In this issue:

Tech News : General Interest

Tech News : Security

Tech News : The Lighter Side

Microsoft News : Development

Microsoft News : General Interest

Blogs : Administration

Blogs : Computing in the Cloud

Blogs : Data Access / ORMs

Blogs : Database Design, Theory and Development

Blogs : Deep Into Windows

Blogs : DMO/SMO/Powershell

Blogs : Hardware

Blogs : High Availability/Disaster Recovery

Blogs : NOSQL

Blogs : Performance and Tuning

Blogs : PowerPivot

Blogs : Professional Development

Blogs : Security and Auditing

Blogs : SQL Server 2008 (Katmai)

Blogs : SQL Server 2012

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 2013-01-28

SQL Backup Pro saves space "Impressed is the word!
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.
SQL Prompt, packed with features Make working with SQL a breeze
SQL Prompt 5.3 is the effortless way to write, edit, and explore SQL. It's packed with features such as code completion, script summaries, and SQL reformatting, that make working with SQL a breeze. Try it now.
SQL Monitor with Custom Metrics SQL Monitor v3 is even more powerful
Use custom metrics to monitor and alert on data that's most important for your environment, easily imported from our custom metrics site. Find out more.
Editorial - Not Pulling the Plug Out

I have to say that I really appreciate the folks in the Microsoft Data Platform Group, and the SQL Server team in particular. No, really! Not only because SQL Server 2012 is such a solid product, but also because they leave features in SQL Server even though they probably cause themselves all sorts of grief as a result.

However, in so doing, they avoid causing anguish to their customers who, through no fault of their own, have to use the sort of archaic technology that one associates with flares and bad hairstyles. I like SQL Server Rules, for example. Although they threaten to take them out, the butcher's hand has always paused. DMO? They kept it all the way to SQL Server 2012. The sp_makewebtask extended procedure survived for ages.

Microsoft's SQL Server team looks after its customers even though it often means leaving in features that don't make commercial sense to accountants, or technical sense to those developing the product. The requirements of customers generally come first. If enough customers want something supported, they'll usually support it. We all make the odd complaint, but overall they seem to listen.

My renewed appreciation more "customer-focused" culture of the Data Platform Group springs from its stark contrast to recent decisions in other parts of Microsoft. I was particularly shocked with the demise of Silverlight as an active platform so soon after the initial hoopla, but there is quite a list of products, most of which I use or have used, that are no longer supported or have become 'legacy'. Without thinking too hard, there's Visual Foxpro, Live Mesh, Silverlight, Zune, Netmeeting, Windows Media Center, Flight Simulator, MS Money, Expression Web, Expression Mesh and Windows Live Messenger.

I am particularly grieved about Expression Web, aka FrontPage, which is an extraordinarily good product, even though it drifted from its designer roots into being a bit developer-oriented before it expired. Sure, it is a free download now and I will use it as long as I can, but I prefer to use applications that get the love.

There are always good reasons for discontinuing a software product or a feature. Mistakes, or acquisitions and mergers, can make a product line difficult to explain. Sometimes, circumstances force us to rename a product or consolidate two developments. Occasionally, as with Silverlight, technology just reaches a tipping-point. It is possible, as Microsoft's server group has demonstrated, to do this whilst causing as few problems to customers and supporters as possible. Somehow, the "Metro" naming farce, the dropping of Expression Web, the sudden renaming of the Azure products, and other eccentric decisions all make one appreciate it the more when things are done right.

