Weekly survey: what’s the most important thing when performance tuning?

This week's survey is going to provide some fun debating topics. I'd like to know what the number 1 thing is that YOU go after when performance tuning – what do you think is most important? (Assuming you're not just randomly walking up to a server to do some perf tuning – there's an actual problem).

[Edit: And, as I say below – please no comments about what you picked until the results post next week – it skews the results. I've already had to delete 6 comments and ask for them to be held until next week.]

There is deliberately no 'it depends' answer, no 'combination' answer, and no way to suggest something else. If what you think is most important isn't on the list, don't vote, but I'd like to hear your opinion after the editorial next week.

As always, a big Thanks! for contributing to the blog by responding. Please shoot me an email (Contact button, bottom left of the blog), or ping me on Twitter (@PaulRandal) if you have an idea for a good survey.

PS And again, as always, no comments on this post please (I'll delete them straight away) – please wait for the survey results post to avoid skewing the answers. I'm very interested in your reasoning, but not until everyone else responds.

6 thoughts on “Weekly survey: what’s the most important thing when performance tuning?

  1. Hmm, my first vote isn’t even on the list: A good performance problem/goal description. You just *ing in the wind otherwise.

  2. Well, I’m assuming we’re not just walking up to a server and randomly doing some perf tuning :-) I’ll make it explicit in the post.

  3. I spent several years working as a leader of one of DEC’s Performance & Capacity Planning teams, and you just would not believe how many times we got called out to a customer site to address a performance emergency that no one, including the customer, could describe. And yeah, they expected us to "just tune the VMS system until it’s right. I’m sure that’ll fix it."

  4. It’s all very well saying you can’t say "it depends" but you know we’d normally check all those things then concentrate on those which are missing. Each database/server/client will likely have different challenges to tuning and it’s quickly identifying what to go for first which si important – clients sometimes also have the wrong idea of what is wrong.

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