4 Common Indicators That Signal Database Performance Issues

Dealing with database performance issues has to be a priority, regardless of the scope or scale of your server infrastructure.

Of course, if you don’t know what to look for, you might not appreciate that performance is suboptimal in the first place.

To avoid this scenario persists, here are some thoughts on how your database can be kept running smoothly, and some signs of underlying issues that should be on your radar.

How to improve your database’s performance

First and foremost, if you aren’t paying attention to the moment-to-moment metrics which illustrate database performance, you’re really missing a trick.

Thankfully with modern monitoring tools, tracking the ups and downs of performance over time is a breeze, and you can even benefit from automated alerts and anomaly detection.

Rather than relying on manually detecting and troubleshooting the upcoming issues, you can improve database performance with DPA and other cutting-edge solutions, making all sorts of administrative duties easier in the process.

Performance issues unpicked

As mentioned, there are many database performance red flags you have to be aware of, including:

Sluggish app operation

The apps that are reliant on your database to function normally can be a great early warning system when something isn’t right behind the scenes.

If functions that normally feel snappy are suddenly running at a snail’s pace, or you get random hitches and hold-ups at points where they don’t usually occur, it’s time to start troubleshooting at a server level.

Hardware resource monopolization

Another aspect you can’t afford to ignore is how the database is harnessing the hardware resources at its disposal.

If a rogue process is taking over valuable I/O bandwidth, CPU clock cycles, or allocated memory, this will have a domino effect that limits the responsiveness of the entire instance.

Likewise if your available storage is close to its capacity, this will result in performance degradation. The root cause could be something straightforward, like an improperly configured TempDB. However, it could also come down to the current hardware reaching the end of its usefulness, as the database has expanded with time, in which case an upgrade is the only option.

Unplanned downtime

Database downtime is never desirable, but is often necessary in order to carry out routine maintenance. If outages occur outside of these scheduled sessions, then you need to be on the ball about scrutinizing the reasons behind them, and addressing any issues identified.

Even if the database is generally performing smoothly, minor outages can indicate serious dilemmas bubbling away beneath the placid surface. So don’t just shrug and put downtime down to a ghost in the machine, but take the time to investigate further.

Excessive blocking & deadlocks

Databases which run on SQL will experience blocking and even deadlocking in the normal course of their operations, so you don’t need to be too concerned by occasional instances of processes clashing over the available resources.

However, if the frequency of conflicts such as these is too great, then performance will falter. You’ll potentially need to take a look at any queries which may be improperly composed, or check to see that exclusive locks are not being overused.


Each database administrator has a responsibility to monitor performance and preempt problems with maintenance and intervention as a priority.

Combining your knowledge of issues that signal performance is not what it should be with tools intended to help you find solutions to common problems is sensible. Don’t make your job harder either by sticking to manual monitoring, or by letting obvious flaws go unaddressed until they blow up in your face.

About Kevin Kline

Kevin Kline is a renowned database expert and software industry veteran currently serving is the Director of Engineering Services at SentryOne, a leading vendor of database and business intelligence tools. A Microsoft SQL Server MVP since 2004, Kevin was a founding board member and former president of PASS. He has written or co-written eleven books including the best-selling SQL in a Nutshell. Kevin contributes monthly columns to SQL Server Pro and DBTA magazines. Kevin is a noted trainer and thought leader on IT leadership skills, database management technology and practices, and SQL Server performance tuning and optimization. Kevin is a top-rated speaker at conferences worldwide such as Microsoft TechEd, the PASS Summit, DevTeach, Oracle OpenWorld, and SQL Connections.


  1. very nice article!

  2. Sir we have one user in my database a lot of people are connected through sql developer they are updated and deleted same records also they are inserted same records I want to know which one is updated or deleted

    How to find that one ☝️ sir ?

    My database it’s not enabled audit sir

    • You have to enable the Fine grained auditing and audit the related tables, after that you can check who delete, insert updated.

      Or if you just know how many delete,insert and update occured in the database, you can use the ALL_TAB_MODIFICATIONS or DBA_TAB_MODIFICATIONS views.

  3. As for databases, I work with Salesforce. So I can recommend a useful tool – ms access salesforce connector.

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