SQL Stored Procedure Optimization for SQL Server Performance
Boost the speed of your application while reducing resource consumption by auditing your SQL stored procedures and optimizing them for faster SQL Server performance.
What is a Stored Procedure?
A stored procedure is a block of code in a database that can be executed on demand by a user or application. It is a precompiled and saved program that can be called by name whenever it is needed.
Developers use stored procedures to encapsulate business logic and data access logic within the database, reducing the amount of code the application needs to write and execute. This can improve performance and reduce the risk of security vulnerabilities because the application is not directly accessing the database but instead calls the stored procedures.
Different types of business logic can be put inside stored procedures:
- Enforcing data validation rules like checking that required fields are not null, or that data is within acceptable ranges.
- Implementing business rules like pricing, discounts, or eligibility for promotions.
- Performing complex queries involving multiple tables and conditions to manage the complexity of the query.
- Executing security protocols like validating user permissions.
Advantages of Stored Procedures:
Maintaining your business logic in stored procedures give you real advantages:
Centralized Logic: When your business logic is in stored procedures, that logic is centralized in one location. This makes it easier to manage and update the logic.
Increased Security: Stored procedures can improve security by limiting access to the database and preventing unauthorized access to the data.
Better Performance: SQL stored procedures can be precompiled to execute faster than dynamic SQL statements, improving SQL Server performance.
Reduced Network Traffic: Business logic embedded in stored procedures reduces the amount of data that must be sent between the application and the database.
Including quality stored procedures is an integral part of your overall database optimization.
Take the Good and Eliminate the Bad:
The trick is to prevent the bottlenecks and slowdowns that SQL-stored procedures can cause.
Storing business logic in stored procedures can increase the complexity of your application because your developers need to know both the application code and the stored procedure code. This can make it more challenging to maintain the application over time.
For custom software applications where the programming is specifically tailored to how you do business, giving you an extra boost of efficiency and productivity, make sure your developers are checking the time and resource consumption of stored procedures regularly.
It also makes stored procedures a bit difficult to debug.
The good news is that you can identify those procedures that are giving you trouble and resolve the issues to keep your performance robust.
Using a server monitoring tool, your developer or SQL consultant can analyze your cache to get a list of each SQL stored procedure: duration, CPU time, I/O, technical executions, and more.
You can profile each stored procedure to see what’s happening. Is there session blocking going on where one database session blocks the other? Are there unnecessary multiple loops, or too many logic trees, or is a procedure calling a function calling a function calling a function?
By simple monitoring, we discover the first place to look for improvements.
SQL Stored Procedure Optimization #1:
Now that we know which blocks of code are slowing down our application while burning too many resources, we can get to work.
The first thing to do is look at the code itself. An experienced database developer or remote database administrator (DBA) can look inside your query programming and quickly spot what’s wrong.
Most of the time, the indexes need to be improved.
You might need a new index or to delete a duplicate one. Sometimes you need to merge indexes or change data queries to enable new and improved indexes to be made.
Ideally, you want to create a new index. If you have to change an index or make a new query, you must change the code. Once you do that, everything has to be tested.
This increases time, money, and overhead because the QA team gets involved.
If you look at your procedures and determine this step is vital, do it. However, if you can optimize without requiring your entire DevOps team, that’s another option.
SQL Stored Procedure Optimization #2:
Let’s check our session settings.
Most of the time, we use the default settings for database sessions. This can cause problems as your app matures, especially when you have a massive number of users and there needs to be a specialized protocol for them to use the system in the most orderly fashion.
You can make a big difference at minimal cost by changing default configurations.
The best place to start is with the internals:
- Change the database settings
- Change the server settings
- Change the indexes
- Change the file location
- Look into how the availability group is structured
SQL Stored Procedure Optimization #3:
Once you exhaust all the ways you can make changes without using too much code, you can code. Changing the code is the last step in the process.
But even here you want to prioritize.
You can change a single function, which can be a few lines of code. But if that function is in 50 stored procedures, you must test all 50 stored procedures based on working with a single function.
Complexity mounts when logic is built into a function and reused into other codes, functions, or stored procedures.
It can get hairy when a function calls a function that calls a function that calls another function. This can go on to the 9th power and beyond, forcing procedures to take minutes to execute.
In these cases, you can create inline code to boost performance and change each function one at a time to avoid losing the logic.
Whether you have in-house developers or are using Remote DBA Experts to run your data layer, using optimized stored procedures is a great way to speed up your application without increasing cloud costs or resource consumption.