Typically IT admins spend a significant amount of time managing SQL servers because of the volume of data usage and the number of applications accessing SQL databases. This also makes it difficult to optimize SQL server performance. Let’s get into the details of what you need to optimize and how to improve the performance and availability of your SQL servers.


  • Index Fragmentation: SQL uses indexing to make data searches faster. When data is modified, the index contents scatter which causes fragmentation. Poor index fragmentation not only slows down database searches, it also requires more disk space usage which causes performance degradation.
  • Storage Capacity of Temporary Database: Every SQL server has a shared database called tempdb which is used for storing temporary user and internal objects. There can be bottlenecks in tempdb because there is only a single tempdb available for every instance. To avoid bottlenecks here and improve performance, you will have to optimize the size of the tempdb file and monitor it from time to time.
  • Top Expensive Queries: One bad query from an application using the SQL database will affect the performance of the whole database server itself—not just the individual database belonging to an application. Monitoring expensive queries alerts you to troubleshoot possible issues before the SQL server itself is brought down by a single query from one of the hosted applications.

Monitor SQL Servers and its Key Components

If you want to improve your database performance, you should monitor certain performance counters. These counters monitor the performance of your database server and the server hardware. They will come back and tell you the value of each counter and whether you need to take necessary steps to improve the performance.

  • Processor Time: Monitors the CPU load on the server.
  • Memory Utilization: You’ll know if there are memory bottlenecks which can ultimately lead to paging.


  • Storage Utilization: You can find out how much storage space is used and how much is free. This way you can allocate space accordingly.


  • Average Response Time: This counter will tell you the response time of the SQL server–what is the average response time for specific queries?
  • Page Life Expectancy: Monitoring this counter will tell you the time it takes before the average page is removed from the cache buffer. If this fails below the threshold then it is an indication that your SQL server may require more RAM to improve performance.
  • Blocked Queries: You can check of the number of queries the database server blocked. You’ll know they are blocked for a reason such as poorly written queries, queries that take too long to respond, queries affected by CPU time, efficient queries that are slowed down by slower queries, etc.
  • Transactions per Second: You will get to know the number of database transactions that have started every second.

Advantages of Monitoring SQL Server Performance Counters

  • Keeps you aware of the performance and the availability of the database server at any given time.
  • Increases the effectiveness of the database server.
  • Avoid any kind of performance bottlenecks.
  • Scalability to monitor more databases and instances.
  • Helps you maintain your server hardware and keep it healthy.

Watch this video to find out how to optimize and improve your SQL server performance.