In this issue:

Tech News : General Interest

Tech News : Security

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 : DMO/SMO/Powershell

Blogs : Hardware

Blogs : High Availability/Disaster Recovery

Blogs : Integration Services/ETL

Blogs : NOSQL

Blogs : Performance and Tuning

Blogs : Professional Development

Blogs : Reporting Services

Blogs : Security and Auditing

Blogs : Software Development

Blogs : T-SQL

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 2012-12-10

Red Gate Deployment Manager NEW! Never waste another weekend deploying
Deploy SQL Server changes and ASP .NET applications fast, frequently, and without fuss, using Deployment Manager, the new tool from Red Gate. Try it now.
SQL Backup SQL Backup Pro wins Gold Community Choice Award
Find out why the SQL Server Community voted SQL Backup Pro 'Best Backup and Recovery Product 2012'. Get faster, smaller, fully verified backups. Download a free trial now.
SQL Developer Bundle 12 essential tools for database professionals
The SQL Developer Bundle contains 12 tools designed with the SQL Server developer and DBA in mind. Try it now.
Editorial - What Counts for a DBA: Being Replaceable

Replaceable is what every employee in every company instinctively strives not to be. Yet, if you're an irreplaceable DBA, meaning that the company couldn't find someone else who could do what you do, then you're not doing a great job. A good DBA is replaceable. I imagine some of you are already reaching for the lighter fluid, about to set the comments section ablaze, but before you destroy a perfectly good Commodore 64, read on…

Everyone is replaceable, ultimately. Anyone, anywhere, in any job, could be sitting at their desk reading this, blissfully unaware that this is to be their last day at work. Morbidly, you could be about to take your terminal breath. Ideally, it will be because another company suddenly offered you a truck full of money to take a new job, forcing you to bid a regretful farewell to your current employer (with barely a "so long suckers!" left wafting in the air as you zip out of the office like the Wile E Coyote wearing two pairs of rocket skates).

I've often wondered what it would be like to be present at the meeting where your former work colleagues discuss your potential replacement. It is perhaps only at this point, as they struggle with the question "What kind of person do we need to replace old Wile?" that you would know your true worth in their eyes.

Of course, this presupposes you need replacing. I've known one or two people whose absence we adequately compensated with a small rock, to keep their old chair from rolling down a slight incline in the floor. On another occasion, we bought a noise-making machine that frequently attracted attention its way, with unpleasant sounds, but never contributed anything worthwhile. These things never actually happened, of course, but you take my point: don't confuse replaceable with expendable.

Likewise, if the term "trained seal" comes up, someone they can teach to follow basic instructions and push buttons in the right order, then the replacement discussion is going to be over quickly.

What, however, if your colleagues decide they'll need a super-specialist to replace you. That's a good thing, right? Well, usually, in my experience, no it is not. It often indicates that no one really knows what you do, or how. A typical example is the "senior" DBA who built a system just before 16-bit computing became all the rage and then settled into a long career managing it. Such systems are often central to the company's operations and the DBA very skilled at what they do, but almost impossible to replace, because the system hasn't evolved, and runs on processes and routines that others no longer understand or recognize.

The only thing you really want to hear, at your replacement discussion, is that they need someone skilled at the fundamentals and adaptable. This means that the person they need understands that their goal is to be an excellent DBA, not a specialist in whatever the-heck the company does. Someone who understands the new versions of SQL Server and can adapt the company's systems to the way things work today, who uses industry standard methods that any other qualified DBA/programmer can understand. More importantly, this person rarely wants to get "pigeon-holed" and so documents and shares the specialized knowledge and responsibilities with their teammates.

Being replaceable doesn't mean being "dime a dozen". The company might need four people to take your place due to the depth of your skills, but still, they could find those replacements and those replacements could step right in using techniques that any decent DBA should know.

It is a tough question to contemplate, but take some time to think about the sort of person that your colleagues would seek to replace you. If you think they would go looking for a "super-specialist" then consider urgently how you can diversify and share your knowledge, and start documenting all the processes you know as if today were your last day, because who knows, it just might be.

Louis Davidson (Guest Editor).

» 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

Interactive map that shows EVERY German bomb dropped on London during WW2 Blitz - The project has scanned original 1940s bomb census maps, geo-referenced the maps to add their exact location. The team then digitally captured the geographical locations of all the falling bombs recorded on the original map, and created an easy to use website and app to display it....(more)

Tech News : Security

Password handling: challenges, costs, and current behavior - Online passwords are a pain, and not just when you have to type them to access your online bank account or shop at your favorite digital emporium. Password pain extends to the people who have to manage them....(more)

Microsoft News : General Interest

Analysts: Microsoft's license price increase 'lose-lose' for enterprises - The 15 percent hike in user licenses could be a bid to cash in on the BYOD trend...(more)

Microsoft opens social networking site Socl - Microsoft's social network combines the graphics-heavy interface of Pinterest with Bing search functionality...(more)

Hardware News

Microsoft's Surface Pro's flawed two-for-one strategy - Microsoft says customers can have their cake and eat it too, with a tablet and a PC in one device. But the 'no compromise' strategy is, in fact, rife with compromise...(more)

