One of the most important aspects of performance tuning is ensuring that your database files are properly sized and allocated. If your files are too small, your database will be constantly performing disk reads and writes as it tries to grow the data files to accommodate new data. If your files are too big, you’re wasting space and may run into problems with fragmentation.
Another important consideration is how quickly your database can initialize or grow new data files. By default, SQL Server initializes each new data file by zeroing out the entire file. This process, known as “zero initialization,” can take a significant amount of time if your data files are large.
Fortunately, there’s a way to avoid this performance penalty: database instant file initialization. With this feature enabled, SQL Server can skip the zero-initialization process and simply allocate the new file space without zeroing it out. This can save a significant amount of time, especially when initializing or growing large data files.
There are some trade-offs to consider before enabling database instant file initialization, however. First, any user with the CREATE DATABASE or ALTER ANY DATABASE permission can initialize or grow a database data file without triggering a security audit event. Second, if you enable database instant file initialization on a system that uses full volume encryption (such as BitLocker), SQL Server will not be able to encrypt the newly allocated file space. For these reasons, you should carefully consider whether the performance benefits of database instant file initialization outweigh the potential security risks before enabling this feature.
How to Enable Database Instant File Initialization:
Enabling database instant file initialization is a simple process. Just follow these steps:
1. Open the SQL Server Configuration Manager tool and navigate to the SQL Server Services node.
2. Right-click on the SQL Server service and select Properties from the context menu.
3. Select the Service tab and scroll down to the Startup Parameters section.
4. Add the following startup parameter: -T1118
5. Click OK to save the changes and restart SQL Server for the change to take effect.
That’s all there is to it! Once you’ve enabled database instant file initialization, SQL Server will skip the zero-initialization process when initializing or growing data files.
Note that this feature is only available in SQL Server 2008 and later. If you’re using an earlier version of SQL Server, you’ll need to upgrade before you can take advantage of database instant file initialization.
Database Instant File Initialization (DIFI) is a new feature introduced in SQL Server 2008. It allows for faster creation of databases by initializing the files instantaneously, rather than Fillfactor which can sometimes take up to several minutes. DIFI also eliminates the need for outgrowth, as the files will always be created at their full size.
Configuring Database Instant File Initialization:
1. Open SQL Server Configuration Manager and navigate to the SQL Server Services node.
2. Right-click on SQL Server and select Properties.
3. Select the Advanced tab and scroll down to the Startup Parameters section.
4. Enter -difi into the field and click Add.
5. Restart SQL Server for the changes to take effect.
Database Instant File Initialization can be a great time saver when creating new databases or adding data files to existing ones. It is important to note that this feature is only available on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, so it cannot be used on earlier versions of SQL Server. Also, DIFI must be enabled before any databases are created, as it will not work retroactively.
Database Instant File Initialization is a new feature introduced in SQL Server 2008 that can save a significant amount of time when initializing or growing data files. It is important to carefully consider the security implications of this feature before enabling it, as it can potentially allow unauthorized users to initialize or grow databases.
If you decide to enable Database Instant File Initialization, simply follow the steps outlined in this article and restart SQL Server for the changes to take effect.
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