Book Review: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Performance Tuning Cookbook

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Performance Tuning CookbookFull disclosure: Packt Publishing requested that I do this book review. In exchange, they provided me with a complementary e-book.

This book is from Packt Publishing called Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Performance Tuning Cookbook.  The authors are Ritesh Shah (blog | twitter) and Bihag Thaker (blog).

The target audience for this book would be individuals without significant database administration experience. As a BI developer, I don’t have a strong background in administration so I am a good audience from that perspective. However, I’m a poor audience target from the perspective that I was looking for some performance tuning material directed towards ETL processing or relational reporting environments. This book focuses primarily on OLTP environments, although many of the concepts certainly apply to any type of SQL Server environment.

The first chapters focus on tools that are used throughout the rest of the book, so it builds nicely in that regard.  With respect to content, I learned something new from every single chapter starting with the first one.  Sprinkled throughout were a some comments related to the authors’ personal experience – I always like real-life comments, opinions, or suggestions.

One of my favorite recipes was “Configuring Optimize for Ad Hoc Workloads” in Chapter 17. The explanation here was presented a little differently than I’ve seen before, and I understand it better now.  I also enjoyed Chapter 8 on “SQL Server Cache and Stored Procedure Recompilation.” It was a great refresher on procedure cache & query recompilation. It made me think of a previous project where we used some of the techniques discussed in this chapter.

The text is easy to read, but I did notice quite a few small grammatical issues. I wouldn’t let it hold you back from reading the book - I always understood the point being made. Just something I seemed to keep noticing.

I must admit that I’m a tech book addict, and this one didn’t disappoint me.  If you like the cookbook format, and if you are in the junior-to-intermediate stage in terms of SQL Server administration skills, then it’s definitely worth a read.  I’m planning to take the SQL Server 2012 MCSA and MCSE upgrade exams soon; this book gave me some good information in preparation for the initial exam content that is focused on optimization and troubleshooting.