Troubleshooting SQL server performance can be tricky if you are not familiar with the kinds of issues that can commonly crop up in this operating environment.
Thankfully plenty of other people have encountered and tackled the problems which result in slow response times in the past, meaning there is plenty of information and guidance on this topic, as well as tools and solutions designed to help you overcome conundrums.
Here are just a few of the biggest obstacles standing between your SQL server and snappy, speedy performance, as well as the simplest ways to sidestep them.
This is all the more relevant because it is not just faults with key components that should be on your watchlist, but also the signs that your current hardware configuration is simply not up to the task of accommodating the workloads placed upon it.
You can make tweaks and optimizations, such as increasing the amount of memory which is available for use by the server instance, but there are some hard limits to performance that can only be solved by an upgrade. Slow response times can be improved by moving away from mechanical hard drives to solid state storage, for example.
Connection speed and resilience are central to determining how an SQL server runs, and so sluggish performance may well be caused by flaws in this area.
How you tackle this will depend on the nature of your server. If it is hosted on-site then you will need to make alterations yourself, while those who rely on third party vendors to manage the server infrastructure elsewhere will need to get in touch with their provider to home in on any networking snafus that are stifling responsiveness.
Optimizing indexing in an SQL server could deliver major improvements to responsiveness, especially if you are faced with oft-encountered dilemmas such as duplicate indexes existing, or indexes being missing altogether.
Likewise if your indexes are not properly designed, queries may monopolize more server resources than necessary to complete, and take longer to run due to this. Following tried and tested strategies will put you in the driving seat once more.
Query blocking & deadlocking
As SQL servers run lots of processes concurrently, a lock-based system is used to ensure that resources are allocated out according to real time requirements, which means that sometimes queries will need to wait in line until the resource they need is freed up.
This helps maintain data integrity on the server, but also means that blocking and deadlocking are inevitable. Writing queries in an optimal way can address problematic blocks and deadlocks, although there may be deeper issues at play if this persists in preventing the server from running as it should.
The best approach is to always be on the lookout for slow response times and be willing to troubleshoot the causes quickly, whatever they might be.