The Microsoft Database Experimentation Assistant (DEA) is a tool that runs on your machine. DEA will run a trace capture against any workload on your existing database. DEA is then run against an upgraded database version to test its performance, so you can prove the benefits of the upgrade.

Suppose you work at a telecommunications company, providing database support to the customer call center. For three years running, the company has won a number of industry and consumer awards for its high standard of customer service. However, the call center software is using a version of SQL Server that will soon be unsupported. The underlying hardware needs upgrading.

Upgrading the call center database to SQL Server 2019 without affecting performance is key because the company is keen to maintain its award-winning standards. You want to test the current workload on an upgraded database, to reassure stakeholders within the company that the call center software remains responsive after the upgrade.

Here, you'll see how the DEA compares a typical workload between an existing and upgraded version of a database.

Learning objectives

In this module, you'll:

  • Decide if DEA is the right tool for your workload testing
  • Install DEA on your client machine
  • Test a typical workload on an upgraded database
  • Review the results of a trace analysis report


  • Experience of administering SQL Server databases
  • Knowledge of SQL Server Profiler and trace files
  • Understanding of database performance