I'll say from the beginning that my question/problem looks similar to this previous one, but since I'm not sure if the cause or the starting info is the same, I decided to post my question with some more details.

Issue at hand:

  • at a strange hour (near the end of business day) a production instance starts to behave erratically:
    • high CPU for the instance (from a baseline of ~30% it went to about double and was still growing)
    • increased number of transactions/sec (although the app load hasn't seen any change)
    • increased number of idle sessions
    • strange blocking events between sessions that never displayed this behavior (even read uncommitted sessions were causing blocking)
    • top waits for the interval were non page latch on 1st place, with locks taking 2nd place

Initial investigation:

  • using sp_whoIsActive we saw that a query executed by our monitoring tool decides to run extremely slow and grab lots of CPU, something that didn't happen before;
  • its isolation level was read uncommitted;
  • we looked at the plan we saw wacky numbers: StatementEstRows="3.86846e+010" with some 150 TB of estimated data to be returned
  • we suspected a query monitor feature of the monitoring tool was the cause, so we disabled the feature (we also opened a ticket with our provider to check if they're aware of any issue)
  • from that first event, it happened a few more times, with every time we kill the session, everything goes back to normal;
  • we realize the query is extremely similar to one of the queries used by MS in BOL for Query Store monitoring - Queries that recently regressed in performance (comparing different points in time)
  • we run the same query manually and see the same behavior (CPU used ever increasing, increasing latch waits, unexpected locks.. etc)

Guilty query:

Select qt.query_sql_text, 
    rs1.runtime_stats_id AS runtime_stats_id_1,
    interval_1 = DateAdd(minute, -(DateDiff(minute, getdate(), getutcdate())), rsi1.start_time), 
    p1.plan_id AS plan_1, 
    rs1.avg_duration AS avg_duration_1, 
    rs2.avg_duration AS avg_duration_2,
    p2.plan_id AS plan_2, 
    interval_2 = DateAdd(minute, -(DateDiff(minute, getdate(), getutcdate())), rsi2.start_time), 
    rs2.runtime_stats_id AS runtime_stats_id_2
From sys.query_store_query_text AS qt 
Inner Join sys.query_store_query AS q 
    ON qt.query_text_id = q.query_text_id 
Inner Join sys.query_store_plan AS p1 
    ON q.query_id = p1.query_id 
Inner Join sys.query_store_runtime_stats AS rs1 
    ON p1.plan_id = rs1.plan_id 
Inner Join sys.query_store_runtime_stats_interval AS rsi1 
    ON rsi1.runtime_stats_interval_id = rs1.runtime_stats_interval_id 
 Inner Join sys.query_store_plan AS p2 
    ON q.query_id = p2.query_id 
Inner Join sys.query_store_runtime_stats AS rs2 
    ON p2.plan_id = rs2.plan_id 
Inner Join sys.query_store_runtime_stats_interval AS rsi2 
    ON rsi2.runtime_stats_interval_id = rs2.runtime_stats_interval_id
Where rsi1.start_time > DATEADD(hour, -48, GETUTCDATE()) 
    AND rsi2.start_time > rsi1.start_time 
    AND p1.plan_id <> p2.plan_id
    AND rs2.avg_duration > rs1.avg_duration * 2
Order By q.query_id, rsi1.start_time, rsi2.start_time

Settings and info:

  • SQL Server 2016 SP1 CU4 Enterprise on a Windows Server 2012R2 cluster
  • Query Store enabled and configured as default (no setting changed)
  • database imported from a SQL 2005 instance (and still at compatibility level 100)

Empirical observation:

  • due to extremely wacky stats, we took all *plan_persist** objects used in the bad estimated plan (no actual plan yet, cause the query never finished) and checked statistics, some of the indexes used in the plan didn't have any statistics (DBCC SHOWSTATISTICS didn't return anything, select from sys.stats showed NULL stats_date() function for some indexes

Quick and dirty solution:

  • manually create missing statistics on system objects related to Query Store or
  • force the query to run using the new CE (traceflag) - which will also create/update the necessary stats or
  • change the database's compatibility level to 130 (so it will by default use the new CE)

So, my real question would be:

Why would a query on Query Store cause performance problems on the entire instance? Are we in a bug territory with Query Store?

