How to Use SQL Server Profiler and Tuning Advisor

In this article you will learn how to use SQL Profiler and database Tuning Advisor to improve the performance of a database.

What is SQL Server Profiler

Microsoft SQL Server Profiler is a graphical user interface to SQL Trace for monitoring an instance of the Database Engine or Analysis Services. You can capture and save data about each event to a file or table to analyze later. For example, you can monitor a production environment to see which Stored Procedures are affecting performance by executing too slowly.

What is Tuning Advisor

Tuning advisor helps to get the performance report that is generated by SQL Profiler and provide the appropriate indexing. It takes one or more SQL statements as input and invokes the Automatic Tuning Optimizer to perform SQL tuning on the statements.

Real Time Example

The following is a real time example:

  • First of all start SQL Server 2008
  • Click on New Query
  • Select Northwind database

Let's fire some select statements.


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Those queries return three tables data, the first table has 1 record, the second has 9 records and third has 166 records.

Now let's start SQL Profiler, go to the tools.


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And provide the login credentials to connect.


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You will see it is shows the trace properties, like name, provider name and provider type.


Image 4.

Now click on the "Run" button.


Image 5.

You will see that there are many queries running internally but we want only the Northwind report. Let's make some changes in the trace properties.


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Since we are creating this for tuning puposes, select the template for tuning and select the event selection tab and click the "Column filters" button.


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Select the database name and in the statement provide the database name and click "Ok".


Image 8.

Now run the profiler again, you will see only the Northwind database queries being executed and loading into the report.


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Now stop the profile and save this report as a trace file.


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So the trace file has been saved at the given location and with the given name.

Now time has come to start the database engine tuning advisor.


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And now select the workload file that we saved on the local machine and select the database to tune and the "Start analysis" button.


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Hit the "Start Analysis" button.


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If you get this error then do the following to remove this error:

  • Go to the Tuning Options tab
  • Click the Advanced Options button
  • Check the defined max space for recommendations
  • Enter 5 in the text box
  • Click "Ok"


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Now click "Start Analysis" again.


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