You know what your deadlock graphs need? Animation.


In SQL Server Management Studio, plain ol’ deadlock graphs look like this:

Two thumbs down, would not lock the dead again

BOOOOO-RING. That’s why I prefer opening deadlock graphs in SentryOne Plan Explorer, which presents a much better visual in the form of a circle…a circle, let’s just stop there:

Deadlock graph in SentryOne Plan Explorer

And Plan Explorer even has several different ways it can visualize deadlocks – hit the Layout Type dropdown at the bottom to choose:

Collect the whole set

However, during the last Mastering Index Tuning class, @Dan_Clemens pointed out the Play button at the bottom – somehow I’d totally missed that over the years! Check this out:

Playing the circular deadlock dance

And all of the layouts support playback, too! Here’s playback in the Force Directed layout:

And in the Layered Digraph:

Somehow, that makes troubleshooting deadlocks suck just a little less. Thanks, Dan!

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