Ways to Optimise SQL Server Hardware Performance Tuning

Stephen West | January 16th, 2017 | SQL Transaction Log


Microsoft SQL server is a platform where one can get their database program up and in fast running mode. The interface or layout of the server management studio enable users to create a database table, insert data into it, data manipulation, etc., at any point of time. At a starting point, the program operates in a fastest manner including its production and development & test environments. However, with increase in usage of this application, users find degradation in performance speed of the server program. This performance degradation affects the working of SQL server and generates one or the another interruption while working. Therefore, there is a need to have knowledge about different concepts for SQL server hardware performance tuning in order to improve performance of the server.

Structuring of The Server Hardware

This is an initial step for betterment of the SQL server performance. It means that one should learn what hardware are to be used for calculating CPUs capacity, drives, Network interface cards, memory, etc. Well, to simplify the hardware support, one can access corporate standards. If these standards are not available then, seize the opportunity and start building standards, which contribute in simplifying overall management. However, in case of multiple servers, the standardization is not easy to achieve therefore, one should be updated from latest technologies for constantly achieving higher performance at cheaper cost.

Separate Log and Data Files of Server

The another basic rule for improving performance of the server is to classify data and log files of database. If users are using DAS or SAN then, they should divide physical drive arrays to speed up performance of the server. The main aim of this concept is to break most random access of the data files from a regular access, which are occurring due to write up of transaction log files. There is a similarity between SAN and DAS that even a user is presenting drives separately then, also one can not tell that these different drives are separate physical drive arrays. Therefore, it is a recommendation to the server users that they should be known from a SAN array whenever they are demanding for it. This fact thoroughly throw a great impact on increase in the server transactions volume.

Layout of An Ideal Hard Drive

Recently in SQL server, database accelerators are getting enough amount of press. On a conceptual level, these accelerators are hardware components with CPU and memory. These components are used to store entire database or a table subset in memory for processing a user transactions, which will be written back to the SQL server (storing current data). The basic advantage of these elements is that it is capable of supporting either a core table or an entire database in specified memory, which exceeds while accessing the disk data. This could contribute from a scale out or up perspective because an individual data accelerator could relieve bottlenecks of the hardware without changing a single data in an existing SQL server.

Identify Root Causes of The Problem

There must be around 8 to 10 queries/archived procedures in the SQL server instance, which are responsible for 80-90% of degradation in the server performance. This fact might not be true for all cases but, it is a reason for degradation in majority of such matters. If one is able to identify the basic cause behind slow performance of the server then, they can make out a significant impact upon overall performance of the server. End users can use sys.dm_exec_query_stats DMV query, which contains all statistics related to the performance of associated cached query plans of the SQL server instance. Depending upon the resource type, this command provides facility to specify results in different ways. With help of this server query, users will be able to rapidly identify topmost offending query or command from the system and then prioritize such statement for improving performance.

Avoid Shrinking of The Server Data Files

In general, it is a practice of the server users that they shrink data files for a long time duration. However, such persons are not aware from the fact that this activity will impact the server performance in one or the another way. The shrinking action could be the cause of fragmentation due to which subsequent queries may suffer. In addition, if users are not having Instant File Initialization active then, resultant growth will negatively impact performance of the application and also result in timeouts.

Note: Make sure that users know the impact of the activity, which they are executing or implementing on the server.


It is not a mystery that foundation of the SQL server high performance is its hardware management system. But, the environment requires a systematic subsequent designing for meeting the required performance in long term. Therefore, SQL server hardware performance tuning should be timely performed in order to avoid application performance degradation. It should be in practice of each and every user that they should set up hardware of SQL server systematically and keep an optimisation practice in hand during the life cycle of application.

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