Let me blurt out the punch line of this article in one sentence. The main performance problem in the huge majority of database applications is bad SQL code. It is not lack of hardware. It is not network traffic. It is not slow front ends. All of those problems have been solved by technologies that made them commodities instead of major purchases and custom-built items.

The next obvious question is: Why do we have bad SQL code? A big reason is that it is very easy to write bad SQL and difficult to write good SQL. If you can get a query to run at all, it will return something. If you get back the something you wanted to get, then life is good. But very often, you cannot tell if a result is right just by looking at the result set.

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