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A DBAs Guide To Best Practices For SQL Server Troubleshooting

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There are different database management systems in the market today, but the SQL Server is among the most popular ones. Over the years, this database management system has proved to be an efficient, reliable, and easy-to-use system.

It comes with multiple features and functionalities that ease the work of database administrators. SQL Server can be defined as an RDBMS (relational database management system) that is built and offered by Microsoft.

It is based on SQL, which is a standard programming language used when interacting with other relational databases. However, a good number of DBAs do not understand some of the things they need to look at when troubleshooting SQL Server. 

Here are some of the best practices to follow;

Avoid Using Correlated Subqueries

Correlated subqueries can be defined as queries that use values from other queries, usually known as the parent queries. They run from one row to another, but once for every row that is returned by other queries (called the outer queries).

While doing this, the performance of SQL queries is negatively affected. With the poor performance of SQL queries, your end users are likely going to experience long waiting times, something that can make you lose business.

Fortunately, you can solve correlating database performance issues using tools that analyze database performance. These tools also offer monitoring capabilities for you to anticipate and solve any issues that might affect database performance.

Reduce Temporary Table Usage

Every DBA needs to understand that temporary tables make their queries more complex than they are supposed to be. If you are using an application that tends to create temporary tables a lot or one that uses tempdb, you should prepare for conflicts caused by the internal structure of the tempdb file.

However, if you have to use temporary tables, make sure that it is indexed in a temporary table. This is important in improving the performance of your applications. 

In addition, you do not have to wait for your database to automatically drop any temporary tables that might have been created. You should delete the table after using it. You also need to ensure that the tempdb resource is also cleared.

Separate Log Files From Data Files

DBAs who use SAN and DAS need to ensure that they have separated log files from data files. They can use different arrays of physical drives when doing the separation. Unfortunately, most DBAs ignore this practice, something that ends up costing them.

One of the main reasons for following this approach is to ensure that random access to data is separated from other types of accesses that take place when a transaction log is being written.

As the volume of your database transactions keeps on rising, you will be able to see the change and improved performance that this practice brings to your database and applications.

Avoid Shrinking Data Files

Shrinking data files is one of the most common causes of poor SQL Server performance. To start with, shrinking data files is a tedious and time-consuming task. As a skilled DBA, you need to save this time for other important tasks.

Shrinking data files also leads to fragment generation. This affects the performance of your database queries especially if they are executed subsequently. Without File Initialization, you will eventually run into timeouts that affect the general performance of your applications.

If you have to shrink data files, however, make sure that you have done enough research into the performance of your database and troubleshooting strategies before you even start the process.

Index Your Improvements

Indexes can be defined as data structures that are used to speed up the process of data retrieval from database tables. If you want to optimize the performance of your SQL Server and ease troubleshooting, then creating indexes is one of the things that you need to do.

With convenient indexes, you will easily achieve fast searches in your database. This is important in helping DBAs to find data that might be consuming fewer system resources and I/O operations.

However, before you start creating your indexes, you need to make sure that you understand your queries and the frequency of their executions. In addition, you should only index important searches.

If you have a database that has constant UPDATE, INSERT and DELETE queries, make sure to monitor your database performance when creating indexes.

When troubleshooting SQL Server, you should follow the best practices, such as the ones discussed above, for you to achieve desirable results. 

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