This image is an actual screen shot of one of our production SQL Server’s CPU usage, taken from our SQL Sentry monitoring system. Obviously this server was under some strain. Users were complaining that queries were taking 30+ seconds to run when they normally returned data in milliseconds. It eventually reached a point to where applications were timing out because queries were taking so long. After doing some analysis in SQL Sentry, we were able to determine what was causing the CPU spike, and came up with 3 nonclustered indexes to add to help alleviate the pressure. The screen shot you see here is what happened after I added the first index.
Click through to see the image as well as the major difference in CPU utilization from a single change.