In this issue:

Tech News : General Interest

Tech News : Security

Tech News : The Lighter Side

SQL Server News

Blogs : Administration

Blogs : Big Data

Blogs : Computing in the Cloud

Blogs : Data Mining

Blogs : DMO/SMO/Powershell

Blogs : Events

Blogs : Hardware

Blogs : Integration Services/ETL

Blogs : NOSQL

Blogs : Performance and Tuning

Blogs : PowerPivot

Blogs : Professional Development

Blogs : Security and Auditing

Blogs : Software Development

Blogs : SQL Server 2005

Blogs : SQL Server 2012

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 2013-03-25

SQL DBA Bundle ‘Six Scary SQL Surprises’
Brent Ozar joins the DBA Team, for Lesson 3 of their ‘Top 5 Hard-earned Lessons’. Gain valuable tips from the pros - Read now
SQL Source Control Database source control in just 5 minutes
It takes just 5 minutes to connect your SQL databases to source control. Got 5 minutes to spare? Get started now.
SQL Monitor Check SQL Server performance at a glance
We consulted 1000 SQL Server professionals to make SQL Monitor’s UI as clear as possible. Start monitoring with a free trial.
Editorial - What Counts for a DBA: Laziness

 On the face of it, laziness is not the first character trait to whip out before an interviewer when asked, "What can you bring to our company?" However, I'm willing to bet that a relatively small handful of lazy people have done more for the world than all of the hard working people combined. Of course, I'm not referring to the sort of lazy people who above all things prefers to do nothing at all, but to those afflicted with a low boredom threshold, easily driven to evasive action if in danger of repeating themselves.

In summarizing the three great virtues of a programmer – laziness, impatience and hubris – Larry Wall, creator of the Perl language, describes laziness as "the quality that makes one go to great effort to reduce overall energy expenditure". This laziness, at least in part, drove the likes of Charles Babbage to find a mechanical alternative to performing tedious and error prone calculations using logarithmic tables, or Joseph Jacquard to invent his punch card-driven loom, the very first programmable device.

Following in the grand tradition of such technology pioneers, lazy DBAs will always find a way to avoid unnecessary and repetitive work. Of course, there are exceptions, people who reap satisfaction from a task undertaken in a simple, hardworking manner. I knew one DBA, a contractor for my company, who did nothing all day except "watch" our servers, staring at his screen and firing off the occasional query. We never heard from him unless he found something that "seemed wrong". Often, he never spoke for days due, no doubt, to our high quality software, or perhaps lack of customers. Any DBA worth their salt, however, would dread such repetition, not to mention waste. After all, a week of that person's pay could buy a heck of a lot of SQL Monitor licenses.

For a DBA with more than a handful of servers to manage and only one copy of himself (or herself) to do it, laziness is a tremendous virtue and one that both improves efficiency and ensures adequate exposure to the natural vitamin D our sun provides.

Using a tool to watch your servers and warn you when danger looms, you can deal problems on your time, before they become disasters that you need to deal with on your customer's time. You will no doubt have scripts or tools to automate tasks like backups, letting the software back up your databases, verify the backups worked, put the backup files into safe locations and send you a nice message telling you everything is A-OK, like one of those dreadful robots made by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. If so, then you've earned the extra personal time you need to work out that reference without having to follow the link.

Armed with scripts and SQLCMD replaceable parameters (perhaps even PowerShell if you are into that sort of thing), a DBA can automate almost any task, making it easier, repeatable and less error prone. Even creating multiple databases, each with files stored in different directories, will no longer be a tedious SSMS GUI-driven task, but rather one that simply requires changing a few parameters and pressing execute.

With a script for every task, a tool to monitor their servers, and perhaps an intern to keep them entertained, the DBA approaches a state of lazy nirvana, with nothing to do but read Phil Factor's blog and watch an endless stream of channel 9 videos. Of course, I worry that it will make the working life of a DBA as boring as that of the Maytag repairman, but it's almost certainly a groundless fear; users, programmers and hardware gremlins will always be there to keep us working hard to maintain our laziness.

