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  SQL Server Tips by Burleson

Storage Bottlenecks

When it comes to understanding what SQL Server is doing underneath the covers with respect to space, Microsoft’s engine actually is not as straightforward as some of the other database platforms. The ability to easily report database and transaction log space from a global perspective is not as simple or thorough as some administrators would like it to be.

Also, the sp_spaceused procedure used for object and database space does not really yield the whole space picture for an object or database. Diagnosing fragmentation problems in a database requires a fairly skilled hand with the ability to not only interpret a number of different object fragmentation metrics, but to also understand the environment and mechanics of the applications that use the database.

As with other database engines, SQL Server storage problems have the capability to immediately stop an otherwise well-running database and server completely in its tracks. Space problems also have the potential to slowly eat away at performance until response times become unbearably slow for a database community.

Since storage has such a powerful hold over a database, it is imperative that the DBA understand how SQL Server uses space, be equipped with the right tools/scripts and knowledge to proactively plan storage and object structures, and be able to quickly diagnose and fix space problems when they occur. To kick things off, a quick review of how the SQL Server is organized in terms of space, both at the database and object level is merited.

The above book excerpt is from:

High-Performance SQL Server DBA
Tuning & Optimization Secrets

ISBN: 0-9761573-6-5
Robin Schumacher  

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