In this issue:

Tech News : General Interest

SQL Server News

Product Reviews

Microsoft News : Development

Microsoft News : General Interest

Hardware News

Blogs : Administration

Blogs : Analysis Services / BI

Blogs : Backup and Recovery

Blogs : Computing in the Cloud

Blogs : Database Design, Theory and Development

Blogs : Events

Blogs : Excel

Blogs : High Availability/Disaster Recovery

Blogs : Integration Services/ETL

Blogs : Performance and Tuning

Blogs : Security and Auditing

Blogs : Spatial Data

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 2012-12-03

SQL Monitor Monitor the data you care about the most
SQL Monitor's customisable monitoring and alerting keeps you up to date with SQL Server performance, wherever you are. Free trial.
SQL Source Control The best way to version control T-SQL
SSMS plug-in SQL Source Control connects SVN, TFS, Git, Hg and all others to SQL Server. Learn more.
SQL DBA Bundle ‘The Case of the Missing Index’
Discover the Top 5 hard-earned lessons of a DBA, presented by The DBA Team. Learn from lesson one now.
Editorial - Feedback is Encouraged

Most of us have complaints and criticisms of the software we use, including SQL Server. We see the failings of the software, the places where it forces us to work harder than we'd expect to work to accomplish a task. That's expected, since the design of any piece of software, from Notepad to SQL Server, involves design decisions that are geared to solve some problems, not all problems.

As a side note, this is one of the places where third party tools can improve the operation of software that allows plug ins. Small companies often build utilities that solve specific problems, and if you are irritated by something in SQL Server, consider looking at third party tools. My employer, Red Gate software makes software designed to make the DBA or developers' job easier, but there are some great tools out there from execution plan explorers to reporting add ins for SQL Server.

However Microsoft does try to improve SQL Server regularly. This week I saw Chris Webb note that the SSAS team is looking for feedback. In the past we've run various surveys at SQLServerCentral for Microsot and as an MVP, I've noted that more and more of the specialized groups working ont he SQL Server platform are sending out surveys about their particular features. I've seen Microsoft ask for feedback on how the platform is working for you.

Change doesn't always occur as fast as we'd like, and there have been no shortage of issues with the Connect system, but I have seen it work well in a number of cases. I do think Microsoft is listening, and I appreciate that. However I also realize that my feedback is just an opinion, not a vote in what gets implemented in the next version of SQL Server. 

I encourage you to give feedback when you get the chance. Your particular suggestion or bug might not seem important, but if enough customers submit the same feedback, I'm sure it will get implemented in the platform.

» 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 : General Interest

2013: The Year of the Cloud Architect - Looking ahead, more organizations, data center providers and vendors will need cloud data center architects. There already is an increased demand for professionals who are well-versed in multiple disciplines and who can make educated decisions in line with business needs....(more)

SQL Server News

Crutchfield Turns to Microsoft and EMC to Help Transform SQL Server to the Private Cloud - When it comes to consumer electronics gear, audio and video enthusiasts rely on Crutchfield Corporation for excellent customer service and stellar product know-how. Crutchfield powers its information-based service with a wide range of tools for its website visitors, customers and internal customer advisors. To keep improving their stellar customer service, Crutchfield develops most of its line of business applications in-house – many leveraging SQL Server. In recent years, an expanding set of applications led to rampant data and server growth in its data center. ...(more)

Product Reviews

Book Review “Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services – The BISM Tabular Model” - I've recently had the pleasure to read the book "Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services – The BISM Tabular Model" by Marco Russo, Alberto Ferrari, and Chris Webb. The authors don't need an introduction and their names should be familiar to any BI practitioner. They are all well-known experts and fellow SQL Server MVPs who got together again to write another bestseller after their previous work "Expert Cube Development with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services". ...(more)

Microsoft News : Development

Microsoft updates Visual Studio 2012 with better testing tools, Windows XP support - Microsoft's Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 (Visual Studio 2012.1) is now available for download. The update allows users to develop applications for Windows XP and more thoroughly test their work. The previous version of Microsoft's development tool was launched along with .Net 4.5 in September of this year....(more)

Microsoft News : General Interest

Microsoft starts Surface Pro tablet pricing at $899 - Microsoft on Thursday set pricing for its Surface Pro 10.6-inch tablet with a starting price of $899 for a 64GB version and $999 for a 128GB version....(more)

Hardware News

OCZ Vector (256GB) Review - Times are changing at OCZ. There's a new CEO at the helm, and the company is now focused on releasing fewer products but that have gone through more validation and testing than in years past. The hallmark aggressive nature that gave OCZ tremendous marketshare in the channel overstayed its welcome. The new OCZ is supposed to sincerely prioritize compatibility, reliability and general validation testing. Only time will tell if things have changed, but right off the bat there's a different aura surrounding my first encounter with OCZ's Vector SSD...(more)

