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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).

Archives: September 2009

Pre-Compiled Stored Procedures: Fact or Myth

There’s a very common belief among DBA’s: Stored procedures are pre-compiled. I had someone tell me all about it just last week. There are lots of sources that say what I’m getting ready to say, so this really shouldn’t come as news to anyone,but it will. No, they’re not. Stored…

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0 comments, 1,860 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 30 September 2009

Minor Celebration

A little cheap thrill for me. I passed 50,000 views on the blog yesterday. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by to read my fumbling attempts to understand SQL Server better. I hope some of the posts have proved useful to you. I learn a lot from putting them together.

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0 comments, 1,379 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 30 September 2009

Vote for Mr. LaRock

It is rapidly coming up on election time at the Professional Association of SQL Server users (PASS). Once more, a person I respect and admire is running for office. Tom LaRock has been a volunteer with the organization longer than I have (I’m approaching four years) and for the entire…

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0 comments, 1,560 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 29 September 2009

Recap of Cape Cod .NET User’s Group

I presented last night at the Cape Cod .NET User’s Group. What a great bunch of people. About 20 people showed up at the nice facility they’re using, Venture Think Together. A little pizza and a little chat and the meeting got started. Marcia McLean, their president, gave…

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0 comments, 708 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 24 September 2009

PASS Virtual Chapters

If you’re not a member of the Professional Association of SQL Server users, PASS, why not? No, I’m sorry. I meant to say, If you’re not a member of PASS, you may not have heard about the change between special interest groups and the new Virtual Chapters. What used…

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0 comments, 836 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 23 September 2009

Presentation Skills from Brent Ozar

If you present at any level, read this. If you’re thinking about presenting, read this. If you’d like to start thinking about presenting, read this. That is all. Carry on.

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0 comments, 1,065 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 23 September 2009

Cape Cod .NET Users Group

Tomorrow night, Wednesday, September 23, I’m going to present on “Best Practices for Working with SQL Server Execution Plans” for the Cape Cod .NET User’s Group.  It’s basically a rehearsal for the presentation that I’ll be doing at the 2009 PASS Summit in just 5 weeks. Can you believe…

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0 comments, 829 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 22 September 2009

Gila Monster on Estimated vs. Actual Row Counts

I don’t generally do lots of blog aggregation and cross post linking & stuff. It’s just not something I’m that into. However, this time is an exception. Gail Shaw, Gila Monster to those who hang on out SQL Server Central, has posted an excellent explanation of times when Estimated…

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0 comments, 1,255 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 22 September 2009

Identifying Frequently Running Queries

It’s not enough to look at the longest running query. What if you have two queries, one runs for 5 minutes and the other runs for 5 seconds. Which do you tune? The first one, of course. But, let’s add a little information to our thought experiment. The one that…

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3 comments, 947 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 21 September 2009

More Free Training

Quest Connect 2009, taking place in October 21 for 24 hours, looks like it’s going to have 64 different sessions, live and recorded, by a variety of the names in the industry. It’s another chance to dig in and learn the details on a variety of topics from…

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0 comments, 688 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 September 2009

No Join Predicate

You could be looking at an execution plan on a query and see this message: Warning, No Join Predicate. With a very few exceptions (very few), that’s not a warning, like “Mind the gap” or “Your Mileage May Vary” or “Never fight a land war in Asia.” No. It’s a…

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0 comments, 2,619 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 September 2009

Editorial on SQL Server Central

My first one over there. It’s discussing whether or not you should do two things, build your own monitoring tool, come out in particular favor of one tool or suite of tools from a single vendor. Please read it and watch the video. And, even more importantly, leave a…

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0 comments, 804 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 14 September 2009

LaRock on Monitoring

Since I just spent a bit more than half of my 24 Hours of PASS presentation on tuning queries talking about monitoring performance, you could probably tell that I think that the two are inextricably linked. I’m not alone. Tom LaRock has put a post on why it’s important to…

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0 comments, 642 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 11 September 2009

Spools in Execution Plans

I got the question the other day, when are you likely to see a spool in an execution plan? Easy, whenever SQL Server needs to walk through the data multiple times, usually in JOIN operations… Yeah, well, once again, my flip answers are not quite the entire story.

Spool operations…

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3 comments, 2,404 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 September 2009

Debuting: Beginning SQL Server 2008 Administration

The new book is up on Amazon. I only worked on three chapters of Rob Walter’s new book and that was after begging to only work on two, so I can’t take much credit for the effort that went into this book. However, thanks to our editor Jonathan Gennick,…

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3 comments, 617 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 4 September 2009