The Complete Weekly Roundup of SQL Server News

In this issue:

Tech News : General Interest

Tech News : Security

Tech News : The Lighter Side

Microsoft News : General Interest

Microsoft News : Patches, Bugs

Hardware News

Blogs : Administration

Blogs : Career

Blogs : Computing in the Cloud

Blogs : DMO/SMO/Powershell

Blogs : Events

Blogs : High Availability/Disaster Recovery

Blogs : Integration Services/ETL

Blogs : Performance and Tuning

Blogs : PowerPivot

Blogs : Reporting Services

Blogs : Software Development

Blogs : Spatial Data

Blogs : SQL Server 2014

Blogs : T-SQL

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The Complete Weekly Roundup of SQL Server News

Hand-picked content to sharpen your professional edge

SQL Server News for 2013-12-16

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Editorial - Regrets of the Last Decade

Microsoft was never an exciting company to me as a kid. I grew up excited by Commodore with their GEOS, early Atari computers and consoles, and the original Macintosh computer. I was fascinated by Sun and Silicon Graphics workstations, running X Windows across multiple machines. The NeXT workstations made early Windows machines seem primitive. When I first worked with SQL Server, it felt like a half-finished product that wasn't stable on OS/2. Microsoft felt like a pedestrian company that was good for my career, and was trying to grow, but they weren't exciting.

Some of that changed in the late 90s as Microsoft embraced the Internet and helped it grow with the ActiveX system. For better or worse, ActiveX seemed to bring life to web sites in a way that Java and other techniques couldn't. We could argue about the damage that systems like ActiveX and Visual Basic 6 did in terms of application performance and maintainability, but without a doubt these tools caused an explosion of development and no end of work for those of us in technology. 

Developers, developers, developers was exciting and was a great mantra. I believed that Microsoft had really hit upon the key when I heard that. Woo developers, help them build applications, and let the excitement grow. I watched SQL Server mature with it's expansion into BI areas. I saw Microsoft create the XBOX platform, and build a much better Office Suite than I'd had with Lotus, AmiPro, and others. Microsoft had a time during my career when I thought they were really going to dominate the world of computing.

However I wasn't thrilled when Steve Ballmer took over. He wasn't a geek, and wasn't one of us. Slowly I felt that the company lost its way. Mr. Ballmer talks about some of his regrets in a piece this week, one of which was Longhown. That project dragged on for years and become the debacle that was Windows Vista. During this same time, SQL Server dragged, taking 5 years to get SQL Server 2005 released. Office seemed to stagnate, offering little reason to upgrade, other than because others were upgrading. The company felt lost, and paled in comparison to the excitement generated by Google and then Apple during the last 12 years.

As I read the quotes and thoughts in the piece, I have to admit that Microsoft really has quietly advanced. They have had successes and lots of growth, even if the stock price hasn't skyrocketed. They've invested in platforms, research, and technology, internally and through acquisitions, that may help the company maintain its position as a technology leader for some time. For every misstep like aQuantive, Danger and Ray Ozzie, there are advances like Azure and Dynamics. Windows has continued to grow inside enterprises and I rarely see the complaints over scale and capabilities that I remember from early in my career.

Were the Steve Ballmer years a success or failure for Microsoft? I think I'd call it a maintenance time. Like the manager he is, I think Mr. Ballmer managed the company, without ruining it, but without creating much excitement either.

» 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

It's official: IT hiring has slowed - After a decent start earlier this year, IT hiring is slowing down. Despite a 203,000 increase in the overall number of jobs added to the U.S. economy in November, an analysis of hiring by two independent groups shows decreasing demand for IT pros. That ......(more)

Tech News : Security

Microsoft joins group seeking to replace passwords - Microsoft has joined the FIDO Alliance, an industry group attempting to craft industry standards that reduce reliance on passwords, long regarded as a weak point in Web security. Launched in July 2012, FIDO, which stands for Fast IDentity Online, is ......(more)

Have I been pwned? You can now ask the API! - I got a lot of requests after launching HIBP for an API and I saw some great ideas come up in terms of how it might be used for very constructive purposes. Truth be told, there was an API from day one insofar as this was precisely what the web UI was ......(more)

Data-stealing malware pretends to be Microsoft IIS server module - Trustwave's SpiderLabs researchers have found a piece of malware that collects data entered into Web-based forms, pretending to be a module for Microsoft's Internet Information Services (IIS) Web-hosting software. The malware, which is dubbed...(more)

