SQL Server 2012 : Tuning Queries (part 3) - Using the Database Engine Tuning Advisor

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Using the Database Engine Tuning Advisor

Among the principal methods that SQL Server uses to maintain and control queries are indexes and the statistics on those indexes. Taking direct control over these indexes yourself can take a lot of time and effort and require education and discovery. Fortunately, SQL Server has a tool that will help you create indexes—the Database Engine Tuning Advisor (DTA). The DTA can be run a number of different ways to help you. You can capture a trace data set and send it to the DTA for analysis. You can pass a query from the Query Editor inside Management Studio straight into the DTA for analysis. Now, with SQL Server 2012, you can use the query plans that exist in the plan cache on a server as the base data for the DTA.

To see it in action, we’ll run the DTA against the query used previously (salesquery.sql in the download):

SELECT  p.[Name],
FROM    Sales.SalesOrderHeader AS soh
JOIN    Sales.SalesOrderDetail AS sod
        ON soh.SalesOrderID = sod.SalesOrderID
JOIN    Production.Product AS p
        ON sod.ProductID = p.ProductID
WHERE   p.[Name] LIKE 'LL%'
        AND soh.OrderDate BETWEEN '1/1/2008' AND '1/6/2008' ;

In the query window, right-click the query text, and select Analyze Query in Database Engine Tuning Advisor from the context menu. This will open the DTA in a window that looks like Figure 15.


Figure 15. Database Engine Tuning Advisor’s General tab

Figure 15 shows a simple example. With more complicated examples that include data from other databases that are being run based on the workload supplied by a trace, you would have more databases selected. In this case, it’s a single query against a single database.

From here, you can move to the Tuning Options tab to adjust the possible changes being proposed by the DTA. For this example, we’ll let the default values work. On the DTA toolbar, click the Start Analysis button, and a new tab showing the progress of the analysis will open. Once the analysis completes, another new tab showing recommendations from the DTA will open. Figure 16 shows the recommendations for the query.


Figure 16. Database Engine Tuning Advisor Recommendations tab

For the query supplied, the DTA ran through the information in the query and the information in the tables, and it arrived at three indexes that it thinks will achieve a 70 percent increase in speed. You should take any and all recommendations from the DTA and test them prior to implementing them in production. It is not always right.

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