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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).

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

9 comments, 123 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, 117 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, 3,652 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, 1,688 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

3 comments, 1,650 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, 2,677 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-5bed8557041a1851315131/] Without a columnstore… Read more

3 comments, 2,548 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, 3,231 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, 275 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, 235 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, 181 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, 143 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, 1,713 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, 1,662 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, 209 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

3 comments, 272 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, 1,396 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, 231 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, 2,767 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, 2,627 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 13 August 2018

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