Blogs : Administration

The Last DBCC CHECKDB Date and Restores - I ran across a question on Twitter recently where someone asked about the DBCC CHECKDB date after a restore. For those of you that don’t know this, you can run this command on your instance (in a database)...(more)

How to Set SQL Server Max Memory for VMware - SQL Server has two settings that kinda-sorta govern how much memory we’ll use to cache data: min server memory and max server memory. I explain the basics of how they work in my Sysadmin’s Guide to SQL Server Memory, but things are a little different under virtualization....(more)

SQL Server Management Studio: More than Meets the Eye - SSMS is the standard tool for working with SQL Server databases. It does the job well. But if you’re using the default settings, you’re missing out! You can enable word wrap and number the lines. Change the settings when you script objects out. Filter through objects. Let Jes guide you through the world of hidden SSMS settings!...(more)

SQL Server 2008 Diagnostic Information Queries (Nov 2012) - Here is the November 2012 version of my SQL Server 2008 Diagnostic Information Queries, with some minor tweaks and improvements to a couple of the existing queries. To go with it is an updated, blank 2008 results spreadsheet, where the tabs in the spreadsheet are labeled and in the same order as the queries. The idea is that you can run these queries one by one, click on the top left square of the results grid, and then right-click and select “Copy with Headers” to select and copy the results of the query and then paste them into the matching tab of the results spreadsheet. ...(more)

How to set the default transaction isolation level server wide? - Last week I was involved in a discussion about the default transaction isolation level used by the transaction objects in WCF’s services (Serializable) versus the one used by the transaction objects in Entity Framework for SQL Server (ReadCommitted) whose details I’m not going to cover in this post....(more)

Blogs : Analysis Services / BI

Power View for Multidimensional Models – Preview - Microsoft is offering SQL Server customers the opportunity to test and provide feedback on new functionality, Power View for Multidimensional Models. Available here, you can download and try out Power View with traditional SQL Server Analysis Services multidimensional cubes. This added functionality will help you maximize your existing BI investments while utilizing the latest BI end-user tools and adds greater modeling flexibility with the BI Semantic Model. Please note, we are not disclosing timing or release vehicle for these bits, at this time....(more)

Send Your Feedback to the SSAS Dev Team! - It’s been all over Twitter today and Kasper has already blogged about it, but I thought this was worth a blog post from me all the same: the SSAS dev team are looking for feedback on features for the next version of SSAS and have put together a survey here:...(more)

A Rickety Stairway to SQL Server Data Mining, Part 0.1: Data In, Data Out - In the first of a series of amateur tutorials on SQL Server Data Mining (SSDM), I promised to pull off an impossible stunt: explaining the broad field of statistics in a few paragraphs without the use of equations. What other SQL Server blog ends with a cliffhanger like that? Anyone who aims at incorporating data mining into their IT infrastructure or skill set in any substantial way is going to have to learn to interpret equations, but it is possible to condense a few key statistical concepts in a way that will help those who aren’t statisticians – like me – to make productive use of SSDM without them. These crude Cliff’s Notes can at least familiarize DBAs, programmers and other readers of these tutorials with the minimal bare bones concepts they will need to know in order to interpret the data output by SSDM’s nine algorithms, as well as to illuminate the inner workings of the algorithms themselves. Without that minimal foundation, it will be more difficult to extract useful meaning from your data mining efforts....(more)

Storage Engine Caching, Measures and Measure Groups - I’ve been doing some performance tuning work on SSAS Multidimensional recently that has forced me to look at some behaviour I’ve observed several times but never properly understood: what happens with Storage Engine caching when you are querying multiple measures in the same measure group. Here are some of my findings (thanks, as always, to Akshai and Marius for answering my questions on this) although this post only deals with a few basic scenarios…...(more)

Blogs : Backup and Recovery

Differential Restore Fail - We have all heard that backup is not complete until you test it by restoring it. We also know that part of a DR plan involves the testing of those backups through restores....(more)

Blogs : Computing in the Cloud

Amazon Launches Data Warehouse Service Redshift - Amazon Web Services had announced a limited preview of Amazon Redshift, a fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service in the cloud. Amazon CTO Werner Vogels announced Redshift at Amazon's first re: Invent conference Wednesday....(more)

Windows Azure Virtual Machines - Make Sure You Follow the Documentation - To create a Windows Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service Virtual Machine you have several options. You can simply select an image from a “Gallery” which includes Windows or Linux operating systems, or even a Windows Server with pre-installed software like SQL Server....(more)

Blogs : Database Design, Theory and Development

Shard No More – An Innovative Look at Distributed Peer-to-peer SQL Database - There is no doubt that SQL databases play an important role in modern applications. In an ideal world, a single database can handle hundreds of incoming connections from multiple clients and scale to accommodate the related transactions. However the world is not ideal and databases are often a cause of major headaches when applications need to scale to accommodate more connections, transactions, or both....(more)

