A database is the cornerstone of any application. For this reason, maintaining one or more backup and recovery options remains a priority for every database professional. There are multiple alternatives you can choose from as per the specific needs of your organization’s database.
In this post, we will examine some of the most popular back-ups and restore strategies for MySQL database and SQL. We will also touch upon the reasons why databases require backups on a regular basis.
Why Do We Need Backups for MySQL Database?
As a DBA, you’ll need backup and recovery to support data in multiple cases, such as:
Discrepancies in Data: Users may accidentally delete or update incorrect data in the primary or replica node.
Data Centre Failure: An indefinite power outage or internet connectivity issue can spell trouble for your organization.
Disk Damage: If the disk is stalling for too long due to some kind of damage, it can greatly reduce performance. In cloud services for Oracle database, it translates into a broken DB instance that cuts access.
Broken Data: In case of a power outage, MySQL may fails to write data and close files as usual. There are also instances where MySQL fails to restart and doesn’t work despite the crash recovery process because of corruption in data.
Legislation/Regulation: Backups and recovery options ensure business value and client satisfaction.
Various Kinds of Backups for MySQL Database
Given below are some common backup categories that suit a range of needs:
Physical: These comprise the exact copies of database files and may contain part or all of the MySQL directory. The most common use of this type of backup is to make a new replica node and respond to host failure in a convenient manner. Experts recommend restoring data with the help of the same MySQL database version.
Offsite: This is one of the most recommended backup alternatives as it guarantees an untouched copy in case of data centre or host failure. It involves copying the data to the cloud, an external file server or another external source. However, sometimes it may take longer to download the files from the cloud or server than the recovery process. Therefore, experienced database professionals keep about a week of data locally on a backup server for quick recovery.
Logical: It is useful for smaller quantities of data as it is slower in comparison to physical backup methods. It essentially consists of dumps from INSERT and CREATE statements. It is useful in addressing data corruption or when you must recover a subset of tables. Although the output is greater in logical backups, especially when that data is present in text format, you can perform a quick compression if the software you’re using requires it. For instance, you can use Mydumper and mysqldump to compress and redirect the data to the zip folder.
Incremental: This type of backup contains all the changes made in the organization’s Oracle database and SQL server since the last backup. It is, therefore, quite useful for enormous datasets since it allows you to take small backups (experts recommend this after you’ve taken a full backup) as data comes later.
Differential: It consists of copying the modifications since your previous backup. One advantage of a differential backup is that it saves disk space. This is because the data in these backups mostly remains the same, so the result leads to backups that are substantially smaller in size.
Every Oracle database admin dreads the day when they receive a flurry of complaint calls from users regarding slow online performance.
That’s why, if you’re responsible for managing database performance in your organization, you’ll want to ensure this doesn’t happen. How? By preparing your infrastructure to handle increased loads. Supporting it with performance tuning is also essential, especially when the systems slow down or become entirely unresponsive.
In this post, we’ll consider six important (yet often overlooked) methods and tips to improve Oracle database performance. These will also help you gain the most from your efforts and make sure your environment stays fully operational.
6 Ways to Optimize the Performance of Your Oracle Database
Take a look at the following tricks and tactics to improve Oracle database performance, explained in a simple manner:
1. Maintain Optimum CPU Utilization Levels
It may be necessary to carry out manual tuning processes if, for some reason, you cannot apply the automatic diagnostic features Oracle provides. For this, you must make sure of complete CPU utilization in the user space. Check it to determine whether any non-database tasks are taking up CPU and restricting shared CPU resources.
2. Have a Firm Grasp of System Capabilities
Understanding the importance of baselines is essential to improve performance of SQL query. It helps to preserve a set performance baseline that you can refer to in case of performance issues.
You can do this by keeping an eye out for peak usage periods while measuring current performance. This will enable you to manage bottlenecks easily.
3. Make Use of an AWR (Automatic Workload Repository) Tool
An AWR is extremely useful as it gathers, processes, and maintains performance stats. It also provides a clear picture of your database’s health. The Automatic Database Diagnostic Monitor (ADDM) can help you gain actionable insights from the information you gain here. Together, these tools will save you time and money while enhancing the performance tuning process.
4. Tune Inefficient SQLs Using the Right Tools
The quickest and the least risky way to get rid of Oracle database problems is to tune the SQL using the right query plan. You can also use tuning tools for the Oracle database, such as those provided by Tosska Technologies Limited.
