Azure storage available space refers to the amount of cloud storage for database data provided by Azure services in accordance with the purchased package.

This metric measures the storage available space in Gigabytes (GB) units out of the total space purchased.

It is recommended to guarantee at least a few GB of free space to avoid running out of storage space for your database files. In this case, you will be extremely limited in what you can do on this server – You will not be able to insert new data and will probably have problems viewing data since it has to be read from the storage.

While there are many reasons for file growth, some of which are normal and expected, several conditions can lead to abnormal growth and need attention before seriously inhibiting regular activity. These include:

– Unexpected SQL data growth caused by a higher workload.

– An inadequate package that does not fit system requirements for routine business work.

Find out how you can save hours of work when investigating the root cause of this issue.
Symptoms : 

The storage’s free space ratio has fallen below the threshold. Users cannot insert new data into the database, face errors, and processes get stuck, causing performance degradation.

Impact: High

In extreme cases, users can’t add new data or modify it. Usually, when close to reaching the storage limit, the performance might be slower, or inserting large amounts of data won’t be possible.

Expected behavior :

There is no standard metric for free space. It has to be enough to allow users to update, insert, modify, or view data.

Possible causes for running out of storage space:

1- Data growth is caused by increased volume and workload activity. Priority: Medium

High user activity levels might cause data growth.
The data file contains the database’s actual data, such as tables, indexes, and other objects.
When more queries are running than usual or are too intense for current system resources, if this activity is related to new data insertion, it will result in more storage utilization. When data modifications happen at a higher rate or frequent transactions occur, it results in overload.


Problem identification:

Check current storage free space and identify patterns of increased activity. You should track more queries running than usual associated with a higher user connection count.

Hands-on approach
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Hands-on approach
  1. You can check the available storage space by navigating through your Azure SQL Database in the Azure Portal and looking for an overview of storage details, including storage usage out of total storage. Alternatively, you can check it using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) and check the database size.
  2. Check Azure Log Analytics to track unusual database activity, which might indicate increased activity.
  3. Find out the cause of the sudden increase in data files and the time it happened. You would probably have to wait for it to recur again and use Azure’s Query Performance Insights tool to look for problematic queries if they are the main cause. Another option is using DMVs, which will help hint at impactful queries.
  4. Another option is to check via Azure Portal if the number of queries or database connections has increased (compared to past connections) to determine whether the increased volume is causing the increased storage usage.
  5. Once you find the problematic queries, use the query execution plan to improve them. This task requires a DBA who knows the organization’s needs and may take considerable time.
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AimBetter immediately notifies you about data file growth and lets you easily track impactful queries with data and performance history saved for up to 30 days.

Recommended action :

To maintain enough free storage to handle your business needs, try to identify the reason for the increased activity by comparing past performance with current behavior. In most cases, anomalies requiring action should be identified quickly to avoid harming smooth business flow. Our experts can help with that.

Read more about troubleshooting SQL data growth issues.

Sometimes, it will be just enough to prioritize tasks again and delay those that are not urgent to lower activity times.

Ensure that you are not opening more connections than necessary.

If you have concluded that queries seem simple or that all tasks are highly prioritized, proceed to the next cause. You should decide if upgrading the current tier of Azure resources available to your database environment is the only solution.

2- The current package does not fit system demands.  Priority: Low

After checking that the cause does not seem to be query complexity or higher activity, if your Azure is experiencing mostly full utilization of Azure Max Worker, upgrading may be the appropriate choice.

Problem identification:

Identify routine performance involved with the low available storage.

Hands-on approach
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Hands-on approach
  1. Monitor the incoming request rates that affect Azure’s workload. Analyze whether the activity seems routine or new.
  2. Check Azure Log Analytics in order to track unusual database activity which might indicate increased activity.
  3. Take into account that Azure doesn’t automatically recommend or alert you to upgrade your Azure service tier. However, you might use the Azure Advisor service to get best practice recommendations that can hint you about this issue.
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You can easily compare different periods and check for routine or irregular performance cases. Using AimBetter’s graphs, it should be easy and clear to understand that the cause is an inadequate package.

Recommended action :

Regularly monitor your database performance using Azure Monitor.

Before upgrading your Azure Max Worker package, a costly solution, you should carefully consider performance requirements—maybe lowering the work demand or dividing it differently would help.

Else, you can implement Azure Autoscale. It can automatically scale your resources in or out based on defined rules.

    Learn more how you can solve IT systems performance issues faster

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