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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: November 2010


Hannah Dustin, Upset about Regression

One of the most important take-aways from David Dewitt’s presentation at the PASS Summit was the level of fear within the Query Processing team at Microsoft caused by regressions. If you missed Dr. Dewitt’s presentation, I tried to capture as much of it as I… Read more

1 comments, 1,612 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 30 November 2010


I got my FreeCon. What’s more, I did it in public and didn’t get in trouble.

FreeCon is the brain child of Brent Ozar (blog|twitter). Basically Brent gathered together a few bloggers & writers from the SQL Server community, some extremely well known, like Tom LaRock… Read more

5 comments, 1,602 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 24 November 2010

Do Foreign Key Constraints Help Performance?

Most people are very aware of the fact that having a foreign key constraint in place on your tables adds overhead to inserts and deletes. And many people believe that there is no benefit to foreign keys beyond referential integrity (which, the application can handle perfectly well, right?). But is… Read more

1 comments, 1,654 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 22 November 2010

Un-SQL Friday: Branding?

Following in Midnight DBA’s more interesting half new blog fest topic.

My branding? I don’t have a clue. There, I said it. Up until very, very recently, I’ve just been doing stuff. I haven’t really even tried to think about what the plan was. Write a book? Sure, sounds like… Read more

0 comments, 659 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 November 2010

Reason for Early Termination of Statement

Wouldn’t you like to know why the optimizer stopped tuning the execution plan you’re looking at? It’s actually possible and simple to get this information. I talked about this a little more than a year ago, but I left out some information that might be useful.

Let’s take a… Read more

2 comments, 2,875 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 18 November 2010

SQL Server Team-Based Development

The new book is available in a free download from Red Gate. I had a lot of fun working on the three chapters that I did for this book. The topics I received are near & dear to me because of all the time I’ve spent working on getting… Read more

0 comments, 1,152 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 16 November 2010

Switching Off Parameter Sniffing

Or, another way to put it, in most cases, shooting yourself in the foot.

I was not aware that the cumulative update for SQL Server 2008 back in June included a switch that allows you to turn parameter sniffing off within SQL Server. Thanks to Kendra Little (blog| Read more

3 comments, 2,850 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 November 2010

ScaryDBA Blog Reboot

After all the conversations at FreeCon last week (more on that later, when I’ve assimilated it better), I finally decided to make some changes. The list of things I’m hitting is extremely long, but I’m going to be going through them a few at a time. First, and easiest, was… Read more

1 comments, 516 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 November 2010

The New Path To MCM

Microsoft has announced changes to the MCM program. This page shows all the ways that you can become an MCM without having to spend a month at Microsoft.

I’m interested in this for two reasons. First, I’d love to have the opportunity to try to become an MCM. Making it… Read more

5 comments, 1,308 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 November 2010

PASS Summit 2010, Day 3 Key Note

Today is Dr. Dewitt.

The ballroom, where the keynotes are held, is filled with extra chairs. The Summit organizers expect extra attendance today, and well they should. Dr. Dewitt was amazing last year. I suspect this year will be more of the same.

Rick Heiges is introducing the day (waiting… Read more

0 comments, 784 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 11 November 2010

PASS Summit: Day 2 Keynote

Today is Kilt Day at the PASS Summit. We’re going to try to arrange a group photo at lunch time.

The network connection is extremely slow. I suspect the tweeting about the kilts.

Bill Graziano is leading the key note and he started off with having all the kilted stand.… Read more

1 comments, 769 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 10 November 2010

PASS Summit: Day 1 Keynote, Part 3

Ted Kummert is still talking.

For the cloud, of course, they’re talking about SQL Azure. Microsoft really is throwing themselves into the cloud, completely. The emphasis is that they offer both a cloud and an on-premises solution. I don’t mind saying, I’m still trying to get the full business proposition… Read more

0 comments, 670 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 November 2010

PASS Summit: Day 1 Keynote, Part 2

Mark Souza from the SQL CAT Team, some of the smartest & most capable of MS consultants in SQL Server, is presenting how his team is offering a health check for people’s SQL Server systems.

There going to actually be using some technology to do this little event called SQL… Read more

0 comments, 711 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 November 2010

PASS Summit: Day 1 Keynote, Part 1

Sitting at the big kids table at the PASS Summit, ready to rock and roll. The Summit has not officially started yet, but it’s been a fantastic ride already. I’m getting to meet a bunch of great and amazing people. I made my very first trip out to the Microsoft… Read more

0 comments, 658 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 November 2010

Pass Summit Sunday Morning

I’m sitting in Top Pot Donut. I’m having a fantastic apple fritter. I’m also trying out the capabilities of the WordPress Android app. So far so good. I wouldn’t want to try doing hard core technical posts from this but it works. I can even add photos.

Read more

2 comments, 557 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 7 November 2010

SQLServerPedia Award Votes

This is just another reminder to please vote for my blog post on using PowerShell Remoting with SQL Server. It’s a post I’m proud of.

Also, I think that Gail Shaw (blog|twitter) is one heck of a great blogger. She has multiple posts in several categories.… Read more

3 comments, 565 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 3 November 2010

Kilt Day

A week from now will be Kilt Day at the PASS Summit. It’s probably way too late to order a kilt at this point. But, don’t despair. You can still take part. Just a short walk from the Summit is the headquarters of Utilikilt. These are not classic… Read more

1 comments, 660 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 3 November 2010

TSQL Tuesday: Why Are DBA Skills Necessary


Quote: “Database stuff, all this programming stuff, is easy. Anyone can do it. That’s why everyone in the company has sa privileges.”

For nine months, I worked in an environment where everyone, from developers to QA to the sales people to the receptionist, had SA privileges. You know what? DBA… Read more

1 comments, 1,100 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 2 November 2010

SQLServerPedia Awards

Right, I said I wouldn’t compete, but I can’t help pointing out that I’m pretty proud of this particular blog post that is in the Management and Automation category.  I thinki the number one tool for automation of administration of SQL Server, and pretty much all of Microsoft’s server technologies,… Read more

0 comments, 631 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 1 November 2010

More Voting

As if the US Election and SQL Rally voting were not enough (and have you voted yet for the SQL Rally Pre cons? Polls close tomorrow at 8PM), I just found out that SQLServerPedia is holding an awards vote. You only have a week, so get on over… Read more

1 comments, 630 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 1 November 2010