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The Voice of the DBA

Using Tools that Fit

Today we have a guest editorial from Andy Warren as Steve is out of the office.

As IT professionals and knowledge workers we don’t need much in the way of personal equipment. A carpenter or plumber might have as many as a hundred tools and assorted items to support their day to day work. What do we need? A computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse (or trackball or trackpad), a place to sit or stand, and probably a chair. Given that you have all of those items, which matters most, or at all beyond having it? Not a question with a one size fits all answer, but still interesting.

At work I use a name brand $20 wireless keyboard. It works. I can’t say I’m less productive because of it. Same for the mouse. Dual 23” or 24” monitors, an OK (at best) chair, and a nice standing desk. Better than some places for sure. At home I use three 27” monitors, a standing desk, a USB dock, a chair I like, a mechanical keyboard I like, and now that I think about it, an OK mouse. The monitor arm I use at home is on the list to be replaced - functional, but just not what I want long term. Three 27” monitors is perhaps right on the edge of too much, its close to 6 feet from side to side even when mounted on an arc. Maybe I’ll change that, too!

Thinking about all of that, I ordered myself a mechanical keyboard for work, knowing that I might not like it (this one has cherry red switches, the one at home uses brown) and that it might bother colleagues. Just unboxing it evoked some interest and soon others joined as we discussed who used what, and then someone brought out a key switch sampler that we all spent a couple minutes clicking. I watched someone who uses one of those flat Apple keyboards break into a smile when they tried the green switches and heard/felt the crisp click.

My point isn’t to say you have to have a lot of equipment, or the best equipment. Plenty of people do great work on a laptop with no accessories. I can’t tell you that you would be more productive if you spend more more money on a keyboard, or switch to using two, or three, or six monitors. No, it’s to remind you, even challenge you, to revisit your tool set once in awhile and think, does this work for me well enough, is it time to make a change? Humans are adaptable, sometimes too much so; we’ll keep using that keyboard with the key that sticks long beyond the point of common sense.

For me, a little change here and there is good. I think my next big experiment will be trying a 32” or 34” monitor because scrolling to look at query plans isn’t fun and zooming in and out isn’t fun either. Drop me a note in the forums, I’d love to hear what you use and like (or don’t like) about the tools you use.

Andy Warren from SQLServerCentral.com

Join the debate, and respond to today's editorial on the forums

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Featured Contents


The Shortcomings of Predictive Accuracy

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In prediction, accuracy is key. But it's not all it's cracked up to be as we will explore. More »


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Question of the Day

Today's Question (by Uwe Ricken):

Business Case

The development team has heard from the brand new feature of System Versioned Temporal Tables in SQL Server 2016 has implemented it on the table [dbo].[Employees]. The application is using different access patterns to modify the data in this table. There are direct statements coming from the application or the application is firing long running stored procedures which make several changes to multiple tables. The update on the [dbo].[Employees] table is the last statement in the procedure! Sometimes it happens that the stored procedures fail and will rollback all changes.

Test environment

The demo table with activated System Versioned Temporal Tables is implemented with the following code (simplyfied for QotD!):

Table definition

CREATE TABLE dbo.Employees
 EMailAddress VARCHAR(255) NOT NULL ,

 (HISTORY_TABLE = dbo.EmployeesHistory)

ALTER TABLE dbo.Employees

ALTER TABLE dbo.Employees
    DEFAULT ( '99991231 23:59:59' ) FOR ValidTo;

Content of Stored Procedure

The workflow of the Stored procedure is extrem simplyfied. Please note the begin transaction at the beginning of the code. The WAITFOR is a placeholder for long running queries within the transaction. The last statement will be the update of the employee!


-- copy this code into a new windows and execute it!
 RAISERROR (N'Now follows a very long running query/batch...', 0, 1) WITH NOWAIT;
 WAITFOR DELAY '00:00:30';

 UPDATE dbo.Employees
 SET EMailAddress =  'name@domain.com'
 WHERE ID = 1;

Content of adhoc query from application

The following statement is coming from the application (simplyfied!).


