SQL Server Hardware Guide: Finding the Perfect SQL Hardware Configuration for Performance
For system developers and database administrators, ensuring the performance of the SQL server is critical to the company’s overall mission. The SQL server plays perhaps the most important server role for a business, since it stores all the critical data for operations. When performance of these servers is compromised, so are your overall business operations.
In the IT world, all performance eventually comes down to the hardware used, and practices such as tweaking queries to achieve better execution times (instead of upgrading server hardware) are a temporary fix.
Understanding how your SQL server communicates with the hardware and identifying your company’s specific needs can help you select better hardware for your SQL servers when purchasing new equipment. It also can help you make better use of the existing hardware on your server computers.
What Are Common SQL Performance Issues?
SQL server performance is a top priority for database administrators. In many cases, problems don’t begin appearing until the database has grown to a certain size or when the demand on the server has increased. That’s a good indicator that the performance issue is a systemic problem, although even the best SQL environment can run into problems occasionally.
The most common problems seen in SQL servers are sluggish operations that occur suddenly or when the server becomes unresponsive. Slow queries are one of the most prevalent problems when running SQL servers, and in worst-case scenarios, the end user will get a timeout error message. These slow running queries could be the result of anything from missing indexes and poor execution plans to bad application and design.
A poorly designed database or improperly configured system are often at the root of performance problems. Insufficient disk space or other system resources also can manifest as performance issues.
Performance v. Price for Small Businesses
Finding the right SQL server can be challenging for any business, but this is no time to make decisions based solely on budget. While small businesses who are working on a tight budget might be tempted to
take some shortcuts, this can end up costing more in the long run. Building an SQL server computer using off-the-shelf parts may seem like a good way to save money, but cutting those corners can come back to haunt you later.
Your SQL server needs to have parts that were designed to work together and be fully integrated. Buying individual parts like memory, chipsets, processors and controller cards is a much more challenging (and much less reliable) way to get a server.
Instead, look for SQL servers with configurations made specifically for speed and performance. Fast processors and adequate storage are two areas that should be factored into the decision to make sure you’re getting the SQL server that is going to fit your needs. Knowing exactly what kind of performance you need from your system and what load it will carry is also important to ensure you get the proper hardware. Without identifying these things, you run the risk of underbuilding, which means you’ll have to invest in upgrading it to add more power, or overbuilding, which is wasting money on more than you need now or will be able to use in the future.
For example, Aventis Systems offers three high-quality database servers that are designed for mission critical data and provide both top speed and plenty of storage. To make sure the server meets your exact needs, each one provides a different level of performance. From the
Dell PowerEdge R710 SQL Server Basic to the more sophisticated HP ProLiant DL380p Gen8 SQL Server Advanced to the powerful Dell PowerEdge R730XD SQL Server Superior, there’s an SQL server for every size business and budget. And, by customizing each SQL server, we can create a system that fits each company’s individual needs.
To get a clear picture of what you need, analyze existing applications and databases to see how much information you process or expect to process. Then, choose the hardware accordingly.
The Importance of High Availability and Redundancy
Investing in high availability and redundancy is critical for the future success of businesses. Downtime can
cost small businesses up to $427 a minute, and it’s something that most businesses can’t afford. Many never recover from it.
High availability — that is, a system that is highly operational as measured against the standard of being 100% operational — helps reduce or even eliminate the need for downtime in your database, regardless of whether that downtime is planned or unplanned. And, when something such as unexpected downtime does occur, high availability reduces the negative impact of that situation.
One of the best ways to achieve high availability is by having redundant hardware and software that can be used as backup if the primary hardware and software fail. Having
some form of RAID that provides redundancy is a best practice that will ensure backup for your server.
While making sure that you have not just the “right” hardware, but the best hardware for your server environment, is crucial to ensuring safety. Additionally, you need the right managed service provider (MSP) who can help protect your company from potential threats and keep your data safe. Having a
single provider can consolidate maintenance and emergency support to streamline operations and lower your cost.
Protecting Your SQL Server With Disaster Recovery
As previously noted, downtime is costly and sometimes even destructive for businesses. Ensuring that you have disaster recovery tools for your SQL server is one of the most important investments you can make. Regardless of the precautions you take to safeguard your hardware and software, there are many things that are out of your control
Once you have the proper backup hardware in place, it’s time to look at the type of backup software you have that can help recover data when necessary.
One of the best backup options is
Veeam Backup Software, which is designed both for virtual machines and physical servers. The Backup Essentials software is designed to reduce recovery time and avoid data loss while offering data loss avoidance, verified protection and complete visibility.
Veeam’s Backup and Replication software takes that data recovery one step further with fast image-based backup of virtualized environments and an even faster restoration time.
One more thing to consider when configuring a server is power. It’s imperative to have dual power supplies and, preferably, have entirely separate power feeds.
SQL server hardware has many options and, when trying to compare cost, performance and availability, the decision is as individual as your company’s needs. At Aventis Systems, we can help you evaluate your needs and configure the SQL server that best fits your environment. Visit us online at
Aventis Systems or call us at 1-855-AVENTIS to see how we can help your small business find the best SQL configuration for your needs.