The #1 Thing to Never Do to Fix a Performance Problem

Never, ever, disable backups to fix a performance problem.

If you’re not having a performance crisis, you might look at that sentence and say, “Wow, that’s super dumb! Who would ever do that?”

Well, a lot of people, actually. It’s pretty common.

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When performance gets really bad, people get confused. Are all the backups running making it worse? It’s very common for people to think that disabling backups or making them less frequent might lessen the load on the server. It’s worth testing, right?

It’s not.

It’s absolutely possible that backups could be part of a performance problem. You might have hit an IO situation or a bug where backups are exacerbating the issue. But backups exist to protect against data loss. And data loss is worse than poor performance in most environments. (If you’re in the rare environment where data loss isn’t an issue, why were you doing backups anyway?)

If you’re in a performance crisis, do all these things before you ever get close to disabling your backups:

  1. Open a ticket with Microsoft
  2. Have your DBA team document their process for diagnosing the cause of the problem – what they’ve done so far, current findings, and steps still to be taken
  3. Hire an independent consultant
  4. Get management to sign off that additional data loss is acceptable. (They won’t want to, but it’ll get you the budget to do one of the items before this in the list.)