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SQL Performance Tuning Best Practices

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SQL server performance tuning commonly involves finding more efficient ways to process the same workloads. In this article, we discuss SQL performance tuning, its necessities, and best practices.

Read more: Server Optimization: How to Increase Server Speed & Performance

What Is SQL Server Performance Tuning?

SQL server performance tuning is a set of processes for optimizing queries in the relational database to run as efficiently as possible. This ensures the SQL statements issued by an application are running in the fastest possible time. The objective is to reduce the response times for the end users or reduce the resources used to process the same work. Generally, the database administrators handle these tasks.

Experts believe most performance issues trace to poorly written queries and inefficient indexing.

Automated performance tuning tools provide recommendations concerning indices potentially needed for addition, deletion, or modification to optimize performance, according to a paper in the Journal of Computer and Communications. The tools help to improve the performance of indices, queries, and databases. Some tools generate statistics on the steps involved in the query executions that assist in identifying and optimizing database and server performance.

Query tuning is often the fastest way to accelerate SQL server performance, and even some performance issues only can be resolved through query tuning. Experts believe most performance issues trace to poorly written queries and inefficient indexing.

Read more on TechRepublic: Behind the scenes: A day in the life of a database administrator

Why Is SQL Performance Tuning Important?

SQL performance tuning is important in numerous relational databases, including MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server. It is an effective and necessary technique to boost data retrieval speed, improve SQL query performance, and avoid coding loops.

Improve Data Retrieval Speed

When dealing with a large amount of data, the data retrieval speed of SQL database becomes slower. This unexpected speed d reduction can ultimately harm the business, so it is important to improve the data retrieval speed efficiently. Tuning SQL server performance helps users to create indices and remove problems to boost data retrieval speed.

Improve SQL Query Performance

One of the most pressing issues in a database is the performance of SQL queries. Database admins can often improve this by averting unnecessarily correlated subqueries. Performance tuning tools also play an important role in boosting SQL query performance.

Avoid Coding Loops

An SQL query caught in a loop is running several times. Coding loops harm speed and performance; they can also be damaging to the database itself, affecting businesses in several ways. SQL server performance tuning helps to avoid coding loops efficiently.

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Top 5 SQL Performance Tuning Best Practices

There are many approaches involved in tuning SQL server performance. But, none of them is a one-size-fits-all solution. Here, we’ve noted some best practices.

1. Keep the Environment Updated

The primary best practice of SQL server tuning is keeping the environment itself up-to-date. Updating to the most recent version of the SQL being used — whether that’s MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, or another environment — takes advantage of new performance-related features. If your organization uses a DBaaS solution like Azure SQL, Amazon RDS, or SAP HANA, then your team doesn’t have to handle patching and updating.

2. Understand Constraints

Understanding and using constraints can be useful for SQL tuning. It is important to review existing constraints, indices, and keys to avoid overlapping or duplicating existing indices. Constraints are an effective way to improve query speed and help the optimizer form a better execution plan.

3. Adjust Queries

Adjusting queries is often effective. A more efficient way of manually query tuning is to start making changes by looking for the most expensive operations. Making too many changes at once can be ineffective, and the changes can cancel each other out. The situation requires trial and error to find the optimal solution, which is why this process may be best left to automation.

4. Adjust Indices

Adjusting or modifying indices may be the best practice when the user can’t alter the code. However, modifying indices is not always the best thing. Before diving into troubleshooting I/O directly, first you should try adjusting index tuning. This has a high impact on almost every area of performance, so optimizing indices helps to resolve many other performance issues as well.

5. Examine the Execution Plan

Examining the execution plan can be helpful when performing tuning tasks. When the estimated plan is different from the actual plan, this can be cause to investigate the issue further.

Estimated plans utilize approximated statistics to figure out the estimated rows. Tools like Database Performance Analyzer provide an easy way to examine the execution plan, and steps with the most inefficient access paths, which may need attention.

SQL server performance tuning is necessary for every business, large or small. Sometimes it can be complex — particularly for large-scale data. Thus, tuning should only be carried out by IT professionals or specialists who have an in-depth knowledge of how business databases work.

Read next: Best Database Software & Systems for 2021

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