Top 4 ways to enhance database performance
12 Dec 2023
Have you noticed that queries in your database system take unusually long to retrieve or update data? Did you ever notice your database server consistently operates near its resource capacity and constantly identifies errors? Such facts point to potential bottlenecks, indicating that the database struggles to handle the workload.
To achieve seamless database functioning and resilience, you should understand how to detect the potential red flags, fix the flaws, and ensure proper maintenance. Let’s look at some fundamental issues and ways to improve database performance.
1. Caching Strategies
In database management, a cache is a high-speed storage layer on which a subset of data is stored, usually temporarily, and through which that data can be made available to future requests more quickly than through the primary storage location of that data. In short, caching allows data that has already been retrieved or calculated to be efficiently reused. This has two major ways to improve database performance for operators and visitors:
- Accelerated query execution. Storing frequently accessed data in fast storage reduces query times, especially for repetitive queries, as cached results are swiftly retrieved, minimizing recomputation.
- Optimized resource utilization. Caching minimizes the reliance on additional compute resources by reusing computed results, reducing warehouse uptime and the demand for extra clusters.
Here are a few popular methods along with the practical applications.
1. Query result caching
Query result caching in database maintenance involves storing the outcomes of frequently executed queries, enabling faster retrieval and reduced computational load.
For example, in an e-commerce system, caching the results of product availability queries can significantly reduce the load on the database server, improving response times for users checking stock.
2. Object caching
Object caching in database maintenance entails storing entire objects, such as user profiles or product details, to expedite data retrieval and enhance system performance.
In social media apps, caching user profiles accelerates page loading times by retrieving profile information directly from the cache rather than querying the database each time a user’s profile is accessed.
3. Page caching
Page caching in database maintenance involves storing complete web pages to streamline content delivery, reducing the need for dynamic generation, and avoiding generating the same content repeatedly.
For instance, in a company’s content management system, caching complete pages can enhance performance by serving cached pages for static content. Therefore, it reduces the need to generate the same content for each user request.
To keep the caching process stable and efficient, adhere to the following action points:
- Define data storage duration. Determine the exact period for the data storage in the cache. You can align it with business objectives, thus balancing the need for up-to-date information with the desire for faster query responses.
- Maximize hit rates. Aim for a high hit rate by ensuring requested data is frequently present in the cache, minimizing cache misses. This will improve user experience and reduce strain on in-house computing resources.
- Control data flow. Utilize Time to Live (TTL) parameters for data validity and expiration to control data flow through the cache.
- Ensure high availability. Enhance cache availability with in-memory engines like Redis for robust performance.
- Set RTO and RPO targets. Establish appropriate Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) targets for data stored in the in-memory engine. These targets ensure swift recovery and minimal data loss, providing a structured approach to database management that bolsters system resilience.
- Adapt to diverse engine characteristics. Given the diverse characteristics of in-memory engines, select a solution that aligns with specific RTO and RPO requirements.
2. Indexing and Query Optimization Strategies
Developers often seek guidance on how to optimize database performance through indexing best practices and query optimization techniques.
Indexing involves creating a data structure, typically a B-tree or hash table, to expedite the retrieval of specific records in a database. This accelerates data access by minimizing the number of records that need to be scanned.
Query optimization enhances database performance by refining the structure and execution of SQL queries. It involves selecting the most efficient execution plan, considering factors like join order and filtering conditions, thus ensuring rapid and resource-efficient data retrieval. In this section, we will explore some of the best practices for these techniques.
1. Choose the right indexing strategy
Different indexing strategies include clustered, non-clustered, and full-text indexing. Each strategy has advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one depends on the specific needs of your database. For example, clustered indexing is best for frequently queried tables, while full-text indexing is ideal for text-intensive databases.
2. Optimize query execution
Query optimization is about optimizing the structure and execution of SQL queries to improve performance. Improving query speed can be achieved by reducing the number of joins, using subqueries instead of joins, and avoiding using wildcard characters in the WHERE clause. Additionally, it is important to ensure that queries use the most efficient execution plan.
3. Monitor performance
Database monitoring and analysis can help you identify opportunities for improvement. Developers can use tools such as SQL Server Profiler to get detailed information about SQL query execution. By monitoring performance, you can locate slow-running queries and take steps to optimize them.
4. Use query hints
Utilizing query hints serves as a method to furnish the SQL Server query optimizer with supplementary insights for executing a query effectively. This proves advantageous in situations where the optimizer fails to opt for the most efficient execution plan. However, it is important to use hints of request moderately, as they can sometimes have unintended consequences.
Indexing and query optimization techniques are critical, among other ways to improve database performance. By choosing the right indexing strategy, using composite indexes, optimizing query execution, monitoring performance, and using query hints when necessary, you ensure that your database is running at peak efficiency.
3. Front-end Frameworks and Their Impact
Front-end frameworks primarily focus on a web application’s user interface and user experience, and they are not directly responsible for enhancing database speed and overall performance. However, developers might face some challenges when working with front-end frameworks for speed that can indirectly impact database performance. Here are a few points to consider for preventing that:
1. Implement data fetching and rendering
- Over-fetching or under-fetching data. Front-end frameworks often interact with backend tuning to fetch data. Inefficient queries or fetching unnecessary data can lead to over-fetching. On the other hand, fetching insufficient data may result in under-fetching, leading to additional requests and impacting performance.