Blogs : Events

Data Warehouse Workshop - I’m really really pleased to announce that it’s possible to register to the Data Warehouse Workshop that I and Thomas Kejser developed togheter. Several months ago we decided to join forces in order to create a workshop that would contain not only the theoretical stuff, but also the experience we both have and all the best practices and lesson learned that can make the difference between a success and a failure when building a Data Warehouse....(more)

Blogs : Excel

Getting the Timeline Filter (Slicer) in Excel 2013 to Work with an Analysis Services OLAP Cube - In Excel 2013, there is a new Timeline filter (slicer) that allows you to easily select a range of dates over which you want to filter your data. The feature is very slick. Here's an picture:...(more)

Blogs : High Availability/Disaster Recovery

Offsite Backup - There was a recent weather event in the United States that seriously impacted our power grid and our physical well being. Lots of businesses found that they couldn’t get to their building or that their building was gone. Many of them got to do a full test of their disaster recovery processes....(more)

Lessons Learned From An Exploding Strip Club - sounded like thunder, but not thunder, at the same time. Something was different about this sound. Also the lack of a flash of lightning made me think that it was not a clap of thunder. Not at all. ...(more)

Blogs : Integration Services/ETL

SSIS BASICS: Introducing the Foreach Loop Container - The Control flow components of SSIS can cause a great deal of puzzlement to anyone learning SSIS, especially the Foreach Loop. . Annette continues her popular 'Basics' series by showing how to use the Foreach Loop container for copying files. ...(more)

Blogs : Performance and Tuning

Unused Indexes - A sound indexing strategy is paramount to performance in an OLTP system. Not having the correct indexes in place can cause unnecessary reads placing additional overhead on, among other things the IO subsystem. Having said that indexes that are in place but never used cause unnecessary writes during insert and update operations, as well as having to be maintained by expensive REORGANIZATION and REBUILD operations. This is a lot of unnecessary work SQL Server has to do for little to no additional benefit. The key with indexing is to cover as many queries in your workload with as few small indexes as possible, which is by no means an easy task....(more)

Querying Performance Counters in SQL Server - In a previous post, there was a comparison between sysperfinfo and sys.dm_os_performance_counters which included the use of a simple query. The query just returned the contents of the dynamic management view, but didn’t provide the data from the view in a manner that immediately useful for all performance counters....(more)

How come the Hourglass? Why database applications slow down. - It is frustrating when you hit 'submit' and you get the hourglass big-time. Is it the database to blame? It could be, but there are other suspects that should be considered. Feodor describes where, in the long route, to and fro, that a data request makes before returning, that things can get snarled up. ...(more)

Beware of SQL Server and PerfMon differences in disk latency calculation - Recently sp_blitz procedure on one of my OLTP servers returned alarming notification about high latency on one of the disks (more than 100ms per IO). Our chief storage guy didn’t understand what I was talking about – according to his measures, average latency is only about 15ms....(more)

Make life easier on yourself, get a baseline! - At the SQL Connections conference earlier this month, at the start of my talk on Making SQL Server Faster, Part 1: Simple Things, I talked about the importance of having a performance baseline so you can measure the effect of any changes made to your environment. A month ago I kicked off a survey about performance baselines, see here, to see how many of you do or do not have baselines, and why. ...(more)

Blogs : Security and Auditing

DBA Best Practices - A Blog Series: Episode 2 - Password Lists - One of the biggest digital assets that any company has is its secrets. These include passwords, key rings, certificates, and any other digital asset used to protect another asset from tampering or unauthorized access....(more)

Reacting to XEvents in almost real-time - I've heard it said that the main difference between SQL Server Extended Events and SQL Server Event Notifications is that you can't "react to" Extended Events. Event Notifications are written to the service broker service of your choice, and multiple Event Notifications can even be routed to the same service, even on different machines. ...(more)

Blogs : Spatial Data

Masking out particular areas of interest on Bing Maps - A recent question on the MSDN Bing Maps forums asked if it was possible to display a Bing Map in which only a particular country was visible, painting out everything else. ...(more)

Blogs : T-SQL

Hit Highlighting/Summarization product for SQL Server Full-Text Search - I've often asked about add-ins for SQL Server Full-Text Search feature. And the most requested feature for FTS has long been some way to accomodate hit highlighting. Recently, I've come across a beta for a product that does just this, along with document summarization formats for display, ThinkHighlight by Interactive Thoughts. ...(more)

SQL Server Join Syntax: It’s Changed! - Alright so maybe that was a little misleading of a title… SQL Server join syntax changed awhile ago, when ANSI-92 joins became the norm. And Microsoft was threatening to remove it for awhile. The older outer join syntax just doesn’t work in SQL Server 2012. ...(more)

Blogs : Virtualization

Can LUNs Be Extended Online Under VMware and Hyper-V? - There’s no reason whatsoever to take any sort of outage when expanding a LUN either in a virtual or physical environment. Here’s the process, explaining exactly what needs to be done to expand a LUN....(more)


Administrative