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The Scary DBA

I have twenty+ years experience in IT. That time was spent in technical support, development and database administration. I work forRed Gate Software as a Product Evangelist. I write articles for publication at SQL Server Central, Simple-Talk, PASS Book Reviews and SQL Server Standard. I have published two books, ”Understanding SQL Server Execution Plans” and “SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled.” I’m one of the founding officers of the Southern New England SQL Server Users Group and its current president. I also work on part-time, short-term, off-site consulting contracts. In 2009 and 2010 I was awarded as a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. In the past I’ve been called rough, intimidating and scary. To which I usually reply, “Good.” You can contact me through grant -at- scarydba dot kom (unobfuscate as necessary).

DevOps and Automation Will Eliminate the DBA

I’ve been reading about the death of the DBA ever since I first made the jump from full time developer to full time data professional. The first time I heard it was when SQL Server 7.0 was released. Did you know that SQL Server 7.0 was self-tuning? In fact, it… Read more

0 comments, 197 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 14 January 2019

PowerShell to Simulate Load

Gathering metrics is quite difficult if there are no queries. So, if you’re working in non-production environments, but you still want to see some sort of load on the server, how can you do it? I use a simple PowerShell script to simulate load. Simulate Load I’ve posted a sample… Read more

1 comments, 142 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 7 January 2019

Redgate Reviews 2018, Predicts 2019

Our boss came to us and said, “We need one more webinar to round out the year.” Well, we’re just like you guys, counting down the hours until our holidays start like a short-timer in the military looking at that discharge date.  The boss wants an entertaining, engaging, informative webinar.… Read more

0 comments, 120 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 17 December 2018

Privacy and Protection in the Age of the GDPR

We’re seeing more and more GDPR-style laws coming out from various governments. With the GDPR starting to do enforcement at long last, it’s pretty clear that privacy and protection is a growing thing. Add to this the fact that SQL Injection is still an issue along with all the other… Read more

4 comments, 197 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 10 December 2018

Database Fundamentals #20: Using the JOIN Operator, Inner Join

It is entirely possible to try to JOIN two tables on almost any field, as long as the two data types can, in some way, be made to reconcile to each other, you can try to join the tables. But, most database designs assume a much more directly relationship and… Read more

9 comments, 2,396 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 3 December 2018

Forcing a Plan That Has a Plan Guide

The question that came up during a recent class I was teaching was: What if you have a plan guide to get the plan you want, but then decide, instead of using the plan guide, you’ll just force the plan? Ummmm…. No idea. Let’s test it. First, Create a Plan… Read more

5 comments, 1,727 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 26 November 2018

Query Store and Plan Cache Plans Compared

Query Store plans and the plans in cache are identical, right? There won’t be differences because the plan that is in cache is the plan that was used to execute the query. Similarly, the plan that is in the Query Store is the plan that was used to execute the… Read more

1 comments, 1,916 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 November 2018

Bad Query Performance Tips Rebutted

Once upon a time, someone, somewhere, wrote a list of bad query performance tips and they’ve been copied all over the internet, over and over. Even worse, sometimes the tips are copied or edited incorrectly, making a bad suggestion even worse. Can we please, stop copying this list? I’ve tried… Read more

14 comments, 3,087 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 November 2018

What Is Happening, Right Now, At the PASS Summit?

Honestly, that’s a very hard question to answer. I mean, first of all, you can look at the schedule. There will be all day pre-conference seminars going on today (when this is published) and tomorrow. The rest of the week has all the breakout sessions. During the event this week,… Read more

0 comments, 156 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 November 2018

Explicitly Drop Temporary Tables Or Wait For Cleanup?

I was recently asked if we are going to see performance differences if we explicitly drop temporary tables. I couldn’t remember the specifics, but I said it actually didn’t matter. However, that answer has bugged me, so I set up a quick test. Explicitly Drop Temporary Tables We could make… Read more

14 comments, 3,852 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 29 October 2018

Why Did a Plan Get Removed From Cache?

I was recently asked if we could tell why a plan was removed from cache. If you read this blog, you know what I’m going to say next. I checked the extended events and there are actually two different events that will tell us information about a plan removed from… Read more

1 comments, 1,785 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 22 October 2018

Using Extended Events to Capture Implicit Conversions

Using the appropriate data type to avoid conversions or implicit conversions is a fundamental approach to good T-SQL coding practices. Implicit conversions can lead to poor performance. However, other than looking at every execution plan in your system, is there a way to see if you are experiencing implicit conversions?… Read more

4 comments, 1,730 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 October 2018

Database Fundamentals #19: JOINS

The last Database Fundamentals post introduced the SELECT and FROM commands. We’re going to start using JOIN operations shortly, but first, let’s explore the idea behind joins. The very concept of relational storage that is the foundation of SQL Server requires you to related one table to another.  You do… Read more

3 comments, 2,902 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 8 October 2018

Adaptive Joins and Join Hints

At a recent all-day seminar on query performance tuning I was asked a question that I didn’t know the answer to: “How do join hints affect adaptive joins?” I don’t know. Let’s find out together. Adaptive Joins Here’s a query that we can run against AdventureWorks: [crayon-5c05a866e92c8264853614/] Without a columnstore… Read more

3 comments, 2,642 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 1 October 2018

Introducing Azure Data Studio

If you’re watching Microsoft Ignite or tracking the information coming out of it on social media, then you know that Azure SQL Studio has been changed to Azure Data Studio. I’ve got an early release on some of the bits. Let’s explore what’s going on. Azure Data Studio The core… Read more

9 comments, 3,395 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 24 September 2018

Extended Events and Stored Procedure Parameter Values

One complaint I’ve received frequently is that you can’t see stored procedure parameter values in Extended Events. That is patently not true. However, it does depend on where and how you capture the events and which stored procedure parameter values you’re going for. I think this is a holdover from… Read more

4 comments, 322 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 24 September 2018

Databases and DevOps, It’s Not Just Me

Anyone who subscribes to my blog or my YouTube channel as well as anyone following me on social media knows that I talk about DevOps and databases a lot. I can’t help it. I have a real passion for the topic. I sincerely believe we should all be taking advantage… Read more

5 comments, 277 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 September 2018

Announcing the 5th Edition of SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning

I am quite excited to announce that the latest, most up to date, and by far the largest, copy of my book on query tuning is now available. 900 pages of information on how to improve the performance on your Azure SQL Database and SQL Server instances has been published.… Read more

7 comments, 230 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 18 September 2018

Query Store and Log Backups

A question that came up recently around Query Store is what happens when there are log backups in use on the database. Let’s talk about it. Query Store and Log Backups The core of the answer is very simple. Query Store, like any other data written to a database, whether… Read more

3 comments, 180 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 17 September 2018

3rd Edition, SQL Server Execution Plans, a Story

Four years ago, after a bunch of dithering and some negotiations with Tony Davis, my editor, I started to update my book, SQL Server Execution Plans. We managed to convince Hugo Kornelis to be the tech editor. I started to do the real writing in early 2015. I was most… Read more

27 comments, 1,792 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 September 2018

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