Database Hack Puts Social Media, Webmail Users at Risk - A massive hack has served up the user names and passwords of nearly 2 million Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo accounts, among others. TrustWave?EU?s SpiderLabs first reported the database breach, which it said was made possible by the Pony Botnet ......(more)

Tech News : The Lighter Side

FiveWordTechHorrors: Your IT nightmares, in brief - Brevity is the soul of wit, as Ernest Hemingway once demonstrated when he wrote his six-word short story: "For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn." Now, the explosion of the #FiveWordTechHorrors hashtag on Twitter has shown you can sum up all the ghastliness and heartache of IT in phrases of one word less than Hemingway's example. Here's a collection of the most pithy, pointed, and perceptive favorites: We can add security later....(more)

Microsoft News : General Interest

Microsoft launches network of Azure providers - Microsoft has launched the Cloud OS Network, a global consortium of cloud service providers that offer Windows Azure IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service). More than 25 providers have signed up for the network for its initial launch, including Capgemini, ......(more)

Windows 7 given a reprieve of sorts to extend OEM sales - Microsoft updated its Windows lifecycle table last week, quietly announcing that OEMs would have to cease preinstalling Windows 7 on new systems by October 30, 2014. Retail boxed copies of the operating system have already ceased, ending on October 30 of this year....(more)

Microsoft's Ballmer: On Longhorn and other regrets - Microsoft's outgoing CEO opens up about his biggest regrets during his 13-year CEOship. ...(more)

What might a new Windows Start Menu look like? - Microsoft is believed to be planning to reintroduce a 'mini' Start Menu with a coming Windows release. But what will it look like? ...(more)

Microsoft News : Patches, Bugs

Patch Tuesday Fixes One Zero-Day, Leaves Another Open - Microsoft on Tuesday rolled out 11 security bulletins in the final Patch Tuesday of 2013. All told, Redmond issued 106 bulletins in 2013, a 22 percent increase over 2012.For December?EU?s part, there were five critical and six important patches fixing ......(more)

Microsoft Windows Flash Player Two Vulnerabilities - The vulnerabilities are caused due to the application bundling a vulnerable version of Adobe Flash Player within Internet Explorer....(more)

Microsoft Office Access Tokens Information Disclosure Vulnerability - The vulnerability is caused due to the application improperly handling response while attempting to open a hosted file and can be exploited to disclose tokens used to authenticate the user on a SharePoint or other Microsoft Office server site....(more)

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2013 Cross-Site Scripting Vulnerability - A vulnerability has been reported in Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2013, which can be exploited by malicious people to conduct cross-site scripting attacks....(more)

ASP.NET SignalR Unspecified Cross-Site Scripting Vulnerability - Certain unspecified input is not properly sanitised before being returned to the user. This can be exploited to execute arbitrary HTML and script code in a user's browser session in context of an affected site....(more)

Microsoft Windows LRPC Client Buffer Overflow Vulnerability - The vulnerability is caused due to an unspecified error within the LRPC client and can be exploited to cause a stack-based buffer overflow by sending a specially crafted LPC (Local Procedure Call) port message via a customised LRPC server....(more)

Microsoft Windows Microsoft Scripting Runtime Object Library Use-After-Free Vulnerability - The vulnerability is caused due to a use-after-free error within the Microsoft Scripting Runtime Object Library, which can be exploited to corrupt memory....(more)

Microsoft SharePoint Server Multiple Arbitrary Code Execution Vulnerabilities - The vulnerabilities are caused due to some input sanitisation errors related to SharePoint content, which can be exploited to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the W3WP service account....(more)

Microsoft Internet Explorer Multiple Vulnerabilities - Multiple vulnerabilities have been reported in Microsoft Internet Explorer, which can be exploited by malicious people to bypass certain security restrictions and compromise a user's system....(more)

Hardware News

Samsung SSD News: 1TB 840 EVO mSATA, RAPID for 840 Pro & eDrive for 840 EVO - Today has been a busy day for Samsung's SSD department with three releases/announcements. With three different topics, I've separated this article into three, so let's begin with the hardware....(more)

Microsoft holiday offer: Surface Pro 256 GB for $949 - Microsoft is offering a $150 price cut on its first-generation, Intel-based Surface Pro with a 256 GB solid state drive as part of a bunch of Surface 'holiday deals.' ...(more)

Blogs : Administration

Standard configuration of tempdb (video) - The tempdb system database is used for many purposes from materializing temporary tables to storing row version information for snapshot isolation. The default configuration of tempdb may not perform well for many production workloads. In this video, ......(more)

