Is Tuning software? Here Is A Detailed Breakdown

A computer system has two main parts – hardware and software.

Hardware is the physical part of the computer. The mouse, keyboard, RAM, and CPU all constitute computer hardware.

The software refers to programs that run on the computer. Prominent program used by big firms to store and manage information is the database system.

Database management refers to all the processes involved in maintaining a database.

One such process is tuning. Tuning or database tuning is the process of maintaining a database at optimum function.

This takes us to the question. 

So, is tuning software?

No, tuning is not software. Software refers to a computer application or program. 

Tuning involves checking out every part of a database system. This activity includes both hardware and software.

Database operators carry out certain activities to ensure the maximal usage of system resources. As a result, work done is rapid and efficient.

We refer to these activities as database tuning. Tuning helps to reduce query response times and minimize bottlenecks.

What Is Tuning?

Database tuning is the process of getting a database to perform at its optimum.

In designing a system, the designers put a lot of emphasis on the use of system resources. 

Nonetheless, there are ways in which one can improve the use of system resources. One way is to optimize the hardware running the database software by customizing settings.

Activities involved in tuning include:

  • Setting up RAID systems.
  • Selecting hardware for servers.
  • Getting operating systems configured.
  • Configuring the database.
  • Deploying clusters.

When database performance is poor, it becomes difficult for operations to run at optimum. 

Since companies need access to their database, database tuning is part of running a successful business.

What Happens During Database Tuning?

Database tuning involves checking both software and hardware configurations of the disk subsystems.

This process involves examining storage cabinets, controller cards, the configuration of disks, block size allocation, stripe size allocation, RAID configuration, and levels. 

Temporary spaces and transaction logs make use of I/O significantly. Due to this, they affect performance.

Database administrators carry out database tuning. They position tables and indexes in a way that ensures easy retrieval from separate disks.

The implication of this is data retrieval does not take too long. When you access indexes and tables, you position them on different disks. 

This technique prevents query queuing and balances I/O. We refer to this process as parallelism.

DBMS Tuning

DBMS stands for the database management system.DBMS tuning is a process that involves tuning the DBMS. 

It also includes configuring the memory and the processing system resources responsible for operating the DBMS.

DBMS tuning involves various processes. Some of these processes are scheduling the time needed to restore data state to a certain point in time. 

We refer to this time as the recovery interval. It also involves distributing tasks among various processing resources.

Improving index

It will be impossible to shed light on data structure if we do not attend to perfect indexing. 

Indexing is not a difficult task. However, without an optimized index structure, query processing becomes inefficient and slow. 

When you put indexing through analysis and revitalize it, it becomes possible to access the required disk. This way, you will not struggle to get the needed data.

Input/output (I/O)

This tuning involves the absolute optimization and assessment database hardware setting. If you are going through an input/output bottleneck, there are lots of things to consider.

Some of them are storage systems, controller cards, overall disk configuration, block/stripe size, and Redundant Array of Independent Disk.

Without proper placement of transaction logs, performance becomes difficult. 

When I/O tuning is on, the DBA gets to troubleshoot the exact reason for slow performance. It also configures your hardware.

Types Of Tuning

There are different types of database tuning. Let’s carefully examine them one after the other.

Database management system (DBMS) configuration

DBMS tuning is a form of tuning that overhauls database performance. This tuning is as necessary as database memory. Processing resources ensures that the database operates efficiently.

There are lots of processes involved in the reinvigoration of the DBMS. 

These processes are recovery intervals and memory management and tuning network protocols to ensure adequate communication between different data consumers, managing buffers and cache.

Query tuning

Query tuning is the process of working on the structure of queries. Query tuning improves execution time.

When a database tuning session is on, a DBA assesses the current criteria.

This way, they can gauge how effective query return is. The absence of well-structured queries and selection criteria will lead to issues in accessing data. 

These issues will lead to inefficient outputs. The implication is that when working on the structure of queries, it becomes possible for users to enjoy precise and rapid access to data.

Database Maintenance

Database maintenance involves column statistics, backups, and data defragmentation. Heavy usage of databases leads to rapid growth in database logs.

To make future entries, one must remove transaction log entries. Regular transaction log backups are not very big. Due to this, their direction of database activity is shorter.

To locate data in a range against an index or table, DBMS makes use of statistic histograms. The regular schedule of statistics is therefore vital. 

Accurate updates of statistics make room for query engines. It helps you make the right decision about execution plans.

Defragmentation of index and table data increases the efficiency of accessing data. To a large extent, the type of data is responsible for the degree of fragmentation.

The Importance Of Database Tuning

Database tuning enhances performance. However, this is just one part of the process of ensuring applications run smoothly. 

Database tuning organizes your data in a way that ensures you do not struggle to retrieve information. 

In the absence of database tuning, keep in mind that you may likely run into issues when carrying out queries.

Database managers and administrators consider tuning their database performance when they get several complaints of slow applications or queries. 

Tuning is imperative, as the performance of a business is likely to experience a decline with an increase in the complaints of reduced satisfaction by users.

Characteristics Of Poor Database Performance

There are indications of poor database performance. Let us discuss some of them.

Latch contention:

A latch is an electronic device that adjusts input based on changing output. It stores information in bits. Latch contention occurs when multiple servers attempt to acquire latches that are incompatible with each other.

Slow physical I/O

This problem is evident in low disk speed. Slow physical I/O will slow down query response time and data retrieval.

As soon as a database manager notices these issues, it becomes expedient to fix them.

Challenges Of Database Tuning

Database tuning is non-negotiable to manage the ever-increasing data of an organization.

While businesses need good database administrators to carry out database management, this practice is not free from challenges.

Let us walk through some of the challenges associated with database management.

The absence of resource monitoring: 

Effective database optimization involves lots of implementation. While this may not appear as a challenge, it becomes challenging. The reason is that database optimization is a continuous process. 

Due to the continuous nature of this process, a database manager has to monitor the entire process. In as much as this is possible, it can be cumbersome.

The changes that take place during database optimization can be a bit too heavy for the system. 

System overload might end up in the extreme consumption of resources. Included in this is heavy usage of I/O components, Memory, and CPU.

Wrong indexing: 

The size of a database is equivalent to the data it stores. Also, when data gets large, this could overload the system. Usually, for the database optimization process to work rapidly, database administrators create an index. 

An index could be a solution to issues of excess data. However, things may not always work out correctly. The reason is that the index might be too much or insufficient.

Going by this, indexes designed to make a database optimization may go on and overload the system.

Extreme CPU usage: 

During database optimization, resource monitoring is vital. Regardless of this, the CPU could face excessive usage. 

Overloading of the CPU occurs with the usage of wrongly written queries.


Tuning or database tuning is the process of maintaining a database at optimum function.

Tuning is not software. Software refers to a computer application or program.

Database tuning involves checking both the software and hardware configurations of the disk subsystems.

This process involves examining storage cabinets, controller cards, the configuration of disks, block size allocation, stripe size allocation, RAID configuration, and levels.

DBMS configuration, query tuning, and database maintenance are the different types of tuning.

Database tuning enhances performance. It also helps to organize your data to ensure you do not struggle to retrieve information. 

Database optimization is a great way to get a database system to function at its optimum, and in turn, help struggling businesses find life. 

While several businesses use tuning, it is not free from challenges.

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