In this issue:

Tech News : Security

Tech News : The Lighter Side

SQL Server News

Microsoft News : General Interest

Hardware News

Blogs : Administration

Blogs : Backup and Recovery

Blogs : Computing in the Cloud

Blogs : Data Mining

Blogs : DMO/SMO/Powershell

Blogs : Events

Blogs : Hardware

Blogs : Integration Services/ETL

Blogs : Performance and Tuning

Blogs : Professional Development

Blogs : Security and Auditing

Blogs : T-SQL

Blogs : Virtualization

Database Weekly - www.databaseweekly.com

The Complete Weekly Roundup of SQL Server News

Hand-picked content to sharpen your professional edge

SQL Server News for 2012-09-03

Once in a while you come across a tool you just can't live without
…I can't imagine managing a large SQL environment any other way - Aaron Kolysko, Monsoon Commerce. Get started with SQL Monitor today - download a free trial
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Keep database dev teams in sync using your version control system and the SSMS plug-in SQL Source Control. Learn more.
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Cut our backup times in half and reduced the space used by 80%!" Tobie Dunn, SQL Backup Pro 7 user. See what savings you can achieve - download a free trial today.
Editorial - The Ego, the Id and the DBA

Leaving aside, for a second, Freud's psychoanalytical definitions, the term "ego" generally refers to a person's sense of self, and their self-esteem. In casual usage, however, it usually appears in the adjectival form, "egotistical" (most often followed by "jerk").

You don't need to be a jerk to be a DBA; humility is important. However, ego is important too. A good DBA needs a certain degree of self-esteem…a belief and pride in what he or she can do better than anyone else can. The ideal DBA needs to be humble enough to admit when they are wrong but egotistical enough to know when they are right, and to stand up for that knowledge and make their voice heard.

In most organizations, the DBA team is seriously outnumbered by headstrong developers and clock driven managers, and "great" DBAs will often be outnumbered by...well...the not so great. In order to be heard in this environment, a DBA will not only need to be very skilled, but will also need a healthy dose of ego. As Freud might have put it, the unconscious desire of the DBA (the id) is for iron-fist control over their databases, and code that runs in them. However, the ego moderates this desire, seeking to "satisfy the id in realistic ways that, in the long term, bring benefit rather than grief". In other words, the ego understands the need to exert a measure of control and self-belief, but also to tolerate and play nicely with developers and other DBAs.

The trick, naturally, is learning how to be heard when it is important, but also to make everyone around you welcome that input, even when you have to be bold to make the "I know what I am talking about, and you…well...not so much" decisions.

Consider a baseball team, bottom of the ninth inning of the championship game, man on first and down one run. Almost anyone on that team will have the ability to hit a home run, but only one or two will have the iron belief that they can pull it off in this critical, end-game situation. The player you need in this situation is the one who has passionately gone the extra mile preparing for just this moment, is bursting at the seams with self-confidence, and can look the coach in the eye and state, boldly, "Put me in, I am your best bet".

Likewise, on those occasions when high customer demand coincides with copious system errors, and panic is bubbling just beneath the surface, you don't need the minimally qualified support person, armed with the "reboot and hope" technique (though that sometimes works!). You need the DBA who steps up and says, "Put me in" and has the skill and tenacity to back up those words and to fix the pinpoint and fix the problem, whatever it takes, while keeping customers and managers happy.

Of course, the egotistical DBA will happily spend hours telling you how great they are at their job, and how brilliantly they put out a previous fire, and this is no guarantee that they can deliver. However, if an otherwise-humble DBA looks you in the eye and says, "I can do it", then hear them out. Sometimes, this burst of ego will be exactly what's required.

Louis Davidson (guest editor).

To find out more about the essential characteristics of a DBA, check out Louis's "What Counts for a DBA" series, over at Simple-talk.com.

» Join the debate, and respond to today's editorial on the forums


The Weekly News

All the headlines and interesting SQL Server information that we've collected over the past week, and sometimes even a few repeats if we think they fit. These headlines are gathered throughout the week and are posted in real time at the website. Check there for information throughout the week or enjoy this weekly summary of the SQL Server world.


