Troubleshooting Common SQL Server Issues

Troubleshooting Common SQL Server Issues

If you run an SQL server and you encounter issues, dealing with them efficiently can be difficult if you are not familiar with the problems you are faced with.

To help you out in just such a scenario, here is an overview of the most common complications that can afflict SQL servers and the ways you can fix them.

Pinpointing performance inconsistencies

When an SQL server stops performing as expected, there are a lot of potential reasons that might be to blame. This makes it tricky to provide a catch-all answer to any issues you might be facing with unexpected server slowdown, in part because one problem may actually just by a symptom of an underlying issue that is harder to detect and deal with.

Combating inconsistencies with server performance will become easier with experience, but you can also learn a lot from the pros that have come before. In particular, it is sensible to monitor your server closely, delve into the data and base your troubleshooting efforts on what you find out here.

Be prepared to look out for signs of hardware or network bottlenecking, especially if poor performance can be linked to things like storage saturation, memory limits, peaks of user traffic or other easily measurable elements.

Quashing coding concerns

If an SQL server is falling short of expectations, it may be necessary to consider the possibility that the underlying architecture of the code is the culprit. Furthermore, such flaws may only rear their heads when the system is under serious strain.

Inefficiency in the code can cause locking and blocking, with processes fighting over the same data simultaneously, leaving one hanging while the other does its business. This white paper from SentryOne is a good starting point, dealing with wait stats and how to interpret them so that you can see where conflicts are arising and take action to deal with them.

Following guidelines on designing indexes, such as knowing when not to overegg this process as well as being aware of when adding extra clauses will lead to improvements, is worthwhile.

If total deadlocking occurs, the proper use of SQL Server Profiler will let you trace the root cause and conjure up a suitable solution.

Recovering lost data

Hardware failures and unfortunately commonplace breaches leave lots of organizations exposed to the issue of data loss, the effects of which can be mitigated through proper preparations such as having a backup on hand and a recovery plan ready to rock and roll.

The most resilient option is to make sure that you do not store any mission-critical backups on-site, since this limits your chances of recovery if the data loss is due to a localized disaster. There are plenty of cloud-powered backup services available specifically for SQL servers, which gives you lots of choices and the opportunity to keep costs down.

You should also put your recovery plans through their paces before a real emergency arises, as this will allow you to troubleshoot any inadequacies in a measured, stress-free manner.

Responding to alerts

A well-managed SQL server will go a long way to making an administrator’s job easier by throwing up alerts and error reports when something goes awry; all that is required is for you to be able to interpret and respond to the alerts in a timely manner.

This is also something that will get easier with experience, but remember that you are not the first person to stumble across any of the issues you face and that a quick internet search will often help you puzzle through some of the more esoteric error codes and avoid hours of head-scratching.

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