy so I wanted a solution where I could load the data at maximum speed. I ran a few scripts to diagnose the issue and it turns out that SQL Server wasn’t checkpointing my database often enough.

As you are most likely aware Microsoft helpfully gave us indirect checkpoints in SQL Server 2012. These may well have solved the issue for me. I could simply have configured my database to a much shorter recovery interval and the rate of checkpoints would have increased. Unfortunately I happened to be running SQL Server 2008 R2 on this test server which meant I couldn’t use that feature. Now I could equally well have created a simple job to repeatedly run checkpoints. However I wanted a more flexible solution to the problem.

I ended up writing a very basic and potentially helpful script that checks how much of the transaction log is currently active before it runs the next checkpoint. I then added a delay so I could run it in a tight loop and checkpoint just after the log is 50% full. I was using the simple recovery model so this relates quite closely to when the last checkpoint was run and allows the log to clear after the next checkpoint. The thing that caught me out was that I wrote the script on my 2014 instance and wanted to deploy it on my 2008 R2 instance. Turns out that Microsoft added an extra column to DBCC LOGINFO so I got an error. A quick amendment later and I was ready to test my script. One major point of note is that this will only work to keep the log from growing if you have short transactions and are running in the simple recovery model. However if you just wanted to reduce the time that it takes recovery to run then simply increasing the checkpoint rate will work. No need for anything like my script for that.

The script is below (Slight edit on December 7th 2014 for DBCC command I forgot about), although with the loop removed and ready to be run in a job where you can set the seconds between executions with the job interval


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