SQL Server Community Tools: Capturing Query Wait Stats With sp_HumanEvents


I have sort of a love/hate relationship with wait stats scripts and analysis. Sometimes they’re great to correlate with larger performance problems or trends, and other times they’re totally useless.

When you’re looking at wait stats, some important things to figure out are:

  • How much of a wait happened compared to uptime
  • If the waits lasted a long time on average

And you can do that out of the box with SQL Server. What you can’t get are two very important things:

  • When the waits happened
  • Which queries caused the waits

This stuff is vitally important for figuring out if wait stats are benign overall to the workload.

For example, let’s say your server has been up for 100 hours, and you spent 50 hours waiting on PAGEIOLATCH_SH waits. Normally I’d be pretty worried about that, and I’d be looking at if the server has enough memory, if queries are asking for big memory grants, if important queries are missing any indexes, etc.

But if we knew that all 50 of those hours were outside of normal use activity, and maybe even happened in a separate database for warehousing or archiving off data, we might be able to ignore it and focus on other portions of the workload.


With sp_HumanEvents, you can get all of those things!

EXEC sp_HumanEvents 
    @event_type = 'waits',
    @seconds_sample = 60;

When this finishes running, you’ll get three results back:

  • Overall wait stats for the period of time
  • Wait stats broken down by database for the period of time
  • Wait stats broken down by database and query for the period of time

And because I don’t want to leave you hanging, you’ll also get details about the waits themselves, like

  • How much of a wait happened compared to sampled time
  • How long the waits lasted on average in the sampled time

If you need to figure out which queries are causing wait stats that you’re worried about, this is a great way to get started with that investigation.

Thanks for reading!

Going Further

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