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Watch those VARCHAR(MAX) columns, and ONLINE index rebuilds

G’day,

I’ve noted a few instances lately of cases where VARCHAR(MAX) columns have been used unnecessarily, when a small value (for a VARCHAR) would have been fine.

Apart from the storage implications of a VARCHAR(MAX) column there is also the issue that in SQL SERVER 2008, having a column of… Read more

2 comments, 5,265 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 26 October 2011

sp_configure OR sys.configurations? and do you back these up?

G’day,

I was checking out some of our configuration options today using sys.configurations and I started to wonder how many people actually use this table, or whether most people simply use the more common system stored procedure sp_configure.

As sys.configurations is simply a table, we can use an ORDER BY… Read more

5 comments, 1,777 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 20 October 2011

Dropping a database – such a simple thing!

G’day,

I think it’s a safe bet that everybody here has issued a DROP DATABASE statement and knows what to expect.

Well, today I was experimenting with a development database. The script I was using employed simply reusable code to drop and re-create the database – or so I though. Read more

5 comments, 1,973 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 18 October 2011

Online index rebuilds

G’day,

I’m probably not the only one that has noticed that as the volume of data gets bigger in out databases, the time taken to preform maintenance increases.

This seems to be a simple fact of life for the DBA. But as our maintenance time increases, we need to be… Read more

0 comments, 529 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 28 September 2011

A second week at SQLskills – performance tuning

G’day,

Back in February, I was lucky enough to attend a week of training on SQL internals from the people at SQLskills in Dallas, Texas.

I felt that I learned that much there and enjoyed myself so much that the journey back across the Pacific from New Zealand for the… Read more

3 comments, 624 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 14 August 2011

Select from a table with no rows returned.

G’day,

I recently ran into a nice feature that I had never encountered before.

Sometimes, when developing or administrating an unfamiliar table we will simply do a “SELECT *” so that we can quickly see the column names.

This is pretty much fine when the table is small.

However in… Read more

3 comments, 1,202 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 4 July 2011

Meme Monday for June – there are no dumb questions

G’day,

Here’s my input into this months Meme Monday – there are no dumb questions.

It seems (at least to me), that – occasionally – no matter how hard you try to ask an intelligent question about SQL SERVER on some of the forums – that somebody will interpret… Read more

1 comments, 697 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 6 June 2011

Free SQL Exam cram sessions from Microsoft.

G’day,

I’m a big fan of maintaining and updating your technical skills, but sometimes its difficult to measure your ability at a task, especially if you don’t use that particular piece of a technology in your day job.

One good way of measuring these skills is to sit certifications and… Read more

2 comments, 1,343 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 31 May 2011

A curious case of a missing configuration group.

G’day,

I recently received a brand new windows 7 virtual machine for my every day work use and one of the first things that I did was install SQL SERVER 2008 developer edition on it.

As I’d expect, this was a pretty straight forward task and before long I had… Read more

2 comments, 662 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 12 May 2011

Catalog view or compatibility view?

G’day,

The recommended way to access SQL SERVER metadata is through the catalog views.

The challenge is to be able to distinguish between the catalog views and the compatibility views, because we always want to use the catalog views rather that the compatibility views.

The compatibility views basically… Read more

0 comments, 1,146 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 8 May 2011

Certifications – and a survey.

G’day,

There’s a lot of mixed opinions around about certifications.

Are they worth while, do they mean anything, do employers value them and the like.

I’m personally in the “certifications are definatly” worth while camp. For a few reasons,

  • Certifications test my knowledge to a certain standard and give me…

Read more

2 comments, 339 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 5 May 2011

How do you create or update stored procedures.

G’day,

Running object creation scripts into other environments is a big part of most DBA’s work – especially when a new system is being built in an agile manner. Stored procedures get created and altered all the time.

Very often I used to see code like this

IF EXISTS
(…

Read more

5 comments, 4,249 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 4 May 2011

Meme Monday – “I got 99 problems but a disk ain’t one”

G’day,

Apparently “Meme Monday” was started by Thomas Larock (Blog | Twitter) , as a way for getting people writing. I haven’t been tagged or anything, I just thought that I’d gate crash the party. It was also Tuesday (here in New Zealand), when I seen this weeks… Read more

1 comments, 315 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 2 May 2011

Checkpoints and the Lazy writer

Hi,

Both the lazy writer process and a checkpoint both push in-memory pages out to disk, however that’s where the similarity ends.

The reason that I’m blogging about that is because I can completely understand how people can confuse these two events – however they are totally different. This post… Read more

3 comments, 4,666 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 2 May 2011

DBA relationships – The data custodian

G’day,

As DBA’s, we all know how to manage security, some are more advanced that others but ensuring that the right people have the right access to the right information is an extremely large part of our jobs – at least it is for me any way.

I’m pretty sure…

Read more

0 comments, 773 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 28 April 2011

Connection strings and application name

G’day,

There are many things that developers and DBA’s can do to help their relationships run smoothly, most of them are relatively simply things – as this tip is today.

DBA’s often have to track down problems – often performance related – and they tend to use profiler for… Read more

0 comments, 1,200 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 27 April 2011

The developer / DBA relationship.

G’day,

A large part of my job involves liaising with developers. I spent the first 8 years of my IT career working as a developer before moving into database administration in 2008. Consequently,  I find this relationship to be one of the easier aspects of my job to manage  -… Read more

9 comments, 1,654 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 27 April 2011

A small facet of information

G’day,

I’ve blogged about facets before, but I just thought that I’d mention them again, as they came in quite handy today.

I was looking to change the default backup directory of my SQL instance.

Usually, I’d just change the value by editing the registry, either manually or with a… Read more

1 comments, 183 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 24 April 2011

PowerShell Tip – Custom windows for different tasks.

G’day

There seems to be a lot of articles around at the moment concerning the use of PowerShell.

I think this is great and I’m currently attempting to write a Powershell script for all of the activities that I perform daily on my databases.

However, anybody who has more than… Read more

1 comments, 389 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 22 April 2011

DBCC TraceOn – some processes are global.

Hi,

I was recently doing some testing as I thought that I’d experiment with the ghost clean up process.

I found that I needed to enable Trace Flag 661 to disable this process.
So off I went and ran the following code

DBCC TRACEON(661);
GO

I then stated inserting records… Read more

1 comments, 981 reads

Posted in measure twice, cut once. on 13 April 2011

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