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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.

Acids and Databases: A look at ACID and transactions

Relational database management systems (RDBMS) such as SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, and PostgreSQL use transactions to allow concurrent users to select, insert, update, and delete data without affecting everyone else. An RDBMS is considered ACID-compliant if it can guarantee data integrity during transactions under the following conditions: ACID Atomic –… Read more

0 comments, 44 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 26 July 2017

What is a good Disaster Recovery Plan?

During a Q&A session I hosted at our local Calgary SQL Server User Group last month, one of the attendees mentioned an interview question he’d had and wanted to hear my thoughts. How would you design a disaster recovery solution for a 1 TB database, using Simple Recovery Model? Replication… Read more

5 comments, 41 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 19 July 2017

Be Wary of Date Formatting in T-SQL

Today’s public service announcement is a reminder to be wary of date formatting in SQL Server. On a recent mailing list discussion, one person demonstrated the following code (which I’ve adapted for this post): SET LANGUAGE 'us_english'; GO DECLARE @StartDate DATETIME = '2017-07-12'; SELECT @StartDate; GO DECLARE @StartDate DATE =… Read more

2 comments, 39 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 12 July 2017

Balanced Power Saving T-SQL script

We can easily spend tens of thousands of dollars on core licences for SQL Server, and then we go and install the product on an operating system with the default Balanced Power Plan, which is, well, idiotic. Imagine buying one of the fastest road cars money can buy (a Bugatti… Read more

2 comments, 52 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 5 July 2017

Where To From Fundamentals?

The Database Fundamentals series is now done. We started with understanding what a database is, and then spent a little time understanding how databases store text, known as collation. The next step was understanding data types in general, and how SQL Server stores them. After that was understanding normalization, with… Read more

0 comments, 63 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 28 June 2017

Why You Need A Test Environment

In 2017, there’s no excuse not to have at least a testing environment, and preferably a development environment as well, in order to create and deploy code changes (software, database, you name it) outside of a production environment. If you’re making changes in a production environment without testing them first,… Read more

0 comments, 38 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 21 June 2017

How to write a DELETE query

My First DELETE Statement Here are the links to the previous posts in this series: My First SELECT Statement My First INSERT Statement My First UPDATE Statement This week is a much shorter post, where we will learn how to remove data from a table using a DELETE statement. We… Read more

2 comments, 34 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 14 June 2017

How to write an UPDATE query

My First UPDATE Statement Last week we covered how to put information into a table using an INSERT statement. This week we will learn how to make changes to data that is already in a table using an UPDATE statement. We are also going to learn all about why the… Read more

0 comments, 41 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 7 June 2017

How to write an INSERT query

My First INSERT Statement Last week we covered how to get information out of a table, using a SELECT query. This week, we will discover some of the myriad ways to put data into a table. The good news is the concept is straightforward: we have a list of columns… Read more

0 comments, 67 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 31 May 2017

How to write a SELECT query

My First SELECT Statement Microsoft SQL Server makes it really easy for us to query tables. In SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) for instance, we can right-click on any table we have access to and select the top 1000 rows from that table. Please don’t query tables this way in… Read more

2 comments, 36 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 24 May 2017

Querying a Database

When we want to retrieve information from a database, we query the structure with language appropriate to the database. Remember right at the start of this series we saw that a database could be a phone book or a recipe book. So how do we find the phone number of… Read more

0 comments, 22 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 17 May 2017

SQL Server Management Studio v17.0

Version numbers are confusing. SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), the client user interface by which most DBAs access SQL Server, was decoupled from the server product for SQL Server 2016. For the last 18 months or so, we have been receiving semi-regular updates to SSMS (which we can download from… Read more

0 comments, 47 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 10 May 2017

SQL Server 2017 Announced

By now you will have heard that the next version of SQL Server has been announced. There’s no release date yet, but Brent Ozar seems to think it’ll be before June. There are many new features, but the biggest deal is that SQL Server 2017 runs on both Windows Server… Read more

0 comments, 19 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 3 May 2017

Something something Production something something you idiot

You’re reading this series of posts because you want to learn about databases and how to use them. What you should not be doing is learning about databases and how to use them, while working inside a production environment. Also called “prod”, because we’re lazy, this server (or servers) is… Read more

0 comments, 17 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 26 April 2017

Upcoming SQLSaturdays in Alberta, Canada

Taking a short break from the Database Fundamentals series of the last few weeks, I’d like to mention some upcoming PASS community events in the province of Alberta. I will be presenting at SQLSaturday #594 in Edmonton on 22 April 2017 (this coming Saturday). My topic is Migrating to Azure… Read more

0 comments, 17 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 19 April 2017

So, like, what is a byte?

A friend of mine in the filmmaking business, who is exceedingly bright but has never worked with SQL Server before, was reading through the first five posts of this Database Fundamentals series, and asked a great question: “I guess I’m not understanding what a byte is. I think I’m circling… Read more

0 comments, 14 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 12 April 2017

Normalization, The Sequel

If there’s one thing that SQL Server is really good at, it’s relationships. After all, a relational database management system without the relationships is nothing more than a place to store your stuff. Last week we briefly looked at a denormalized table, and then I suggested that breaking it up… Read more

0 comments, 10 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 5 April 2017

A First Look At Normalization

Phew! There’s a lot to take in with data types, collation, precision, scale, length, and Unicode, and we’re just getting warmed up. This week’s post is over 2,000 words long! Over the last three weeks, we’ve gone fairly deep into data types, and now we are going to see how… Read more

0 comments, 56 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 29 March 2017

Fundamentals of Data Types

Last week, we discussed storing text in a database. This week we will dive deeper into data types. When storing data in our database, we want to make sure that it’s stored accurately and that we only use the required amount of space. This is because when we access the… Read more

0 comments, 20 reads

Posted in Born SQL with Randolph West on 22 March 2017

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