As demands on your SQL Server installation increase, you might have seen reports and queries beginning to run at a lethargic crawl. While a host of design and architecture decisions can help increase the speed and response time of your database, there comes a point when even the most well-designed SQL Server installation can hit the wall in terms of performance.

I recently spoke with Sales Manager Tim Moolic and Product Manager Bob Boule from DBA 24 Hours, a software vendor that has developed a new software product--SQLNitro--that the company claims will improve SQL application response times and network performance at a lower cost than network acceleration appliances.

According to Boule, the compression in SQLNitro helps eliminate the network as a performance bottleneck, makes server-to-server data transfers happen more quickly and improves network performance outside of the database. "Once your data leaves the server, you're stuck with the speed of your network," says Boule. "Our focus is to provide a software solution that makes sure that the delivery of information across the network is made fast and efficient with the use of data compression and optimization of the TCP/IP packets."

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In order to compress and decompress the data, Moolic explained that SQLNitro sits in the TCP stack and avoids drawing from server resources, then organizes and compresses data going to and from the server. SQLNitro does this by sending multiple Tabular Data Stream (TDS) packages (per TCP package) and then compressing the larger TDS packets.

In an example Moolic provided to illustrate the compression benefits, 20K worth of data can be moved via a single 1.5k TCP packet. "Rather than grabbing single 4K packets, we're packing a group of them together and compressing them. When the software encounters uncompressible packets, it's smart enough to turn itself off...then it picks up again when it can have a positive impact on performance."

Moolic and Boule also mentioned that they're currently working on a new version of the software that should add some additional functionality. "Version 1.5 of SQLNitro should be completed soon," says Boule. "This updated version will add support for linked servers, and also include a driver edition that moves our software footprint completely out of the SQL memory space."

SQLNitro 1.2 is currently available for $495, and can be purchased and downloaded directly from the vendor. For more information on SQLNitro, visit the DBA 24 Hours website.