Phil Factor

» 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

The 10 U.S. cities with the highest IT salaries -- and 10 more on the move - While Silicon Valley still holds bragging rights as the mecca for the country's highest-paid IT professionals, average salaries there have actually decreased over the past year. Fortunately, thanks to the reportedly low unemployment rate among techies, salaries are soaring elsewhere in the country, particularly in Pittsburgh, San Diego, and St. Louis, according to Dice.com's annual Salary Survey....(more)

Tech News : Security

The impending crisis that is Windows XP and IE 8 - Despite what many people may think, Windows XP is still hugely popular. How popular? 1 in 4 PCs are still running it..and here’s where the whole issue comes to a crescendo: Windows XP will not allow IE 9 or 10 to run. Not at all. Not one little bit....(more)

In Google's Future, You May Log in with Your Ring - Just as we Google people now, will we ring ourselves into our e-mail account in the near future? That's a possibility outlined in a new Google research paper, which proposes such options as a ring that taps on a computer to logon. ...(more)

Best Tech Companies To Work For - The best companies to work for....(more)

Tech News : The Lighter Side

Microsoft, let’s be friends - For 14 years, I used Microsoft Money fanatically, entering in every single receipt, all the way down to the 50 cents I would occasionally (okay, frequently) spend on a candy bar from the cafeteria vending machine. And then you killed it. You told me to go to Intuit instead. Why would you just discard me like this? You also know that I was your biggest fan when you announced Silverlight, and that I spent six months learning it inside and out......(more)

Microsoft News : Development

Microsoft's Azure-based video streaming service goes live - Microsoft continues to expand its cloud offerings with the general availability of Windows Azure Media Services, which lets enterprises skip building their own infrastructure for streaming on-demand video. The service, released Tuesday, can be used to deliver training videos to employees; stream video content from a website; or build video-on-demand service similar to Hulu or Netflix, Microsoft's Scott Guthrie said in a blog post....(more)

Microsoft News : General Interest

Why I'm not trading my Surface RT for a Surface Pro - Microsoft's Surface Pro, to me, seems like a PC in tablet's clothing. I'm not missing Win32 apps on my Surface RT. So it's no Pro for me....(more)

Update on Windows 8 Pricing - Pricing details, starting in Februiary, for the Windows 8 upgrade editions. The price is going up......(more)

It's official: Intel-based Microsoft Surface Pro to ship Feb. 9 - Microsoft has been talking about its Surface Pro tablet for six months. Today, it revealed when you can buy one: Feb. 9....(more)

Blogs : Administration

If You Need To Fix Database Filename Extensions - In a recent post I showed how the file extension for a database doesn’t matter. It can be confusing, however, and you might wish to “fix” the filenames to conform to the proper extension. How can you do this?...(more)

Trimming More Transaction Log Fat - Having previously discussed two of the most common causes of extra log records being generated: dead weight from unused nonclustered indexes and page split operations (that cause index fragmentation), Paul Randal tackles some more subtle problems that can be detrimental to transaction log performance....(more)

Day 17 of 31 Days of Disaster Recovery: When are Checksums Written to a Page - SQLSolider digs into the Checksum page verification option and offers up some proof that the checksum value doesn’t get written until the page is written to disk. You may also learn some cool tricks for looking at metadata information....(more)

Visualizing Data File Layout II - In Part 1 of this series, I introduced a little demo app that renders the layout of pages in SQL Server files by object. Today I’ll put that app through its paces to show, in vivid color (well, teal, anyway) the destructive power of the famous Re-Index Then Shrink anti-pattern for index maintenance....(more)

Visualizing Data File Layout I - Merrill Aldrich presents a simple .NET app that renders the file layout of a database into a color-coded bitmap....(more)

Blogs : Computing in the Cloud

Backup and Restore to Cloud Simplified in SQL Server 2012 SP1 CU2 - SQL Server 2012 SP1 Cumulative Update 2 includes new functionality that simplifies the backup and restore capability of an on-premises SQL Server database to Windows Azure. You can now directly create a backup to Windows Azure Storage using SQL Server Native Backup functionality. ...(more)

Saving Execution Plans on Azure SQL Database - In my previous post showing how to get to execution plans in the Database Management Portal...But, what happens if you want to share an execution plan with a friend, post it to an online forum, save it for later comparisons as part of troubleshooting bad parameter sniffing, track behaviors over time as statistics change, other purposes that I can’t think of at the moment?...(more)

