How the SQL Server Database Engine Affects Performance

By: Dusan Petkovic


The SQL Server Database Engine can substantially affect the performance of an entire system. The two most important components of the Database Engine that affect performance are

  •     Query optimizer
  •     Locks

Query optimizer

The optimizer formulates several query execution plans for fetching the data rows that are required to process a query and then decides which plan should be used. The decision concerning the selection of the most appropriate execution plan includes which indices should be used, how to access tables, and the order of joining tables. All of these decisions can significantly affect the performance of database applications. The optimizer is discussed in detail in the previous chapter.

Locks

The database system uses locks as the mechanism for protecting one user’s work from another’s. Therefore, locks are used to control the access of data by all users at the same time and to prevent possible errors that can arise from the concurrent access of the same data.

Locking affects the performance of the system through its granularity—that is, the size of the object that is being locked and the isolation level. Row-level locking provides the best system performance, because it leaves all but one row on the page unlocked and hence allows more concurrency than page- or table-level locking.

Isolation levels affect the duration of the lock for SELECT statements. Using the lower isolation levels, such as READ UNCOMMITTED and READ COMMITTED, the data availability, and hence the concurrency, of the data can be improved.

 

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