Tech News : Security

Lesson from Toyota Hack: Threats Can Be Internal, Too - "People do, of course, leave jobs all the time and most of them would never dream of logging back in to their old place of work," said security researcher Graham Cluley. "But it only takes one bad apple to wreak havoc. So make sure your defenses are in place, and that only authorized users can access your sensitive systems." ...(more)

Dropbox Testing Two-Step Authentication - If Dropbox users select to receive the security code by text, text messages will be sent to their phones whenever they sign on with their password. For those choosing third-party apps, the apps must support the Time-based One-Time Password standard. In addition to the six-digit security code, Dropbox users will also need a password to sign in....(more)

Tech News : The Lighter Side

The Top Five Signs You Need a Break from SQL Server - Even when you love your job, you can get too much of a good thing. How do you know when your love of technology is taking you too far away from reality?...(more)

Comic: How to write CV for NoSQL - Exploit the NoSQL boom......(more)

SQL Server News

SQL Server 2008 R2 Cumulative Updates are available - Microsoft has released cumulative updates for SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Cumulative Update #8 and SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 Cumulative Update #2...(more)

SQL Server 2012 Cumulative Update #3 is available! - Today the SQL Server Release Services Team has released the third Cumulative Update for SQL Server 2012. The KB article is at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2723749. The build number is: 11.0.2332.0 (though the KB article currently says 11.0.2330). There are 36 fixes publicly documented at the time of writing. ...(more)

Microsoft News : General Interest

Four ways to bypass the Windows 8 startpage - Don't like the Modern UI style formerly known as Metro? Here's how to bypass it....(more)

Will Microsoft's developers make the WinRT platform leap? - Can Microsoft make another big platform leap? Forrester's answer: "Yes, but the odds are long...So much of Microsoft’s future growth and profitability is tied to the success of this platform, and the obstacles to success with Windows 8 and WinRT, and to some degree Windows Azure, are great....(more)

Hardware News

Applied Micro shows 64-bit ARM server chip, ignites x86 debate - Applied says its ARM-based system-on-chip will greatly reduce costs for Web-scale and big data workloads...(more)

Blogs : Administration

Bulk Copy - Use BCP from SQL to concat databases - This post’s goal is to introduce you to Bulk Copy. We’ll create a SQL query which is going to concatenate several attached databases and extract the data to an output csv file. The first goal is to demonstrate how to use Bulk Copy as well as solving an issue that I sometime encountered for some customers, meaning, converting several databases into a single one and extract it as CSV....(more)

Handling a Full SQL Server Transaction Log - The transaction log for a SQL Server database is critical to the operation of the database and the ability to minimize data loss in the event of a disaster. As such, proper management of log backups and sizing of the transaction log is crucial to managing a database in SQL Server....(more)

Recover access to a SQL Server instance - Starting with SQL Server 2008, the local Administrators group is no longer added by default during SQL Server setup; you even have to use a manual step to add the current user as a local administrator. This means that it is possible, especially if you don't use mixed authentication (or have forgotten the sa password), that you can be completely locked out of your own SQL Server instance. Thanks to Mark Russinovich of Sysinternals fame, there is a very painless way to solve this problem without any downtime: PsExec....(more)

Registered Servers and Central Management Server Stores - SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) has many features that make it particularly convenient for the database developer and DBA. Registered Servers are typical: poorly documented, but essential for the busy DBA, since they are easily scriptable via TSQL or PowerShell as well as the SSMS GUI, to access groups of servers to perform a wide range of tasks....(more)

Scary SQL Surprises: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Replication - The more SQL Servers I see, the more scared I get. There are a staggering number of ways that your server can sneak around behind you and … well, let’s just say you shouldn’t drop the soap in the datacenter....(more)

Survey: transaction log files per database (code to run) - Paul Randal would like to find out, and discuss, the distribution of the number of log files per database for your servers....(more)

