Tuesday, March 11, 2008

SQL Server Nexus

It seems as if every time I think I no longer have to worry about getting down to the guts of performance tuning in SQL Server, I find myself right in the thick of it once again. Generally speaking, I like to think of myself as very knowledgeable in this field, but sometimes, something comes along and just destroys that confidence.

Last week was one of those times...

I was onsite with a customer that had provided one monster server for our application to be deployed to. (Honestly, this is probably the most impressive hardware configuration that I've ever personally worked with) Our application is a data warehousing application, so the specific tuning procedures for DW workloads were used.

The ETL process within the application was performing very poorly, so I spent a lot of time tweaking SQL Server performance, but the thing that really bothered me was that all of the statistics that I could gather pointed to the fact that nothing was wrong.. Of course the application didn't agree, because things that "normally" take less than 2 hours were taking much longer than that (to be clear, the word "normally" in this instance isn't accurate, but it gets the point across).

At any rate, this brings me to the point of this entry:

Webster defines Nexus as: "a connection, or link" and "a connected group, or series" Which is interesting because my theory on SQL Server performance tuning is that there really isn't any link between any two instances of an application that run on different SQL Servers and that each instance of the application must be tuned separately, based on the specific environmental conditions unique to that instance.

Apparently my thoughts are incorrect on this subject, because a pretty impressive team of SQL performance types just posted a new release of the Performance Tuning toolkit on Codeplex called, of all things, Nexus... Check it out here: http://www.codeplex.com/sqlnexus

Basically this is a "one stop shopping" performance tookit that enables a ton of different analysis scenarios for SQL Server. It's a pretty straightforward and easy installation, but you really do need to take the time to read the documentation provided.

Give it a shot..

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