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The Data Access Handbook: Achieving Optimal Database Application Performance and Scalability

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  • Posted April 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    optimising use of a database

    Many books about relational databases go into considerable details about optimising the use. Like the way you build the tables and how they are interrelated and joined. In contrast, Goodson and Steward describe a different type of optimisation. Here there are at least 2 computers. On 1 runs your application, while on the other is the database it uses. The application talks to a database driver on its machine, and the driver makes the network conversation with the database. The book describes ways to better configure the application's use of the driver.

    The key recommendations are thus:

    Reduce the number of network connections. Network delays can be considerable, especially if the machines are far apart.

    Reduce the amount of data returned over the network by the database. Discard fields [columns] in rows that are unlikely to be needed by the user; all the more so if the fields are large, like images. If the results are large, it takes time to convert these into network packets and then to reassemble the packets on the application machine. Here the penalty is in the time taken on the database server to find the results, the time to transmit these, and the time to reassemble them on your machine.

    There are more recommendations, but the 2 above seem the most important. The book goes into details about the others. It also has a useful chapter towards the end where several scenarios of actual non-optimal situations are given, along with the causes and resolutions. Worth careful reading for you to get inspiration and possibly clues about your situation.

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