How to patch SQL Server 2012 Setup with an updated setup package - In SQL Server 2012, there is a new setup feature introduced which can apply a patch to SQL Server bits before the server is even set up for the first time. You download a cumulative update patch from the hotfix link in the Kb articles, then point setup to the right folder and it will patch itself....(more)

10 things to know when starting out as a sysadmin - Backups, monitoring, logging, security, documentation....an eminently sensible list, and all of which apply equally to DBAs....(more)

Blogs : Backup and Recovery

SQL 2012 AlwaysOn and Backups – Part 3 – Restore - Conclusion of a 3-part series on some of the nuances of backup and recovery in Availability Groups....(more)

Who’s taking your backups? No, really – who’s taking your backups? - Me, Somone else, Don't Know. If you answered the last one, now is the time to panic....(more)

Blogs : Computing in the Cloud

How I Work: A Cloud Developer's Workstation - First, a couple of important points. I work in Cloud Computing, specifically (but not limited to) Windows Azure. Windows Azure has features to run a Virtual Machine (IaaS), run code without having to control a Virtual Machine (PaaS) and use databases, video streaming, Hadoop and more (a kind of SaaS for tech pros). As such, my designs run the gamut of on-premises, VM's in the Cloud, and software that I write for a platform....(more)

Microsoft IT’s Journey to the Cloud : An Application View - Microsoft IT (MSIT) currently uses mostly conventional on-premises products, but is moving rapidly to a mixed-use environment in which it utilizes some combination of on-premises software, software as a service (such as Microsoft® Exchange Online), and Windows Azure products....(more)

Unexpected ALTER DATABASE commands causing availability problems in Windows Azure SQL Database - The key combination is having a linked database resource and issuing a Windows Azure role property change command in the new Windows Azure Preview Portal...The core problem here is that the Save command triggers an execution of the ALTER DATABASE even if there aren’t any changes to the database properties!!! ...(more)

Blogs : Data Mining

Table Partitioning vs. Partitioned Views - Recently I was doing some work trying to figure out whether to use Table Partitioning or Partitioned views in a data warehouse to solve a problem. In this particular data warehouse the data cannot be partitioned by date, it’s actually partitioned by a value in a table. ...(more)

Blogs : DMO/SMO/Powershell

Introduction to CIM Cmdlets - PowerShell 3.0 shipping with Windows server 2012 and Windows 8 brings a new set of Cmdlets to manage any server or device that complies with CIM and WS-Man standards defined by DMTF. In this blog post we will explore these new Cmdlets and how can they help IT Pros in managing a datacenter....(more)

Prototypal Inheritance Using PowerShell (Part 3): Mixins - "With mixins, each derivation/extension has the chance to replace override previously declared functionality. Since we aren’t dealing with classical inheritance, we can have multiple mixins applied to a single prototypal object." Yes, we are in PowerShell geek territory....(more)

Blogs : Events

24 Hours of PASS Fall 2012 - Are you ready for some free SQL Server training? A little warm up for the PASS Summit in November? Well you are in luck, coming up in September is the next 24 Hours of PASS. There are six tracks, 24 sessions, and 27 speakers! ...(more)

Blogs : Hardware

Microsoft Surface: Cheat Sheet - Getting under the surface of Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablets - all you need to know....(more)

Intel Haswell-EP Processor Rumors - If the rumors are true, you could see up to 28 physical cores or 56 logical cores in a two socket server with Haswell-EP. ...(more)

Blogs : Integration Services/ETL

Lookup transformation in SSIS: Performance Improvements - There are 2 suggestions I hear about when performance tuning the Lookup transformation on a large dimension table when getting the surrogate key for a fact table. I hope to introduce here a third....(more)

SSIS 2012 Project Configurations - "Overall SSIS 2012 is a huge improvement and personally I have really been enjoying using it, however I must confess to seeing irony in an integration product not being fully integrated within its own development platform. Where’s the continuous integration? Where’s the code analysis? Where’s the unit testing? Where are those things that allow confidence in creating and maintaining quality code?"...(more)

