SQL Server default configuration allows you to run noncritical applications with only minimal, if any at all, additional configuration changes (and sometimes even with no additional or minimal administration and monitoring). This is especially true for applications running the lower SKUs of the product such as SQL Server Express. However, for most production applications you need to follow a database implementation cycle consisting of four steps: design, configuring, monitoring, and troubleshooting. This is extremely important for mission-critical applications where areas such as performance, availability, or security are an essential requirement. I want to emphasize that this is a cycle as well. Once these four steps are successfully completed and the application goes live, it does not end there. Monitoring is vitally important. As the workload, database, or application changes—or even during regular activity—problems will arise that may require a new thinking, design, and configuration, going back to the aforementioned cycle again. This book focuses on performance and will guide you through all the four areas, giving you the tools and knowledge required to get the best performance out of your databases.