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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.

Database modelling in a post-SSMS world: dbForge Studio

A few months ago, Microsoft announced that SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) will no longer include the visual Database Diagrams feature from v18.0 onward. When releasing a new version of a product, Microsoft has the luxury of referencing usage statistics, and obviously this is an underused feature of SSMS. I… Read more

3 comments, 122 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 16 January 2019

Back to the future

It’s January 2019 as I write this. I realized that I started on my journey with SQL Server in 1998, and I wanted to look at what’s changed through the lens of my career path. 1998 is the year I qualified as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer on the Windows… Read more

0 comments, 136 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 9 January 2019

AzCopy finally gets a sync option, and all the world rejoices

I consider Blob Storage to be the gateway drug to Azure, because it’s a really easy way to get going with offsite backups. One of the ways I’ve leveraged Blob Storage is with SQL Server backups. I even wrote a Sync and Restore command-line toolset to keep files and folders… Read more

0 comments, 149 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 2 January 2019

Giving thanks in 2018

It’s the last post of 2018, and in years past I’ve recapped the year that has just been. This is a little different however. I want to talk a bit about community, and two unexpected interactions I’ve had this month. As some of you know, I have an interest in… Read more

0 comments, 125 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 26 December 2018

Infrastructure matters, even in the Cloud

I am still amused by terminology in the Information Technology field. Words like “Kubernetes,” “containers,” and the BASIC keywords PEEK and POKE, all bring a smile to my lips every time I read or say them. Equally amusing are marketing ideas, except they may have a little sting at the… Read more

0 comments, 232 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 19 December 2018

Some databases may show a NULL collation in the sys.databases DMV

While working on my Swart’s Ten Percent Rule post last week, I needed to test the Windows version of the script on my SQL Server 2016 instance. Just before removing all the databases, I noticed something interesting when querying the sys.databases Dynamic Management View (DMV). Because the process I had… Read more

0 comments, 136 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 12 December 2018

Flagrantly ignoring the 10% rule

My friend Michael J. Swart has a rule of thumb he calls Swart’s Ten Percent Rule. If you’re using over 10% of what SQL Server restricts you to, you’re doing it wrong. After a recent discussion on Twitter, I wondered what it would look like if I had 32,767 databases… Read more

0 comments, 157 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 5 December 2018

Price increase for Azure in Canadian dollars

On 1 December 2018, Microsoft is increasing Azure subscription prices in Canadian dollars by 5%. The following is taken directly from the email I received on 1 November 2018. Starting December 1, 2018, prices for Azure services in the Canadian dollar will increase by 5 percent to more closely align… Read more

0 comments, 172 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 28 November 2018

Dates and Times in SQL Server: DATEDIFF() and DATEDIFF_BIG()

Last time we looked at adding or subtracting date parts using the DATEADD() T-SQL system function. This week we see how to calculate the difference between two date-time values using DATEDIFF() and DATEDIFF_BIG(). The syntax for both functions is identical: [crayon-5c429ddd47ae1812087163/] The only functional difference between them is that the… Read more

0 comments, 301 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 21 November 2018

Dates and Times in SQL Server: DATEADD()

We are now in the home stretch of the long-running series about dates and times in SQL Server and Azure SQL Database. This week we look at one of my favourite T-SQL functions when it comes to dates and times: DATEADD(). Syntax As with similar functions, DATEADD can do arithmetic… Read more

0 comments, 173 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 14 November 2018

PASS Summit Speaker Idol 2018

This scheduled post is coming to you from Seattle, where the PASS Summit 2018 has just kicked off. Because it is a scheduled post, I have no idea what announcements from the convention will be made today and tomorrow, but rest assured that they will be worth looking at. In… Read more

0 comments, 142 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 7 November 2018

String or binary data would be truncated: get the full picture in SQL Server 2017

SQL Server 2019 Preview (CTP 2.0) introduced a long-awaited improvement to an error message that’s been around in SQL Server for many years, but was unhelpful: [crayon-5c429ddd47dab335456081/] Thanks for nothing, error message. Which table? Which column? What data? This is how the error message looks now: [crayon-5c429ddd47daf508155705/] Notice how the… Read more

13 comments, 426 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 31 October 2018

Create a slipstream installer for SQL Server on Windows

Since the release of SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 in April 2009, it has been possible to install SQL Server with media that includes the latest patches, whether they be Service Packs (for SQL Server 2016 and prior), Cumulative Updates, and even hotfixes. There was the hint of a… Read more

0 comments, 183 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 24 October 2018

Fix SQL Server with one click

Tempting headline, isn’t it? It might even seem like clickbait, but that’s not the intention. The SQL Server default configuration is not recommended for production environments, and yet I have worked on many production environments that have been set up by people who don’t know that the default configurations are… Read more

1 comments, 244 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 17 October 2018

Changes to the SQL Server servicing model (Cumulative Updates)

On Monday of this week, Microsoft announced changes to the servicing model for SQL Server, starting with SQL Server 2017. From today onward, we can expect to see the following during the first five years after release (known as Mainstream Support): One Cumulative Update per month for the first twelve… Read more

0 comments, 275 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 10 October 2018

What is a DBA anyway?

Some time ago we started a new series here, called Database Fundamentals. The very first post in that series asked what a database is. One of the major announcements at Ignite last month was that of SQL Server 2019 preview and major improvements to Azure SQL Database, Microsoft’s on-premises and… Read more

1 comments, 246 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 3 October 2018

Azure means hybrid now

On Monday 24 September 2018, Microsoft announced a slew of stuff at their annual Ignite conference that is going to make life a lot more interesting for many people all over the world. There’s a lot to process, so I’m going to take my time to pick through the announcements… Read more

1 comments, 279 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 26 September 2018

Public Service Announcement: check your backup notifications

The Azure cloud platform lost a data centre for a number of hours recently due to inclement weather. This affected many customers — including Microsoft’s own services — for almost an entire day. Given that the cloud is ostensibly designed to mitigate downtime by way of distributing workloads across multiple… Read more

1 comments, 201 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 19 September 2018

Bulk insert issue with UTF-8 fixed-width file format

Fellow Canadian Doran Douglas brought this issue to my attention recently, and I wanted to share it with you as well. Let’s say you have a file in UTF-8 format. What this means is that some of the characters will be single-byte, and some may be more than that. Where… Read more

0 comments, 220 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 12 September 2018

Dates and Times in SQL Server: AT TIME ZONE

Continuing the series on dates and times in SQL Server and Azure SQL Database, this week we look at the hint AT TIME ZONE. In Azure SQL Database, the regional settings of the database are set to UTC by default. It is also advisable to store dates and times in… Read more

0 comments, 228 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 5 September 2018

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