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

How “dongle” jokes got two people fired—and led to DDoS attacks - "Developer evangelist" offended by developer, tweets outrage, both are fired....(more)

Feedly nets 500,000 upset Google Reader users - The popular content curation tool Feedly has snapped-up 500,000 new users in the 48 hours since Google announced it would be closing its Reader service on July 1....(more)

Tech News : Security

Cisco switches to weaker hashing scheme, passwords cracked wide open - Password cracking experts have reversed a secret cryptographic formula recently added to Cisco devices. Ironically, the encryption type 4 algorithm leaves users considerably more susceptible to password cracking than an older alternative, even though the new routine was intended to enhance protections already in place....(more)

Apple follows Google, Facebook, and others with two-step authentication - iCloud gains an extra layer of security in wake of increasing security threats....(more)

Are we ready to do our banking via Facebook? - Banking, you say? In your Facebook, you say? What could possibly go wrong?! Troy Hunt investigates....(more)

Chameleon botnet steals $6M per month in click fraud scam - More than 120,000 Windows-based computers running Internet Explorer 9 are infected in the U.S., researchers say....(more)

Tech News : The Lighter Side

Programming Language Hierarchy - Steve Rowe shares the programming language hierarchy. Read it for the humor, not the accuracy....(more)

SQL Server News

Cumulative Update #10 for SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 - The tenth cumulative update release for SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 is now available for download at the Microsoft Support site. Cumulative Update 10 contains all the hotfixes released since the initial release of SQL Server 2008 SP3....(more)

Cumulative Update # 3 for SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 - The third Cumulative update release for SQL Server 2012 SP1 is now available for download at the Microsoft Support site. Cumulative Update 3 contains all the SQL Server 2012 SP1 hotfixes which have been available since the initial release of SQL Server 2012 SP1....(more)

Blogs : Administration

SQL 2008 - Debugging failed backups - Mining the SQL Server logs for the cause of backup failure....(more)

Is my SQL Server's memory over-committed? - In this post, we'll explore what memory over-commit is and why it's a bad thing, how to mitigate the problem, and how to help prevent it from occurring in the first place....(more)

System Center Advisor is now free - "For SQL Server, we now have over 100+ rules baked into this service representing the collective knowledge of CSS SQL Engineers worldwide on common customer issues. Have you ever wanted to know what the CSS teams knows based on common issues reported by customers? That is what SCA is all about. Providing you that knowledge in the form of a cloud-based service."...(more)

SQL Server memory - Internals - A deep dive on how SQL Server memory works in 32-Bit and 64-Bit systems. Explains how SQL Server memory managers behave differently on different memory models....(more)

Managing the SQL Server Transaction Log: Dealing with Explosive Log Growth - You've just become responsible for a database, only to find that the log file is growing out of control. Why is it happening and what do you do to correct it?...(more)

Blogs : Big Data

Data audits and data strategies - There are lots of start-up companies out there that want to have a data team, because they heard somewhere that they should leverage big data, but they don’t know what it really means, what they can expect from such a team, or how to get started. They also don’t really know how to hire qualified people, or what qualifications to look for....(more)

Checking Out Amazon Redshift - When Amazon came out with a publicly available Beta for their new Redshift Datawarehouse service (accompanied by a slick marketing video), Michael J Swart decided to kick the tires....(more)

Blogs : Computing in the Cloud

Using PowerShell to deploy Windows Azure Virtual Machines and Windows Azure SQL Databases - The new PowerShell cmdlets support Azure VM provisioning and also Azure SQL database provisioning (plus some other nice interfaces). This enables us to quickly spin up a SQL Server VM in Azure or SQL database in Azure. ...(more)

Blogs : Data Mining

The 20 best tools for data visualization - A round up of "20 of the most awesome data visualisation tools available on the web."...(more)

