SQL Server 2008 makes performance tweaking easier

SQL Server administrators optimizing their databases will have some new tools when Microsoft releases the next version of its relational database management system, SQL Server 2008, due for general release next month.

Perhaps the most notable improvement is a new feature called the Performance Data Collector (PDC), said Microsoft Federal development consultant Jack Bradham. You could think of PDC as a small data warehouse that keeps track of the performance of SQL Servers. 'We've added hooks into the specific database objects that database administrators would be interested in, such as watching stored procedure execution,' he said. The idea is to allow the administrator to go back through the workload run on a server and get information about how each query operated. The tool will answer questions such as how often the procedure is compiled and what tables and indexes the procedures are using. It can also offer ideas on improving performance, noting when indexes could be updated, or statistics could be re-factored.

Run from within SQL Server's management console, called Management Studio, PDC can help speed the process of optimization. Administrators 'don't have to roll their own' parameters for evaluating performance, Bradham said.

Another new feature is Resource Governor. It lets administrators specify how much of a server's processor and memory a workload can get. 'You can prioritize what workloads will run over others,' Bradham said.

Although most of the management of SQL Servers is done through Management Studio, SQL Server 2008 will also come with another console just for performance tweaking, called Performance Studio, which can 'collect and work with all the diagnostic information that goes along with performance,' Bradham said.

It works in conjunction with PDC and Resource Governor, and can keep tabs, from one location, on the performance data of all SQL Servers in an operating environment. The console can also be used in conjunction with another new feature, Policy Based Management, which allows configuration changes across all the running instances of SQL Server in the organization.

For more information on the improvements in SQL Server 2008, see GCN GCN.com/1178.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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