Database Snapshot failed due to disk space issue - Database snapshot is really a useful feature. As we know, Snapshot database file will keep increasing parallel to the DML operations on database. But if disk containing snapshot file run out of space then what will be the impact on new transactions, ......(more)

SQL Server 2014 Backup to URL - I’m absolutely in love with the concept of being able to create a backup directly to a protected, off-site location. Yeah, you can spend all sorts of money on terribly wonderful technology to enable that within your enterprise. And if you have that kind ......(more)

SQL SERVER – Optimal Memory Settings for SQL Server – Notes from the Field - ...(more)

SQL Server 2014 Diagnostic Information Queries (December 2013) - I have made quite a few updates and improvements to this set of queries for December 2013. I have added several new queries, and changed the order of some of the existing queries in the set, which now has a total of 65 separate queries. The blank results spreadsheet has also been updated to match. You can download the queries and the results spreadsheet from the links below:...(more)

SQL Server Error Log, A Little Deeper - I posted a blog titled, SQL Server Error Log. Often the things I post about are the items that I am using that day, or recently. Many of the topics, are simply based on how I may have made using SQL Server a bit easier for me to use one way or another. In the SQL Server Error Log post I had mentioned a few of the basic things I do when configuring a server to make the Error Log a little easier for me to navigate, or get the information I need quicker. It occurred to me after a question from a well-respected community member that an example on how I use xp_readerrorlog, could add to the usefulness of the post. Thanks for the suggestion....(more)

Blogs : Career

DBA JumpStart – A SQL Community Ebook for DBAs - If you could give a DBA just one piece of advice, what would it be?I asked 20 successful and experienced SQL Server professionals this exact question. You can find their answers inside DBA JumpStart, a unique collection of inspiring content just for ......(more)

Great Advice (and Free!): DBA JumpStart - John Sansom ( Blog | @SqlBrit ) is committed to sharing “what I believe it takes to be an outstanding Data Professional.” To that end, John shepherded a book project called DBA JumpStart . The concept of the (free!) e-book is: “If you could give a DBA ......(more)

“Make Sure That You Really Love Doing It” - John Sansom asked me to give one piece of advice to aspiring DBAs. I spent a lot of time thinking about what would be the best single piece of advice I could offer. Before I could settle on an answer, I came across something written by Robin Williams....(more)

Do You Want a Job? - “If you could give a DBA just one piece of advice, what would it be?” John asked 20 successful and experienced SQL Server professionals this exact question. I share my own thoughts with you below and you can find all our answers together inside DBA JumpStart, a unique collection of inspiring content just for SQL Server DBAs. Be sure to get your free copy of DBA JumpStart....(more)

Blogs : Computing in the Cloud

SQL Server 2014 Hybrid Cloud Scenarios: Migrating On-Premises SQL Server to Windows Azure Virtual Machines - Those of you who have tried the new version of SQL Server Management Studio might have noticed already that it has a couple of new wizards added. One of those wizards is sitting next to the already existing that has been allowing you to deploy to a Windows Azure SQL Database service (former SQL Azure) and it is called Deploy Database to a Windows Azure Virtual Machine (VM)....(more)

Blogs : DMO/SMO/Powershell

The PoSH DBA - SQLPSX: SQL Server PowerShell Extensions - Every DBA needs to know about SQLPSX, the PowerShell module library that is built by DBAs for DBAs, and designed to provide intuitive functions around the SMO objects. It makes the automation of database administration easier across all versions of SQL ......(more)

Blogs : Events

Webinar: Data Governance Expectations: Getting the Business to Tell You How Governance Will Add Value - Thursday, December 19 at 2 p.m. EST - Join Bob Seiner and DATAVERSITY for this informative webinar that will focus on getting THEM to tell US where data governance will add value. Seiner will review techniques for acquiring this information and will share information of where this information will add specific value to your data governance program. Some of those places may surprise you....(more)

Blogs : High Availability/Disaster Recovery

AlwaysOn Availability Groups, Backup Checksums, and Corruption - The latest version of sp_Blitz™ alerts you if you haven’t been using the WITH CHECKSUM parameter on your backups. This parameter tells SQL Server to check the checksums on each page and alert if there’s corruption....(more)

