A Great Tool for Tuning and Troubleshooting SQL Servers

Aqua Data Studio is a versatile and comprehensive IDE that supports over 25 of the most widely used database platforms. It offers DBAs and developers a unified interface that enhances productivity across all of the databases they need to support. Microsoft’s popular SQL Server is one of the platforms that can benefit from the use of Aqua Data Studio to help troubleshoot performance issues and tuning SQL queries. We are going to highlight some of the ways the tool simplifies the task of optimizing your SQL Server instances.

SQL Server Areas of Concern

Once you have ruled out hardware misconfiguration or under-provisioning as the cause of performance issues with your SQL Server, you need to look at the database layer of your system as the root of the problem. Here are some aspects of SQL Server that should be investigated as the potential culprits that are impacting performance.

Outdated statistics

Statistics are crucial to the operation of SQL Server. The database employs statistics gathered from data sampling when it is preparing a query plan. It makes a reasonable estimate of the best plan based on the statistics at its disposal at the time. The accuracy of its calculation is influenced by the quality of the data with which it is working.

The problem of using outdated SQL Server statistics will negatively impact the validity of the query plan developed by the system. Ensuring that the statistics are current is an essential step in addressing performance issues. SQL Server provides information regarding when a statistic has been updated and how much the data behind that statistic has been modified since the last update.

There are stored procedures that allow you to update all statistics or just those of particular concern at the moment. Deciding if statistics need to be updated takes into consideration when they were last updated and the level of change the items have undergone. Statistics that have not been updated in months may be fine if the items they refer to have not changed recently. If performance issues are seen that may be related to a specific statistic, it should be updated so SQL Server has better data with which to construct its execution plans.

Currently running queries

When performance issues strike, a logical place to look is at the queries that are currently running. Checking estimated time to completion can point you in the right direction. Any query with an estimated time over zero may be causing your performance problems. Identifying queries that are running Select * statements or improperly using indexes provide candidates for query tuning that will help speed up your database.

Blocking is another problem that can plague database performance. Changes made in one part of the application may block processes from executing optimally. Blocking occurs over resource contention as processes compete for access to the same objects, causing excessive wait times. Eliminating this contention will streamline the performance of the database.


Missing indexes or those that require excessive data to be queried can substantially slow down the speed of your database. SQL Server can help you identify missing indexes which may only manifest themselves as a problem when the amount of data in a given query reaches a certain threshold.

Index fragmentation is also a problem that manifests itself over time. Fragmentation is a product of all active databases and should be addressed when it exceeds acceptable levels. Microsoft recommends no action if fragmentation is below 5%, reorganization when it is between 5% and 30%, and rebuilding indexes that are fragmented over 30%.

How Aqua Data Studio Can Help

SQL Server is one of the many database platforms supported by Aqua Data Studio. The tool enables database professionals to perform many functions such as registering databases, navigating database objects, administration, and query analysis. It also provides the capability to produce visual analytics that enhances the utility of the information contained in your databases. Easily view diagrams and statistics related to query execution plans for use in tracking down performance issues.

IDERA has posted an informative webcast that goes into more detail regarding how Aqua Data Studio can be instrumental in optimizing your SQL Server environment. It includes plenty of screenshots and demos which illustrate some of the issues that need to be addressed when optimizing your databases as well as techniques to resolve them. The webcast is highly recommended for database teams struggling with optimizing SQL Server instances and introduces them to a valuable tool that can help them address the concerns of all the platforms they support.