PS: I'll upload some files (print screens, IO stats and plans) in a short bit.

Files added on Dropbox.

Plan 1 - initial wacky estimated plan in production

Plan 2 - actual plan, old CE, in a testing env (same behavior, same wacky stats)

Plan 3 - actual plan, new CE, in a testing env

  • 1
    We ended up disabling the query store, we we'rent sure what the root cause was (we had more than 1 problem for sure). On my end, the CPU would ramp up everything we clicked to display stats from the query store.
    – A_V
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 12:27

2 Answers 2


As I said in the answer, the empirical test showed that there were indexes on sys.plan_persisted* system objects without any (none) statistics created over them. I suspect that is because the database is migrated from a SQL 2005 instance, and kept for a while at compatibility level 100, thus the new CE didn't get to be used.

Row counts check:

Select count(1) from NoNameDB.sys.plan_persist_runtime_stats with (nolock) --60362   
Select count(1) from NoNameDB.sys.plan_persist_plan with (nolock) --1853    
Select count(1) from NoNameDB.sys.plan_persist_runtime_stats_interval with (nolock) --671    
Select count(1) from NoNameDB.sys.plan_persist_query with (nolock) --1091    
Select count(1) from NoNameDB.sys.plan_persist_query_text with (nolock) --911

This showed that the initial estimates were wrong. Done with a DAC connection, otherwise the tables are not available to query.

Stats check:

DBCC SHOW_STATISTICS ('sys.plan_persist_runtime_stats_interval', plan_persist_runtime_stats_interval_cidx);    
DBCC SHOW_STATISTICS ('sys.plan_persist_runtime_stats', plan_persist_runtime_stats_idx1);    
DBCC SHOW_STATISTICS ('sys.plan_persist_runtime_stats', plan_persist_runtime_stats_cidx);    
DBCC SHOW_STATISTICS ('sys.plan_persist_plan', plan_persist_plan_cidx);    
DBCC SHOW_STATISTICS ('sys.plan_persist_plan', plan_persist_plan_idx1);    
DBCC SHOW_STATISTICS ('sys.plan_persist_query', plan_persist_query_cidx)    
DBCC SHOW_STATISTICS ('sys.plan_persist_query_text', plan_persist_query_text_cidx);

This showed that some indexes had empty stats (missing, none, zero).

Initial fix:

UPDATE STATISTICS sys.plan_persist_runtime_stats WITH fullscan;
UPDATE STATISTICS sys.plan_persist_plan WITH fullscan;
UPDATE STATISTICS sys.plan_persist_runtime_stats_interval WITH fullscan;
UPDATE STATISTICS sys.plan_persist_query WITH fullscan;
UPDATE STATISTICS sys.plan_persist_query_text WITH fullscan;

This kind of fixed the stats and made the query finish in 10-12 seconds.

Second fix:

(verified only on a testing environment) and most likely the proper one, as it showed the best stats for the query, was to change the database's compatibility level to 130. The end result was that the query ended in about 10-12 seconds with normal number stats (10k rows).

Intermediate fix:

DBCC TRACEON (2312) -- new CE

Some related help about stats on system hidden tables.


The underlying issue, which is visible if you open the actual plan in SSMS and look at at CPU usage (or examine XML), is node 32, a TVF. The culprit in slow Query Store queries is repeated access of the in-memory TVFs.

TVF cost

It doesn't matter how many rows are returned from these TVFs, only the number of times they are accessed. The fix will be whatever you can do to nudge your plans away from reading them multiple times.

Based on my limited debugging (both in skills and time spent), my hypothesis is that the entirety of the memory assigned for the particular in-memory component of Query Store data is scanned with each TVF execution. I have not been able to affect this memory allocation with either sp_query_store_flush_db or DBCC FREESYSTEMCACHE.

Successful workarounds so far include plan guides, hinting (OPTION(HASH JOIN, LOOP JOIN) has worked well enough for me so far), and running the Query Store queries on a read-only node of an AG.

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