There is a heavily queried stored procedure that uses a bad plan once in few days. As the number of executions grows, one of the bad plans causes a 100% CPU spike. In order to mitigate this, we have changed the procedure to do a recompile every time it executes. Now, the CPU usage stayed beyond 90% constant.

  • What is a better way to deal with this problem?

  • How would I do a rollback for an immediate solution?


  • @@VERSION: 2008R2 (SP3)
  • CPU - 16 core processor
  • Memory - Box 96GB RAM, assigned SQL memory Max 75 GB, Min 55 GB
  • Statistics updated weekly for all user databases
  • Approximate calls /day for the store procedure — 5000
  • There is one table with some 200,000 records that the compiler uses clustered index scan, every time it has a spike
  • There are no unused stats in the tables used by the stored procedures

The number of execution that I mentioned was the estimated one when the stored proc is created/modified. The third-party tool I use, CONFIO, has executions during peak spike of up to 130,000. The stats are updated with full scan if the indexes are not rebuilt. The table is not partitioned.

  • Have you attempted using plan guides to force the good plan on the procedure, eliminating the need for the recompile?
    – Nic
    Oct 20, 2016 at 15:46
  • Can you shade some light on that; using plan guide, sound like a good approach to try.
    – Kshawn
    Oct 21, 2016 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


Without more detailed info it is difficult to be more specific regarding what should be done, but I think I could say the following:

  • An increase in CPU is to be expected when recompiling a frequently executed stored procedure upon each execution.

  • For the moment, if it were me, I would remove the WITH RECOMPILE because an occasional 100% CPU utilization that can be fixed with a recompile is preferable to a sustained 90% CPU utilization.

  • If the bad cached plan / parameter-sniffing issue only happens "once every few days", then that implies one or both of the following:

    • an infrequently used value that has a widely different amount of rows in the table/index than the more frequently used values

    • statistics getting out of date.

    In which case:

    1. Make sure you are updating statistics regularly, at least on the table(s) referenced in this stored procedure that are causing the CPU spike.

    2. If you can figure out which value(s) and which statement(s) in the stored procedure cause the CPU spike, then it might be possible to place one or two statements in an IF block that make use of OPTION (RECOMPILE) (i.e. statement-level recompile, or at least handle in a slightly different way that is more appropriate for the infrequent, problem-causing value(s).

Something you could try is putting the following in a SQL Server Agent job that runs every few minutes. You just need to change the variable values above the dashed line, and then the database name references below that line, both marked by inline comments.

Please keep in mind that the CPU % calculated here is not the same that you would see in Task Manager, but it seems to be close enough (the value in Task Manager is a little higher).

DECLARE @MaxCPU INT = 75; -- only proceed if SQL Server CPU is at least this much

DECLARE @MaxCpuSeconds INT = 60,
        @MaxElapsedSeconds INT = 60,
        @ProcName [sysname] = N'{proc_name}',
        @KillSession BIT = 0;
---  ---  ---  ---  ---  ---  ---  ---  ---  ---  ---  ---  ---
        @DefaultCPUbase FLOAT;

SELECT @DefaultCPU = ISNULL(@DefaultCPU,
                            CASE cntr.[counter_name]
                               WHEN N'CPU usage %' THEN cntr.[cntr_value]
                               ELSE NULL END),
       @DefaultCPUbase = ISNULL(@DefaultCPUbase,
                                 CASE cntr.[counter_name]
                                   WHEN N'CPU usage % base' THEN cntr.[cntr_value]
                                   ELSE NULL END)
FROM   sys.dm_os_performance_counters cntr
WHERE  cntr.[object_name] = N'SQLServer:Workload Group Stats'
AND    cntr.[counter_name] LIKE N'CPU usage [%]%'
AND    cntr.[instance_name] = N'default';

SELECT @DefaultCPU, @DefaultCPUbase, 100 * (@DefaultCPU / @DefaultCPUbase) AS [Default];

IF ((100 * (@DefaultCPU / @DefaultCPUbase)) >= @MaxCPU)

  SELECT @SessionID = req.[session_id]
  FROM   sys.dm_exec_requests req
  CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_sql_text(req.[sql_handle]) txt
  WHERE  OBJECT_NAME(txt.[objectid], txt.[dbid]) = @ProcName
  AND    (req.[cpu_time] > (@MaxCpuSeconds * 1000)
     OR   req.[total_elapsed_time] > (@MaxElapsedSeconds * 1000))
  AND    txt.[dbid] = DB_ID(N'{db_name_for_proc}'); -- put your DB name here

  IF (@SessionID IS NOT NULL)
    EXEC {db_name_for_proc}.sys.sp_recompile @ProcName; -- put your DB name here
    PRINT 'Recompiled ' + @ProcName;

    IF (@KillSession = 1)
      SET @SQL = N'KILL ' + CONVERT(NVARCHAR(50), @SessionID);
      PRINT @SQL;
      EXEC (@SQL);
  END; -- IF (@SessionID IS NOT NULL)

END; -- IF ((100 * (@DefaultCPU / @DefaultCPUbase)) >= @MaxCPU)

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