Best Practices for Tuning Microsoft SQL Server on the HP ProLiant DL980
sponsored by Hewlett-Packard Company

Because of this powerful synergy of proven technologies and engineering, the HP line of scale-up platforms is exceptionally well-suited for workloads requiring high-performance processing, such as business intelligence and other line-of-business applications.

Large databases at the core of these workloads quickly reach the 32-bit architectural limit of x86-based systems. But the recent generation of HP servers implementing Windows 64-bit operating systems and architecture offer much greater headroom and can therefore take advantage of scale-up x86 platforms. For example, the HP ProLiant DL980 running Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 supports a maximum of 2 terabytes of main memory, 160 logical processors (with Intel Xeon E7 family processors), and 16 PCI cards.

The HP ProLiant DL980 is the ideal platform to capitalize on the advantages of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (x64), SQL Server 2008 R2, and, most recently, SQL Server 2012. Both SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012 deliver increased security, scalability, and availability to enterprise data and analytical applications, while making them easier to build, deploy, and manage. Optimized for 64-bit addressing, they take advantage of advanced memory addressing capabilities for essential resources such as buffer pools, caches, and sort heaps, thereby reducing the need to perform multiple I/O operations to move data in and out of memory from disk. This greater processing capacity, without the penalties of I/O latency, means greater application scalability.

Although SQL Server runs "out-of-the-box" on HP scale-up x64 servers, we recommend some tuning guidelines to maximize performance and take full advantage of the capabilities of this platform. This document describes configuration settings that represent current "best practices" in tuning an HP scale-up x64 system for Microsoft Windows Server (2008, 2008 R2, or 2012) and SQL Server (2008, 2008 R2, or 2012).

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