Blogs : Performance and Tuning

T-SQL: Performance of SQL Agent Duration Calculations - A comparison of the performance of math functions versus string manipulaiton to extract the durations of SQL Agent jobs in a dependable and accurate manner. ...(more)

The Joys of Filtered Indexes - Filtered indexes are well-suited for scenarios where you frequently query a well-defined subset of data. This often includes querying ranges of specific values such as dates or monetary ranges, along with scenarios where you frequently have to filter out NULL values – such as Sparse columns or minimally updated columns. ...(more)

Sharpshooting Query Plans From The Cache - Michael J Swart talks a bit about DBCC FREEPROCCACHE, using the plan_handle parameter to remove exactly one query plan from cache, and why and when you might want to....(more)

Why Datatypes Matter: 3 Ways They Can Hurt Performance - "Great database performance starts with great database design. I have yet to meet someone to argue with that statement. I have, however, met many a database that has a less than optimal design. "...(more)

TPC-E – Raising the Bar in OLTP Performance - Insight into why the SQL Server team focus on TPC-E for their engineering work and have abandoned the better known, but now less relevant, TPC-C for published results and marketing. ...(more)

Blogs : Professional Development

Please, Call Me Richard - The Scary DBA gets some harsh feedback on a presentation......(more)

These People Are Exceptional - Grant Fritchey should know, he was one of the judges of this year’s Exceptional DBA of the Year award, and had to read through tons and tons of submissions and help to arrive at a final list of people who truly personify the concept of both the DBA and the exceptional person. ...(more)

MCSE for SQL Server - There are already exams out for SQL Server 2012 and also MCSE is back not just for Server and Desktop but also for the wider private cloud and for SQL Server. These exams are hard and you’ll need to take five of them to get the MCSE badge. Also there are tow MCSE qualifications relevant to SQL Server; data platform and business intelligence which I also wish had existed back in the day. ...(more)

Blogs : Security and Auditing

SQL Audit 302 – Deploying the Audit Solution with Powershell - In SQLAudit 201, we created a SQLAudit database to act as our central audit repository. That’s where we’re storing the info on our current audits, and importing data from our audit files into a table for permanent storage and reporting. The other thing we’re going to use that SQLAudit database for is to hold our “master” database audit specifications, which will be used as templates to deploy auditing to other databases/instances...using PowerShell, of course!...(more)

Using nmap to scan for SQL Servers on a network - I've recently been asked to identify and report on any SQL Servers listening on my network. I need to try and find all SQL Servers, not just the ones in my domain. We know there are a couple of appliances that are potentially running SQL Server and we want to see them, too. What can I use to do this?...(more)

Blogs : T-SQL

Deletes that Split Pages and Forwarded Ghosts - Can DELETE operations cause pages to split? Yes. It sounds counter-intuitive on the face of it; deleting rows frees up space on a page, and page splitting occurs when a page needs additional space. Nevertheless, there are circumstances when deleting rows causes them to expand before they can be deleted. The mechanism at work here is row versioning....(more)

Reporting on common code smells : A POC - Over the past few blog entries, I’ve been looking at parsing TSQL scripts in a variety of ways for a variety of tasks. In my last entry ‘How to prevent ‘Select *’ : The elegant way’, I looked at parsing SQL to report upon uses of SELECT *. The obvious question leading on from this is, “Great, what about other code smells ?”...(more)

TSQL - Solve it YOUR Way - Text to Speech - Three different solutions to the same problem: a Text to Speech application to parse integer values into digits and convert them into the text representation of each digit. Example: Convert 16498 into the string "one six four nine eight...(more)

Blogs : Virtualization

Who needs a million IOPS for a single VM? - With the impending release of Windows Server 2012, the Windows-based hypervisor will finally move beyond some of the embarrassing limitations found in the R2 release – such as 4 virtual CPUs per VM. Consequently, for the past year we have seen the Windows virtualization team beating the specsmanship drum with a mighty fervor....(more)


Administrative