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SQL Server Rocks!

SQL Database Administrator/Developer. Background in developing OLTP/document based databases, SQLXML and performance tuning with an unhealthy fascination for the SQL query optimiser!

Currys having apostrophe trouble

Before I start I just want to say that much of this post is mere speculation on my part and not specifically targetted at Currys. They just happen to be the catalyst and example for this post.

A few months back I ordered a new tumble drier online from Currys… Read more

0 comments, 83 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 8 April 2014

Pluralsight = Essential Training

I've been aware of Pluralsight for a couple of years and as I’m always looking for very cheap or free ways to learn I made a resolution to check out Pluralsight this year to see what the crack is. That task was made a whole load easier thanks to Paul… Read more

0 comments, 151 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 25 March 2014


If you haven’t heard of the name before, you must have seen what it does at some point. FIGlet which was first developed in the ‘90s is a freeware large ASCII art generator which generates text from standard characters. It had quite a number of fonts contributed by others during… Read more

0 comments, 154 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 13 February 2014

Basic RegEx in SSMS

Have you ever had that moment where you have gone "Geez.. I wish I'd learnt this stuff ages ago" after realising just how much more productive you’d have been since!! That happened to me recently after taking literally a few minutes to learn more about the find/replace regular expression option… Read more

0 comments, 2,618 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 27 January 2014

And that is 2013

I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now and although I’ve never been a prolific blogger (and never will!), I like to get at least one post out a month. However next year I’m going to try to up my game a little with a couple of ideas that… Read more

0 comments, 93 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 23 December 2013

Getting the read/write ratio for a database

EDIT: Please also see in depth comment from Brent Ozar on my main site which extends the query provided below by adding extra columns to give the data more context and general advice when interpreting this type of data.

Just a quick post this time. Recently I needed to find… Read more

0 comments, 186 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 30 November 2013

Removing HTML formatting tag - BR - from XML using XQuery

This is a personal pet hate of mine.. Mixing HTML formatting tags directly with XML that aren’t escaped or contained within a CDATA section. Sure it is all perfectly valid XML at the end of the day, but it makes working with it a bit harder as each section of… Read more

0 comments, 1,359 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 31 October 2013

What to do next certification wise

I feel rather flat today. I passed the 3rd entry level 2012 exam a few hours ago, data warehousing to make me an MCSA, but I feel like I'm looking at a dead end. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fairly happy that I passed the exam which incidentally seem to… Read more

0 comments, 279 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 19 September 2013

Just Wow!! features

Over the years with each release I’m often impressed by some of the features contained in SQL server but every so often, I start to use a feature that I haven’t used before and I’m blown away by just how good that particular feature is. Sometimes it is the sheer…

Read more

0 comments, 241 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 30 August 2013

Crash when inserting to a FileTable with a parallel plan

Whilst doing some ad-hoc work on some data on a 2012 SP1 instance I came across an issue with the SQL server raising a sev 20 error with a script that I was attempting to run. The work that I was doing was that I was exporting some binary data… Read more

0 comments, 282 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 25 July 2013

SQL Server 2014 CTP1 Released

It is here! the first CTP for SQL 2014 is available for download from the Technet evaluation centre... Just downloaded it and it weighs in at about 3.5gb... I'm supposed to be revising for an upcoming exam, but that will have to go on hold now for a few days… Read more

0 comments, 246 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 25 June 2013

Improved Backup/Restore to Azure in 2012 SP1 CU4

I’ve been using the backup to azure feature for a short while now and I really like it. Shows I think as this is my 4th blog post on the subject this year! This feature has reduced my stress levels with regard to secure offsite backups. However, so far I… Read more

0 comments, 275 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 1 June 2013

There is currently a lease on the blob and no lease ID was specified in the request

I’ve been using the backup to Azure feature that shipped with SQL2012 SP1 CU2 and generally it works really well, but a couple of times I have had an issue where I wasn’t able to overwrite a previous backup file and received an error:

Msg 3202, Level 16, State 1,… Read more

0 comments, 365 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 21 May 2013

How to backup a SQL 2012 database directly to Windows Azure

It has been a little while since I posted something and I’ve been meaning to finish off this blog for a few weeks now, but I have been a little busy with the arrival of my 2nd son (and have been distracted by my new Alienware laptop!)… Anyway I recently… Read more

0 comments, 580 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 24 April 2013

Retrieving the next or previous element node value in an Xml blob using XQuery

It’s been a little while since I wrote a blog post on my favourite subject but this is from a thread on the SSC Xml forum that I was helping out on a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been a bit busy lately with a big project at work, revising/taking… Read more

0 comments, 1,503 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 13 March 2013

SQLBits XI Agenda Announced

The agenda for the SQLBits event in May was announced today and after a quick look earlier today, it looks like there is a great choice covering a wide range of topics both in and around SQL server. Understandably there are a number of sessions on Azure, about 5 or… Read more

0 comments, 228 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 13 February 2013

Backup SQL database directly to Azure Storage

There is a new CU update for SQL 2012 SP1 and I noticed a very interesting new feature described in the documentation blogged here.

This is one of two new improvements and it is described as:

You can now directly create a backup to Windows Azure Storage using SQL… Read more

0 comments, 627 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 25 January 2013

SQLBits XI - My second most eagerly awaited event of 2013...

I bet you are half wondering what is the first? Well that would be the birth of my second child which due in March so you could say that SQLBits XI is my most “professional” eagerly awaited event of 2013.

Last Friday I was just about to head off to… Read more

0 comments, 328 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 17 January 2013

Using XQuery to remove duplicate values or duplicate nodes from an xml instance

Sometimes we need to retrieve a list distinct values from within an xml instance or even distinct nodes and this is relatively straight forward using XQuery. It gets a bit more complicated if you have attributes in the xml, but it is still possible to retrieve unique xml nodes. On… Read more

0 comments, 3,827 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 13 December 2012

Using Facebook to extend/enhance your blogging

I read a blog a few months ago by Ramkumar Gopal (blog) in which he had setup a Facebook page to record and post things that he doesn’t want to create a blog post for. I thought this was a really good idea for a whole host of… Read more

0 comments, 333 reads

Posted in SQL Server Rocks! on 22 November 2012

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