Microsoft SQL Server Database Engine Input/Output requirements


Microsoft SQL Server requires that systems support guaranteed delivery to stable media, as outlined in the following download documents:

SQL Server I/O Reliability Program Overview

SQL Server I/O Reliability Program RequirementsNote These two documents also apply to Microsoft SQL Server 2014.

SQL Server IO Reliability Program Review Requirements
This requirement includes, but is not limited to, the following conditions:

  • Windows logo certification

  • Write ordering

  • Caching stability

  • No data rewrites

Systems that meet these requirements support SQL Server database storage. Systems do not have to be listed on the SQL Server storage solutions site, but they must guarantee that the requirements are met.

SQL Server maintains the atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability (ACID) property by using the Write-Ahead Logging (WAL) protocol.

Warning The incorrect use of SQL Server with an improperly tested solution may result in data loss, including total database loss.

Technical support

Microsoft will provide full support for SQL Server and SQL Server-based applications. However, issues that have, or caused by, the I/O solution will be referred to the device manufacturer. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Database corruption

  • Backup corruption

  • Unexpected data loss

  • Missing transactions

  • Unexpected I/O performance variances

Microsoft recommends use of Windows Logo certified products. To determine whether your solution supports "guaranteed delivery to stable media" as outlined under the Microsoft SQL Server Always-On program, check with your vendor. We also recommend that you contact your vendor to verify that you have correctly deployed and configured the solution for transactional database use.

It is a common troubleshooting practice for a Microsoft Support professional to ask you to disable nonessential jobs and to disable or remove third-party components, move database files, uninstall drivers, and perform similar actions. We always try to reduce the scope of the issue while we work to identify it. After an issue is identified as unrelated to the jobs or third-party products, those jobs or third-party products may be reintroduced to production.

For more information, click the following article number to go to the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

913945 Microsoft does not certify that third-party products will work with Microsoft SQL Server

841696 Overview of the Microsoft third-party storage solutions support policy

More Information

The following table provides links to additional information that is related to specific I/O configurations.

SQL Server I/O Internals

SQL Server 2000 I/O Basics

SQL Server I/O Basics, Chapter 2

Writing Pages

Database Checkpoints (SQL Server)


Write-Ahead Transaction Log

ACID Properties (atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability)

230785 SQL Server 7.0, SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 logging and data storage algorithms extend data reliability

File System Features

231347 SQL Server databases not supported on compressed volumes (except 2005 read only files)

922121 Decreased performance in some features of SQL Server when you use EFS to encrypt database files

SQL Reliability Program

I/O caching

234656 Using disk drive caching with SQL Server

86903 SQL Server and caching disk controllers

917043 Key factors to consider when evaluating third-party file cache systems with SQL Server

Physical layout and design

Physical Database Storage Design

Scalable Shared Databases Overview


917047 Microsoft SQL Server I/O subsystem requirements for the tempdb database

Working with tempdb in SQL Server 2005

Optimizing tempdb Performance

2154845 Recommendations to reduce allocation contention in SQL Server tempdb database


231619 How to use the SQLIOSim utility to simulate SQL Server activity on a disk subsystem

Diskspd - A robust storage testing tool


156932 Asynchronous Disk I/O Appears as Synchronous on Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP

826433 SQL Server diagnostics added to detect unreported I/O problems due to stale reads or lost writes

2015755 How to troubleshoot a Msg 823 error in SQL Server

Xperf resources:
897284 Diagnostics in SQL Server 2000 SP4 and in later versions help detect stalled and stuck I/O operations

828339 Error message 823 may indicate hardware problems or system problems in SQL Server

310834 Understanding Bufwait and Writelog Timeout Messages

NAS (Network Attached Storage)

304261 Description of support for network database files in SQL Server


833770 Support for SQL Server 2000 on iSCSI technology components

Mirroring and AlwaysOn availability groups

Prerequisites, Restrictions, and Recommendations for AlwaysOn Availability Groups (SQL Server)

910716 Requirements for SQL Server to support remote mirroring of user databases
Database Mirroring:

Note These white papers also apply to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and later versions of SQL Server.

I/O affinity

298402 Understanding How to Set the SQL Server I/O Affinity Option

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