Free Poster! Guide to SQL Server Isolation Levels

Isolation Levels in SQL Server: Free Poster

Isolation Levels in SQL Server: Free Poster

I recently presented my “(NOLOCK) for YESFUN: Games with Isolation Levels” at SQL Saturday #60 in Cleveland, Ohio. I had a great time and the organizers and attendees in Cleveland were fantastic— thanks everyone for attending and for the great questions. The talk’s resources/links are here.

I drew a poster for the presentation which is available free for everyone’s viewing and/or printing pleasure. It’s designed to print nicely on legal, but the PNG can also print on larger paper.

Download the poster at

If you’d like more information on Isolation Levels in SQL Server, check out

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About Kendra Little

Kendra likes queries, indexes, bicycles, lattes, the Oregon Coast, and throwing an orange ball for her dog, in no particular order.
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  • Brian Garraty

    Wow… that is awesome. Great job!

  • Kimberly L. Tripp

    Love it!

    And, I like the presentation as well. Must have been a fun one to do!

    One thing that’s cool is that you show how the BookName index helps serializable reduce the locks required (to key-range locking). This is cool to really hit home the problem that without it SQL Server has to use table-level locks. This always surprises people.

    Regardless, cool (and fun) example/deck!


  • Yanni Robel

    Awesome poster and great slide deck! I just sent the link of your blog to my dev team, especially the slide deck so they can read it themselves!

    Great job!

  • John Sansom

    Dang I always knew SQL could be cool.

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  • CFRandall


    • Joe Bruno

      Thank you so much Kendra! I love the poster and I learned a ton at your SQL Saturday Cleveland presentations on Isolation and Partitioning.

      • Kendra Little

        Very cool! I had a great time giving the talk and the audience was really great. The presentation gave me some ideas to restructure the slides a bit and maybe automate some demos, but that just means I had such a good time that I’d like to make it even better.

  • Greg Faulk

    Shouldn’t the “still a bit pessimistic” label have been applied to Read Committed since Read Uncommitted is the lowest level? In other words how is Read Uncommitted more pessimistic than Read Committed? In any case I’m forwarding both the poster and slide deck to some of our developers. Your presentation is much easier to grasp than BOL. Thanks.

    • Kendra Little

      Good point– it’s meant to show Most Pessimistic to Least Pessimistic in clockwise order.

      I should indeed move that comment over to the other arrow, because I put in the comment about schema stability locks below Read Uncommitted (which is really what I wanted to convey about it and locking). And maybe that’ll leave room for a note that Read Uncommitted sometimes uses an allocation order scan!

  • Ameena Lalani

    This poster is not only informational but very cool also. I have printed it and displayed in my cubicle. I look a bit smarter now. :)

    • Kendra Little

      What an awesome thing to say! Now I feel a bit cooler :)


  • Rowland Gosling

    Tres cool Kendra! I need to print this off and share it with my team :) I think I’ll blog about it too–how did I miss this?!

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  • Robert L Davis

    I wish I had mad skills like drawing or fighting with nunchucks!!

  • Eric

    Wow this is hard to find from the front page of your blog now! Had to search. I’ve read this poster & sent many people to it since a developer pal clued me in last year. I just freaked out thinking it was gone… Front page material for sure!

    • Kendra Little

      Hi Eric,

      I’m trying to get all my content moved over to for downloads. There’s an old George Carlin skit I’m trying to follow about having all that sutff in one place. :)

      Thanks for letting me know that people are still looking here for this, I’ll put up some links!