Tosska’s SQL Tuning Expert (TSE™) for Oracle® is ideal for all levels of experience and expertise. Its professional version, Tosska SQL Tuning Expert Pro (TSE Pro™) for Oracle®, can improve performance of SQL query with or without source code. However, these tools work best when you define and measure system issues correctly first.
5. Boost Storage Efficiency
It is possible to improve database performance by enhancing the performance of the storage platform. Review the existing storage for your Oracle database server and see if you can opt for alternatives.
For instance, flash technology offers considerably greater bandwidth and decreased latency to IO-bound workloads. It allows targeted provisioning, thereby boosting performance while eliminating the need to refresh the whole database. The key is to use flash storage for database objects that will benefit the most, leaving the rest in traditional storage.
6. Opt for a Dedicated Database Infrastructure
Sometimes, a common infrastructure platform can be the reason behind reduced performance results. No amount of tuning efforts proves sufficient in such cases. One of the most effective solutions is to provide a dedicated infrastructure to the database. This helps stabilize performance for database workloads and convenient management as well as effective monitoring and security.
Ready to improve Oracle database performance in the simple ways mentioned above? You may choose to seek assistance from Tosska’s professional tuning tools for Oracle. They are designed to help you get the most out of your database and maintain a fully operational environment.
If there is one complaint business users may have about their production database, it is slow performance. Database professionals, therefore, often try to focus strictly on finding out and resolving the source of the issue in the database.
The Database Engine Tuning Advisor (DTA) is one of the best tools in this regard. It helps DBAs analyze workloads and uncover areas that can be improved. In this blog, we will discuss the working of this tool along with a few additional details.
What is the Database Engine Tuning Advisor?
It is a tool that assists with the optimization of SQL queries and was introduced in SQL Server 2005. Before it, SQL Server had a feature known as the Index Tuning Wizard.
The DTA is designed to assess a workload and provide recommendations to boost query performance. Some of its suggestions include:
- Making partitions
- Incorporating indexes
- Adding statistics (this helps resolve the issue of automatic statistics not getting created despite the auto_create_statistics option being ON)
Apart from locating every type of potential for enhancement, the Oracle Database Engine Tuning Advisor will build a T-SQL script for users to execute in order to carry out the recommendations made by it.
How to Launch the DTA for the Optimization of SQL Queries
You can commence its use through multiple methods:
- Open the Start menu, scroll to the SQL Server application group and look for the Performance Tools folder.
- If you’re using the SQL Server Management Studio application, you can select the tool from the Tools menu.
- The SQL Server Profiler also has this tool in its Tools menu.
- You can find it with the select analyze query in DTA on the SQL Server Management Studio Query menu. This also enables you to pass a T-SQL section to the tool for analysis.
- Open the Command Prompt, type “DTA -?” for a glimpse at the available alternatives.
Normally, you can create a workload by collecting multiple statements in a file or with the help of the SQL Server Profiler. An important point to bear in mind is that the workload being sent to the Advisor for evaluation needs to be representative of the average workload.
What the Database Engine Tuning Advisor Does
The Database Engine Tuning Advisor makes recommendations on the basis of the workload you send for analysis. Therefore, a limited workload will result in inadequate recommendations. The best thing to do is to collect the workload through the Profiler, save the results in a text file, and send the trace to the Advisor.
The SQL Server Profiler plays an important role in the optimization of SQL queries. It can be launched from its location in the SQL Server application folder (in the Start menu) or among the list of tools in the SQL Server Management Studio.
In case you want to know the properties of the new trace, follow these steps –
- Click on the dropdown list in the dropdown menu of the tool window (for the trace template) and select Tuning. The trace template gathers the events considered necessary by DTA.
- Select the ‘Save to file’ and type in the file name you want before passing it to the Database Engine Tuning Advisor once the trace is complete.
Choosing the right version of SQL Server is important for the performance you desire. If you’re installing an older one because your organization’s management prefers an older build or the vendor is unable to support newer versions, it is important to let them know which version your company needs, and why.
For this reason, we will discuss some popular versions of SQL Server from older to newer and mention their advantages in this blog.
Which SQL Server Version Works Best with SQL Performance Tuning?
Knowing the versions that support this task is extremely important because it will give you the ability to improve the SQL Server database and SQL performance.
To that effect, we will discuss the SQL Server 2016, 2017, and 2019 versions here.
SQL Server 2016
This version was chosen by a lot of independent software vendors or ISVs for one reason – 2016’s Service Pack 1 edition came with Enterprise features in Standard mode. These helped create a single application version that worked simultaneously for both Standard as well as Enterprise clients.
Advantages of Choosing this Version:
- It is easy to find support material online as this version is quite popular and numerous database professionals are well-versed with this version’s tools.
