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Achieve Better Performance

By Steve Jones,

One of the hottest topics at most every SQL Server event I attend is performance. The sessions that talk about improving performance through various means are well attended, and that tells me a few things. One is this is an important topic, and two, people need to learn more about it.

This past week I noticed a lot of performance related topics appearing in blogs and headlines. I'm not sure why there were so many this week, but I think it does deserve pointing out that this is a good week to beef up your skills in this area. I saw a little bit of something for everyone, no matter what your job.

Database administrators, who often deal with the end product from developers and can make limited changes, should make sure they understand statistics, which can clue them into problems in a number of situations. You ought to be able to troubleshoot various issues, like blocking or tempdb issues. For those dealing with merge replication issues, you ought to ensure you understand how to deal with conflicts and resolve them. No matter who you are, you need to understand the impact of IO on your server, and that means ensuring you can measure the load. Measuring CPU can be tricky, but there's an interesting idea from the SQL Server team this week.

The developers, who can make changes early in the process of software development, really should learn to write better SQL. That means studying the various ways people solve problems and practicing using some of them. Do you know the issues with Scalar UDFsDo you understand temporary objects? Can you PIVOT data? There are so many writings on T-SQL that you can't keep up, but you should be getting better over time if you write T-SQL code in your job. Developers also should understand the basics of indexing, and deliver a few basic indexes along with their software. That's the least you can do.

This week we started to see various blogs on SQL Server 2014, especially the Hekaton feature. While I'm sure the next version of SQL Server will perform better and speed up some of your workloads, it can't cover from fundamental mistakes, at least not completely. Do your career, and  your current and future employers a favor and work on your performance skills this week.

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Steve Jones