4 Database Maintenance Tips for Businesses
Databases are commonly used in different parts of your business operations. In a previous article, we discussed the importance of protecting customer information; a good way of doing that is by securing and maintaining your consumer database properly. Database maintenance is also necessary for keeping the performance of your business database at an optimum level.
Naturally, there are a lot of maintenance tasks to go through in order to keep your business database (or databases) well-maintained. In this article, however, we are going to focus more on the tips and tricks that will help you maintain your database properly. Let’s get started, shall we?
Keeping Indexes in Order
One of the things that databases rely on for good performance is good indexing. Indexes are used to quickly find the right data when queries are made. The more optimized your indexes, the better your database will perform under heavy load.
Unfortunately, even the most optimized database can suffer from index fragmentation, especially when the database is actively being used for an extended period of time. The good news is, SQL has a built-in function for handling index fragmentation.
Index rebuilding is a good measure to take when your database performance is low due to index fragmentation. The solution is often considered better than defragmentation because it can be done online and offline, with the latter being the option most database experts use.
After a complete index rebuild, the database will feel much lighter and snappier when accessed. This is because everything, from the indexes themselves to the index statistics and initial fill factor, is refreshed and ready for more use.
SQL also has another feature that businesses don’t always use, and that feature is query structuring. Queries can be categorized into low- and high-priority queries. The latter are processed immediately and are given more access to server resources when needed.
Low-priority queries, on the other hand, receive, well, lower priority. These are the queries are put on hold when the database server is doing other things. Optimizing low-priority queries is a great way to boost the performance of your business database as a whole.
All you need to do is alter some parameters on how low-priority queries are handled. You can assign a MAX_DURATION parameter to tell the SQL server just how long it should wait for the query to run before SQL takes over.
Another parameter, ABORT_AFTER_WAIT, allows you to determine the action SQL should take when the low-priority query times out. You can assign SQL to block the query entirely, to kill the maintenance session, or to do nothing at all. Each will have its own impact of the performance of your business database.
Clean Up and Archive
SQL databases are capable of handling a large amount of data. When the database is structured optimally, it can even manage a lifetime of operational data for a business without slowing down too much. That said, storing too much irrelevant data isn’t how you maintain a high level of performance.
Cleaning up the database is something that needs to be done regularly. It is better to have an archive of old, irrelevant data to which the current data can be moved for extended storage rather than to keep all data in the same database.
The process can be automated too. Many SQL training programs allow database specialists to focus on data maintenance and maintenance routines due to the high demand for experts in this field. You can send your current database specialists to the right training program to master this part of database maintenance. If this is something you feel you need to make use of, you can look here for training options to consider.
Review and Evaluation
A thorough review can reveal a lot about a database and how it performs in real-time. Doing regular evaluations of your database can also help with spotting potential problems early before they turn into a bigger issue that isn’t always easy to solve.
There is a reason behind the need to do regular evaluation. Even when you design the database for optimum performance, you can’t always predict how users actually interact with the database in everyday situations. Problems can still occur, and the way to anticipate them is by evaluating the database from time to time.
The evaluation must not only look at the database itself, but also other parts of the system. It needs to take into account the users and user behavior, business workflows and changes to them, and how the database is supporting the business itself.
At the end of that evaluation, you should be able to determine ways to optimize the database further. When there are complex queries run multiple times by different users, for example, simplifying the process by altering the database structure and using transactional data can be a solution worth considering.
At the end of the day, even the best database needs to be maintained properly for it to remain effective. Use the tips and tricks we discussed in this article to continue optimizing your business database and maintain its performance.