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Born SQL with Randolph West

Randolph West solves technology problems with a focus on SQL Server and C#. He is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP who has worked with SQL Server since the late 1990s. When not consulting, he can be seen acting on the stage and screen or doing voices for independent video games.

The cloud is not just someone else’s computer

A year ago, I wrote in a post that cloud computing is just someone else’s data center. I was wrong. Whether we like it or not, the cloud is more than just a bunch of 1s and 0s hosted on someone’s hardware. The problem with my statement was the word… Read more

0 comments, 173 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 10 January 2018

Welcome to 2018

I have been working on a new information session, which I’m hoping to deliver this year. It’s about one of my favourite topics: dates and times. On that note, if you are reading this in Western Europe, or have plans to be in London in mid-February, I’d like to encourage… Read more

0 comments, 126 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 3 January 2018

No moving parts, the story of persistent memory

In November 2017, during the PASS Summit keynote, Microsoft’s Bob Ward (Principal Architect) demonstrated a “diskless database” running on Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) hardware. The storage layer is known as “persistent memory”. At the end of November, Bob and his colleague Jamie Reding (Senior Program Manager) wrote a blog post about… Read more

0 comments, 220 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 27 December 2017

Disable, don’t delete those indexes

A quick post this week, since it’s that time of the year when people do gift exchanges and put up colourful lights. Here goes: If we need to remove an unused index, we should disable it, not delete it. In SQL Server Management Studio, we can do this in the… Read more

2 comments, 230 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 20 December 2017

Take a walk

When I need to clear my head, I go for a walk. When I need to think about a problem, I go for a walk. When I need to plan a new talk, I go for a walk. My companion on my walks is Trixie, a purebred Chihuahua. Trixie is… Read more

0 comments, 190 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 13 December 2017

All Mac users should do this immediately

This post is a public service announcement for all users of macOS High Sierra (10.13). (Note: Apple has already released a fix, but if you do not have automatic updates enabled, this may still affect you.) If you didn’t hear about it already, a major security flaw was discovered last… Read more

0 comments, 340 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 6 December 2017

Introducing SQL Operations Studio

Note: This is content that I originally wrote for our upcoming book, SQL Server 2017 Administration Inside Out, that did not meet the publishing deadline. A new cross-platform tool for SQL Server and Azure SQL Database Microsoft has announced the preview of SQL Operations Studio, an exciting addition to the… Read more

0 comments, 342 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 29 November 2017

MySQL has this feature that SQL Server needs

In the grand scheme of things, MySQL and SQL Server operate in different realms. It’s difficult to compare them because MySQL is predominantly used for websites as part of the free LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP), while SQL Server’s range is much broader than that. There’s one neat… Read more

0 comments, 217 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 22 November 2017

SQL Server 2017 Administration Inside Out

For the last five months or so, I have been helping some really smart people put words on paper, both the physical and electronic kind, which is hopefully going to culminate in an actual technical book that I can point to and say “Yes, that’s the name I invented for… Read more

0 comments, 180 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 15 November 2017

T-SQL Tuesday: The Contributing Factor

Ewald Cress writes: Find a person or several people to pick on, and tell us a shareable story or two about how they have made a positive contribution in your life. I’ve known Ewald for 27 years, though we only met two years ago. It’s wonderful that he is hosting… Read more

0 comments, 196 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 14 November 2017

Is Transparent Data Encryption just security theatre?

I love theatre. In six months I am putting on two one-act plays for a local festival, because I don’t already have enough on my plate. Security theatre, on the other hand, I don’t like. It is security for the sake of appearances, that offers little to no solution to… Read more

3 comments, 212 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 8 November 2017

Gimmicks that work: XE Profiler in SQL Server Management Studio

I have a favourite new feature of SQL Server Management Studio 17.3 (SSMS), and that’s XE Profiler, which allows you to monitor your instance in real time using Extended Events from inside SSMS with just the click of a mouse. So is it Extended Events or Profiler? Let’s talk about… Read more

0 comments, 275 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 1 November 2017

Repair a Windows Server 2016 installation

This is more for my benefit in the future, but hopefully it can help someone else too. We recently had problems with a development server not installing Windows Updates. The fix was to repair the installation using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool. All commands should be run… Read more

0 comments, 220 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 25 October 2017

The perils of RAID

Recently, I was asked to assist an organization with getting their data back for a SQL Server that had experienced physical hard drive failure. I asked a lot of questions about the configuration of the data layer, and it came to light that it was a fairly regular setup. SQL… Read more

0 comments, 506 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 18 October 2017

Why is a value in DATETIME2 8 bytes, but in BINARY it is 9 bytes?

In the #sqlhelp Slack channel on the SQL Server Community Slack workspace last month, Jemma Hooper asked: When trying to CAST or CONVERT a datetime2 value to binary(8), I’m getting a “binary or text data would be truncated” error. This seems really weird in context with the fact that SELECT… Read more

2 comments, 282 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 11 October 2017

Changes to Service Packs and Cumulative Updates for SQL Server 2017

For a few years now, Microsoft has augmented its irregular release of Service Packs with a more frequent Cumulative Update model, in order to get bug fixes and other improvements to customers faster. With SQL Server 2017, which runs on both Linux and Windows (as well as Docker containers for… Read more

0 comments, 277 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 4 October 2017

Compañero Conference and SQL Modernization Roadshow

October is a busy month for me. I am flying all over the US and Canada for speaking engagements to share some thoughts about migrating your SQL Server environment to the cloud (specifically Azure). Compañero Conference I will be presenting at the Compañero Conference, which takes place over two days,… Read more

0 comments, 195 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 27 September 2017

Does rebuilding my clustered index also rebuild my non-clustered indexes?

I’ve been working with SQL Server for many years now, and up until recently, I assumed that rebuilding any clustered index would cause non-clustered indexes to be rebuilt as well, because the non-clustered index includes the clustered index in it. This assumption is wrong. On SQL Server 2000, this only… Read more

0 comments, 252 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 20 September 2017

A trillion and one

Joe Obbish wrote an epic post a few weeks ago about loading a trillion rows into a non-partitioned table in SQL Server, using a clustered columnstore index to maximise the compression. (Short version: it’s very slow to query. Don’t do it. Bad things happen. I have an ongoing investigation with… Read more

0 comments, 314 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 13 September 2017

Connect Windows 10 client to a VPN on Windows Server 2012 R2

I got a strange request in a Slack channel the other day. A colleague in South Africa, who uses Windows, was unable to connect to our VPN (Virtual Private Network). We use the built-in VPN on Windows Server 2012 R2, which makes it extremely convenient to manage per-user security without… Read more

0 comments, 214 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 6 September 2017

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