29 Sep 2019 0 minutes to read Contributors
Lifehacks and performance tips are everywhere online. Some are more practical (and appealing) than others. If you’re put off by athletes recommending raw eggs for breakfast or overwhelmed by business coaches offering advice on everything from your to-do list to achieving Inbox Zero; don’t worry. Our database tuning tips are much more down-to-earth.
Database tuning isn’t something most users think about. Until they hit a performance issue. Then, the first thing they’re likely to notice is that it takes a long time to access their data or run their usual reports.
Their initial response is likely to be to try again. This is understandable, normal human behavior. However, they are unwittingly making the problem worse and potentially creating a database deadlock.
An experienced Database Administrator (DBA) can run performance checks and tuning to ensure your database environment is running as it should. First, they’ll check and analyze the basic queries being used to retrieve and use the data. This gives a clear picture of any query programming mistakes and any user performance differences.
Often, when users experience database performance issues, they simply add more memory. That’s a short-term fix but it doesn’t solve the underlying problem. The ideal solution is to take a more holistic view of the database environment and optimize the query design, so you don’t need more memory.
Educating and training users can also have a big impact. For example, it can be as simple as using the right ‘Select’ statement to retrieve only the data they need from a table rather than asking the database to read all the records. On large databases, this one small change can deliver a dramatic improvement in performance.
Some of the biggest performance gains can come from effective indexing and index planning. This is an area that’s often overlooked, but a good indexing strategy can be one of your best tools for tuning your database. Indexes facilitate faster data retrieval, so are a worthwhile time investment.
An experienced DBA can look at where and how indexes are used, what needs to change and what is no longer needed. When we do audits or in-depth database health checks, we often see missing indexes. This significantly drains database performance. In fact, we have helped customers improve their database performance by up to 90% simply by identifying and resolving issues around missing indexes.
Many customers find that SQL is easy to install but that performance drains over time. There can be dozens of reasons for this. For example, as your business evolves, you add new users or your customer base increases significantly.
That’s why a well-defined database maintenance plan (alongside a database monitoring tool) is so essential. This ensures your DBA has a comprehensive picture of what’s happening across your database environment. It also means they will get alerts for important issues, mistakes or areas that are not optimized.
Even when customers are not experiencing major performance issues, our team of experts frequently find ways to improve the speed of their databases. This significantly improves the user experience and makes for happier employees and customers. Could your business benefit from better database performance? Contact us, we’re always happy to share our productivity hacks.