Among the countless options in relational DBMS systems, Microsoft’s SQL Server is one of the most sophisticated and highly accepted relational DBMS. MS SQL Server is designed to help the business DBAs design high-performance enterprise database systems to store and retrieve data as requested by third-party software applications. Over the last couple of decades, at least a dozen different MS SQL Server editions came out, each of which targets a unique set of workload and audience.

While used effectively, SQL Server can help boost an organization’s efficiency and output. It can also enable effective collaboration by acting as a highly cost-effective enterprise database management tool. However, even with the best available DBMS being in practice, there may be many inefficiencies cropping up over time as the organizations grow or when businesses tend to get accustomed to the glaring inefficiencies present from the very beginning.

Just in case of any other business utilities, your enterprise Microsoft SQL Server needs also needs performance fine-tuning and troubleshooting occasionally. However, unfortunately, many tend to avoid or ignore it, and it is also a fact that SQL Server maintenance and dine-tuning is not an easy task. While thinking of the same, many database managers still go clueless about where to start and how to go about it. 

This article discusses some of the most relevant performance fine-tuning tips for MS SQL Server to help enhance its overall output and user experience. If you need any professional assistance or clarification, contact the Microsoft Certified experts at RemoteDBA.com. Further in thisarticle, we will discuss some of the top performance tuning tips for SQL Server DB.

Performance tuning of MS SQL Server

#1: Be alert and active

If you run an MS SQL Server, then you should never let it freeze or stutter up overtime. Ensure that everything is performing up to the mark and also running as smooth as it is intended to be. You may audit and find out anything that may cause any potential failures or stalls and plan appropriate solutions to the issues. A proper data modeling structure and inputs to an adequate programming process will help deter the performance issues and effectively counter them before those happen.

#2: Keep a watch on the Monitor Index Usage

Querying sys.dm_db_index_operational_stats() DMV can fetch a wide range of information and present it to you regarding the index usage. You may effectively use this info to find out ways to ensure a smoother and highly productive user experience. 

#3: Make use of the available tools

If you keep a close eye on it, many of the performance issues can be easily resolved using the Microsoft tools made available with the MS SQL Server. It comes with features like Dynamic Management Views SQL Server Profiler, DMVs, Execution Plans, Extended Events, etc. The newcomer versions of MS SQL Server also have Live Query Stats and Query Store tools, offering solutions for a plethora of common performance issues.

#4: Locate any problem queries

It is noted that almost 80 percent of the poor MS SQL Server performance issues result from about eight to ten queries or similar stored procedures. It is found in common in almost all reported SQL Server instances. It is worthwhile for any DBA to check the queries and procedures if you find your MS SQL Server performance is compromised.

#5: Refuse hardware

There is no surprise that one of the most reported over-expense on IT infrastructure for the majority of enterprises out there is the hardware for memory and the CPU in terms of SQL Server instances. All such applications that do not utilize the stored procedures or define the queries correctly may place a heavy load on the servers.

#6: Find the I/O choke points

Another very common and highly reported reason for the compromised SQL Server performance is I/O stalls. You need to keep a close watch on identifying any I/O bottlenecks and should take measures to fix them on time. This is a very important consideration to make if you want to avoid SQL Server Performance issues easily and effectively.

#7: Monitor the log files

The transaction log files may be so crucial in terms of monitoring the overall performance of the MS SQL Server. It is found that not leaving enough space for the transaction log file’s functioning is one of the most common and easily avoidable reasons for the poor performance of SQL Server. In addition to this, forcing an add-on autogrow operation may also cause issues some performance issues in SQL Server. By decreasing the backup interval for the log file, you can easily prevent the log files from growing out of your control.

#8: Avoid shrinkage of data files

It is found that many tend to underrate the importance of this need, but you should always remember that shrinkage of data files needed to be avoided at any cost. If it happens so, it can significantly impact the performance of SQL Server and ultimate tamper with its operations. Data file shrinking can cause fragmentation, and the queries following it will ultimately become a surfer.

#9: Organizing data

Like how the programmers tend to keep their codes clean and organized, the SQL Server admins and users should also consider the importance of being diligent in organizing the data. Not just data, but the log files and other entities also needed to be organized onto the physical drive arrays. Doing this will help reduce the latency and drive contention. It is also very easy to locate well-organized files away from the operating system drives and remove any single point of failure.

#10: Limit ‘tempdb’ contention

Many heavy applications may rely largely on tempdb. If you find it a primary need of your enterprise DB use, you may ultimately run into some contention related to the internal structures that work on the tempdb file. If contention occurs, you should try to increase the tempdb data files by ensuring that such files are equally sized and can handle the situation better.

These tips we discussed are just a starting point for the MS SQL Server users to fine-tune their DBs for best performance and output. Based on your enterprise’s unique needs, you may further work on the same to explore more ways to tune your SQL Server for your business needs.


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