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4 SQL tips & tricks for better database management

Effective database management is an uphill struggle, especially if you are unsure of what steps you can take to streamline your SQL Server setup to squeeze the best performance from it.

With that in mind, here are just a few pieces of advice that should make a real difference to how your database operates.

Use tools to fix suboptimal queries

You can spend hours or even days battling to find imperfect queries within your database that create unnecessary performance bottlenecks. Still, the manual approach to troubleshooting is entirely unnecessary, thanks to modern tools.

For example, with the help of SentryOne SQL execution plan analysis, you can quickly pinpoint problematic queries and tune them to be more efficient and well optimized. Resource-hogging operations will no longer be buried out of sight but will be brought to light, and the intuitive interface means you can see exactly where the problems lie.

Consider formatting from a usability perspective

Suppose you are solely responsible for handling the coding side of your database. In that case, you might be tempted to plow ahead with your own preferred techniques and esoteric approaches to formatting simply because this is what you are used to.

However, you need to remember that not only will you need to be able to scrutinize queries to find flaws, but you also pass on management responsibilities to someone else at some point in the future. It is better to format code in a way that is not just simple for others to understand but also standardized across the database.

This also applies from a readability perspective, so aim to be consistent with your use of upper and lower case letters, for example. It will make life easier for you and any other admins further down the line.

Embrace normalization to provide speed and accuracy

Normalization is a complex yet important aspect of SQL database management. At its most basic level, it is intended to ensure that information is well organized, regardless of the scope of the system itself.

Indeed the larger your database becomes, the more readily the impact of normalization will be felt on performance, so read up on the best practices to ensure you comply with established standards.

Implement indexing

Another aspect of a database that often determines how quickly operations can be completed is indexing. Knowing how and when to use indexes in an SQL Server context is crucial to good management.

An index allows queries to find a record without scanning the entire table, which would, of course, be a lengthy process in some cases. As such, indexing makes sense for more extensive databases but is less important when stored information is tiny.

Indexes also need to be rebuilt and reordered over time to deal with fragmentation and ensure they still perform as expected.

Staying on top of all these elements will make the management of a database-less of a chore, so it is better to be proactive than reactive.

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