Technical Preview: Database Experimentation Assistant

This post is authored by Christina Lee, Program Manager – Data Group SEALS Team


Database Experimentation Assistant (DEA) is a new A/B testing solution for SQL Server upgrades. It will assist in evaluating a targeted version of SQL for a given workload. Customers upgrading from previous SQL server versions (starting 2005 and above) to any new version of the SQL server can use these analysis metrics provided by tool, such as queries that have compatibility errors, degraded queries, query plans, and other workload comparison data to build higher confidence and have a successful upgrade experience.

What Can I Do?

DEA offers the following capabilities for workload comparison analysis and reporting:

  • Set up automated workload capture and replay of production database (using existing SQL server functionality Distributed Replay & SQL tracing)
  • Perform statistical analysis on traces collected using both old and new instances
  • Visualize data through analysis report via rich user experience

With DEA, you can:

  • Capture Trace: you can automatically capture a production workload trace with only a few inputs. Learn how to capture trace.
  • Replay Trace: you can replay a trace on current and new/proposed instances of SQL. Learn how to replay trace.
  • View Workload Analysis Reports: you can generate new reports to gain insights on how workload performance changes across versions of SQL. In addition to generating a new report, you can view previously generated reports. Learn how to generate reports.

DEA can be used through command line: learn how to use DEA command line.

Supported versions

Source: SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014, and SQL Server 2016
Target: SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014, and SQL Server 2016


You can install from Microsoft Download Center. Run ‘DatabaseExperimentationAssistant.msi’ to install Database Experimentation Assistant.


For questions, please visit the FAQs for DEA. If you have further questions or would like to provide feedback, please email us at