We recently separated out our tempdb files to a new SSD and have started seeing:

5348 occurrence(s) of I/O requests taking longer than 15 seconds to complete on file [T:\tempdb\tempdb4.ndf] .

We have multiple occurrences of this error. We did not see the errors when tempdb was back on its original RAID 5 home. I followed a tutorial on SQLIO and I think the SSD should be much faster, when doing 8kb random read/writes, than the previous RAID 5 disks. So why are we seeing these errors?

Also, by way of more proof that not all is well, the batch file we run overnight (which is when these errors occur) is taking 7 hours. It took 6.25 hours on the old disks.

The disks sit in a directly attached array. The RAID5 for data, RAID 10 for logs and a spare slot that we used for the SSD. The RAID 5 and SSD are formatted for 64kb block size. The log is incorrectly set to 4KB block size (I know – will fix when I get a chance).

These are the results of SQLIO:

T drive (ssd)
Ios= 8KB random writing,IOs/sec=31847.48,MBs/sec=248.8
Ios= 8KB random reading,IOs/sec=76391.66,MBs/sec=596.8

S drive (RAID 5)
Ios= 8KB random writing,IOs/sec=2601.3,MBs/sec=20.32
Ios= 8KB random reading,IOs/sec=3138.45,MBs/sec=24.51

For 64K sequential read/writes they were around the same.

Tempdb is split into 4 1.5Gb files (this is the same before and after the move).

SQL server 2012 is patched to SP3.

Do you have any idea what could be causing all these I/O errors getting reported by SQL Server?

Is it possibly an Array or HBA driver issue? Does a single disk added into a spare slot on an directly attached array needs careful configuration in terms of cache?

  • 1
    Did you find this link yet? May have some things to try and look at. sqlservercentral.com/Forums/Topic1814711-2799-1.aspx May 3, 2018 at 16:23
  • 2
    Are there any write caching mechanisms turned on (Disk settings, OS settings)? Block size might be a slight issue. Seeing as it is not locally attached, but rather attached via a Host Bus Adapter (HBA) what is your connection bandwidth: 2 Gbps, 4 Gbps, 8 Gbps? (Which translates to 250 MB/s , 500 MB/s, 1000 MB/s throughput respectively) Are you maxing out the bandwidth of the HBA(s)? Question is: Are all disks on the same HBA(s)? Single HBA / Dual HBA, configuration? What is the Queue Depth Length of the HBA(s) in use?
    – John K. N.
    May 9, 2018 at 7:33
  • 2
    How many disks were in the raid set?
    – Tom V
    May 9, 2018 at 7:54
  • the original location of the tempdb was on a RAID 5, with 4 disks. I am awaiting a reply from the SAN team regarding caching and the HBA configuration
    – G Devine
    May 10, 2018 at 8:13

2 Answers 2


I would highly recommend that you test your new T:\ drive using Crystal Disk Mark. Check out the guide from Brent Ozar here:

How to Test Your Storage with CrystalDiskMark

Compare the results from the T:\ drive with

  • the old RAID 5 disk (where tempdb used to be)
  • your machine

If the SSD is slower than those other two devices, and nothing else has changed* in your setup, it's likely there is a problem with the disk itself, or with the driver being used, or the controller for the array this disk sits in, etc.

*things that might have changed since you moved tempdb:

  • the number of tempdb files for the database increased or decreased (someone said "hey, why not, since we have to restart the database to move tempdb anyway")
  • maintenance tasks were rescheduled to coincide with the now-slow nightly job (especially those that have potential to hit tempdb hard, like index rebuilds or checkdb)
  • the maintenance window to move tempdb was also used to deploy new code (for the nightly job, perhaps) that makes heavier use of temp tables, or has queries with bad spills, etc

Next Steps

Since it seems like the disk is reasonably fast (per the benchmarks you shared), I think it would be a good idea to log the contents of sys.dm_io_virtual_file_stats before and after the nightly batch job you mentioned. This will tell you how much I/O is happening on tempdb during that process. This is important, because maybe there really is more I/O than the disk can handle. So here's what you do:

  1. Run this query right before your nightly batch job is scheduled to run:

    select * 
    from sys.dm_io_virtual_file_stats((select DB_ID('tempdb')), default);
  2. Save the results somewhere (like Excel or something - probably not in tempdb :P)

  3. Wait 7 hours (until the job finishes)
  4. Run the same query and save the results
  5. Edit your question to include the results

We can then take the difference of the two snapshots and determine how many bytes were read / written during the job. You can also use those numbers to calculate overall latency during that period.

Note: a more granular approach would be to log the results of that query to a table every 5 minutes (or less if you want)

  • Thanks jadarnel27 . I'll take a look at this and post the results
    – G Devine
    May 10, 2018 at 8:11

This issue now seems to be resolved.

I raised the issue with our SAN team and they confirmed that the caching on the SSD disk was disabled at the array. Once the caching was enabled the errors disappeared from the SQL Server errorlog.

I must admit that I was unaware that the RAID Array needed these additional setting setup. I had expected it to work without any intervention.

They also updated the Smart Array software and applied the latest patches, which I think they should have been doing anyway and not have needed a DBA to suggest.

Many thanks everyone who took the time to look at this issue with me.


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