Careful with autogrowth!

A few months ago I was invited by a customer to do an audit of their SQL Servers.
One of the issues that I found was the “implementation” of the autogrowth settings, like growth with 1MB or growth in %.
This week, they invited me back to perform the corrective actions on the issues that I have found.
I was manually modifying the autogrowth setting of one of the databases and I made a mistake… Instead of changing the value of MB I accidently changed the % value into 1024. To my surprise the SSMS accepted this value.
I expected that the percentage value couldn’t go above 100%. Wrong guess … J.
My mistake triggered me to perform some testing on the autogrowth setting.

Let’s see if it’s actually grows with 1024%.
I just created a simple DB with an initial data size of 10 MB and change the autogrowth to 1024%. (Don’t mind the autogrowth setting of the log file.)
I’ve done my tests on a SQL 2012 and on a SQL 2014 instance.

After loading some data into my database, my file actually has grown with 1024%!

(10 MB x 1024%) + 10 MB (initial size) = 112,4 MB !

Let’s see if we can push it a little bit further. What can be the maximum value of the percent growth?
Well, it turns out if you enter a large number like 9999999999 in the GUI, it will change it back to the following value 2147483647, which is the maximum value of an integer.
I’ve tried the same with T-SQL statement

ALTER DATABASE [testgrowth] MODIFY FILE ( NAME = N'testgrowth', FILEGROWTH = 9999999999%)

and I’ve got the error
Incorrect syntax near ‘9999999999’.

When I changed the 9999999999 into 2147483647%, my query ended successfully! As soon as you enter one digit higher than 2147483647, independent if you’re using KB, MB, GB, %,… after the number, the SSMS sees it as an “Incorrect syntax”.

So now we know what the limits are for % but are these the same when you choose, autogrowth in MB?
Let’s give it a try. I entered 9999999999 into the MB autogrowth field and the SSMS automatically changed it into 1048576 MB. It looks like the autogrowth in MB is limited to 1 TB and not 2147483647 like the percentage growth. It’s a completely different value.
If I try a T-SQL statement

ALTER DATABASE [testgrowth] MODIFY FILE (NAME = N'testgrowth', FILEGROWTH = 2147483647MB)

(a larger number will give me the incorrect syntax) I got the following error message:

Msg 1842, Level 16, State 1, Line 1

The file size, max size cannot be greater than 2147483647 in units of a page size. The file growth cannot be greater than 2147483647 in units of both page size and percentage.

Let’s see what happens when I do a T-SQL statement that is larger than 1048576MB (GUI limit) and smaller than 2147483647 (T-SQL limit).

ALTER DATABASE [testgrowth] MODIFY FILE (NAME = N'testgrowth', FILEGROWTH = 2097152 MB)

completes successfully.
Hey! Wasn’t that limited to 1TB by the GUI?

Let’s open the GUI again to see how SSMS deals with it. Well… not quite good… J

Conclusion here is that the GUI and the T-SQL statement are using different limitations, which should be corrected.

I’ve opened a connect on

Be careful when you change the autogrowth settings and when you make mistakes. The results can be quite strange.

Speaking at SQL Saturday Slovenia #274

On the 8th of November, I delivered a session (together with Wesley Backelant) on SQL Server Days about the new AlwaysOn functionalities in SQL 2014. I love to talk about SQL Server but unfortunately I was only able to speak on local Belgian events like, SQL Server Days, Community Day, Microsoft Discovery Day… I tried already a few times to speak at other international events like SQLBITS or SQL PASS Summit, but I never got selected… I didn’t gave up and I wanted to see how my chances are to present on a SQL Saturday event. So I submitted a few sessions for SQL Saturday in Slovenia and guess what, I got selected!! It will be my first international event and I’m really looking forward to meet the Slovenian SQL people and the other speakers. Special thanks go to my current employer Kohera for supporting me!

Harder, Better, Stronger and More Secure
The first part of my session, I’m going to talk about the new functionalities of AlwaysOn in SQL Server 2014 including live demo to add a replica to Windows Azure. The second part will be about the new backup features in SQL 2014 like backup to URL, managed backup and encryption. I will not focus on the basic AlwaysOn and backup capabilities but on the investments in SQL Server 2014 in the hybrid cloud area.

More information about the event can be found on

Hope to see you all there!