Interpreting the counter values from sys.dm_os_performance_counters

Published Jan 15 2019 03:16 PM 2,168 Views
Microsoft
First published on MSDN on Sep 23, 2013

The performance counters exposed by SQL Server are invaluable tools for monitoring various aspects of the instance health. The counter data is exposed as a shared memory object for the windows performance monitoring tools to query. It is also available as a Dynamic Management View (DMV) within SQL Server, namely, sys.dm_os_performance_counters . The VIEW SERVER STATE permission is required to be able to query this view.

The counter data exposed in the view are in a raw form. This needs to be interpreted appropriately before it can be used. The cntr_type column value indicates how the values have to be interpreted. There were some questions around the values reported by this column which prompted this blog post. In this article, we will look at how to interpret the counter values.

The columns exposed by the view are described in the MSDN documentation but is reproduced here for reference.


Column name



Data type



Description



object_name



nchar(128)



Category to which this counter belongs.



counter_name



nchar(128)



Name of the  counter.



instance_name



nchar(128)



Name of the  specific instance of the counter. Often contains the database name.



cntr_value



bigint



Current value  of the counter.













Note



For per-second counters, this value is cumulative. The
rate value must be calculated by sampling the value at discrete time
intervals. The difference between any two successive sample values is equal
to the rate for the time interval used.




cntr_type



int



Type of counter as defined by the Windows performance architecture. See WMI
Performance Counter Types
on MSDN or your Windows Server documentation for more information on performance counter types.


The type of each counter is indicated in the cntr_type column as a decimal value. The distinct values used by all versions between SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2012 are the following


Decimal



Hexadecimal



Counter type define



1073939712



0x40030500



PERF_LARGE_RAW_BASE



537003264



0x20020500



PERF_LARGE_RAW_FRACTION



1073874176



0x40020500



PERF_AVERAGE_BULK



272696576



0x10410500



PERF_COUNTER_BULK_COUNT



65792



0x00010100



PERF_COUNTER_LARGE_RAWCOUNT


Let us look at them individually.

1)     PERF_LARGE_RAW_BASE

Decimal Value                   : 1073939712
Hexadecimal value            : 0x40030500

This counter value is raw data that is used as the denominator of a counter that presents a instantaneous arithmetic fraction. See PERF_LARGE_RAW_FRACTION for more information.

Eg :


object_name



counter_name



instance_name



cntr_value



cntr_type



MSSQL$SQLSVR:Buffer Manager



Buffer cache hit ratio base





3170



1073939712


This value is the base for the MSSQL$SQLSVR:Buffer Manager\Buffer cache hit ratio calculation.

2)     PERF_LARGE_RAW_FRACTION

Decimal Value                   : 537003264
Hexadecimal value          : 0x20020500

This counter value represents a fractional value as a ratio to its corresponding PERF_LARGE_RAW_BASE counter value.

Eg :


object_name



counter_name



instance_name



cntr_value



cntr_type



MSSQL$SQLSVR:Buffer Manager



Buffer cache hit ratio





2911



537003264


Using the value here and the base value from the previous example, we can now calculate the MSSQL$SQLSVR:Buffer Manager\Buffer cache hit ratio as follows

Hit ratio %  = 100 * MSSQL$SQLSVR:Buffer Manager\Buffer cache hit ratio / MSSQL$SQLSVR:Buffer Manager\Buffer cache hit ratio base
= 100 * 2911 / 3170
= 91.83%

3)     PERF_AVERAGE_BULK

Decimal Value                   : 1073874176
Hexadecimal value            : 0x40020500

This counter value represents an average metric. The cntr_value is cumulative. The base value of type PERF_LARGE_RAW_BASE is used which is also cumulative. The value is obtained by first taking two samples of both the PERF_AVERAGE_BULK value A1 and A2 as well as the  PERF_LARGE_RAW_BASE value B1 and B2. The difference between A1 and A2 and B1 and B2 are calculated. The final value is then calculated as the ratio of the differences. The example below will help make this clearer.

Eg :

Sample 1


object_name



counter_name



instance_name



cntr_value



cntr_type





MSSQL$SQLSVR:Latches



Average Latch Wait Time (ms)





14257



1073874176



<== A1



MSSQL$SQLSVR:Latches



Average Latch Wait Time Base





359



1073939712



<== B1


Sample 2


object_name



counter_name



instance_name



cntr_value



cntr_type





MSSQL$SQLSVR:Latches



Average Latch Wait Time (ms)





14272



1073874176



<== A2



MSSQL$SQLSVR:Latches




Average Latch Wait Time Base







360




1073939712




<== B2



Average Latch Wait Time (ms) for the interval = (A2 - A1) / (B2 - B1)
= (14272 - 14257) / (360 - 359)
= 15.00 ms

4)     PERF_COUNTER_BULK_COUNT

Decimal Value                   : 272696576
Hexadecimal value            : 0x10410500

This counter value represents a rate metric. The cntr_value is cumulative. The value is obtained by taking two samples of the PERF_COUNTER_BULK_COUNT value. The difference between the sample values is divided by the time gap between the samples in seconds. This provides the per second rate.

Eg : For this example, I obtain the ms_ticks column from sys.dm_os_sys_info for calculation. You may use any method of choice to determine the difference in time between the counter value snapshots including getdate()

Sample 1


ms_ticks



object_name



counter_name



instance_name



cntr_value



cntr_type



488754390



MSSQL$SQLSVR:Databases



Transactions/sec



AdvWrks



1566



272696576


Sample 2


ms_ticks



object_name



counter_name



instance_name



cntr_value



cntr_type



488755468



MSSQL$SQLSVR:Databases



Transactions/sec



AdvWrks



2055



272696576


The value for Transactions/sec for the interval = (Value2 - Value1) / (seconds between samples)
= (Value2 - Value1) / ((ms_value2 - ms_value1) / 1000)
= (2055 - 1566) / ((488755468-488754390) / 1000)
= 489 transactions/sec

5)     PERF_COUNTER_LARGE_RAWCOUNT

Decimal Value                   : 65792
Hexadecimal value            : 0x00010100

This counter value shows the last observed value directly. Primarily used to track counts of objects.

Eg :


object_name



counter_name



instance_name



cntr_value



cntr_type



MSSQL$SQLSVR:Buffer Manager



Total pages





5504



65792


The value of the counter MSSQL$SQLSVR:Buffer Manager\Total pages = 5504.

Related links :

The sys.dm_os_performance_counters DMV documentation

sys.dm_os_performance_counters (Transact-SQL)
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms187743%28v=sql.110%29.aspx

More information about the various SQL Server counters and what information they convey.

Use SQL Server Objects
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms190382.aspx

Information about the performance counter defined values from Microsoft Performance Counter Query Protocol documentation

2.2.4.2  _PERF_COUNTER_REG_INFO
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc238313.aspx

Ajith Krishnan | Escalation Engineer | Microsoft SQL Server Support


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Version history
Last update:
‎Jan 15 2019 03:16 PM
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