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Greg Smith's PostgreSQL 9.0 High Performance [1] Cary Milsap's Optimizing Oracle Performance [2], and - a pale third, Davidson and Ford's Performance Tuning with SQL Server Dynamic Management Views [3]

The first 2 are bottom-up, structured approaches to benchmarking low-level system performance with an emphasis on *nix, and building up to database performance characterization and investigation. Despite their names, both have a lot of great general, non-product-specific use.

The third I include because it is the only MSSQL-specific book I have on the subject, and it sounds like you're in Windows Land. It has some real gems, but little coverage of the OS or methodology. I cannot over-emphasize how important that methodology is.

Make sure you learn how to use the Resource Monitor, and SQL Profiler.

If you want to chat about it more, I'm justinpitts at google's mail.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/PostgreSQL-High-Performance-Gregory-Sm... [2] http://www.amazon.com/Optimizing-Oracle-Performance-Cary-Mil... [3] http://www.amazon.com/Performance-Tuning-Server-Dynamic-Mana...

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