Blogs : DMO/SMO/Powershell

Windows PowerShell 3.0 SDK Sample Pack - Windows PowerShell 3.0 SDK Sample Pack contains code samples that show how to build applications based on Windows PowerShell 3.0....(more)

Conversion Issues Upgrading to PowerShell 3.0 - Michelle Ufford on a few conversion issues she ran into when upgrading to PowerShell 3.0...(more)

Powershell to get Windows Startup & Shutdown times - A quick Powershell snippet to get the startup and shutdown times for a windows system after a specific point. ...(more)

A PowerShell RSS Reader using an OPML file - To celebrate the announcement of the planned demise of Google Reader, Phil Factor provides a PowerShell script that gives you the items from the OPML collection of feeds that you import or export between your feed readers. ...(more)

Blogs : Events

Madison SQL Saturday (#SQLSat206) Coming Up - On April 6th, a couple hundred of your closest SQL Server peers will be meeting in the state of beer and cheese to do a little learning and networking around SQL Server. Jason Strate will be there....(more)

SQL Intersection Conference, Las Vegas MGM Grand April 8-11 - A brand new event focussed on tuning and troubleshooting the SQL Server core engine (including Windows SQL Azure Database)....(more)

Blogs : Hardware

My Results Using a Pure Storage SSD Based Storage Array - Denny Cherry get the chance to do some testing on a brand new storage array that has come to market from Pure Storage. ...(more)

Blogs : Integration Services/ETL

Tracking changes to tables in your data warehouse using snapshot-based versioning - Andreas de Ruiter walks through "a way to track historic changes in a data warehouse and share a little program I wrote that will help you do this in minutes."...(more)

Configure SQL Server Security to Allow Only Browsing of SSIS Packages - Chad Churchwell was approached by his DEV team. Since they had no access in QA and Prod, they asked if they could be able to just see the package and folder structures through SSMS from their workstations....(more)

Blogs : NOSQL

Mongodb - Security Weaknesses in a typical NoSQL database - Over the last year or so, David KirkPatrick has noticed 2 ports appearing more frequently during internal penetration tests, namely 27017/tcp and 28017/tcp, the default ports for MongoDB, so he decided to run some further tests and uncovered some uncomfortable security weaknesses....(more)

Blogs : Performance and Tuning

Which LOB pages are associated with a specific columnstore segment? - Joe Sack embarks on an “exploratory” mission based on the question…How do I track which LOB pages are associated with a specific columnstore index segment?...(more)

SQLServerCentral Runs sp_Blitz - Performance Part 2 - Steve Jones presents the fourth article in a series that examines the output of the Brent Ozar Unlimited sp_Blitz™ script, run against the SQLServerCentral database servers....(more)

How to find busy tables in SQL Server? - The answer is via the sys.dm_db_index_operational_stats DMV and a clever script....(more)

Creating a SQL Server Unique Index that behaves like an Oracle Unique Index - SQL Denis shows how to allow multiple NULL values as well in a SQL Server unique index....(more)

Extended Events did it again: monitoring Stored Procedures performance - David Mauri is challenged to come up with a sort of real-time monitor of procedure performances so that one can then create alert and/or do some stream-analysis to keep response time always under the desired amount of time. Enter extended events......(more)

Tracking SQL Server Database Usage - Jonathan Kehayias explains how to track which of databases are actually being used, especially on development and testing systems where there may be multiple copies of the same database that were used by different projects over time. His techniques uses Extended Events and the lock_acquired event, filtering for the shared transaction workspace (SharedXactWorkspace) lock that is acquired anytime a user connects to the database....(more)

Trapping SQL Server Errors with Extended Events - David Mauri describes how Extended Events can trap SQL Server errors without the need to have a server trace running, with the additional feature of being able to query the data as soon as it comes in....(more)

