HOSTING THE RUNTIME: SQL SERVER AS A RUNTIME

HOSTING THE RUNTIME: SQL SERVER AS A RUNTIME HOST completion ports usually managed by the CLR. Although this may slow things down a little in the case of an allocation callback, it is of great benefit in allowing SQL Server to manage all of its resources, as it does today. Exceptional Condition Handling In .NET 1.0 certain exceptional conditions, such as an out-of-memory condition or a stack overflow, could bring down a running process (or App Domain). This cannot be allowed to happen in SQL Server. Although transactional semantics might be preserved, reliability and performance would suffer dramatically. In addition, unconditionally stopping a thread (using Thread.Abort or other API calls) can conceivably leave some system resources in an indeterminate state and, though using garbage collection minimizes memory leakage, leak memory. Different runtime hosts deal with these hard-to-handle conditions in different ways. In the ASP.NET worker process, for example, recycling both the AppDomain and the process itself is considered acceptable since disconnected, short-running Web requests would hardly notice. With SQL Server, rolling back all the in-flight transactions might take a few minutes. Process recycling would ruin long-running batch jobs in progress. Therefore, changes to the hosting APIs and the CLR exceptional condition handling needed to be made. Out-of-memory conditions are particularly difficult to handle correctly, even when you leave a safety buffer of memory to respond to them. In SQL Server the situation is exacerbated because SQL Server manages its own memory and attempts to use all memory available to it to maximize throughput. This leaves us between a rock and a hard place. As we increase the size of the safety net to handle out-of-memory conditions, we also increase the occurrence of out-of-memory conditions. The Whidbey runtime handles these conditions more robustly; that is, it guarantees availability and reliability after out-of-memory conditions without requiring SQL Server to allocate a safety net, letting SQL Server tune memory usage to the amount of physical memory. The CLR will notify SQL Server about the repercussions of failing each memory request. Low-memory conditions may be handled by permitting the garbage collector to run more frequently, waiting for other procedural code to finish before invoking additional procedures, or aborting running threads if needed. There is also a failure escalation policy at the CLR level that will allow SQL Server to determine how to deal with exceptions. SQL Server can decide to abort the thread that causes an exception and, if necessary,

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