Why Windows Instant File Initialization for SQL Server 2005 (and higher) matters

SQL Server 2005 supports Database Instant File Initialization which skips zeroing out data pages that can reduce the time when performing operations like creating databases, adding files to an existing database, increasing the size of an existing database file manually or thru autogrowth or restoring a database or filegroup. I’ve written an article in MSSQLTips.com highlighting it’s importance both in a disaster recovery and operational performance scenarios. I ran a few tests as well to simply answer a query in the forum regarding the topic. I ran my tests on a VMWare image on a DELL PowerEdge 2650 with 4 X 2.8 GHz CPU and 3GB RAM. The image is running Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition with SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition as this is an “Enterprise Edition only” feature. I’ve created a 10GB-sized database which took only 0.1 seconds using instant file initialization. Without it, the same took about 2:10 minutes. Imagine doing a restore for a 500GB-sized database. That will save you a lot of time on the restore process. Same goes with file auto growth. The difference in the amount of time it takes to do a restore would definitely matter when you’re dealing with very large databases. Imagine trying to restore a 500GB-sized database. You’ll probably agree after trying it out for yourself

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