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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).

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, 105 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

5 comments, 114 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, 86 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

16 comments, 1,369 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 September 2018

Estimated Plans and Forced Plans from Query Store

While all plans are estimated plans, there is still a difference between capturing an estimated plan and looking at a plan from the cache or from query store. Or is there? A question came up during a recent presentation; what happens to capturing an estimated plan when you’re forcing plans?… Read more

0 comments, 1,413 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 10 September 2018

Back to University, Redgate University

Let’s be really clear, Redgate makes ingeniously simple tools. That’s a fact. Nothing has changed. However, if you really want to get the full range of capability out of the tools, you need to understand how best to put them to work. Enter Redgate University. Redgate University The concept is… Read more

1 comments, 123 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 3 September 2018

Why I Love Extended Events, Reason 394: Customize Live Data

There are so many reasons to love Extended Events that it can really be overwhelming, but, one more reason that I love them are the ability to customize Live Data. More importantly, you can share that customization with others or move it between machines. Let’s explore this. Customize Live Data… Read more

2 comments, 207 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 27 August 2018

SQL in the City Summit

This fall, in October, Redgate Software will be hosting three, live, in-person events. These events will take place in New York, London and Chicago. They are on the 12th, 18th, and 26th of October, respectively. You can follow this link to read all the details. I’ll be speaking there, along… Read more

0 comments, 1,336 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 21 August 2018

Actual Execution Plan Costs

Why don’t “actual execution plans” have “actual execution plan costs”? This is a question and a myth I have to fight against all the time. It’s so hard to convince people that all execution plans are estimated plans in the first place (by the way, all execution plans are estimated… Read more

0 comments, 185 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 20 August 2018

Rant: There Is No NoSQL Data Storage Engine

Do I need relational or NoSQL? How does NoSQL help me scale? Will I get paid better with NoSQL or relational? Does NoSQL make my butt look big? OK, maybe I made up that last one. However, the others are all variations of questions I’ve been seeing a lot of… Read more

6 comments, 2,665 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 August 2018

Measuring Query Execution Time: What Is Most Accurate

Probably the single most important factor when deciding which query to tune, or actively tuning a query, is how you go about measuring query execution time. SQL Server provides a number of different mechanisms (really, maybe too many) to get this done. However, all measures are not created equally. In… Read more

2 comments, 2,542 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 13 August 2018

Analyze Actual Execution Plan

One of the many new sets of functionality introduced in SQL Server Management Studio 17 is the new option “Analyze Actual Execution Plan.” If Microsoft continues down this path, there will be a lot of useful functionality at some point. If you haven’t yet looked at Analyze Actual Execution Plan,… Read more

2 comments, 2,437 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 6 August 2018

Youtube Channel Update: 3 August 2018

I’ve posted a number of new videos to the Youtube channel that might be of interest if you’re a data professional. First up, I’ve started migrating my Database Fundamentals posts over to Youtube as SQL Server Fundamentals. The first one is available: Speaking of DBAs, the job is not going… Read more

0 comments, 302 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 3 August 2018

Identifying HIPAA, PCI & SOX Data for Masking

Working for a company based in the UK (still currently a part of the EU) I had a lot of motivation to learn about the GDPR and what it means for data professionals. Further, the understanding that, through treaties and court precedent, the GDPR can apply to companies around the… Read more

0 comments, 2,480 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 30 July 2018

Database Fundamentals #18: The SELECT Statement

In my previous Database Fundamentals post, I showed you how to use the Query Designer to build a query. That was a SELECT statement. The basic construct of all your SELECT statements will be the same. You’re going to define a list of columns, the table or tables you’re interested… Read more

3 comments, 690 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 23 July 2018

Databases and DevOps, Tools are the Easy Part

Moving your database development, deployment and management into a DevOps methodology does involve choosing and implementing tools and tooling. Tools are a necessary aspect of DevOps because, one of the fundamentals of implementing a DevOps approach is automation. To automate, you need the right tools. However, tools and automation, while… Read more

5 comments, 1,867 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 16 July 2018

What Is The Preferred Join Operator in SQL Server?

I schedule many of my blog posts at least 2-3 weeks out, so I have time to adjust them, change, them, insert new things into the schedule, what have you. So, as you read this, I’ll have written it at least two weeks ago. As I write this, I’m recovering… Read more

1 comments, 3,561 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 July 2018

Why Aren’t You Using SSMS 17?

Last fall, Microsoft split the coding and release of SQL Server Management Studio away from any dependency on the server code. With that, they began an aggressive and exciting series of releases with exciting new functionality in each release. However, you don’t care. How do I know? I’ve seen the… Read more

51 comments, 4,566 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 July 2018

My Speaking Schedule

I have quite a few speaking engagements coming up. Rather than an intermittent blog post, I’ve decided to have a permanent home for this information. If you want to know where to get in touch with me, go to this page of my blog. I’ll keep a rolling update of… Read more

4 comments, 1,444 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 25 June 2018

Database Fundamentals #17: Learning T-SQL

While SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) provides a robust graphical user interface (GUI), the commands you’re going to use the most to control databases and the data within them in SQL Server are going to be done through T-SQL. Therefore, you really need to spend time learning how to write,… Read more

11 comments, 753 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 18 June 2018

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