Blogs : Integration Services/ETL

SQL Server BI Gold Medal Winner - Using a View to Mask Multi-Server SSIS Package Configurations - Jason won the SQL BI Guru gold medal for October! Here's his winning article... Using a View to Mask Multi-Server SSIS Package ConfigurationsBy Jason Brugger December 8, 2013SSIS Package Configurations allows property values which are particular ......(more)

My Biml Metadata Strategy - Now that we’ve discussed various common metadata strategies used in creating BimlScript, I’m going to explain exactly how the metadata in my sample BimlScript framework functions. Basically, I’m going to start to pull back the curtain and explain some ......(more)

Blogs : Performance and Tuning

Throwback Thursday - ...(more)

SQL Server Database Engine Performance Tuning Basics - As the market share of SQL Server grows over time, there has been a increasing demand for SQL Server performance tuning. There has been various approaches taken by different teams and individuals for improving the performance of the SQL Server, and I ......(more)

T-SQL Tuesday #49: Using CXPacket Waits to Detect Query Bottlenecks - This tradition was started by Adam Machanic (blog | @AdamMachanic), and this month’s host is Robert David (blog | @SQLSoldier). This month’s topic is all about waits.....(more)

T-SQL Tuesday - ...(more)

Collecting Historical Wait Statistics - As a DBA, I'm sure you've heard many times to always check the sys.dm_os_wait_stats DMV to help diagnose performance issues on your server. The DMV returns information about specific resources SQL Server had to wait for while processing queries. The ......(more)

The cost of select count(*) from tbl - I was always somewhat baffled that something that was so obviously required so often can be so expensive with RDBMSes. When diving deep into B-Tree implementation I suddenly found it obvious why that is the case....(more)

Blogs : PowerPivot

Format your DAX code - When you write a DAX formula that is not trivial, you end up having a complex expression that is not really readable. ...(more)

Blogs : Reporting Services

Pinned filters and URL parameters in Power View - In addition to adding support for Power View with multidimensional BI Semantic Models (cubes), Cumulative update package 4 for SQL Server 2012 SP1 includes a bonus Power View feature – the ability to “pin” view filters and to specify some basic pinned ......(more)

Blogs : Software Development

SQL Enlight for SQL Server Management Studio - The process of doing SQL code-reviews used to be tedious and error-prone. Until SQL Enlight, it was a process that was difficult to automate for release and deployment. As it is now both a Command-line utility and an SSMS add-in, the database developer ......(more)

Blogs : Spatial Data

Spatial Index is NOT used when SUBQUERY used - I have found the following link to be invaluable when working with and tuning SQL Server Spatial indexes:  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb895265.aspx However, the link is not as clear as it could be about the Spatial index selections made ......(more)

Blogs : SQL Server 2014

Hekaton with a twist: In-memory table-valued parameters Part 2 - After an initial look at in-memory TVPs at small scale proved promising, SQL Sentry's Aaron Bertrand (@AaronBertrand) takes a closer look at trying to match more values against a much larger table....(more)

Blogs : T-SQL

It's Dangerous to ISNUMERIC, Take This Try_Convert - There's an issue with some characters in T-SQL when validating numeric values out of raw varchar fields, and it can be easily solved with a function new to SQL Server 2012. Consider this sample setup, where we are stuck importing values from a varchar ......(more)

Split csv entries from a column in a table - This is all in a single query without having to create a function.The separator is in a cte so doesn’t need to be declared separately.For longer separators include the length in this cte and use it for the length adjustments in the query.create table ......(more)

Undocumented functionality in FORMATMESSAGE - I was reading a rather interesting post on stackexchange “Why is % a forbidden char in a THROW message?” (which is an interesting read in and of itself) and noticed something interesting in the OP’s example. FORMATMESSAGE('Procedure input %s is wrong', ......(more)

SQL SERVER – How to Allow Only Alphabets in Column – Create Check Constraint to Insert Only Alphabets - Here is the question I just received in email.“Pinal,I searched your blog at http://search.sqlauthority.com but I could not find a solution to my problem.I have a column where I only want to allow alphabets. If anyone wants to insert number or any ......(more)

SQL SERVER – Working with Business Days in SQL Server – A Different Approach - Note: I recommend that you download XLeratorDB and try this problem along with me, this is going to be fun exercise and something new to learn.Working with dates can be one of the more challenging aspects of IT. First, as developers we are stick with ......(more)

Keep it Constrained - SQL Server has this fancy feature called constraints. Database constraints are used to restrict the domain (the range of allowed values) of a given attribute. That’s just a funny way of saying: through a set of carefully crafted rules, we control the shape of our universe....(more)


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