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Performance Tuning

Siji Roy
Last Updated June 10, 2022 1:43 am

Businesses are increasing their workloads in ways that can lead to performance issues for various systems, servers, and databases. Performance tuning modifies a system’s load capacity and helps businesses to overcome performance issues. Learn more about how performance tuning works in this definition.

What Is Performance Tuning?

Performance tuning refers to the process of improving performance in computers, servers, and database systems. In computers and servers, performance tuning involves identifying performance issues related to high workloads and modifying the system to remove bottlenecks to enhance performance. 

When it comes to databases, performance tuning is used to organize and index data effectively, which makes the process of data retrieval easier.

Why Should Database Users Do Performance Tuning?

Efficient information storage and retrieval are essential to hospital, government, and business operations. These organizations use performance tuning to ensure the smooth functioning of databases, which increases data visibility, organization, and accessibility. Database users should apply performance tuning to prevent the following common database issues:

  • I/O bottlenecks: I/O bottlenecks happen due to database storage that does not scale as new queries are added. These bottlenecks can also happen when the database engine reads and writes data containing blocks to and from the disk.
  • Fragmentation: Index fragmentation is a common problem found in databases. It occurs when additional space appears on the data page or when the index doesn’t match the data file stored in the databases.
  • Delayed performance: Database performance delays occur for reasons such as code, database design, and infrastructure design issues.
  • System instability: Database instability may lead to database crashes or memory or database corruption.

Performance Testing vs. Performance Tuning

Though performance testing and performance tuning are related to each other, they are not identical processes. In computing, performance testing is used to determine whether a system, server, or database performs well under a particular workload in terms of stability, scalability, responsiveness, resource usage, and reliability. It uses different metrics than performance tuning, including processor usage, memory use, and response time, to identify issues. 

In contrast, performance tuning is the process that is used to eliminate errors identified during the performance testing process.

Benefits of Performance Tuning

While applying performance tuning, database users can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Quick data retrieval: Database users can optimize and index data and eliminate the issues that cause delayed responses. 
  • Enhanced query performance: Performance tuning eliminates correlated subqueries and overused queries by simplifying them.
  • Reduced processing cost: Performance tuning helps database users identify current and expected performance issues and solve them. This can prevent database crashes and accompanying higher costs.
  • Improved scalability: Identifying the bottlenecks that make databases either slow or inoperable increases the scalability of databases.

Performance Tuning Best Practices

Though no database performance tuning solution can be used in all circumstances, these best practices help users get the most out of performance tuning:

Keep the environment updated

The database environment, including software, hardware, and techniques, should be updated frequently. Regular updates help database users to fully benefit from newly introduced performance features.

Understand and use constraints

Understanding queries and their uses may enhance query speed and help optimizers come up with additional execution plans. 

Adjust queries

Adjusting queries gradually, by applying minimal changes as needed, is better for database performance than making too many changes at a time.

Modify indexes

Optimizing and tuning indexes can have a positive impact on database performance.

Examine the execution plans

Examining the actual and estimated execution plans improves overall preparation and leads to better results when performing tuning.

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