English lesson: Our database performance has really taken a hit

Warm up questions

  1. What are some common strategies for optimizing database performance?

  2. How do indexes contribute to improving database performance, and what factors should be considered when creating them?

  3. What are composite indexes, and when are they useful in database optimization?

  4. What is the purpose of analyzing complex queries using EXPLAIN plans, and how can it help in database optimization?

  5. What is denormalization in the context of database design, and what are its potential advantages and disadvantages?


Alan: Hey Jeremy, have you had a chance to look into the production issue we're having? Our database performance has really taken a hit.

Jeremy: Yeah, I’ve been looking into it. I think we need to start with our indexes. I noticed we’re missing some on columns that are frequently queried. I’ll add those indexes first.

Alan: Sounds good. While you’re at it, let’s also check if we need any composite indexes for columns that are often used together in our queries. It should help speed things up.

Jeremy: Definitely. I’ll also analyze our complex queries using EXPLAIN plans. We might need to rewrite some of them for better efficiency. By the way, have you considered denormalization for some of our read-heavy tables?

Alan: Yes, I was thinking about that. Denormalization could reduce the number of joins and improve read performance. We should identify the tables that would benefit the most from this approach.


denormalizationtake a hitread-heavy
look intospeed upread performance
indexesdatabase performance
production issuequeriesefficiency

Sample sentences

  1. Look into:

    • Alan needs to look into the recent spike in database errors to identify the root cause.
  2. Take a hit:

    • Our application’s response time has taken a hit since the last update.
  3. Production issue:

    • The team is working around the clock to resolve the critical production issue affecting all users.
  4. Database performance:

    • Improving database performance is essential to ensure our application runs smoothly under high load.
  5. Indexes:

    • We added new indexes to the users table to speed up search queries.
  6. Speed up:

    • To speed up the report generation, we optimized several SQL queries.
  7. Queries:

    • Complex queries are causing significant delays in our system, so we need to optimize them.
  8. Efficiency:

    • By rewriting the inefficient SQL statements, we significantly improved the efficiency of our data retrieval processes.
  9. Denormalization:

    • We decided to implement denormalization in certain tables to reduce the number of joins required for our reports.
  10. Read-heavy:

    • The denormalization strategy is particularly useful for our read-heavy tables, which are queried frequently.
  11. Read performance:

    • Caching frequently accessed data has greatly enhanced read performance in our database.


Initial role play

look into
take a hit
production issue
database performance
speed up
read performance

Final role play


look into
take a hit
production issue
database performance
speed up
read performance

Personal experience

Talk about your personal experience with database optimization.


Reading comprehension

  1. What initial step does Jeremy suggest to improve database performance, and why might this be important?

  2. Why does Alan think it’s important to check for composite indexes in the database?

  3. What tool does Jeremy mention using to analyze complex queries, and what is its purpose?

  4. How does Jeremy propose to determine if any complex queries need rewriting for better efficiency, and why is this step important in optimizing database performance?

  5. What strategy does Alan suggest considering for improving read performance in some tables, and why might denormalization be beneficial in certain scenarios?