5 Common Performance Issues That Slow Down Your SQL Server

The better your SQL Server performs, the bigger the knock-on benefits in terms of productivity, end user satisfaction and brand reputation. If your database is falling short of performance expectations, here are five common issues that you need to be on the lookout for.

Slow Storage

One of the most widespread hardware-related bottlenecks for SQL Server deployments is sluggish storage, or more specifically storage which is simply not fit for the usage you require. Relying on older hard disc technologies may be cost-conscious, but if you can afford to make the leap to solid state storage instead, then it could turbocharge your server’s I/O speeds and deliver a wealth of other benefits besides. Of course even speedy storage hardware can suffer slowdown if it is being pushed close to its maximum capacity. In this case you will need to increase the amount available to cope with both the volumes of data you need to handle, as well as overheads like temporary files. Using SQL Sentry’s performance advisor to track storage usage is sensible not only to weed out issues, but also to plan for future upgrades so that you are not taken by surprise when capacities are reached.

Unnecessary Indexes

Indexing is a function of SQL Server that helps queries to find information within tables in less time, removing the need to search through the entire table whenever a process requires access to the data it contains. This all sounds fine and dandy, until you realise that you can actually hurt server performance rather than enhance it if you overuse indexes. Once again it depends on your needs and the nature of your client database, but indexing is generally unnecessary in the case that the size of the tables themselves is relatively small. In this instance it may be quicker to forgo indexes altogether, as this can create another barrier which queries have to go through, and also take up vital storage space that would be better allocated for something else.

Database Bloat

While it may be tempting to keep every last scrap of data that you ever generate on your database, this is an inefficient approach to administration and will generally lead to performance problems as more and more information is added over time. Database bloat can be especially annoying if queries need to sort through vast tables in order to pinpoint something specific, especially if the majority of the data is irrelevant and never used. This becomes even more of a concern when you consider that regularly backing up your server is sensible. If it is overflowing with useless entries, then the backup process will be artificially protracted, and restoration will take longer as well. Typically, these autonomous processes are conducted with artificial intelligence or machine learning. As database bloat will put the brakes on all sorts of essential server maintenance duties, such as index defragmentation, do your best to avoid it.

Lack Of Memory

Another hardware bottleneck that can stifle SQL Server performance is an inadequate allocation of memory, meaning that queries and processes may not have sufficient RAM to complete in a timely manner. Of course, this will greatly slow down your server solutions for small business. Adding more memory is a quick fix for this, but of course it may be the case that the root cause of a memory-related issue is actually more to do with how the amount available is allocated. For example, if memory is being held over for OS-level tasks without this necessarily being needed, a quick rejigging of priorities could help you overcome apparent performance bottlenecks.

Inefficient Queries

SQL is a comparatively straightforward language to get to grips with, thanks to its use of English words and its logical syntax. However, it is still more than possible for suboptimal queries to be put together and to create lackluster performance as a result. You can optimize your queries in a number of ways, and sticking to the tried and tested methods of doing this is better than taking a trial and error approach. Once again you can monitor for problematic queries and also consider complications like locking priorities and deadlocking to determine where you must focus your troubleshooting efforts. The more proactive you are with cloud based or on-premise server maintenance, the smoother performance will be over time, so do your best to stay on top of your duties.

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