Server: SQL Server 2005 SP2 64 bit, 32 gigs of memory. 2 instances of SQL server running. Main instance I'm using has 20 gigs visible.

We have a situation where it appears every so often our entire procedure cache is cleared which in turn is forcing stored procedure (sp) recompiles. Once the sp is in the cache everything runs fast for a little while. After a couple hours, it's cleared from the cache and has to be recompiled causing things to run slow briefly.

I'm watching the cache using:

SELECT cp.objtype AS PlanType,
OBJECT_NAME(st.objectid,st.dbid) AS ObjectName,
cp.refcounts AS ReferenceCounts,
cp.usecounts AS UseCounts,
st.TEXT AS SQLBatch,
qp.query_plan AS QueryPlan
FROM sys.dm_exec_cached_plans AS cp
CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_query_plan(cp.plan_handle) AS qp
CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_sql_text(cp.plan_handle) AS st

DBCC FREEPROCCACHE is never called.

If I run DBCC MEMORYSTATUS I can see the TotalPages of the procedure cache as being around 500k pages. This comes out to be 3.9 Gigs allocated to the cache. Referencing: Plan Caching in SQL Server 2008 (The section on caching includes 2005 SP 2). It indicates the pressure limit should be 4.6 gigs. (75% of visible target memory from 0-4GB + 10% of visible target memory from 4Gb-64GB + 5% of visible target memory > 64GB... 3gigs + 1.6 gigs = 4.6 gigs)

This seems to indicate that we shouldn't be under cache pressure for another 700 megs. If the statistics were changing then the stored procedure should still be in the cache and recompiled when it's next run and it checks the statistics. If this was the case I would expect the cache to stay at almost constant size.

Any ideas what might be causing the procedure cache to empty or what else I should keep an eye on to try to find the cause?


Is the max_server_memory configured on the 2nd instance? Or more importantly, does the sum of the two instance's max memory setting equal less than the total memory in the server? If not, one instance could be stealing memory from the other.

  • Yes, 2nd instance is limited to 8 gigs.
    – Equixor
    Feb 22 '11 at 6:50

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