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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).

Hey Kids! Let’s Put on a Show at the Old Barn

Alternate Title: I’m traveling a bunch. Let’s get together and talk.

A bunch of trips and presentations coming up, so I thought I’d share. First, I’ll be SQL Saturday Omaha for my first time ever presenting in Nebraska. I’m excited to add this state to my list (which is almost… Read more

0 comments, 93 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 29 July 2015

Grant’s Fly-by-night Leadership Course – The Plan

  1. Get a better name
  2. Define my personal goals for the course

I won’t be sharing these with you. I may share them with my Inner Circle (defined below). I’m thinking this is a 2-3 year commitment I’m making. I need to have my own set of measurements to ensure that… Read more

6 comments, 132 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 28 July 2015

SQL Server Management Studio – Footloose and Fancy Free

That’s right. There’s been a divorce. SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) has been divorced from the server product. In fact, Microsoft is inviting you to the new SSMS coming out party.

I’m pretty excited about this. While I’m very comfortable in SSMS, to a large degree, it’s like that… Read more

3 comments, 124 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 20 July 2015

How Do You Know You’re Good At Your Job?

You’ve been working as a DBA for X number of years. How do you know you’re good at it? Heck, you’ve been doing any sort of job for a while. How can you measure whether or not you’re competent?

The single best measure isn’t how much work you do, your… Read more

3 comments, 135 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 13 July 2015

But I Don’t Have a Test Server…

I frequently see statements on forums along the lines of “I don’t have a test server, so I’m going to do something I’ve never done before directly on my production servers…” This is usually followed by questions along the lines of:

  • But that’s OK and I won’t get fired, right?

Read more

4 comments, 2,320 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 6 July 2015

Speaker of the Month: June 2015

With my travel schedule, I don’t always get out to events where I can see a community speaker. Sometimes, I just see pros. That’s the case this month. Instead of skipping the month entirely, which feels wrong, I’ve decided to do a special award.

Speaker of the Month for June… Read more

0 comments, 124 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 3 July 2015

Leadership Training Possibility

I know a few people in the SQL Server community who have been involved in Scouting. A couple of them have taken or helped lead Scoutings leadership training program known as Wood Badge. It’s an amazing program. I won’t even attempt to tell you what Wood Badge has done… Read more

40 comments, 127 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 30 June 2015

Speaker of the Month: May 2015

When I attend sessions at events, I try to mix it up. I’ll go to a session that, really, I probably will never use the information, just to expand my knowledge level a little. I also go to sessions by the masters so that I can try to expand my… Read more

2 comments, 141 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 June 2015

Parallelism and Columnstore Indexes

Columnstore indexes are fascinating and really cool. Unfortunately, they’re adding an interesting new wrinkle to an old problem.

What’s the Cost Threshold for Parallelism set to on your server? If you just said “The whatsis of whositz?” then the value is 5. The cost threshold is the point at which… Read more

4 comments, 194 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 1 June 2015

PASS Board Update: May 2015

I’ve had a busy month on the Board.

You may have seen some tweets going by about our compliance with international laws regarding SPAM. This has been something of an education, so anything I say wrong below, it’s because I’m wrong, but not malevolent (at least in regards to this… Read more

5 comments, 166 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 27 May 2015

Database Engine Tuning Advisor

I would love to see the Database Engine Tuning Advisor (DTA) pulled from the product. Completely. Heck, I feel bad that I included a chapter on it in my query tuning book (all updated for SQL Server 2014 by the way). Let me tell you why we need to pull… Read more

9 comments, 157 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 26 May 2015

Book Review: Connected

I heard about Connected from a show on NPR (Yes, I listen to NPR, why do people keep saying that?). It was right after another segment talking about how positivity affects your mood and your ability to think and act in a clear fashion. I’ve long been a believer in… Read more

3 comments, 4,615 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 May 2015

Come to Us or We’ll Come to You

No, that’s not a threat. It’s an offer to help out.

Redgate Software is very serious about the efforts we’re putting into creating the tools needed to support your Database Lifecycle Management (DLM) processes. DLM is a vital part of supporting both Agile development methods and moving towards an automated… Read more

0 comments, 886 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 18 May 2015

I Am Grateful For…

I’m almost done reading the book Connected (will be by the time this is published). It’s fascinating although, at least so far, little in the way of suggestions for how to take advantage of this information. That however doesn’t change my plans around working on positive thoughts and emotions as… Read more

3 comments, 183 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 May 2015

Is Performance Better With LEFT JOIN or RIGHT JOIN?

I tend to write my queries using LEFT JOIN. Why? Because logically I see it in my head like this:

Give me all the rows from this table and only those rows that match from the other table.

But, wouldn’t this logic work just as well:

Give me only the…

Read more

10 comments, 6,255 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 11 May 2015

Effects of Persisted Columns on Performance

I live for questions. And my favorite questions are the ones where I’m not completely sure of the answer. Those are the questions that make me stop presenting in order to take a note so I can try to answer the question later, usually in a blog post. Guess where… Read more

10 comments, 5,300 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 May 2015

Speaker of the Month: May 2015

I finally got out to some community events last month and got to see a bunch of great speakers. Not that you don’t see great speakers at paid events, you do. It’s just that they’re usually professional speakers and I want to encourage others when I can.

The Speaker of… Read more

6 comments, 177 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 1 May 2015

Benefits for Some, All or Only a Few

As a member of the PASS Board of Directors I attended the PASS Business Analytics Conference (BAC) recently. You can read more about it here and here (as well as here).

Let me start with an important note: I am voicing my opinion here as an individual, not an… Read more

10 comments, 139 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 27 April 2015

PASS Board Update: April 2015

It’s been a pretty interesting month on the board.

First, we did have a little problem. I’m sure one or two of you may have noticed that the SQL Saturday web site was down for a moment. Well, three days. Joking aside, this was a serious problem, but my… Read more

10 comments, 155 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 23 April 2015

Query Hash Formula Changes Between Versions

The question came up on SQL Server Central that someone wanted to track queries on their 2008R2 instance and on their 2014 instance in order to validate performance after an upgrade. The plan was to use query hash values. I was curious, so I set up a quick test. First,… Read more

4 comments, 166 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 21 April 2015

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