Technical Preview: Database Experimentation Assistant

This post was authored by Christina Lee, Program Manager – 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 who are upgrading from previous SQL Server versions (SQL Server 2005 and above) to any new version of SQL Server will be able to use these analysis metrics provided, such as queries that have compatibility errors, degraded queries, query plans, and other workload comparison data, to help them build higher confidence, making it a successful upgrade experience.

What is new?

DEA 2.0 is a major version update and includes the following improvements:

    • Bundled installation of DEA dependencies: Installation is simplified by bundling all dependencies (barring R-Interop and CRAN) with DEA installer. Note that DReplay setup is assumed to be available to run replay.
    • Support for multiple captures and replay from the UI: DEA UI now supports the ability to start multiple captures and replay. Please refer to How to capture workload using DEA for details.
    • Simplified replay through DEA UI: Number of steps required to start a replay is reduced from three to one. DEA will also show status from DReplay controller as well as all the clients. Please refer to  How to replay workload using DEA for details.
    • Revamped user interface for analysis: This version includes a more intuitive UI for tools and especially analysis reports.
    • Bug fixes from DEA 1.0: Many customer-reported bugs are fixed as part of this release. This includes fix for errors occurring while capturing in SQL Server 2005 and errors seen while in the Replay and Analysis steps.
    • Feedback UI: Customers can now submit feedback through a simple UI in DEA.

Other documents/tutorials?

The following documents give a step-by-step guide to leverage DEA 2.0 for workload comparison


You can install from Microsoft Download Center. Run DatabaseExperimentationAssistant.exe to install Database Experimentation Assistant tool.

Existing features

Database Experimentation Assistant (DEA) v1.0

Supported sources and target versions

Source: SQL Server 2005 and above

Target: SQL Server 2005 and above

Analysis: SQL Server 2008 and above