- Standard Edition users may find this version appealing since it supports 128GB RAM and additional space for internal functions such as query plans.
- Support for this version ends after 2026 – longer than the older versions (2012/2014).
- Newer applications that have additional compliance requirements will benefit from features in this version such as Always Encrypted, temporal tables, and Dynamic Data Masking. These will make it somewhat easier to protect and monitor sensitive information.
- You can have both row store and column store indexes in this version, unlike the earlier ones that only had row store indexes.
- If you need query plan monitoring to help with SQL performance tuning, you can use the Query Store’s features provided in SQL Server 2016 for this purpose.
SQL Server 2017
Being a newer release, it is one of the most regularly updated versions with patches coming in almost every other month. These patches are important because they resolve significant problems. It also comes with a minimum commit replica configuration to ensure commits are accepted by several replicas.
Advantages of Choosing this Version:
- The upgrades are easier to get from this version onward due to a Distributed Availability Group that contains multiple SQL Server versions in it. Before this, we had AG version upgrades that were not as convenient, leading most users to construct a new cluster and migrate to it rather than opt for an upgrade.
- This version contains batch mode execution plans, which gives those who require high-performance column store statements an advantage.
- If you must run your SQL Server on Linux, you may consider SQL Server 2017 as several bugs have been resolved in the Cumulative Updates.
- It’s a newer version so support will last longer than that of its predecessor.
SQL Server 2019
Released on November 4, 2019, this version is the latest in the SQL Server series. Naturally, it comes with the longest support lifespan, i.e. it will be supported until 2030. This version also receives regular patch updates to fix many significant issues in the form of Cumulative Updates.
Changes and Features in this Version:
- Patch contents aren’t documented anymore. Moreover, you are likely to receive updates with undocumented new features – something to consider in case you require it for mission-critical production environments.
- There is a bit of a learning curve thanks to some cutting-edge features in this version, so be prepared to perform some experimentation as you learn.
- Some of the best performance features are included in the 2019 compatibility mode. However, you will have to keep a close eye on all SQL Server databases and SQL queries – even the ones running fast at present – as these will alter your current execution plans. In other words, you will have to test both slow and fast queries to make sure the slow ones speed up and the fast ones don’t fall behind in performance.
- Table variables have gotten better in this version along with user-defined functions.
- Additional features to watch out for including Big Data Clusters, Java support, and high container availability, so you may want to explore this version if you’re looking for perks like these in the SQL Server you want.
At this point, SQL Server 2017 might seem like the best version to go with, thanks to a balance of features, stability, and support lifespan. Furthermore, you’ll receive plenty of help with SQL performance tuning – a lifesaver for overworked professionals who may not have the time or resources to upgrade every server every year.
Effective database management requires one or more tools regardless of the platform your databases run on. The benefit of these tools is, whether they are operating on Windows, macOS, Linux, or the cloud, the tools mentioned below don’t require the same platform as the databases.
Thanks to plenty of choices when it comes to SQL management tools, it may seem difficult to select the ones that will work best as per your specific needs. In this blog, we’ve picked out the best paid and free SQL tools for Windows along with their essential features.
Free SQL Tools for Windows with a Graphical User Interface (GUI)
Consider the following free SQL tools for Windows to help you with efficient database management:
- SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT)
The SSDT is designed for a variety of databases such as Azure SQL, SQL Server relational databases, RS reports(Reporting Services), IS packages(Integration Services), and AS data models (Analysis Services). It is a development tool that allows users to create and implement any SQL Server content form with a convenience identical to that of Visual Studio.
- SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)
The SQL Server Management Studio tool comes with an interactive Graphical User Interface that helps users control a SQL Server database or an instance. Users can gain access to any part of the SQL Server, Azure Synapse Analytics, or the Azure SQL Database and make changes, regulate, supervise, and develop them.
You may want to look for this tool when you download free SQL Server as it also offers an all-encompassing utility which brings together a wide range of graphical tools along with several rich script editors. These are useful to DBAs and developers of varying skill levels.
- Visual Studio Code
The Visual Studio Code enables users to write T-SQL scripts using a compact editor. We are talking about the mssql extension – the official extension for Visual Studio Code that supports SQL Server linking and offers a productive T-SQL editing experience.
- Azure Data Studio
This is also a compact and handy editor capable of running SQL various functions including –
- Executing SQL statements whenever required
- Organizing preferred database connections
- Viewing and storing results in text, JSON, or Excel format
- Exploring database objects in a familiar environment
- Editing information
Tosska’s Range of SQL Tuning & Query Optimizer Tools
Tosska Technologies offers several solutions to improve database performance through query optimization in SQL. With the goal of introducing new technologies that will help users overcome SQL-related obstacles, they provide a range of software designed using AI technology capable of solving a broad range of database performance issues.