Plan Caching and Recompilation in SQL Server 2012 - Greg Low's paper explains how SQL Server 2012 allocates memory for plan caching, how query batches are cached and suggests best practices on maximizing reuse of cached plans. It also explains scenarios in which batches are recompiled, and gives best practices for reducing or eliminating unnecessary recompilations and for minimizing plan cache pollution....(more)

Troubleshooting SQL Server High CPU usage using Xperf - Xperf/WPA is a powerful Windows tracing tool that can be used to assist in troubleshooting numerous issues on a Windows server. The utility allows for in depth tracing without the high overhead typically associated with such tracing, through use of the Event Tracing for Windows architecture (ETW)....(more)

SQL Server 2012 partitioned table statistics update behavior change when rebuilding index - Jack Li on a few issues related to statistics update when rebuilding index on a partitioned table....(more)

Blogs : PowerPivot

UK/US Date Format Bug in PowerPivot and SSAS Tabular - Chris Webb breaks his silence on a bug that has been irritating him no end for the last year....(more)

Blogs : Professional Development

Why We Write #1 - An Interview With Thomas LaRock - After 13 years of writing books, articles and blogs, Louis Davidson decided to conduct a series of interviews to find out what makes writers write...starting with Thomas La Rock....(more)

Blogs : Security and Auditing

The Ugly Side Of Email Marketing In India - “You’re doing it all wrong,” the owner of a group of content portals said to me. “The way to do it,” once you start a website, is to get a team of people to scrape email addresses from the web, and spam the hell out of them. If they want to opt out, they can do it. We do this with every website we launch. Once they’re in, you can make money sending mailers, or you go and pitch that database to an advertiser.” ...(more)

Penetration Testing SQL Servers - A step by step how examination of how to perform penetration tests against SQL Servers....(more)

Blogs : Software Development

Continuous Integration for SQL Server using Red Gate Tools, Atlassian Bamboo and GitHub - This post explains how to install Red Gate’s Automation License for Continuous Integration on Atlassian’s Bamboo CI Server so that you can start running Continuous Integration builds for your SQL Server databases. ...(more)

Blogs : SQL Server 2005

Corruption case - Michael Zilberstein shares some of the details of how he investigated a case of database corruption, caused by a malfunctioning Ghost Cleanup process, on SQL Server 2005....(more)

Blogs : SQL Server 2012

CU3 for SQL2012 SP1 – Couple of interesting hotfixes. - Here comes CU 3 (Build 11.0.3349.0.) for SQLServer 2012 SP1. You can download the same from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2812412. Similar to CU2 there are some interesting hotfixes which are included in this CU release, and its worth testing it out....(more)

Compressed Rowsets in SQL Server with CLR - SQL Server 2012 has the ability to take an arbitrary query, store the results in memory, compress them and store them in a single scalar BLOB. David Baxter Browne explains why this might be useful, and how to do it....(more)

Performance-related fixes for SQL Server 2012 - Having trouble keeping track of which fixes are available in which cumulative update, for SQL Server 2012? Aaron Bertrand provides a handy list....(more)

Blogs : T-SQL

Sub query pass through - Dave Ballantyne investigates the hidden dangers of conditional subqueries...(more)

SELECTing Valid SQL - “Use a stored procedure? No can do,” the DBA Joss said. “The codebase simply won’t support it. If your query requires anything other than SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, OR DELETE, it fails.”...(more)

SQL Server: Writing CASE expressions properly when NULLs are involved - We’ve all written a CASE expression (yes, it’s an expression and not a statement) or two every now and then. But did you know there are actually 2 formats in which you can write the CASE expression? Mladen Prajdic explains why you need to avoid one of them....(more)

The Problem with Window Functions and Views - Database designers often look to incorporate window functions such as ROW_NUMBER and RANK into views, to promote code encapsulation and reuse. Unfortunately, a limitation in the SQL Server query optimizer often means that such views often do not perform as well as expected. Paul White illustrates the problem and offers some workarounds....(more)


Administrative