When you hear the phrase “database performance,” what do you think it means? Most of us think of how fast a database returns a query. We want to be able to send a query, and, no matter how much data it is returning, we want that query to run instantaneously. Unfortunately, as most of us know, that just doesn’t happen. However, performance can be tuned to retrieve data sets in the most efficient way possible. Whether that means getting one row back in less than a second or trying to retrieve 50,000 filtered rows in less than an hour, it can almost always be accomplished. One of the primary ways of speeding access to the data is by using an index.

In this chapter, we discuss what indexes are, how to determine which ...

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