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The Voice of the DBA

Opportunities Abound

There are so many opportunities for many of you to learn more about SQL Server.  It's amazing to think how many more choices we have today than I did early in my career. When I moved to Denver, we had a user group that met somewhat sporadically, an MSDN lunch hour every month, the PASS Summit, and training classes from various vendors like New Horizons. That was about it, with only a few online resources. SQLServerCentral didn't even exist then.

That's changed today and when I look at my schedule, it's incredible to think how many of them I'm going to be a part of this fall. I've got a busy travel schedule the rest of the year, and I'll only touch a small portion of the events that you could use to increase your SQL Server knowledge.

There are quite a few conferences this year. DevConnections in a few weeks, the PASS Summit mid month, and SQL Intersection at the end of October. I'll be speaking at the former and latter, skipping the middle one this year. There are two SQL Rallys, Nordic and Amsterdam in Europe. There are also lots of pre- and post-cons and other workshops sessions around the events. There are even amazing training classes from vendors like SQLskills and Brent Ozar Unlimited that will teach you a tremendous amount about SQL Server. I'm hoping to attend one of these sessions in the next year.

If your boss won't pay for a conference or class, there are plenty of free events as well. SQL Saturdays are everywhere, almost every weekend. I'll be at San DiegoDenverCharlestonPortland, and Washington DC this year, but there are plenty more. Many of them offer pre-cons, at low costs. You might consider covering the cost yourself and asking your boss to pay for the time off. 

My employer, Red Gate Software, is putting on some of their own events. We are doing seminars before some of the SQL Saturdays and I have SQL in the City events in PasadenaAtlanta, and Charlotte this year.  These are free events, just register and come.

If you aren't close to any events, there are more and more online resources. SQLServerCentral should be your first stop, but there are videoswebinarsvirtual chapter meetings, and great subscriptions from vendors. If you want to self-study, there are great books you can buy as well as online challenges to help you learn. 

There are all levels of costs, online, local, worldwide, etc. resources that you can use to learn more about SQL Server. I'd highly encourage you to make a plan and improve your SQL Server skills over the next year. I guarentee there's something for every budget and situation.

Steve Jones from SQLServerCentral.com

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From the SQLServerCentral Blogs - PowerShell – Script to Monitor a Service on a Group of servers – HTML Formatted Email Output

Prashanth Jayaram from SQLServerCentral.com

This post explains how to monitor a given service on a group of servers. The function Get-ServiceStatusReport comprises of various cmdLets... More »

Question of the Day

Today's Question (by Paul Cauchon):

What is returned by the select statements?

if 1=0 
 begin 
    declare @word varchar(100) = 'apple' 
    declare @table table(id int)
    select @word 
 end
else
 begin 
    select @word 
    set @word = 'pear' 
    select @word 
    select COUNT(*) from @table
 end

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Yesterday's Question of the Day

Yesterday's Question (by bitbucket-25253 ):

I have the following settings for my SQL Server 2012  2008R2

SET NUMERIC_ROUNDABORT, QUOTED_IDENTIFIER OFF;

SET ANSI_PADDING, ANSI_WARNINGS, CONCAT_NULL_YIELDS_NULL, ARITHABORT,ANSI_NULLS ON; 

I execute the following T-SQL:

IF EXISTS (SELECT * FROM sys.objects WHERE object_id = OBJECT_ID(N'[dbo].[SomeTable]') AND TYPE IN (N'U'))
  DROP TABLE [dbo].[SomeTable]

CREATE TABLE DBO.SomeTable( [Case] char(3),
[Hours] int, [Type] int)

insert SomeTable
select 'xxx', 3, 1 union all
select 'xxx', 3, 2 union all
select 'xxx', 4, 1 union all
select 'xxx', 1, 1

I then execute the following T-SQL statement:

select SUM(Case 
            when [Type] = 2 then -1 * [Hours] 
            else [Hours] 
           end) as TotalHours
 from SomeTable

The Questions are:

  1. Does the create table statement fail or succeed?
  2. If the create table statement succeeds what value of TotalHours is returned by the Select statement?
  3. If the create table statement fails what error msg number is returned when the Select statement is executed?

Answer:

  • 5 hours is returned by the SELECT statement
  • The create table statement succeeds

Explanation: In Microsoft SQL Server delimited identifier is a sequence of characters enclosed in double quotation marks (") as the default. When quoted_identifier option is set off, only brackets ([]) are used to delimit identifiers and double quotation marks can be used to delimit character strings. It is allowed to use SQL reserved words as delimited identifiers. The length of the delimited identifier cannot exceed 128 characters not counting the delimiter characters. The body of the identifier can contain any combination of characters in the current code page except for the delimiting characters themselves.

