MSDE workload governor kicks in whenever there more than 8 concurrent queries running against the sql server engine. It then proceeds to introduce artifical delays in your query results such that the performance of the entire system is affected.

We faced the same issue for the Cisco NetManager tool that we were constructing and in the end, after a long period of trial and errors we have managed to cure us of this persistent little “feature” MSDE has.

So how does one go about beating / disabling the Workload Governor ?

  1. Optimize Optimize all dB operations.
  2. Reduce the no of round trips to the database by getting the data you know will be required later in one shot, in a single stored procedure or performing multiple operations together.
  3. Use a semaphore to the guard the no of concurrent accesses to the database – make sure all db access has to pass through this guard. The ADO methods one would have to guard are
    1. Execute
    2. Connection Open
    3. Connection Close
    4. Recordset – Open / Update / NextRecordset  /MoveFirst
    5. BeginTransaction / CommitTransaction / Rollback
  4. Perform application level caching of  DB connections if the no of open close connections are too high.
  5. Reduce the load at the sql server – how ? By caching the most frequently required Db data in memory – Not all applications can do this as data integrity becomes an issue. But if properly done, this is the single most important step that can give the biggest bang for your money.

    However please do note that this is also the single most dangerous act that can be done on a DB application. Managing a cache and controlling concurrent updates is not an easy task. We managed to achieve this by using only volatile reads and interlocked updates. Since no explicit locks are involved, this gives us a high level of concurrency.

This it – these small 5 steps are all that it takes to transform your slow moving implementation into a killer app at least wrt to the DB. Verifying these 5 steps took 6 months of time in skunk work style investigations.But now that i have a working application with these features built in, i can now confidently vouch for their efficiency.