How Does the Cloud Change a Systems Architect’s Job? - Buck Woody spends a little time on how the cloud affects the way different IT Pros work, starting with Systems Administrators....(more)

Working with Aliases for Windows Azure SQL Databases in SQL Server Management Studio - One of the issues that is often raised with Windows Azure SQL Database is that you don't get to pick the name of your server, so you end up with a bizarre name such as: yy2l95dk1k.database.windows.net. As a result, I've been finding that I'm constantly looking at lists of Azure servers and having no idea which one is which....(more)

Blogs : Data Access / ORMs

Bulk loading data with IDataReader and SqlBulkCopy - Often large amounts of data need to be quickly loaded into a database. A common approach is to fill a DataTable and use the SqlBulkCopy class to load the data. The problem with this approach is that the data set must be materialized in memory. This is inefficient because the data must be copied and transformed several times and the cache utilization is poor. ...(more)

Blogs : Database Design, Theory and Development

One more reason to to understand query plans, not directly performance related - One of the things that separates a good programmer from a great one is a firm understanding about what is going on inside the computer....(more)

Do not disable foreign keys - Foreign keys and primary keys play a crucial part in all relational databases – referential integrity. Referential integrity is essentially the glue that holds together one or more columns between two or more tables. This glue dictates if a value is found in one table, it can then exist in another; primary to foreign relationships....(more)

Your Database Is Probably Terrible - Once you’ve gone and built an entire system upon a database, the last thing you want to do is migrate to another one. But at the same time, DB technology has been advancing by leaps and bounds, especially of late. So the database(s) you’re using at your workplace? They’re probably not the best available; in fact, they’re probably pretty bad, relatively speaking...(more)

Silent Truncation of SQL Server Data Inserts - There are certain circumstances where SQL Server will silently truncate data, without providing an error or warning, before it is inserted into a table. In this tip, Tim Wiseman covers some examples of when this occurs....(more)

Blogs : Deep Into Windows

Unlocking Windows 8 "God Mode" - A Useful Trick but also Mysterious Nonsense - You may have heard of a "God Mode" hidden in the depths of Windows 8 (or 7 for that matter). The idea is that you make a folder somewhere, I like using my desktop, and name the folder "GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}" and it "unlocks" a bunch of secret functionality....(more)

Blogs : DMO/SMO/Powershell

NASA’s Alien Planet Archive using PowerShell - Windows PowerShell Version 3.0 includes a CmdLet called Invoke-RestMethod. We can use the CmdLet to get data from Nasa’s API....(more)

Blogs : Hardware

Building a Workstation for SQL Server 2012 Development and Testing - With the current crop of high-performance and very affordable desktop computer components, it is not very difficult to assemble an extremely high performance workstation for SQL Server 2012 development and testing at a very reasonable cost. Glenn Berry explains how....(more)

Blogs : High Availability/Disaster Recovery

Expanding AlwaysOn Availability Groups with Replication Subscribers - High Availability (HA) and Disaster Recovery (DR) can be provided for subscription databases from an AlwaysOn Avaliability Group, but the secondary replicas will need to be manually configured to create the new subscriptions...(more)

VMware HA is Not Database Server High Availability - VMware HA for database servers is a fantastic way to get higher availability for those old dinosaur database servers running SQL Server 2000 that we just can’t kill, yet still run important apps. But in systems where uptime really matters, a single virtual machine isn’t the answer to high availability....(more)

Blogs : NOSQL

When a Query Isn’t Quite a Query - Databases exist to store data and answer questions about that data. The way we ask questions has to change based on the database itself – SQL changes between different RDBMS vendors. Things get even stranger when you venture outside the RDBMS world and start storing your data in Hive....(more)

Don't Write Off Relational Databases For Big Data Just Yet - Big Data may be the poster child for NoSQL databases and date warehouses, but one industry veteran isn't giving up on SQL databases for Big Data just yet....(more)

