Query Writing Guidelines for SQL Server DBAs and Developers

Working on SQL Server Performance and Tuning for last 8 years has given a great experience to understand the common practices at customers’ end. Recently, I was looking at the list of companies in India I have worked with ,  during my tenure at Microsoft is around 48. I wanted to share the common trends and my observation with you through this post. It may be a great help to sort out really common unknown issues on the job as a SQL DBAs and developers.

I have observed a disconnect between DBA and Developer team most of the times. The common dialogues which I have heard from both the DBAs and Developers are:

1. Developers don’t know how to write a query
2. Developers create indexes without knowing their impact
3. Developers never see execution plan of the queries before releasing those on the production server

1. DBAs don’t do nothing 🙂
2. No visibility to the queries performing bad
3. Even if we have the list of queries, we don’t know how to tune them
4. What to look in the execution plans
5. No time for query tuning because of the strict deadlines

If we see all this from the top, there’s noone at fault. For DBAs, they are agitated because entire blame is put on them and for developers, they have to listen to the music from the DBA team. It’s all about educating the developers, on how to write the optimal query, the repercussions of the bad code and how it can bring the entire system down. They need to try their best to avoid writing bad code and there has to be efficient review process in place.

For DBA’s , they need to help the developers for the SQL query writing/tuning education and the challenges they face if the queries are bad. While all that is done, the DBA also need to tune the bad code so that, the application can perform optimally. Moreover , if possible have a monthly session on what queries were tuned and the benefit it yielded for the application. The bad queries should be shared with the developers team on regular intervals so that, those can be tuned/written by the developers. All the process has to function in tandem and wherever, I have observed a disconnect between the teams – the duration of SQL Server downtime is higher.

One big improvement point which I have observed for both the teams can be, the deep conceptual knowledge of how indexing works. That’s the reason for having multiple sessions and blog posts on indexing itself.


All in all, if developers start writing optimal queries – there was lesser chances of performance degradation due to application code and lesser the DBAs need to work for query tuning. There should be monthly sessions between DBAs and Developers on the application queries tuning and writing education. it will not only help the teams to work in tandem but will also help to resolve the teams the common challenges they face during the query writing/tuning process.

We had organized a session on , Optimal Query Writing which was delivered by my colleague Sourabh Agarwal. Please go though this post and let any of us know if you have any questions. It covers some best practices for query writing which can be really helpful for developers.

Check the summary of entire sessions on Query writing and tuning here:


The views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not reflect the views of my company. All postings on this blog are provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights

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