11 Essential Tips for Avoiding Common SQL Server Performance Tuning Mistakes

SQL Server is a powerful database management system, but it can also be complex and prone to mistakes. Whether you’re a seasoned database administrator or a beginner just getting started, it’s essential to be aware of common mistakes and how to avoid them. This blog post will cover 11 tips for avoiding common SQL server mistakes. From indexing to security, these tips will help you optimize your database’s performance and ensure your data’s integrity. So, let’s dive in and see how you can improve your SQL Server skills.

11 Essential Tips for Avoiding Common SQL Server Performance Tuning

11 Essential Tips for Avoiding Common SQL Server Performance Tuning Mistakes 11tips-800x534

  1. Ignoring indexing and query optimization: To ensure that your SQL queries are optimized, you should create indexes on frequently searched columns. For example, to create a non-clustered index on the “Name” column in the “Items” table, you can use the following T-SQL:

  2. Over-reliance on hardware upgrades: To avoid over-reliance on hardware upgrades, you should focus on optimizing your database design and schema. For example, you can create a covering index to improve query performance:

    ON Orders (CustomerID, OrderDate);
  3. Not monitoring resource utilization: To monitor resource utilization, you can use SQL Server Performance Monitor. For example, you can track the CPU utilization of your database server by adding the “Processor: % Processor Time” performance counter to the graph:
  4. Failing to keep statistics updated: To keep statistics updated, you can run the sp_updatestats stored procedure. For example, to update the statistics on the “Items” table, you can use the following T-SQL:
    EXEC sp_updatestats 'Items';
  5. Ignoring database design and normalization: To ensure good database design and normalization, you should implement best practices such as using appropriate data types and avoiding data redundancy. For example, to create a new table with a primary key and foreign key relationship, you can use the following T-SQL:
    CREATE TABLE Orders (
      OrderID int PRIMARY KEY,
      CustomerID int FOREIGN KEY REFERENCES Customers (CustomerID),
      OrderDate datetime,
      TotalAmount money
  6. Not using appropriate data types and sizes: To use appropriate data types and sizes, you should choose data types based on the data you are storing. For example, to store a small amount of text, you should use the varchar data type instead of the varchar(max) data type:
    CREATE TABLE Items (
      ItemID int PRIMARY KEY,
      Name varchar(100),
      Address varchar(250),
      Phone varchar(20)
  7. Neglecting to regularly backup and maintain database integrity: To regularly backup and maintain database integrity, you should create a backup schedule and run regular database maintenance tasks. For example, to create a full backup of the “AdventureWorks” database, you can use the following T-SQL:
    BACKUP DATABASE AdventureWorks 
    TO DISK = 'C:\AdventureWorks_Full.bak'
  8. Overusing cursors and temporary tables: To avoid overusing cursors and temporary tables, you should use set-based operations whenever possible. For example, to retrieve the total sales for each customer, you can use the following T-SQL:
    SELECT CustomerID, SUM(TotalAmount) AS TotalSales
    FROM Orders
    GROUP BY CustomerID;
  9. Not managing data growth and storage space: To manage data growth and storage space, you should implement data archiving and purging strategies. For example, to archive old order data to a separate table, you can use the following T-SQL:
    INSERT INTO ItemArchive (ItemID, CustomerID, ItemDate, TotalAmount)
    SELECT ItemID, CustomerID, OrderDate, TotalAmount
    FROM Items
    WHERE ItemDate < '2021-01-01';
    WHERE ItemDate < '2021-01-01';
  10. Not securing the database: To secure the database, you should implement appropriate security measures such as using strong passwords, enabling encryption, and restricting access to sensitive data. For example, to create a user with read-only access to the “Items” table, you can use the following T-SQL:
    GRANT SELECT ON Items TO ItemReader;
  11. Not testing changes in a development environment: To avoid potential issues in production, it’s essential to test any changes or updates in a development environment first. This can include schema changes, data changes, and application changes. For example, before updating the schema of a production table, you should test the changes in a development environment to ensure that it doesn’t cause any issues:
    -- In development environment
    CREATE TABLE Orders_Dev (
      OrderID int PRIMARY KEY,
      CustomerID int FOREIGN KEY REFERENCES Customers (CustomerID),
      OrderDate datetime,
      TotalAmount money
    -- Test the changes in the development environment
    -- If successful, apply the changes to the production environment

In conclusion, these 11 tips will help you avoid common mistakes in SQL Server and improve the performance and security of your database. By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to make the most of your SQL Server investment and ensure that your data is well-protected and efficiently managed. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced database administrator, it’s always a good idea to regularly review these tips and ensure you’re up-to-date with the latest best practices. With the right tools and a little knowledge, you can achieve great things with SQL Server and take your database skills to the next level.

As a SQL Server Performance Tuning Expert with over two decades of experience, I understand the importance of a well-performing database. I also understand the frustration that comes with a slow-performing SQL Server. But here’s the good news – you don’t have to suffer any longer. With my Comprehensive Database Performance Health Check, we can work remotely to identify and resolve your biggest performance troublemakers in less than 4 hours. And the best part? You won’t have to share any server credentials with me. Just sit back and watch as I use my expertise to speed up your SQL Server and give you the needed results. Not only will you see immediate results, but you’ll also learn valuable business secrets that will help you fix most problems in the future. So, invest in your SQL Server performance today with my Comprehensive Database Performance Health Check! Connect with me on Twitter.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

Data Type, Normalization, Software Development, SQL Backup, SQL Cursor, SQL Data Storage, SQL Index, SQL Server, SQL Server Security, SQL Statistics, Temp Table
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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Dave,
    For #3, do you mean to use perfmon on a regular basis, or just when you are troubleshooting issues?
    Also, for #4, i thought stats were updated automatically. What scenario would you have to update them manually?

    February 8, 2023 7:21 pm

    #9. We have to move like 10 Crore records into Archive table and delete the same amount of record in original table. We have only 4 to 5 hours slot to move and delete the records. Is it possible to complete within duration. or any other alternate ways.

  • even if basic, good things to remember. For most of these tasks, Ola’s scripts will be sufficient.


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