AMD Unveils Nine New Opteron Processors - AMD has unveiled nine new mid-range and entry-level Opteron 4300 Series and 3300 Series server processors, which offer improved performance per watt for customers focused on reducing their energy usage....(more)

Blogs : Administration

SQL Server Upgrade Advisor: Considerations when upgrading from SQL 2000 to SQL 2012 - A direct upgrade from SQL 2000 to SQL 2012 is not supported, so chances are you’ll need to go via an intermediate version. Identifying issues we may need to fix - either before or after the upgrade - is one of the challenges with this technique. ...(more)

Microsoft SQL System View Version Map - Paw Jershauge presents all the system views in the SQL server and finds the differences between versions....(more)

Bob Dylan Explains TempDB (Video) - How many files must a TempDB have before it’s allowed to be fast? How many table variables must a server walk down before it’s considered a table?...(more)

SQL Server 2012 Setup just got smarter… - A new feature for SQL Server 2012 called Product Update which can take advantage of the Microsoft Update Service, and so help detect if any fixes are available online to apply as part of running the original installation. ...(more)

Trending Database Growth From Backups - Erin Stellato shows how to approximate database growth using information from full backups. ...(more)

Database Deployment: The Bits - Database Version Drift - When you are about to deploy a new version of a database by updating the current version, one of the essential pre-deployment checks is to make sure that the version in production is exactly what it should be. If changes have somehow slipped in, you'll need to understand them and deal with them before you can deploy. ...(more)

Blogs : Analysis Services / BI

Column encrypted in Database, but decrypted in clear text in Cube - How do you encrypt a sensitive column in the database, better say in a dimension table but make sure it's clearly readable in the cube when browsing?...(more)

Blogs : Backup and Recovery

Backups Gone Bad: The Danger of Differentials - As your databases get bigger, you’re going to run out of time to do nightly full backups. You’re going to be tempted by the siren song of differential backups. The idea is that you’ll do full backups on the weekends, and then differential backups each night of the week....(more)

Blogs : Computing in the Cloud

Migrating from a relational to a NoSQL cloud database - Matt Asay describes the approach one needs to take in migrating a standard relational database to an open source NoSQL cloud database....(more)

Setting up a Data Science Laboratory - There is no better way of understanding new data processing, retrieval, analysis or visualising techniques than actually trying things out. In order to do this, it is best to use a server that acts as data science lab, with all the basic tools and sample data in place. Buck Woody discusses his system, and the configuration he chose....(more)

Blogs : Database Design, Theory and Development

How It Works: Gotcha: *VARCHAR(MAX) caused my queries to be slower - A table has a NTEXT column that the customer wanted converted to NVARCHAR(MAX)...Sounds harmless enough on the surface and in many cases it is. However, Bob Dorr worked on this issue for a table with 98 partitions and 1.2 billion rows (~7TB of data) and found a couple of gotcha’s you may want to avoid. ...(more)

Blogs : DMO/SMO/Powershell

Weekend Scripter: Some PowerShell Automation Is Better than No Automation - Windows PowerShell is all about automation. It’s usually very handy if you can automate the whole task, but there are times when you can’t automate everything. Should it stop you from automating part of the process? My answer is: NO!...(more)

Blogs : Hardware

My next PC will be an Ultrabook - Scott Hanselman on why his main Lenovo W520 laptop and MacBook Pro are going unused in favor of his Intel Ultrabook prototype....(more)

Making the Case for a SQL Server Platform Refresh - With the release of Windows Server 2012, SQL Server 2012, and the new generation of Sandy Bridge Xeon processors, your organization is likely to get many tangible benefits from upgrading your current database infrastructure with a complete platform refresh....(more)

Blogs : High Availability/Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery Planning for Data: The Cribsheet - Planning for disaster recovery and business continuity aren't amongst the most exciting IT activities. They are, however, essential and relevant to any Database Administrator who is responsible for the safety and integrity of the companies' data, since data is a key part of business continuity....(more)

New version of Partition Management Utility supports SQL2012, ColumnStore Indexes - A new version of the Partition Management Utility for SQL Server is now available. This is a tool that helps you create necessary staging tables and indexes and associated check constraints, to support partition-switch operations against existing partitioned tables....(more)

Clustering SQL Server on Virtual Machines (Round 2) - Jonathan Kehayias on when he does (and doesn't) recommend using VMs for your failover cluster....(more)

Blogs : Integration Services/ETL

Designing an ETL process with SSIS: two approaches to extracting and transforming data - Andreas de Ruiter compares two approaches on how to extract and transform (the ‘E’ and ‘T’ in ‘ETL’) data from external databases using SSIS and SQL Server. Understanding the options will help you avoid common pitfalls. ...(more)

Deploy SSIS 2012 projects using catalog.deploy_project Stored Procedure - In SQL Server 2012, you can use the catalog.deploy_project stored procedure to deploy an SSIS project to the SSIS server. You need to provide the binary contents of the project deployment file (.ispac extension), for the @project_stream parameter, along with the project name and the folder the project will be deployed to. The @project_stream parameter is varbinary(MAX)....(more)