Here’s what this range includes:
- Tosska SQL Tuning Expert (TSES™) for SQL Server® – Unlike some of the free SQL tools for Windows, this is a powerful tool that doesn’t require professional expertise to tune your SQL queries. The AI engine does all the work, generating the most useful hints and alternate SQL statements that are semantically equivalent to the query that’s been entered to know whether there are better execution plans. You may pick the best option among the ones provided by the engine.
- Tosska SQL Tuning Expert (TSEM™) for MySQL® – The TSEM™ comes with the A.I. capabilities of the TSE product range. However, this one-button-solution tool is tailored specifically for the MySQL database, tuning MySQL SQL queries without the users’ intervention. Users don’t have to perform manual rewriting or use the hit-and-trial method for each troublesome query, since it’s all handled by our embedded AI engine.
- Tosska SQL Tuning Expert for Oracle® (TSE™ and TSE Pro™) version 4 – This tool comes with features exclusive to this family of tools, such as SQL rewrite, index exploration, and injecting Oracle hints to help tune SQL queries and boost their performance. It may or may not access your source code depending on the requirements, and the tool comes with a smart Indexes Advisor that offers cost-efficient indexes as per the workload. Make sure you get it when you download free tool and take advantage of this cutting-edge technology!
- Tosska In-Memory Maestro (TIM™) for Oracle® – The TIM™ transforms the in-memory SQL optimization process into an automatic one and gives suggestions according to the SQL workload in question through our proprietary A.I. engine. It also offers a user-friendly simulation feature that virtually assesses table objects present in the memory for a SQL workload but doesn’t occupy those table objects.
Bind Variables are typically considered as one of the major aspects of enhanced SQL query performance. According to Oracle documentation, they serve as a placeholder in a SQL query, getting replaced by a particular value that helps in statement execution.
The use of these variables enables users to create statements that can receive time-running parameters or inputs. One may think of bind variables as “value” given to the SQL query that acts as any function in programming languages. Here, we will talk more about them as well as their advantages and disadvantages in Oracle database and SQL.
Bind Variables: Examples of Their Uses
Consider the following statements in SQL –
Select * from Staff where S_No = 1 ;
Select * from Staff where S_No = :a ;
In the first query, a proper value (1) is applied to operate the query, whereas, in the next query, we have used a bind variable (:a) to operate the statement. This bind variable is given to Oracle when the query is run.
Defining a bind variable in the SQL statements in the place of literal values ensures that a single Parent Cursor is utilized by Oracle for the query. This helps improve database performance because Oracle searches for precise text matches for the query to check whether it already exists in the shared pool. Using a bind variable rather than a literal value saves an expensive hard parse for each run of that query.
Bind variables prove especially useful in OLTP-type environments because their use facilitates soft parsing. In other words, it takes less processing time to re-generate execution plan.
How Bind Variables Help Improve Database Performance
Given below are some advantages of using bind variables:
- Optimal Use of Shared Pool – The Shared Pool in Oracle Database needs to hold a single query instead of possibly numerous queries, thanks to bind variables.
- Improved Performance Due to Zero Hard Parsing – There is no need for hard parsing because SQL queries only diverge in terms of values.
- Decreased “library cache” Latch Contention – Since library cache latch contention is needed during a hard parse, its requirement reduces when bind variables are used.
Shortcomings of Bind Variables
The disadvantages of using bind variables are few. Although bind variables prove excellent if you want to improve Oracle database performance, there are instances where their use can negatively impact results:
- They can decrease the flow of information needed to compute the best access path for CBO (Cost Based Optimizer). The CBO, in turn, may fail to identify the correct selectivity and create insufficient bad execution plans, opting for a complete table scan instead of using indexes.
- Sometimes, the CBO requires the literal value to be used by SQL in order to build a robust execution plan. With bind variables, the literal value gets “hidden”, so the CBO is likely to create a subpar plan.
To overcome this issue, Oracle has tried to provide further assistance to the CBO by enabling it to take a look at the bind variable’s value during execution plan creation, which is known as “Bind Variable Peeking”.
The use of bind variables is extremely useful in Oracle database performance, especially when it comes to OLTP environments. However, as a user, you need to be careful while using bind variables. . It is recommended to use bind variables for short runtime SQL, but use literals for long time SQL statements to more information to CBO to generate good query plans.