Case Study: SQL Doctor

Healthcare-related Company in South Africa Fixed Slow and Erratic SQL Server with SQL Doctor

I am the lead developer for an IT company that deals with the healthcare industry in South Africa. We develop a variety of software products, which cover a wide range of services. One of the products uses SQL Server, which services a large client base. Clients connect using web services and data is processed within SQL Server. This means that we require a responsive, dependable and serviceable base.

About a year ago I came across IDERA SQL Doctor on one of my Google searches while looking for a resolution of a blocking issue on our production server. I downloaded the trial copy and installed it and immediately found a major problem on the server to do with the setup of the server itself (lots of memory in a 32 bit environment). I then approached the director of the business and tried to get him to purchase the product. However, he did not really understand the value of the product – after all, he had me to fix the problems!

About a month ago we started having slow-downs on the server. It wasn’t anything that I could put my finger on as it was a random event. Usually it had already passed when it was noticed and I had been alerted.

It was frustrating and annoying and I knew that I needed to get help. I once again turned to IDERA and this time, managed to convince the director that SQL Doctor would be an important tool that would improve server performance as well as reduce the turnaround time for issue-resolution.

I hadn’t had the time to do anything more than install the product when, on Tuesday the 28th of May at around 9:30AM our server started behaving erratically. Queries were literally piling up and blocking was a major issue

The very first thing I did was to run SQL Doctor and do an analysis.

Within 10 minutes, the analysis was complete and a host of issues were identified. However, the issue that was causing all of the problems was a very small query (small as in number of lines) that was running multiple times. This query eventually ended up locking a table and blocking all other systems that were linked to that particular table. Because the query is fired off from a web service, it wasn’t a “visible” query and in testing it had always behaved. However, in a production environment and with multiple connections the behaviour was not what had been planned for.

SQL Doctor pinpointed the issue, offered a resolution and allowed us to implement the fix, within an incredibly short period of time. By 2PM the problem had been resolved and the server was running properly.

There was more – I implemented some of the other, performance related suggestions that SQL Doctor had made and the server performance improved to a point that I would not have expected. Simple tweaks that are often overlooked (or tweaks that are not that well known) added speed and processing improvements that I would not have expected.

Based on how quickly I was able to find the problems, address them and resolve them I can loudly state and, better yet, show the director that his purchase of SQL Doctor has had an almost immediate return on investment. I have yet to implement all the fixes that SQL Doctor has highlighted, so performance should just get better and better.

We have our eye on another IDERA product and this experience will allow me to push the director into that purchase a lot more easily than if I had tried a week ago.

IDERA saved my hide, something that I am very grateful for.

Then there is the after-sales service! A friendly telephone call within days of purchase – something that I really wasn’t expecting.

IDERA has great products, combined with a great team. I am more than pleased with the purchase – it is money very well spent.

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