Using table-valued parameters in SSIS - Table-valued parameters (TVPs) are a great way to move chunks of data between your application and SQL Server, while still retaining the ability to abstract database functionality with stored procedures and functions....(more)

The perils of double-dash comments [T-SQL] - Using double-dash comments in SQL statements within the OLE DB Source in SSIS can cause unexpected results. ...(more)

Documenting sp_ssiscatalog - What is the best way to document an API? Moreover, what is the best way to document a T-SQL API?...(more)

Blogs : NOSQL

HDInsight, Finally - Grant Fritchey sets out on a journey to learn HDInsight, Hadoop, MapReduce et al....(more)

Using Hadooop (HDInsight) with Microsoft - Two (OK, Three) Options - Microsoft has many tools for “Big Data”. In fact, you need many tools – there’s no product called “Big Data Solution” in a shrink-wrapped box – if you find one, you probably shouldn’t buy it. It’s tempting to want a single tool that handles everything in a problem domain, but with large, complex data, that isn’t a reality....(more)

Blogs : Performance and Tuning

Visualizing Index Fragmenation - We all probably realize that fragmentation can be a performance hindrance, especially for scanning operations. But, what does fragmentation really mean? What does it look like? ...(more)

SQL Server Management Studio: “Include Client Statistics” Button - At SQL Saturday #118 Wisconsin earlier this year, Jes Schultz Borland is introduced to the “Include Client Statistics” button in SSMS, and decides to investigate further....(more)

SQL Server Temp Table vs Table Variable Performance Testing - Which is better to use, a temp table or a table variable? There are technical reasons why to use one over the other, but being that I am usually just interested in performance I am more concerned with which one will be faster and use fewer resources. In this tip we will compare the performance of these two temporary objects using a few straightforward scenarios....(more)

Uniqueifiers on Indexes That I Thought Shouldn’t Need Them - Do you remember what a Uniquifier is? SQL Server uses these hidden values on rows to keep non-clustered indexes in sync with their non-unique clustered indexes....(more)

SQL Server Optimizer Malfunction? - Is the current version of the SQL Server optimizer good enough at providing the most efficient plans for our more complex analytical queries, and in particular of offering up correctly parallelized plans?...(more)

Free Tools for the DBA: PAL Tool - The Performance Analysis of Logs tool is a general tool for collecting and analysing log data. With the addition of a template, it becomes an effective way of analysing data from performance counters for SQL Server, in order to diagnose performance problems and capture baseline information....(more)

Blogs : Professional Development

SQLskills holiday gift to you: all 2011 Insider videos on YouTube - SQLSkills have uploaded all of their 2011 Insider videos onto YouTube so everyone can watch them...(more)

The Red Gate Book Giveaway - As a thank you for the SQL Server Pro awards, they are giving away 300 free Red Gate books......(more)

Top 10 Learning Resources for Accidental DBAs - There are plenty of good resources out there where you can get help and learn more about SQL Server. Even if you are not planning on becoming a dedicated SQL Server professional, there are a number of ways to get immediate help and to start learning enough to get your job done....(more)

Blogs : Reporting Services

Report Builder 3.0: Adding Matrices to Your Reports - It is easy to create a basic matrix in Report Builder. However, it takes some practice in order to format and dispay the matrix exactly how you want it. There are a large number of options available to enhance the matrix and Robert provides enough information to get you the point where you can experiment easily....(more)

Blogs : Security and Auditing

5 Steps For Good Database Hygiene - Reduce risk to data through these database and Web app good 'grooming' habits...(more)

Blogs : Software Development

Atlassian Challenges GitHub to a Fork Fight - A Git-based code collaboration and management tool designed specifically for enterprises — i.e., big businesses. It’s called Stash, and on Wednesday, Atlassian is rolling out a new version of the platform that adds more collaboration tools, such as Twitter- and Facebook-style “@ mentions” and finer-grained permission controls. It’s a direct challenge to GitHub....(more)

Scalability is Easy! (To Get Wrong) - Probably the number one failure of system scaling is when people dive right in and start building. No baselines, limited measurements, no analysis, just a hypothesis and a whole lot of late nights tweaking the system....(more)

Blogs : T-SQL

My new favourite traceflag - Dave Ballantyne on use of traceflag 9130 to help investigate situation where a predicate is pushed into a seek/scan operation, at which point the execution plan doesnt fully represent all the work that is being undertaken....(more)

SQL Advent 2012 Day 3: Sargable Queries - Sargable comes from searchable argument, sometimes also referred as Search ARGument ABLE. What that means is that the query will be able to use an index, a seek will be performed instead of a scan. In general any time you have a function wrapped around a column, an index won't be used....(more)

SQL Advent 2012 Day 5: Do not trust the SSMS designers - Question: How do you add a primary key to a table? Answer: I click on the yellow key icon in SSMS! Technically, yes, that will create a primary key on the table but what will happen when you do that?...(more)


Administrative