The SQL Server transaction log must be managed to keep a database running and performing well. In this article, Greg Larsen explains how to manage the transaction log size.

The transaction log is a file that contains all the data modifications that are made. The size of a transaction log is impacted by the frequency of updates to a database, the recovery model, the frequency of checkpoints, and how often transaction log backups are run. Ideally, a transaction log should never need to grow because it is sized based on the database processing requirements. In reality, transaction logs grow, mainly for new databases, but sometimes even the log files of mature databases can grow. This article covers transaction log growth, how the log grows over time, and managing SQL Server transaction log size.

Sizing the transaction log

Ideally, you should size your transaction log so it will never need to grow, but in the real world, it is hard to predict how big a transaction log needs to be. Most of the time, the transaction log for a new database will be too small or too big. When it is too small, it will need to be expanded, and when it is too large, it wastes valuable disk space. Therefore, it is best to create a transaction log as big as you think it needs to be, set it up to autogrow, and then monitor it over time to see how much space it uses and how often it grows.

Transaction log growth settings

There are two settings associated with the growth of the transaction log: file growth and max file size. The file growth setting identifies how much additional space will be added to the transaction log each time it grows. Whereas, the max file size sets the upper limit on how big the transaction log can get.

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Managing SQL Server Transaction Log Size
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