Which Databases are Actually Used? CPU and Memory Use BY Database Queries

We have a fairly large SQL Server environment where I work with over 200 total SQL instances.  They are spread about 60/40 non production vs. production and with an active development staff, we have many new databases being created and worked on in our non production environments every week.  In order to keep an eye on which databases are used (in use) we began capturing a snapshot of database level CPU and memory usage twice a day (6AM/6PM).  Over time this data can give a decent indicator of which databases have activity (user, developer or otherwise) and their overall “rank” against the other databases on a particular instance.  This type of data helps us make decisions on:

  • Clean Up – was this database created as a one off test data set in dev? can it be deleted?
  • Consolidation – is this database used minimally enough to be considered a candidate for consolidation to a shared sql instance?
  • High Level Resource Usage per instance – which DB is consuming the most resources on which instance?

In order to keep things simple, we use basic DMV queries to collect this data twice a day.. For CPU usage we look at sys.dm_exec_query_stats and for memory usage, we look at sys.dm_os_buffer_descriptors.  Let’s take a quick look at the collection queries:  Note: a colleague sent me some basic queries that I tweaked for my needs, so please forgive me if I am not attributing the right folks from the sql community who originally posted these (or similar).

–Declare a Date for the collection time

Declare @TheDate date;

Select @TheDate = getdate();




(SELECT DatabaseID, DB_Name(DatabaseID) AS [DatabaseName], SUM(total_worker_time) AS [CPU_Time_Ms]

FROM sys.dm_exec_query_stats AS qs

CROSS APPLY(SELECT CONVERT(int, value) AS [DatabaseID]            

FROM sys.dm_exec_plan_attributes(qs.plan_handle)       

WHERE attribute= N’dbid’) AS F_DB

GROUP BY DatabaseID)

SELECT @TheDate ,@@ServerNameDatabaseName, [CPU_Time_Ms],

CAST([CPU_Time_Ms] * 1.0 / SUM([CPU_Time_Ms]) OVER() * 100.0 AS DECIMAL(5, 2)) AS [CPUPercent]


WHERE DatabaseID > 4 — system databases

AND DatabaseID <> 32767 — ResourceDB



 The query above can be run on any SQL Server 2008+ machine and return the total CPU time consumed per database (since the last reboot or exec_stats flush) as well as the percentage of the total CPU consumed across the whole server.  The results look like this:


Remember that the above values are cumulative through the last reboot, so you need some intelligence to self join the table across intervals and calculate the deltas.

The other query determines which databases are consuming the most memory at the time of the collection:

Declare @TheDate date;

Select @TheDate = getdate();
— get memused per DB
With DB_MemUsed as(
SELECT @@ServerName as Servername, db_name(database_id) as databasename,database_id,

              COUNT(*) * 8 / 1024 AS MBUsed

FROM   sys.dm_os_buffer_descriptors

where database_id > 4

and database_id  <> 32767

GROUP BY      database_id


SELECT @TheDate,ServerName, DatabaseName, MBUsed,

CAST(MBUsed * 1.0 / SUM(MBUsed) OVER() * 100.0 AS DECIMAL(5, 2)) AS MBUsedPercent


WHERE Database_ID > 4 — system databases

AND Database_ID <> 32767 — ResourceDB



The result set looks like this:


Collecting the data to a central database table over time provides a nice, centrally managed data set to run trending queries against.  This information is NOT cumulative so each collection is just a snapshot of the memory consumption at that particular time. This makes it easier to run aggregates against the data over a time period like this:

Select datepart(year,a.capture_time) as captureyear,

datepart(week,a.capture_time) as captureweek,



avg(MBUsed) as AvgMB_MEMUsed,

Max(MBUsed) as MaxMB_MEMUsed,

Min(MBUsed) as MinMB_MEMUsed

from [DB_MemUsage_ByDatabase_ByDay] a

where a.servername = ‘<MyINstanceName>’

group by datepart(year,a.capture_time),

datepart(week,a.capture_time)  ,



The above query assumes you are saving the results of the memory usage query to a table called DB_MemUsage_ByDatabase_ByDay.  Once several days’ worth of collections are available, you can run the above query to get some aggregate memory usage statistics “By Week”.

Hope this is helpful, send me an email or comment if you need assistance or have any questions.


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