For all-purpose database use, SQL Server is a popular platform that provides plenty of perks compared with the alternatives in the same space.
If you are already using SQL Server in your business, or you are thinking about adopting it in the near future, then you should still be aware of certain things in order to deploy it optimally.
Here are just a handful of the most important considerations to keep in mind in this context.
Index fragmentation is an issue
Indexing is a core part of SQL Server which makes it easy to pinpoint a particular piece of data within a larger table without having to scour every single entry one by one. However, this is also an aspect that can suffer from fragmentation, creating performance problems if left unaddressed.
This is where database fragmentation software comes into account, allowing you to keep indexes in tip-top condition and proactively prevent issues from arising.
Of course, you could simply choose to defragment indexes to a predetermined schedule, which might result in resources being monopolized unnecessarily.
The automation offered by the aforementioned software helps to solve this too, ensuring that index maintenance only occurs when it is needed, rather than being implemented arbitrarily.
Various versions are available
Another top-level talking point regarding SQL Server is that it is not one homogenous platform, but rather a series of tiered products which offer different features, functions, and pricing.
Working out which version to use is therefore important, and comes down to a combination of your requirements as an organization and of course your budget.
The Express edition is the most basic and is free to use, so is suited to small-scale database duties and can be a good way for businesses to test out what SQL Server has to offer without committing any cash.
The Standard edition allows for as many users as you require and can cope with duties such as web server hosting and general backend database operations, albeit of the scope that SMEs will appreciate while larger organizations might find restrictive.
The Enterprise edition is understandably geared towards big businesses which need to handle sizable volumes of data day in, day out, and is priced accordingly. There is also a developer-focused version of this platform, which can help those who want to make apps that harness the perks of SQL Server whether for internal or external use.
Having a continuity plan is helpful
While SQL Server is a resilient and reliable platform in its own right, you should not get complacent about your data or the mission-critical functions that it fulfills within your organization.
As such, you need to put a plan in place to ensure that if there is a serious software issue, a hardware failure, or a network outage, the integrity of your information is not jeopardized.
A key part of this is implanting regular backups so that you can recover data quickly.
How you manage this will depend on your resources and where your SQL Server instance is hosted, but a combination of local storage and the cloud can give you continuity in a range of potentially catastrophic scenarios.
Optimizing queries can boost performance
Another cornerstone of SQL Server optimization is focusing on the queries themselves. The most resource-intensive processes should be identified and optimized wherever possible, and monitoring tools can also assist with this so that administrators do not have to hunt them out manually.
Everything from the syntax to the order in which operations are carried out can play a part in query optimization, so adhere to best practices and do not let inefficiencies linger longer than is necessary.
Security should be taken seriously
At its core, SQL Server is a robustly put-together platform that can be safe and secure, so long as you are familiar with the risks that you face and you do not make unforced errors when using the security capabilities it puts at your fingertips.
Human error is one of the main causes of data breaches, which is why employee training is just as important as investing in additional security measures when using any kind of connected service.