What is Automatic Tuning?
Automatic tuning refers to a database management system's ability to dynamically optimize its performance without human intervention. It leverages advanced algorithms, machine learning techniques, and telemetry data to continuously monitor the database workload and automatically make adjustments to improve performance.

Why is Automatic Tuning Required?

  • Automatic tuning in SQL Server databases is crucial for several reasons:
  • Performance Optimization: SQL Server databases often deal with large volumes of data and complex queries. Automatic tuning helps optimize database performance by continuously monitoring query execution and adjusting indexes, statistics, and other database structures to ensure efficient query processing.
  • Adaptability: A database's workload can vary over time due to changes in data distribution, query patterns, or system resources. Automatic tuning enables the database to adapt dynamically to these changes without manual intervention, ensuring optimal performance under varying conditions.
  • Resource Management: In a production environment, database resources such as CPU, memory, and disk I/O are often shared among multiple applications and users. Automatic tuning helps manage these resources effectively by identifying and resolving performance bottlenecks, thereby improving overall system throughput and responsiveness.
  • Complexity Handling: Modern applications often rely on complex query patterns involving joins, aggregations, and other operations. Automatic tuning helps simplify the task of database optimization by automating the process of identifying and addressing performance issues, reducing the need for manual tuning by database administrators.
  • Time and Cost Savings: Manual database tuning can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, requiring significant expertise and effort. By automating tuning tasks, SQL Server reduces the administrative overhead associated with database maintenance, allowing administrators to focus on higher-level tasks such as application development and business intelligence.

How Does Automatic Tuning Work?
Automatic tuning relies on a combination of techniques to optimize database performance:

Automatic Tuning in SQL Server Database refers to a set of features introduced in SQL Server 2017 aimed at improving database performance by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. Here's how it generally works:

  • Automatic Plan Correction: SQL Server automatically identifies and corrects performance problems caused by suboptimal query plans. It monitors query performance continuously and compares the actual execution metrics against the expected ones. If it detects a regression in performance, it can automatically force a better execution plan.
  • Automatic Index Management: SQL Server can automatically create, drop, or modify indexes based on the workload patterns. It analyzes the queries executed against the database and suggests index changes to improve performance. These suggestions are based on historical usage patterns and can be implemented automatically if the administrator chooses.
  • Automatic Database Tuning: This feature focuses on improving overall database performance by continuously monitoring and adjusting various database settings like indexing, statistics, and query execution parameters. It uses machine learning algorithms to analyze historical performance data and dynamically adjust configuration settings to optimize performance.
  • Query Store: The Query Store feature in SQL Server tracks query execution plans and runtime statistics over time. It provides insights into query performance trends and helps identify performance issues. Automatic Tuning leverages Query Store data to make intelligent decisions about query plan changes and index adjustments.
  • Adaptive Query Processing: SQL Server 2017 introduced adaptive query processing techniques that enable the database engine to adapt query execution plans based on runtime conditions. Automatic Tuning utilizes these capabilities to dynamically adjust query execution plans to improve performance.
  • Machine Learning Models: Behind the scenes, SQL Server uses machine learning models to analyze historical performance data and predict future workload patterns. These models help in making intelligent decisions about query optimization and index management.

Enabling Automatic Tuning in SQL Server Database
In SQL Server, automatic tuning capabilities are available through features like Automatic Plan Correction and Automatic Index Management. Here's how to enable them:

Automatic Plan Correction: This feature automatically identifies and corrects suboptimal query plans using machine learning algorithms. To enable it, you can use the following Transact-SQL command:

This command enables the database to automatically revert to the last known good query plan if a regression is detected.

Automatic Index Management: This feature automatically creates, drops, or alters indexes based on the workload patterns. To enable it, you can use the following Transact-SQL command:

These commands enable the database to automatically create and update statistics, which are crucial for query optimization.


Overall, Automatic Tuning in SQL Server combines various intelligent features and techniques to continuously monitor, analyze, and optimize database performance, ultimately leading to improved efficiency and reduced management overhead. By enabling these automatic tuning features, SQL Server can effectively optimize its performance without manual intervention, leading to improved efficiency, reliability, and scalability.

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