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Is it safe to run sp_updatestats on an SQL Server in the production environment?

Or rather, what is the impact of updating all statistics on a sql server? Can it "choke" the sql server while it runs and cause timeouts or other issues for the users?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

That's a big 'it depends.' Depending on how your statistics have been maintained and the options you specify you could end up running full table/index scans and thrashing your I/O and buffer pool. Depending on the characteristics of your hardware and databases that could be very bad.

Also, rebuilding statistics invalidates execution plans, which means you could see a CPU spike and slower performance while SQL Server re-compiles queries.

Best practices dictate updating statistics during off-peak hours to minimize impact. Otherwise, take due precautions to minimize load on the system such as rebuilding statistics on only the tables that require it over a period of time.

Check books online for more information:

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