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Paul Nielsen

Kalen's Magnum Opus

At first glance, Inside SQL Server Query Tuning and Optimization, appears to be a multiple-author ensemble book with only 1½ chapters written by Kalen, which might be disappointing. However, the reality is that this database dream team is hand-picked by Kalen, and following Kalen’s plan the book meets the high standards Kalen is known for. The flow of the information is the right way to understand and then solve query performance issues.

Chapter 1 – A Performance Troubleshooting Methodology by Sunil Agarwal (Program Manager in the SQL Server Storage Engine Group at Microsoft.) The opening chapter introduces the many factors that influence query performance. Although it fails to connect every dot, the chapter is a comprehensive overview of SQL Server performance and a sound intro for readers without a solid background in SQL Server.

Chapter 2 – Tracing and Profiling by Adam Machanic (SQL Server MVP. Leader of the New England SQL Server User Group in Boston, and all around smart guy.) Even if you use Profiler daily, you’ll pick up some useful info in this thorough converge of SQL Server Engine Trace and the Profiler UI.

Chapter 3 – Query Execution by Craig Freedman (Microsoft SQL Server Query Execution Team.) This chapter has more beef than a 16 oz filet in Kansas City. Wow. If you enjoy reading Query execution plans, then you’ll read this chapter 3 or 4 times. There’s deep knowledge in here you won’t find anywhere else. I’ve lost sleep wondering about some of the questions answered by this chapter, and I’ve lost more sleep reading it.

Chapter 4 – Troubleshooting Query Performance by Kalen Delaney and Craig Freedman. This is the practical part two of Craig’s amazing chapter 3. Here Kalen and Craig show exactly how to diagnose and solve difficult query performance issues.

Chapter 5 – Plan Caching and Recompilation by Kalen Delaney. This is the topic Kalen presented at the 2007 PASS Summit pre-con and her depth shows in this chapter. Since query plan caching is so important to executing queries, this chapter makes perfect sense in this book.

Chapter 6 – Concurrency Problems by Ron Talmage (SQL Server MVP, and true gentleman. Ron leads the Pacific Northwest SQL Server Users Group which meets in Building 35, the SQL Server team building on the MIcrosoft Redmond campus.) In any high transaction production system, diagnosing and tuning locking and blocking is the difference between “it runs on my notebook” and “it runs with thousands of users.” Ron goes beyond the basic explanation of locks and isolation levels to explain how to resolve specific conncurency issues.

Book prerequisite: at least 2-3 years of writing SQL Server queries and a decent understanding of SQL Server.

Like Kalen’s other books, Inside SQL Server Query Tuning and Optimization, is readable, authoritative, and a requirement on every serious database developer’s desk. Buy it once and read it at least twice.

Published Friday, October 12, 2007 8:43 PM by Paul Nielsen
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Mitch Wheat said:

Hi Paul

This sounds like a great book, but I'm a little surprised at the timing of publication, just 6 months before SQL Server 2008 ships (or thereabouts). Given that SQL Server 2008 will be introducing a few new architectural features centered around indexing, will this book be as valid in 6 months time?



October 14, 2007 4:08 AM

Adam Machanic said:

Mitch, there will be some additional features added, but the basics will all stay the same.  Also, this book is not quite as much about internals as the Storage Engine volume, but rather more focused on practical application of tuning techniques.  Personally, I haven't found that the basics of tuning have changed too much since SQL Server 7.0.  Features will come and go, but the foundational techniques never seem to go out of style :)

October 14, 2007 11:31 AM

Mitch Wheat said:

Hi Adam and Paul

(Congrats on the book BTW!) How does this book compare to Sajal's book? Are there any completely new areas?



October 14, 2007 10:33 PM

Kalen Delaney said:

Hi Mitch

We know this book was late getting out, and in fact Microsoft Press considered not putting a version number on it at all to give it longer shelf life. It will be be 'revised' for SQL Server 2008 but there will not be a lot of changes to the existing material. And since I have to revise the Storage Engine book first, it again will be a while before the Query Tuning book for 2008 comes out. The Storage Engine book will contain most of the details of the new index structures.

Kalen Delaney

October 14, 2007 11:10 PM

Ben Nevarez said:

Hi Paul,

I am interested in your opinion regarding your statement that Chapter 1 fails to connect every dot. Could you please give us some details?



October 17, 2007 2:01 PM

merve said:

merhaba ben merve yabancılarla konuşmak çok güzel hoşuma giidiyor

August 13, 2009 12:43 AM
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About Paul Nielsen

Paul Nielsen believes SQL is the romance language of data. As such he’s a hands-on database developer, Microsoft SQL Server MVP, trainer, and author of SQL Server Bible series (Wiley). As a data architect, he developed the concepts of Smart Database Design and Nordic – an open source O/R dbms for SQL Server. He lives in Colorado Springs.

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