 UPDATE dbo.Employees
 SET  EMailAddress =  'name@domain.com'
 WHERE ID = 1;



The users of the application occasionally see a break in the application and an error occurs with the following message:
"Msg 13535, Level 16, State 0, Line 14
Data modification failed on system-versioned table 'dbo.Employees' because transaction time was earlier than period start time for affected records.

What is going on here?

Think you know the answer? Click here, and find out if you are right.

We keep track of your score to give you bragging rights against your peers.
This question is worth 5 points in this category: System Versioned Temporal Tables.

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Exam Ref 70-761 Querying Data with Transact-SQL

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Yesterday's Question of the Day

Yesterday's Question (by Steve Jones):

I have this R code, setting an American football position list:

football <- c("CB", "OLB", "LT", "WR", "SS", "DE", "LG", "HB", "CB", "MLB", "C", "QB", "FS", "DT", "RG", "FB" ,"CB", "SLB", "RT", " ", "CB", "DE", "TE", "WR")
dim(football) <- c(4, 6)

When I print this, I get these results:

     [,1]  [,2] [,3]  [,4] [,5]  [,6]
[1,] "CB"  "SS" "CB"  "FS" "CB"  "CB"
[2,] "OLB" "DE" "MLB" "DT" "SLB" "DE"
[3,] "LT"  "LG" "C"   "RG" "RT"  "TE"
[4,] "WR"  "HB" "QB"  "FB" " "   "WR"

The defense is the first two rows of the matrix. If I just want to show the defense, what do I type?

Answer: football[1:2,]


The first two rows are retrieved by using the matrix notation and including the range of rows with a colon. As in "football[1:2,]"

Ref: Matrix tutorial - click here

» Discuss this question and answer on the forums

Featured Script

SQL Procedure for adding Database in existing Always-On HADR.

SQL Master from SQLServerCentral.com

There are two procedures which will be used  as :

1. Procedure 'usp_db_restore' is used for restore database on each replica associated with Always-On HADR (Secondery replicas). This procedure will be used internally in my next procedure to add database in Always-On.

Procedure Name : usp_db_restore
Objective : This procedure is used for Database resoration in norecovery mode which will be used in procedure for adding databases in existing HADR Always-On.
Author : Rahul Biswas
Create Date : Rahul Biswas
Modified By : Rahul Biswas
Modified Date : 31th AUG 2017
Modifications :
--exec msdb.dbo.usp_db_restore 'rahulnew', 'c:\test\Rahul\', 'B','c:\test\Rahul\','c:\test\Rahul\'
--exec msdb.dbo.usp_db_restore 'DatabaseName', 'BackupPath', 'BackupType','DatafilePath(Includes.mdf and .ndf)','LogFilePath'
--The backup types are: B = Full Backup, D = Differential Backup, L = Log Backup
2. Procedure 'usp_hadr_add_database' is used for adding database in Always-On. Linked server of each secondary replica is required with same name as sql server name on primary replica..
Procedure Name : usp_hadr_add_database
Objective : This procedure is used for Adding database in HADR Always-On Configuration
Author : Rahul Biswas
Create Date : Rahul Biswas
Modified By : Rahul Biswas
Modified Date : 31th AUG 2017
Modifications :
prerequisite : Linked server of each secondary replica is required with same name as sql server name on primary replica.
Example : EXEC MSDB.DBO.usp_hadr_add_database 'AG_TEST','RAHUL','\\TEST\TEST\','\\TEST\TEST\','D:\TEST\','D:\TEST\'
Example : EXEC MSDB.DBO.usp_hadr_add_database 'AvailibiltyGroupName','DBName','FullBackupPath','TransactionLogBackupPath','DataFilePath(Includes .mdf and .ndf)','LogFilepath'

More »

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