SQL Server Query Performance Tuning Distilled (Second Edition)

Book Review

SQL Server Query Performance Tuning Distilled (Second Edition)
by Sajal Dam
Copyright 2004

SQL Server Query Performance Tuning Distilled Find out more about this book,
or purchase it, from Amazon.com

While there have been a number of books published on SQL Server performance tuning (most good to very good), one thing that most of them lacked was a focus on how to tune Transact-SQL, and other related areas, such as indexing and blocking, that directly affect how well queries run. Now we have such a book with the second edition of SQL Server Query Performance Tuning Distilled. (Note: The first edition did not get widely circulated because of a printing defect.)

In this book you will find little discussion on how to tune hardware, the OS, or even SQL Server configuration settings. Instead, the focus is on queries: how they are written and what affects their performance. Here’s what the book covers:

  • SQL Query Performance Tuning

  • System Performance Analysis

  • SQL Query Performance Analysis

  • Index Analysis

  • Index Tuning Wizard

  • Bookmark Lookup Analysis

  • Statistics Analysis

  • Fragmentation Analysis

  • Execution Plan Cache Analysis

  • Stored Procedure Recompilation

  • Query Design Analysis

  • Blocking Analysis

  • Deadlock Analysis

  • Cursor Cost Analysis

  • Database Connection Performance Issues

  • Database Workload Optimization

  • Scalability Scenarios

  • SQL Server Optimization Checklist

From the above list, you can easily see that the author focuses on key areas where performance issues raise their ugly head.

While the books does contain some theory on SQL Server internals, the focus is on how to diagnose and resolve performance issues due to poor application design and query writing. The information is practical and based on the real-life experiences of the author, who currently specializes in SQL Server database performance tuning at Dell, Inc.

I recommend this book to all DBAs, from novice to experienced. Novice readers may have to reread some of the sections as the information provided is technical, but it is worth the effort, and will quickly turn novice DBAs into more experienced DBAs. Experienced DBAs will find some of the information redundant, but on the other hand, they will also be able to pick up new nuggets of information on how to get the most out of SQL Server.


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