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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).


In case this is your first time hearing of it, PASS is the single largest community of Microsoft Data Platform professionals on the planet. It consists of local groups, virtual groups, multiple online events, SQLSaturday, and, to pay for it all, PASS Summit. However, that’s… Read more

0 comments, 138 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 21 May 2018

A View Will Not Make Your Query Faster

Twice recently, one on a blog post, and one in a forum post, I’ve seen people state, unequivocally, without reservation or hint of a caveat, that, “Oh, just put that query into a view. It will run faster.”

To quote the kids these days…

Time for a rant.

But First…

Read more

8 comments, 136 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 14 May 2018

YouTube Channel Update: 11 May 2018

I’ve been busy getting the videos up on YouTube. If they’re helpful to you, please subscribe. Some point soon I’ll start doing some livestreams, maybe from different events, or during a presentation. If you’re subscribed, you’ll know about it when it happens.


We’re getting closer and closer to… Read more

0 comments, 110 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 11 May 2018

When Simple Parameterization…Isn’t

I’m desperately working to finish up a new version of my book on Execution Plans. We’re close, so close. However, you do hit snags. Here’s one. My editor decided to change one of my queries. I used a local variable so that I got one set of behaviors. He used… Read more

4 comments, 2,119 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 7 May 2018

Automating Automatic Indexing in Azure SQL Database

I’ve been in love with the concept of a database as a service ever since I first laid eyes on Azure SQL Database. It just makes sense to me. Take away the mechanics of server management and database management. Focus on the guts of your database. Backups, consistency checks, these… Read more

5 comments, 1,572 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 30 April 2018

YouTube Channel Update: 27 April 2018

Despite a hiccup recently on Twitter where I managed to spam all my followers with links to my YouTube videos (so sorry about that), I am still posting videos. Please subscribe to the channel.

Video Lists

I created video lists. Here they are, in no particular order:

SQL Server and… Read more

0 comments, 175 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 27 April 2018

Presentation Tools

Let’s face it, the core of a presentation is you. Your knowledge and your ability to share that knowledge through whatever means you choose, slides, demos, sock puppets, whatever, is the primary tools you need to hone. Know what you know and be ready to acknowledge what you don’t. Put… Read more

6 comments, 166 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 23 April 2018

Execution Plan Shortcoming in Extended Events

I use Extended Events almost exclusively for capturing query metrics. They are the most consistent and lowest cost mechanism for getting the time and resources used by a query. They can be filtered, combined with other events, they’re just marvelous… until you capture an execution plan.

Execution Plans in Extended…

Read more

3 comments, 1,275 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 16 April 2018

Privacy and Protection, By Design

With all the noise about the upcoming enforcement of GDPR, I know that people are starting to focus more on privacy and protection. Add in all the other news about data breaches and data leaks and suddenly, privacy and protection isn’t just a business concern, it’s personal. Where do you… Read more

0 comments, 271 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 11 April 2018

GDPR, Database Backups, and the Right to be Forgotten

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, there is no cause for any kind of panic when it comes to the GDPR. None. There are however, a number of concerns. One of those concerns is, well, concerning. How does the right to be forgotten within the GDPR impact… Read more

23 comments, 2,736 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 April 2018

Buggy Whips 2.0

I recently found myself rereading a very old blog post of mine, from the very beginning of this blog, discussing Buggy Whips. I’ll save you the long read, I was learning new tech, it made me second guess my working assumptions, I was curious if I was manufacturing a… Read more

4 comments, 161 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 2 April 2018

YouTube Channel Update: March 30, 2018

Hey everyone!

Here’s the latest stuff on my new YouTube Channel. Please let me know if these videos are helpful. Also, if you have requests for videos on a particular topic, even a video of a blog post I did here, let me know. I take requests and I’m… Read more

4 comments, 176 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 30 March 2018

Query Store and Automated Cleanup

Query Store has mechanisms for automatically cleaning your data. It is possible to cause them to break down. While presenting a session about the Query Store recently, I was asked what happened if you set the size of the Query Store below the amount of data currently in the store.… Read more

2 comments, 285 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 26 March 2018

Query Monitoring and the GDPR

I’ve been reading the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and discussing the ramifications of the beginning of enforcement with lots of people. The implications of it all are fascinating. The real serious issues remain primarily a business problem, with business defined solutions. However, there are technology issues that we need… Read more

1 comments, 2,568 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 March 2018

Execution Plans and the GDPR

What? Execution plans and the GDPR? Is this it? Have I completely lost it? Well, no, not on this topic, keep reading so I can defend myself.

GDPR and Protected Data

The core of the GDPR is to ensure the privacy and protection of a “natural person’s” information. As such,… Read more

6 comments, 682 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 March 2018

Every Single Execution Plan is an Estimated Plan

All the execution plans are estimated plans. All of them. There fundamentally isn’t any such thing as an “Actual” plan.

Where Do You Get Execution Plans?

There are a lot of sources for execution plans. You can capture them using extended events (or, if you must, trace). You can capture… Read more

7 comments, 1,624 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 March 2018

YouTube Channel Update

Hey! Here’s the latest on my YouTube Channel. Click on through and subscribe. I’ll be doing lots of stuff on the Microsoft Data Platform, GDPR, DevOps, Redgate, and all sorts of IT related information.

Here are the last couple of weeks worth of videos:

Very popular was my discussion… Read more

0 comments, 194 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 2 March 2018

Precons in Richmond, Philadelphia and New York

I love when I get the opportunity to present at SQLSaturday events. Even more than that, I love when I get the opportunity to do a precon at a SQLSaturday event. Well, I’ve got three coming up.

All three are an all day session entitled “SQL Server Tools for Query… Read more

4 comments, 1,377 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 28 February 2018

Adaptive Joins

I was surprised to find out that a lot people hadn’t heard about the new join type, Adaptive join. So, I figured I could do a quick overview.

Adaptive Join Behavior

Currently the adaptive join only works with columnstore indexes, but according to Microsoft, at some point, they will also… Read more

3 comments, 829 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 27 February 2018

GDPR: Your Hair Is Not On Fire

Along with a lot of other people, I’ve been attempting to call people’s attentions to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was created two years ago and becomes effective in May of this year. The regulation defines processes and practices around the privacy and protection of personal data… Read more

6 comments, 346 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 26 February 2018

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