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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).

Database Fundamentals #3: What’s In a Database?

It’s worth noting that a lot of people will never need to create their own database. You may never create your own tables or other data structures either. You may only ever run backups and restores and manipulate the security on the system and let application installs create databases for… Read more

2 comments, 99 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 20 June 2017

The Three T’s of Backups

I just read several more horror stories that include, among other things, failed backups. I’ve said it before (at volume, extreme volume), and evidently I have to say it again. Simply creating a backup file is not enough to ensure the protection of your information. In… Read more

5 comments, 120 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 June 2017

T-SQL Tuesday #091 – Round-Up

Thank you to everyone who participated in T-SQL Tuesday #091 which was on databases and DevOps. As I anticipated, this brought out quite a bit of variety on the posts. This is because DevOps is still… not quite cooked…(?) in many peoples minds. I think with the range of posts… Read more

5 comments, 277 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 June 2017

DevOps and Visual Studio

The hardest part about implementing DevOps is not the tools you choose, but the processes you use to make DevOps work. That said, you do need to think about the tools you’re going to use to automate those processes. Frequently the emphasis is on third party tools, but it doesn’t… Read more

3 comments, 388 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 13 June 2017

Database Fundamentals #2: SQL Server Management Studio

The best way to learn any software is to start using it. There are a bunch of software tools in the SQL Server toolbox, but the biggest and most important is SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). SSMS is where you’ll spend most of your time when you start to work… Read more

2 comments, 317 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 June 2017

T-SQL Tuesday #091 – Databases and DevOps

Implementing DevOps with databases presents a unique set of challenges. However, just because something might be hard doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done.

I had the opportunity to work with a team of developers, database developers and DBAs under a management team that all agreed on the common goal… Read more

18 comments, 149 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 6 June 2017

Database Fundamentals #1: Install SQL Server

To get started with SQL Server, you need to install it. However, I’m not going to teach you how to do a SQL Server install. Instead, I want to point you towards a couple of sources of information, and, give you some alternatives to installing SQL Server.

Install SQL Server

Read more

3 comments, 186 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 June 2017

Database Fundamentals

One of my favorite things about being a technologist is constantly learning new things, but, this can lead us to forget about the fundamentals. More importantly, in our pursuit of the latest and greatest things, it’s very easy for those of us who teach to forget to reach back and… Read more

7 comments, 1,991 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 31 May 2017

Technology Gender Gap By State

This is my first ever guest blog post. Take it away Hazel Garcia.


Though the gender gap narrows by the year, there remains a noticeable lack of balance in the professional workplace. This gap reflects in everything from gender-based pay scale discrepancies to the ratio of women to men… Read more

8 comments, 1,111 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 22 May 2017

MySQL and Backups As A Service

With today’s announcement that MySQL is available as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering through Azure, a lot more exciting opportunities have presented themselves for companies to build and manage their information. According to the DB-Engines Ranking, MySQL is the second most popular data management system out there.… Read more

4 comments, 352 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 10 May 2017

General Notes on Security in Azure SQL Data Warehouse

I’m still learning about Azure SQL Data Warehouse (ADW, cause I’m lazy). ADW is a deceptively deep topic. Initially you think that it’s just SQL Server, what’s the big deal. Then you start to understand the underlying architecture and things get complicated. Then you begin to understand the implications of… Read more

9 comments, 794 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 8 May 2017

Redgate Alexa Contest Winners!

A couple of weeks ago we had a small contest here to pick a skill for Alexa. The entries were all wonderful, but I could only pick five as winners with one of them being the top winner. Thanks everyone for playing.

In no particular order, here are the four… Read more

1 comments, 188 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 May 2017

Food On Your Table

I was asked, “Who here thinks that PASS helps people put food on the table?” To my shame, I initially said no. I mean after all, it’s just training and networking that could lead to improved knowledge and abilities which… hang on. Just how wrong I can be sometimes when… Read more

1 comments, 149 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 25 April 2017

Query Hash Values, Plan Guides and the Query Store

I was eating dinner with Hugo Kornelis and we started talking about query hash values. You know, like everyone does at dinner. As we talked about it, I suddenly thought about both Plan Guides and the Query Store. I wondered what happened to the query hash values in that case?… Read more

0 comments, 791 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 24 April 2017

The Age of Data and Software Development

I am so excited to be a data professional in the modern era. Yeah, 15-20 years ago, it was cool to be a DBA and a database developer. However, now, it’s amazing. Data drives, or should drive, all our decisions. Whether we’re deciding how high to set the cost threshold… Read more

2 comments, 228 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 17 April 2017

Alerts From Azure Automation

In a previous post, I showed how to set up statistics maintenance for your Azure databases using Azure Automation. However, what I didn’t show was how to generate an alert when things go south. Let’s do that now.

An Error Needing an Alert

First, I need to generate an… Read more

2 comments, 388 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 4 April 2017

Learning Azure From The Web

I’m working on a technical blog post that I hope to be putting up soon. I’ve run into a number of configuration issues that I’m working through. However, it’s these issues that sparked this blog post.

See, we’re learning Azure all wrong.

Use Google/Bing

What’s the first thing you do… Read more

3 comments, 198 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 3 April 2017

Random Blogging Challenge Results

The winner is: Everyone.

Hey, the challenge was random. I didn’t promise a prize or a winner. Instead, I suggested everyone blog based on an image of the great Tom Baker:

In no particular order we have:

Persist and Aggregate Index Stats Across Server Restarts by Eric Cobb
Nice use… Read more

1 comments, 167 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 29 March 2017

Sharing With You In All Fifty States

I made a mistake the other day. For some reason I got it into my head that I was flying to Albuquerque when I was actually flying to Phoenix. I’ve no idea how or why that occurred, but I sent a tweet out on how excited I was to finally… Read more

1 comments, 148 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 28 March 2017

Why You Should Change the Cost Threshold for Parallelism

I’ve written several times about the Cost Threshold for Parallelism and it’s relationship to your execution plans, how to determine your execution plan cost, and even how to decide what value to set your Cost Threshold to. What I haven’t explicitly addressed in extremely clear terms is why you… Read more

7 comments, 2,363 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 13 March 2017

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