Ref: http://doc.ispirer.com/sqlways/Output/SQLWays-1-035.html


» Discuss this question and answer on the forums

Featured Script

usp_who5

Sean Smith from SQLServerCentral.com

Over the years (and various versions of SQL Server), I have always had a need for different bits of information from the system tables to view activity on a SQL instance. The Microsoft "sp_who" procedures have always provided good information, but never really everything that I needed (and, more importantly, how I needed it... hence the reason for building my own version).


It can be run as is (example: EXECUTE dbo.usp_who5) or with optional input filter parameters:

  • @Filter: Limit result set by passing one or more values listed below (can be used individually or combined in any manner):
  1. A - Active SPIDs Only
  2. B - Blocked SPIDs Only
  3. C - Exclude "SQL_Statement_Batch", "SQL_Statement_Current", and "Query_Plan_XML" fields from output (less resource-intensive on busy servers)
  4. X - Exclude System Reserved SPIDs (1-50)
  • @SPID: Limit result set to a specific SPID
  • @Login: Limit result set to a specific Windows user name (if populated), otherwise by SQL Server login name
  • @Database: Limit result set to a specific database
  • @SQL_Text : Limit result set to SQL statement(s) containing specific text (ignored when "@Filter" parameter contains "C")

When using the procedure you will notice that query output contains a lot of handy information:

  • SPECID: System Process ID with Execution Context ID
  • Blocked: Blocking indicator (includes type of block and blocking SPID)
  • Running: Indicates if SPID is currently executing (X), waiting (*), inactive (blank), has open transactions (•), or is a background task (--)
  • Login_ID: Displays Windows user name (or login name if user name is unavailable)
  • Login_Name: Full name of the user associated to the Login_ID (if available)
  • Elapsed_Time: Total elapsed time since the request began (DAYS HH:MM:SS)
  • CPU_Total: Cumulative CPU time since login (DAYS HH:MM:SS)
  • CPU_Current: Cumulative CPU time for the current process (DAYS HH:MM:SS)
  • Logical_Reads: Number of logical reads performed by the current process
  • Physical_Reads: Number of physical reads performed by the current process
  • Writes: Number of writes performed by the current process
  • Pages_Used: Number of pages in the procedure cache currently allocated to the process
  • Nesting_Level: Nesting level of the statement currently executing
  • Open_Trans: Number of open transactions for the process
  • Wait_Time: Current wait time (DAYS HH:MM:SS)
  • Wait_Type: Current wait type
  • Last_Wait_Type: Previous wait type
  • Status: Status of the current process
  • Command: Command currently being executed
  • SQL_Statement_Batch: Batch SQL statement of the associated SPID
  • SQL_Statement_Current: Current SQL statement of the associated SPID
  • End_Of_Batch: Indicates if the current SQL statement is the last of the entire batch
  • Query_Plan_XML: Execution plan of the associated SPID (in XML format)
  • Plan_Cache_Object_Type: Displays which mechanism is being used for the cached plan (used in conjunction with Plan_Object_Type)
  • Plan_Object_Type: Displays which mechanism is being used for the cached plan (used in conjunction with Plan_Cache_Object_Type)
  • Plan_Times_Used: Number of times the plan has been utilized since its creation
  • Plan_Size_MB: Size consumed by the plan in megabytes (MB)
  • Since_SPID_Login: Total elapsed time since the client logged in (DAYS HH:MM:SS)
  • Since_Last_Batch: Total elapsed time since the client last completed a remote stored procedure call or an EXECUTE statement (DAYS HH:MM:SS)
  • Workstation_Name: Workstation name
  • Database_Name: Database context of the SPID
  • Application_Description: Application accessing SQL Server
  • SPECID: System Process ID with Execution Context ID

If you ever need to remember what the input parameters / output columns are and what they mean, you can simply execute the following:

EXECUTE dbo.usp_who5 '?'

Best of all, if there is any blocking occurring on the server it will come right to the top of the result set and show you the details immediately (which SPID is blocked and by who, which SPIDs are blocking other processes, which are running in parallelism).

I typically map the procedure to keyboard combinations in SQL Server in order to run it on the fly with various input parameter combinations.

Any friendly feedback is always welcome. Enjoy!

More »

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