What to do about SQL Server Memory Pressure?

Last updated by Bryden Oliver [SSW] 7 months ago.See history

So you've identified that your SQL Server is under memory pressure. What can you do about it?

If SQL Server is the primary consumer, then read up on reducing SQL Server memory usage, or whether more memory is appropriate for your workload.


select * from sys.dm_os_memory_clerks where type='MEMORYCLERK_HOST'

This isolates a few of the SQL processes that aren't part of the SQL Server engine. Look for high memory usage for OLE DB providers (MSOLEDBSQL), SQL Native Client (SQLNCLI*) and so on. This may indicate using some non core features and you should evaluate whether these are necessary. Non core features are things like running .Net CLR code, translating queries to things like OLE DB and other things that aren't strictly database operations.

Try running the following query. It categorises the various memory allocations SQL Server has made.

SELECT pages_kb, type, name, virtual_memory_committed_kb, awe_allocated_kb
FROM sys.dm_os_memory_clerks
ORDER BY pages_kb DESC

This should allow you to identify what is consuming the most memory.


If the memory clerk MEMORYCLERK_SQLQERESERVATIONS is consuming memory, identify queries that are using huge memory grants and optimize them via indexes, rewrite them (remove ORDER by, for example). For more information


The most common example is OBJECTSTORELOCKMANAGER consuming large amounts of memory. This is indicative of a large number of locks being obtained by the server. Often this is due to poor indexing meaning there are locks on far more objects than are required. Another option is shortening the length of any transactions.


This indicates a large number of ad-hoc query plans are cached. Identify non-parameterized queries whose query plans can't be reused and parameterize them by converting to stored procedures, using sp_executesql, or by using FORCED parameterization. If you have enabled trace flag 174, you may disable it to see if this resolves the problem.

You can use the sys.dmexeccached_plans dynamic management view to identify non-parameterized queries. This view returns a row for each query plan that is cached by SQL Server. You can filter the results to show only non-parameterized queries by checking the usecounts column value. If the usecounts column value is 1, the query is non-parameterized 1. Alternatively look for the objtype column containing "Adhoc".

Once you have identified non-parameterized queries whose query plans can’t be reused, you can parameterize them by converting them to use parameterized SQL, use stored procedures, use sp_executesql or use forced parameterization.


If the object plan cache store CACHESTORE_OBJCP is consuming too much memory, identify which stored procedures, functions, or triggers are using large amounts of memory and possibly redesign the application to eliminate the majority of them. Commonly, this may happen due to large amounts of databases or database schemas with hundreds of procedures, functions or triggers in them.

Release memory inside SQL Server

You can run one or more of the following DBCC commands to free several SQL Server memory caches:


Restart SQL Server service

In some cases, if you need to deal with critical exhaustion of memory and SQL Server isn't able to process queries, you can consider restarting the service.

Add more RAM on the physical or virtual server

If the problem continues, you need to investigate further and possibly increase server resources (RAM).

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