Performance best practices and configuration guidelines for SQL Server Big Data Clusters

Applies to: SQL Server 2019 (15.x)


The Microsoft SQL Server 2019 Big Data Clusters add-on will be retired. Support for SQL Server 2019 Big Data Clusters will end on February 28, 2025. All existing users of SQL Server 2019 with Software Assurance will be fully supported on the platform and the software will continue to be maintained through SQL Server cumulative updates until that time. For more information, see the announcement blog post and Big data options on the Microsoft SQL Server platform.

This article provides best practices and recommendations to maximize performance for applications that target services running within a big data cluster.

The following guidelines focus on recommendations for configuring the Linux operating system hosting the Kubernetes worker nodes where the big data cluster will be deployed. As a best practice, configure the tuning profile before deploying the big data cluster. The settings included in the proposed tuning profile were validated during the case study conducted by Microsoft and Intel. The results of the study are published for download in this whitepaper.


For tuning configurations specific to SQL Server on Linux, see Performance best practices and configuration guidelines for SQL Server on Linux. Also, other best practices like index design for SQL Server databases, still apply.

Proposed Linux settings using a tuned mssql-bdc profile

Create a tuned.conf configuration profile with the content below.

summary=Optimize for Microsoft SQL Server Big Data Clusters TPC-DS performance
#network tunings
net.ipv4.tcp_sack = 1
net.core.netdev_max_backlog = 25000
net.core.rmem_max = 2147483647
net.core.wmem_max = 2147483647
net.core.rmem_default = 33554431
net.core.wmem_default = 33554432
net.core.optmem_max = 33554432
net.ipv4.tcp_rmem =8192 33554432 2147483647
net.ipv4.tcp_wmem =8192 33554432 2147483647
net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1
net.ipv6.conf.default.disable_ipv6 = 1
net.ipv6.conf.lo.disable_ipv6 = 1
net.core.somaxconn = 65535
#memory cache settings
#kernel NUMA

#should be revisited for SQL large pages use in master/data/compute pods

Install tuned utility on all the Kubernetes worker nodes

To install tuned, execute:

apt-get -y install tuned

Apply tuning settings to all Kubernetes worker nodes

On each of the targeted worker nodes, copy the tuned.conf file created above:

cd /usr/lib/tuned
scp -r <sourcePath> ./mssql-bdc

To enable this mssql-bdc tuned profile, save these definitions in a tuned.conf file under a /usr/lib/tuned/mssql-bdc folder on all the Kubernetes worker nodes and enable the profile using:

chmod +x /usr/lib/tuned/mssql-bdc/tuned.conf
tuned-adm profile mssql-bdc

Verify it's enabled using this command:

tuned-adm active


tuned-adm list

If the profile is changed dynamically, for the new changes to take effect, you must restart tuned on all the impacted worker nodes:

systemctl restart tuned

Logs for tuned service can be found at /var/log/tuned/tuned.log.

Optionally, you can configure the tuning profile on one node in the Kubernetes cluster and use the script below to copy it over and configure on the remaining nodes.

#!/bin/bash -e
# This script takes a list of servers (IPs like `cat ~administrator/workerhosts)) as input
# and update these servers with the local version of mssql-bdc tuned.conf.
is_root() {
    local is_root_set=0
    if [ "$EUID" -ne 0 ]; then
        echo "Please run as root"
    return "${is_root_set}"
# function main
if is_root -eq 0; then
    exit 0
while [ $# -gt 0 ]
    # sometimes, people add non-breaking space characters to their *host* files.
    WORKER_IP=$(echo "$1" | sed -e 's/\xC2\xA0//g')
    echo -e "updating mssql-bdc tuned on \e[42m${WORKER_IP}\e[0m"
    # the following commands assume tuned was not set up and active...
    # TODO: add the tuned install and status checks
    ssh "${WORKER_IP}" mkdir -p /usr/lib/tuned/mssql-bdc
    scp ~administrator/tuned.conf "${WORKER_IP}":/usr/lib/tuned/mssql-bdc/tuned.conf
    ssh "${WORKER_IP}" tuned-adm profile mssql-bdc
    ssh "${WORKER_IP}" systemctl restart tuned
    ssh "${WORKER_IP}" tuned-adm active

For more resources including reference architectures for SQL Server Big Data Clusters, see: