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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.

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, 108 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, 108 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-5bef736a2b824322539730/] Thanks for nothing, error message. Which table? Which column? What data? This is how the error message looks now: [crayon-5bef736a2b828540340261/] Notice how the… Read more

13 comments, 367 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, 153 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, 197 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, 187 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, 195 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, 175 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, 169 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, 182 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, 193 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 5 September 2018

Repair Visual Studio for Mac: Extension node not found in path

A few months ago I ran into a problem after updating Visual Studio for Mac, where it would not start. The actual error message (which I retrieved from a log file) said: Extension node not found in path: /MonoDevelop/Core/WebCredentialProviders Knowing what I know about complex software, it was unlikely that… Read more

0 comments, 181 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 30 August 2018

A software architect replaces a relational database with a relational database

Content warning: This is the second (and final) rebuttal essay about why someone is wrong on the Internet. It is no doubt biased. It might go into technical detail. Parts of it may be wrong. It may contain flippant remarks and editorialising. There are links to external references that may… Read more

2 comments, 190 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 29 August 2018

Relational databases aren’t the problem

Content warning: This is the first of two rebuttal essays, about why someone is wrong on the Internet. It is no doubt biased. It might go into technical detail. Parts of it may be wrong. It may contain flippant remarks and editorialising. There are links to external references that may… Read more

14 comments, 3,080 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 22 August 2018

Do you even PowerShell, bro? An ode to dbatools and dbachecks.

Shall I compare thee to Management Studio? Thou art more scriptable and consistent. Those out-of-memory errors do tend to lose hours of work. And I mean, SSMS doesn’t run from the command line. Sometimes I get those line-endings errors, Not to mention IntelliSense bombing out; And figuring out which tab… Read more

0 comments, 253 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 15 August 2018

Why you should not use SELECT *

A shorter post this week, but an important one. Last week, Erik Darling commented on my post saying that we shouldn’t use SELECT *, which was both amusing and accurate. Amusing, because a number of the example T-SQL queries in that post made use of this construct. Why not? Why… Read more

2 comments, 407 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 8 August 2018

Don’t do these things in SQL Server

Recently Brent Ozar posted a link to the PostgreSQL “Don’t do this” page, which I am shamelessly reproducing below, re-tailored for a SQL Server audience. Don’t use -P with sqlcmd sqlcmd is a cross-platform interactive command-line utility that allows you to connect to a SQL Server (or Azure SQL Database)… Read more

7 comments, 452 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 1 August 2018

Repair SQL Server on Linux after an Ubuntu distribution upgrade

SQL Server 2017 is supported on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Long-Term Support), however that version of Ubuntu Linux is now more than two years old, so you may be tempted to update Ubuntu to a more modern release such as Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver). Unfortunately (as of this writing), SQL… Read more

5 comments, 276 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 25 July 2018

Data lakes and swamps, oh my

I was lamenting to my friend and fellow MVP Shamir Charania (blog | Twitter) that I didn’t have a topic for this week’s blog post, so he and his colleague suggested I write about data lakes, and specifically Azure Data Lake. What is a data lake? This is what Wikipedia… Read more

0 comments, 2,899 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 18 July 2018

Performance as a feature, software developer edition

Relational database management systems (RDBMS) like SQL Server and Azure SQL Database are very good at managing normalized data. Efficient storage and retrieval of data is the name of the game, so performance is a feature. That’s why SQL Server (and other RDBMS products in the market) keep as much… Read more

2 comments, 263 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 11 July 2018

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