Sunday, March 23, 2008

What is this DCEXEC.EXE running on my server?

If you have been playing around with SQL Server 2008, chances are that you may have already seen this in your Task Manager's running processes. DCEXEC.EXE is the data collector run-time component which manages data collection based on the definitions provided in a collection set and can accept any collection set as input. What is it for? The concept of performance data warehouse is not something new. Almost every system administrators out there would probably have a methodology to capture the performance data of their systems for analysis, forecasting and capacity planning. DBAs are not excluded. But the effort and time to create a solution that does these tasks of collecting data and storing them in a data warehouse, coupled with creating a reporting and analysis solution, is not a joke. Good thing Microsoft included this out-of-the-box feature in SQL Server 2008 which allows DBAs create a performance data warehouse in as few clicks on the wizard as possible. It creates a new database named MDW and the corresponding SQL Server Agent jobs, SSIS packages and SSRS reports which makes monitoring your SQL Server 2008 (I still have to find out whether i can monitor SQL Server 2005 systems as well since this feature is only available in SQL Server 2008) database systems a bit easier. You can use this to have a loko at historical data of your system performance and pin point what might have caused an issue. Let's say end users are complaining that their application is slow, you can identify which queries were running on that specific time frame, and even extract their query execution plans. You have CPU, memory, Disk I/O, network usage and a whole bunch of stuff related to server, query statistics and disk usage. To know more about the new performance monitoring and troubleshooting feature using SQL Server 2008 Management Studio, check out this TechNet webcast

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