Even the best-designed database applications experience performance degradation. No matter how well database structures are defined or SQL code is written, things can and do go wrong. And if performance problems aren’t corrected quickly, that can be detrimental to a company’s bottom line.
Times New Roman; font-size: medium;”>When database performance suffers, business processes inside organizations slow down and end users complain. But that isn’t the worst of it. If the performance of externally facing systems is bad enough, companies can lose business, as customers who get fed up waiting for applications to respond will go elsewhere.
Because the performance of database systems and applications can be affected by a variety of factors, tools that can find and fix the causes of database performance issues are vital for organizations that rely on database management systems (DBMSes) to run their mission-critical systems. And in today’s database-centric IT world, that applies to most businesses.
Types of performance issues to look for
There are many types of database performance problems, which often makes it difficult to track down the cause of individual issues. It’s possible, for example, that the database structures or application code are flawed from the beginning. Bad database design decisions and improperly coded SQL statements can result in poor performance.
Or it may be that a system was well-designed initially, but changes over time cause performance to degrade. More data, more users or different data access patterns can slow down even the best database applications. Even maintenance to a DBMS — or a lack of regularly scheduled database maintenance — can cause performance to nosedive.
The following are three important indicators that could signal database performance issues at your IT shop:
- Application slowdowns.The most important indication of potential database performance issues is when things that used to run fast begin to run slower. This includes online transaction processing systems used by employees or customers, or batch jobs that process data in bulk for tasks such as payroll processing and month-end reporting.It can be difficult to monitor processing workloads without database performance management tools. In that case, database administrators (DBAs) and performance analysts have to rely on other methods to detect problems — in particular, end-user complaints about issues such as application screens taking too long to load or nothing happening for a long time after information is entered into an application.
- System outages. When a system is down, database performance obviously is at its worst. Outages can be caused by database issues such as running out of storage space due to increasing data volumes or a resource such as a data set, partition or package being unavailable.
- The need for frequent hardware upgrades. Organizations that are constantly upgrading servers to larger models with more memory and storage are often candidates for database performance tuning. Tweaking database parameters, tuning SQL statements and reorganizing database objects can be much less expensive than frequently upgrading costly hardware and equipment.
On the flipside, sometimes hardware upgrades are needed to resolve database performance problems. But with the proper database monitoring and management tools, it’s possible to mitigate the upgrade costs by pinpointing the cause of the problem and identifying appropriate steps for remediating it. For example, it can be cost-effective to add more memory or implement faster storage devices to resolve I/O bottlenecks affecting a database’s performance. And doing so likely will be cheaper than replacing an entire server.
Get complete visibility and management into your database processes and system infrastructure and monitor and capture comprehensive views of overall database health, and detailed drill-downs to determine the root cause of performance bottlenecks.