Blogs : Performance and Tuning

NOLOCK is not a turbo button - All to often when talking to developers they put the WITH (NOLOCK) table hint in place to speed up queries without understanding what the table hint does. I’ve even run across companies that have policies in place that every select statement must have the WITH (NOLOCK) table hint....(more)

Timeouts vs. blocking vs. deadlocks - In this post, we'll cover the similarities and differences of timeouts, blocking, and deadlocks, how they manifest themselves to an end user, and how they may cause, or lead to, each other....(more)

sp_PerformanceCounters - Get a Health Check of SQL Server's Performance - Patrick Keisler shares a stored procedure that will aggregate overall performance data that is available in the sys.dm_os_performance_counters DMV. ...(more)

PAGELATCH_EX Contention on 2:1:103 - This blog post is meant to help people troubleshoot page latch contention on 2:1:103 (TempDB contention)....(more)

How can I get that user out of my table quickly - Recently, I worked on an customer issue to help tune their slow query. The query was fairly complex involving multiple table joins. The key issue is the inability to do seeks on a particular table. The problem is that their application only passes user name without the domain name. So the parameter will be user0, user1 etc. Now this makes it very challenging to seek on the user....(more)

Blogs : PowerPivot

Building Relative Date Reports in PowerPivot - It’s a very common requirement when you’re building a report in PowerPivot (or indeed in any BI tool) for it to automatically show data for today’s date, the current week or month (plus maybe a set number of preceding days, weeks or months), without the user needing to change anything when they open the workbook. There are a number of ways of achieving this, but in this post I’m going to focus on one: building relative date columns in your Date dimension table. This stuff is by no means new and ground-breaking and I’ve seen this particular technique implemented many, many times, but it’s also something I get asked about fairly frequently and I can’t find any other blog posts detailing it so I thought I’d write it up....(more)

Blogs : Professional Development

Don’t forget *your* system health! - We all obsess with making our databases and our clients’ databases healthy and fabulous, but often we forget about looking after ourselves....(more)

Interviewing Tips for a Database Position - Interviewing for a database position is a careful game of give and take. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare for your interview is important, but it’s only half the battle. You’ll also need to ask questions to see if the job, and the company, is a good fit for you. ...(more)

Free 24-hour pass for Pluralsight online courses - Pluralsight are offering everyone on the planet a free 24-hour pass to check out all their online courses (more than 400 of them), including all of the ones recorded by the SQLSkills team....(more)

Blogs : Security and Auditing

Audit Configuration Changes - Do you know the last time a Server Property was changed on your instances of SQL Server? Are you wondering when the setting for max degree of parallelism was changed? Do you know who changed the setting?...(more)

Blogs : SQL Server 2008 (Katmai)

Cumulative Update #9 for SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 - The 9th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 is now available for download at the Microsoft Support site. Cumulative Update 9 contains all the hotfixes released since the initial release of SQL Server 2008 SP3....(more)

Blogs : SQL Server 2012

Cumulative Update #2 for SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 - In addition to new fixes introduced in CU2, SQL Server 2012 SP1 CU2 contains a rollup of all fixes previously released in SQL Server 2012 RTM CU5. ...(more)

Choosing the Right SQL Server Version: It’s Trickier than You’d Think - It’s finally time– you’ve been given the thumbs up to upgrade to SQL Server 2012. You’ve selected your SQL Server Edition and worked out your licensing agreement. You’ve sized new hardware in production and sketched out your migration plan. You’re ready to install developer edition in the test environment. You grab your installation media and…Suddenly you realize you’re not quite ready. ...(more)

Blogs : Virtualization

TPC-VMS Benchmark To Compare Virtual Workloads - This past November the Transaction Processing Performance Council (the TPC) released a new benchmark, the TPC-VMS, essentially to define a new test for database performance in a virtual environment. The idea is very simple: you configure three virtual machines running an identical benchmark and then consolidate those three instances onto one host and run the TPC-VMS test....(more)


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