How To Squeeze The Most Out Of Your SQL Server Through Performance Tuning

A guide to performance tuning


For those who have been in the realm of Microsoft SQL Server long enough, the essence of performance tuning cannot be overemphasized. Regardless of whether you are just setting foot in SQL or you’re an experienced DBA, there is need to optimise SQL server usage through performance tuning. Through this you can;

  • Improve query performance
  • Design optimal indexes
  • Troubleshoot memory configurations
  • Find solutions to common SQL errors

A deeper analysis of each of them will reveal just how essential performance tuning is.

Improving Query Performance

Every DBA consultant dreams of using SQL server with enhanced query performance. The good news is, you don’t have to wait for that to come through. You can make it happen in a number of ways. For one, you can strive hard to avoid the system table locking. The means you have to know when to use the two confusing command, SELECT INTO, and CREATE TABLE. The other tip lies in reducing query execution time using the subqueries.

You can also take advantage of SQL Server 2005 to increase query performance. By enabling the feeding of complete execution plans to queries, it enhances faster execution plans. SQL server isn’t just about speed but also simplicity. Instead of using derived tables in retrieving data and enhancing the performance of SQL server, you can make use of Common Table Expressions (CTEs). Doing so eliminates the necessity of repeating complex codes since codes are split into unique units by CTEs.

To improve query performance of SQL server, you also need to learn about the common errors and find ways of handling them. In searching for possible problems, it is advisable to start with memory errors, disk errors, and then CPU problems. Using Dynamic Management Views, you can find more on the performance of your server, locate the possible errors, and obtain essential statistics necessary for shedding light on some common SQL server errors. In case of anything, you can use the FAQ column of SQL server errors in rectifying simple problems. It contains a detailed guide on fixing code errors, showing query navigation path, and enhancing the speed of queries.

Solving Common SQL Errors

Performance tuning can also enable you to find solutions to common SQL errors. You do not want your entire SQL server to slow down because of a simple error. The problem can be anything; from cluster installation to database in suspect mode. Some of these errors are so common that nearly every DBA or avid user of SQL servers has encountered them. You can wait until it happens then run from North to South looking for solutions or read some essential tips on SQL server errors and be ready with a solution when calamity strikes.

One of the most rampant errors is that of importing data from Excel to SSIS. If you have no clue, carrying out such a procedure is easier with a tab delaminated or csv file. Alternatively, you can line up types of data on SSIS and Excel. You will reduce incidences of error messages occurring. DBAs handling large SQL server databases will admit that they experience website ‘Timeout Error’ more often. This results from the huge database extending itself on a regular basis, resulting in timeout of queries. You can make the most out of ideal SQL Server database maintenance tips to fight off such errors.

Tuning and Index Design

If you are deeply into SQL server, you will probably concede that ideal indexing can make a great difference in server performance. Since SQL Servers only accept two types of server indexing - clustered and non-clustered - you need to understand each of them in order to have an idea of how to enhance the performance of servers using either of them. Which are the best strategies? Finding out will take you a step closer to dominating index design.

Let’s consider clustered index design for instance. It is necessary for the maintenance of SQL server database and performance of the entire system. For optimal results, clustered indexes need to be static, narrow, and have the capacity to increase with time. Just knowing that is not enough. You need to appreciate why these indexes use many-to-many tables. In short, a clustered design index strategy is necessary.

The issue of indexing SQL server 2000 often arises. You need to have an idea of the common areas and situations that often arise when one is tuning indexes in this server. It is advisable to find out the appropriate indexes depending on your coding and design. Once in a while, you will encounter technical errors even after doing this, realising that the system performance isn’t in any way better than it was before tuning the indexes. In such a case, a thorough guide on the common errors and their solutions will be necessary.

Over time, it is possible for SQL server indexes to get fragmented due to modifications of data. When it happens, there will be a reduction in application performance. This mainly affects sizeable operations. The good news is, you can use this stored procedure to find out the fragmented indexes.

Troubleshooting Memory Configurations

If you have used SQL server long enough, you have probably encountered out of memory message. At first, you might be tempted to think this is a simple memory shortage error. It goes deeper than that. In most cases, the problem lies with the system. Changing clustered indexes to non-clustered indexes is one way of solving such an error. In addition, you must learn proper ways of memory allocation to Windows Operating system. You can also use several other methods in troubleshooting memory problems in SQL server.

SQL server might have a few memory settings, but applying them is the most important thing. It has an effect on enhancing the overall memory performance. To capitalize on these, you need to consider several memory configuration recommendations.


To enhance the performance of your SQL server, performance tuning is necessary. However, you don’t just need to handle it peripherally the way everyone else does. You need to go deeper and stretch beyond the horizons of ordinary SQL server performance tuning. This guide will start you off.


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