21 rules for faster SQL queries

Follow these tried-and-true techniques to improve the speed and scalability of your relational database

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Everyone wants faster database queries, and both SQL developers and DBAs can turn to many time-tested methods to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, no single method is foolproof or ironclad. But even if there is no right answer to tuning every query, there are plenty of proven do’s and don’ts to help light the way. While some are RDBMS-specific, most of these tips apply to any relational database.

Whether you’re coding on SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, Sybase, MySQL, or some other relational platform, your goal is the same: You want the database to support as many concurrent users as practical while processing queries as quickly as it can. That means you need to minimize locking, I/O, and network traffic, while optimizing space and resource management. 

Tuning a database is both an art and a science. Here are 21 tried and true rules for making your database faster and more efficient.

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