Bradley Ball is a MCITP SQL 2005 & MCTS 2008 DBA with over 10 years of IT experience. Bradley spent 8 years working as a Defense contractor for clients such as the U.S. Army and The Executive Office of the President of the United States. He is currently a Sr. Consultant for Pragmatic Works. He has presented at SQL Saturdays 62, 74, 79, 85, 86, 131, for the MAGICPASS & OPASS SSUG’s, SQL Rally 2011 & 2012, SQL Dev Connections 2012, the PASS Summit in 2011, and is scheduled for the PASS Summit 2012 and SQL Live 360 later this year. He recently finished Chapter 14 of Expert SQL Server Practices on Page & Row Compression and can be found blogging on http://www.sqlballs.com.
Hello Dear Reader, early last year I was asked if I would like to contribute to a book. The concept was get a lot of really great SQL People together and let them write a chapter on a subject that they were passionate about. Eighteen different top SQL professional’s, at least two MCM’s, many MVP’s, Shake Stir and you get our book, Pro SQL Server 2012 Practices.
Having only written once chapter I hadn’t read the others. I had an idea I’d read the chapters and then blog reviews. I shared this idea with Mr. Grant Fritchey (@GrantFritchey|Blog), check out his review of Chapter 12 yesterday, and he suggested that we get all of the authors to blog reviews. A lot of people signed on and we’re releasing our reviews one at a time.
My first review is on Ben Debow’s (@BBQSQL | Website) chapter Tuning for Peak Load. Ben is a co-founder of SQLHA with MVP Alan Hirt(@SQLHA | Blog). Ben is a speaker, very active in the SQL Community, and an all around expert.
“So Balls,” you say, “Get to the review all ready!”
Alright Dear Reader, away we go!
TUNING FOR PEAK LOAD
Ben does an amazing job of stepping through many different tools that you can use to assess your environment. First Ben identifies what Peak Load is. He talks about the people that should be involved in the process of identifying and tuning for this period, and really steps through the business logic of why these different people should be involved. Your mileage may vary based on how large or small your shop is, but in bigger shops he is spot on. He goes on to talk about how you identify where you are today.
This is an important concept. You cannot measure improvements, or if changes were detrimental, without first knowing as much as possible about your current environment. We start at a 10,000 foot view of a setting up a topology diagram, Ben also lists a detailed table of Attributes to gather on your servers. Next up we begin doing a performance assessment.
Ben weaves his way through Perfmon, gives you counters to monitor, and reasons for why you would want to collect them. We move into a discussion of how to gather profiler data and recommendations what counters you would want to collect.
We move next into Observations. Ben walks through metric’s he has collected and what they tell him. This is invaluable to a DBA. You often hear professionals say “Collect this data” if you’re lucky you hear them say “You want these numbers”, in this case he tells you how he interprets the numbers and what they could mean. I’m stressing could, because this will help you in diagnosing your server, but each environment will be different.
We move into using PAL, http://pal.codeplex.com, to interpret and report on our Perfmon counters we’ve been collecting. A quick aside if you want to set up PAL and get it working read the documentation, there are two add ins. One is tools for Office 2013 Web Components, another is Microsoft Log Parser, not listed but required as well is Microsoft Chart Controls for Microsoft.NET Framework 3.5. If you do not have that last one you’ll get a nice little .NET error when trying to generate the report.
From there we move onto DMV’s and gathering index statistics. Ben discusses gathering Index Usage Statistics from sys.dm_db_index_operational_stats, no script is listed to verify, but the columns discussed are from sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats. As long as you get the right DMV the content is solid and I found the Costly Indexes description very interesting!
Finally Ben helps you devise a plan to actually implement the analysis into a plan you can implement. The thing I love is that you can ask 20 brilliant SQL minds to do the same thing, and you’ll get 20 different variations of the same thing. Ben looks for some things that I had not considered. I enjoyed the chapter immensely and look forward to implementing what I’ve learned.
If you pick up the book please feel free to drop me a line and tell me what you think!
As always Thank You for stopping by!