Pre-Con Previews

Q&A with Grant Fritchey

Query Performance Tuning: Start to Finish

Q. If your pre-con had a theme song, what would it be and why?
“Never Gonna Stop” by Rob Zombie. Because it's a great song and because tuning T-SQL queries is a never-ending process. Also, there's always more to learn and better ways to get things done - so, never stop.

Q. What excites you most about query performance tuning?
It's pretty simple. I love seeing the query run faster. Sometimes you get little improvements. Sometimes you get regressions. But sometimes, sometimes you get that giant improvement that makes people stop short and say, "Wow!" That's what I'm going for all the time. And because SQL Server is constantly growing and changing in what it does and how it does things, there's always more to learn about making queries run faster.

Q. Where does your workshop take attendees beyond what you might cover in a 60- or 75-minute session?
In a 60 minute session, I can show you some concepts on how the optimizer works or how to look at execution plans. But with an all-day session, I can really show you how it all ties together and how you can see the optimizer at work in your queries.

Q. What's the most surprising statement attendees might hear you say during the pre-con?
Wouldn't that be giving it away for free? Seriously though, I don't think I say anything all that shocking. At least I hope I don't.

Q. What’s the biggest myth you’d like to debunk about diagnosing slow-running queries?
I think the biggest one is that you can simply index your way out of poor code or poor data structures. You can't. I'm pretty sure I cover enough of the topic that people will at least arrive at a point where the first thing they think of is not slapping yet another index on a table.

Q. What still trips you up in your adventures in gathering and analyzing performance metrics?
I would have to say it's my understanding of the optimizer. I'm still pretty regularly surprised at why it chooses one path as opposed to another. I can frequently figure it out, but not always. Sometimes it's just a mystery to me.

Q. If attendees could start putting into practice just one thing after your pre-con, what would you want that to be?
I'd love to see people writing T-SQL in a way that avoids the easy-to-fix errors. It's just shocking sometimes the amount of simple fixes with massive improvements in speed that you see out there.

Check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2012 pre-con speakers.

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