- Optimizing API requests. Developers need to ensure that API requests are optimized. This may involve using pagination, selecting only necessary fields, and implementing caching strategies to minimize the impact on the database.
2. Manage the performance state
- Excessive client-side state. Some front-end frameworks use client-side state management, and maintaining excessive client-side state can lead to increased memory usage and potentially impact performance. It’s important to manage the state efficiently and avoid unnecessary data duplication.
3. Improve rendering performance
- Front-end rendering bottlenecks. The rendering implementation of front-end frameworks can impact the user experience. If rendering is slow, it might give the impression of a slow application even if the database performs well. Optimizing the rendering process and considering techniques like lazy loading can help.
4. Eliminate network latency
- Minimizing round-trips. Front-end frameworks often involve multiple network requests. Reducing the number of round-trips between the client and server and minimizing latency can positively impact the overall user experience.
It is important to consider the potential drawbacks of front-end frameworks before implementing them in a production environment, so consider consulting with an experienced software development company.
4. Denormalization Strategies
Denormalization is the process of introducing redundancy into a database or other information system to improve query performance or other aspects of application performance. It aims to enhance a database’s read performance by introducing redundant copies of data or grouping data, albeit at the cost of potentially compromising write performance.
In addition to optimizing runtime behavior, denormalization is also used to reduce a system’s complexity and make the stored data easier to manage. To illustrate the specific setup of this database enhancement method, we compiled application examples from different industries.
- E-commerce. In an e-commerce application, denormalization optimizes read performance for quick access to product information. By consolidating data into a dedicated «product listings» table, including product details, category information, and average review ratings, the application experiences simplified queries, faster response times, and improved scalability. While denormalization introduces trade-offs like increased storage, the benefits of enhanced user experience and streamlined data retrieval make it suitable for scenarios where read performance is paramount.
- Martech. In the Martech industry, a marketing analytics dashboard heavily relies on data retrieval speed. Customer interactions, campaign details, and performance metrics are consolidated in a denormalized database setup. This allows for faster query execution when generating real-time reports and insights.
Denormalization benefits simplify queries, resulting in a more responsive analytics platform andsupports timely decision-making in marketing strategies.
5. Database Maintenance Practices
What to pay attention to when monitoring and analyzing database performance? We prepared a list of expert tips based on the company’s operational experience in providing database development services.
- Investigate database health. Always prioritize database integrity over performance. Before delving into performance optimization, examine key factors such as CPU utilization, I/O statistics, memory usage, network bandwidth, and locks/blocks. These general metrics will empower in-house IT professionals to ensure optimal database resource utilization.
- Implement cross-platform solutions. Many companies leverage cross-platform database solutions, offering versatile applications irrespective of the database type or data storage location. This approach also yields various benefits, safeguarding companies against revenue loss and reputational damage resulting from decisions based on inaccurate data.For example, one widely known multinational e-commerce company implemented a cross-platform database solution to seamlessly integrate diverse databases across regions. The real-time synchronization prevented a significant revenue loss during a surge in demand on Black Friday sales by providing consistent product information.
- Establish performance baselines. Maintaining a daily baseline is critical for effective database performance assessment. Implementing a robust suite of database management and monitoring tools enables comprehensive examination across different platforms and deployment methods. Saving historical performance metrics facilitates trend analysis and informed decision-making.
- Monitor overview metrics. Database administrators often prioritize ways to improve database performance, focusing on swift queries and maximized throughput. A deep understanding of the data, data archiving and purging, and displaying detailed metrics, especially on resource conflicts, is vital. The workload on a database emerges as a crucial factor in pinpointing and resolving underlying performance issues, significantly impacting both the company and its customers.
Databases are complex systems with hundreds of parameters, profile options, and configuration instructions – an almost infinite combination of settings requiring constant maintenance for optimal performance. Companies must also ensure strict security measures when applying any of the abovementioned database management tips.
The more accessible and usable the database is, the more vulnerable may be to security threats. Use the list below to check the robustness of your company’s database security measures.
1. Authentication and authorization controls
- Implement robust authentication mechanisms to verify the identity of users accessing the database.
- Utilize strong password policies, multi-factor authentication, and role-based access controls to ensure users only have the necessary privileges based on their roles.
- Regularly review and update user access permissions to align with organizational roles and responsibilities.
2. Data encryption
- Employ encryption protocols to safeguard data both at rest within the database and during transmission over the network.
- Utilize database encryption features to protect sensitive information stored on disk.
- Implement secure communication protocols such as SSL/TLS to encrypt data as it travels between the database server and connected applications or clients. This helps prevent unauthorized access and eavesdropping.
3. Regular security audits and monitoring
- Conduct regular security audits to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the database system.
- Implement continuous monitoring solutions to detect unusual or suspicious activities.
- Log and analyze database events, such as login attempts, to identify potential security incidents.
Establish alert mechanisms to notify administrators of any abnormal patterns or security breaches promptly.
Investing in database performance software offers long-term benefits for businesses by ensuring optimal functionality, responsiveness, and reliability of their operations, workflows, and interactions. This leads to improved overall IT performance, reduced downtime, enhanced user experience, and the ability to scale efficiently, contributing to increased productivity and customer satisfaction over time.
Choosing the right direction for improving your database performance can safeguard your company against the severe repercussions of data breaches. To develop a tailored optimization strategy for sustained database efficiency, schedule a consultation with a Lightpoint expert.