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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 2013

An Experiment Concludes

That was hard work

You may or may not have noticed, but every single week day for the month of September, I’ve put up a blog post. Some were short little blurbs linking to some other person’s blog or an article that I decided to comment on. Some were the… Read more

9 comments, 1,575 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 30 September 2013

Azure Offerings Continue to Expand

We just received word of a bunch of new functionality over at Scott Guthrie’s blog. Not a lot of stuff for data pro’s… unless you work with Oracle. Yeah, you can now create Oracle VMs. See the image below:


I swear, I can’t tell you why this gives… Read more

0 comments, 1,297 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 27 September 2013

PASS Votes

I’ve already made my own intentions clear. I’m casting one of my votes for Allen Kinsel. But, I get three votes. Some of you may be asking yourselves, why didn’t recommend two other candidates?

Honesty time.

First, no one else asked me to. I’m actually glad of this. If… Read more

1 comments, 738 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 26 September 2013

AdventureWorks2012 Bug on Azure

While I have production databases in Azure, I can’t exactly experiment with them at will. Further, while they mostly have pretty innocuous data, it’s not all public. So, I need a mechanism for creating a database that I can play with in Azure. I use AdventureWorks. I get it. It’s… Read more

0 comments, 1,244 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 25 September 2013

Premium Database on Azure

One of the things that can make Windows Azure SQL Databases (WASD) attractive is the fact that they run inside of a managed environment. But, that does mean that you’re sharing resources with other databases. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if people are extremely worried about performance, yet,… Read more

0 comments, 747 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 24 September 2013

PASS Votes and So Should You

To put it bluntly, you need to go cast a vote for Allen Kinsel for the PASS Board.

In his own words, here’s why Allen is running.

Why am I supporting Allen? First, he’s a friend. But ignore that. This isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, a popularity contest.… Read more

2 comments, 910 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 23 September 2013

Web Design & Azure

I’ve listened to tons of programmers and DBAs complain about the look of Windows Azure. But, I’m friends with several design people, work with some pretty darned good designers at Red Gate, and I live in sin with a graphic artist (AKA: Mrs. Scary). While the developers and DBAs complain,… Read more

4 comments, 620 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 20 September 2013

SQL Lighthouse

Red Gate is constantly experimenting with technology. Because of a long history working within the Microsoft space, a lot of the new experimentation is in and around Azure. One new venture that could be online soon is SQL Lighthouse. It’s a mechanism for dealing with changing structures in an… Read more

0 comments, 805 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 September 2013

Finding Ad Hoc Queries with Query Hash

I was presenting a session on how to read execution plans when I received a question: Do you have a specific example of how you can use the query hash to identify similar query plans. I do, but I couldn’t show it right then, so the person asking requested this… Read more

10 comments, 3,247 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 18 September 2013

Great Idea: Tribal SQL

Writing books, even just a chapter, is not easy. Yet, people are desperate to do it for some reason. But, it’s actually hard to break into writing (not that hard, I did it after all). So, when you get the chance to work on a book, if you’re crazy enough… Read more

1 comments, 837 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 17 September 2013

Why the Lazy Spool Is Bad

First thing, there are no bad operators, just bad parents, uh, I mean query writers, or database designers, or ORM tools. Why do I say this? Because all the operators within a query execution plan serve a purpose. They are there to fulfill a task. Depending on where and when… Read more

1 comments, 3,374 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 16 September 2013

Are Foreign Keys Better Than Indexes?

When I first saw this question I thought to myself, “Self. Don’t you think that’s comparing apples to hammers? Yes, Self, I’m pretty sure it is. Good, I thought so too, self. Yeah, me too.” After rebooting because of the runaway iterations on that thought, I had another, “Well… hold… Read more

0 comments, 873 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 13 September 2013

Microsoft Expands Data Centers… Again

Didn’t they just do this in the spring? Word is out that they’re expanding even more data centers. The cynical take would be that it’s really all about the expanded need for data because of XBox One. But I doubt that explains it all. What’s happening is that Azure is… Read more

0 comments, 667 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 September 2013

Execution Plan Cost Estimates

It’s been emphasized over and over that the costs of operations within an execution plan, and the estimated costs of the plan themselves are, in fact, estimates. But it goes further than that. The estimated values are based on statistics, or the lack thereof. Statistics themselves are also estimates. This… Read more

2 comments, 1,703 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 11 September 2013

New Windows Azure Virtual Labs

Getting started with new technologies can be a pain. That makes all the new labs that Microsoft just posted extremely useful. There are several that are going to be immediately applicable to your average data pro; Introduction to SQL Database, Connecting a PaaS Application to an IaaS Application with a… Read more

0 comments, 581 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 10 September 2013

Developers Rate Azure One of Their Favorite Tools

Yeah, Azure.

How we program, what we program and where we program is changing. All the time. This excellent article lays out a bunch of the trends that are going on within software these days. And one of the single biggest parts of this trend is the fact that more… Read more

0 comments, 1,217 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 September 2013

Speaker of the Month: September 2013

This is my second post in what I hope will be an ongoing series. You can see the rules for this, such as they are, and the last winner here.

I didn’t travel this past month, so I’m pulling my speaker of the month from a session that was… Read more

0 comments, 858 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 6 September 2013

sp_executesql, Parameters and Parameter Sniffing

I’m honestly not crazy about dynamic T-SQL within stored procedures. There are just a few too many opportunities to mess it up with dire circumstances to your server and your data. However, I absolutely recognize that dynamic T-SQL may be needed, and, in some situations, the best way to solve… Read more

7 comments, 1,483 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 September 2013

Azure Capabilities Expand

But then, the capabilities in Azure are always expanding. Here’s the new stuff that was just released in a blog post on Scott Guthrie’s blog. I’m interested in seeing how that automatic scaling on VMs works with SQL Server (if it works with SQL Server). Good times.

And yeah, the… Read more

0 comments, 611 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 4 September 2013

My Next Phone May Be a Nokia

I really like my Windows Phone. Yes, there are not as many apps as on a Droid or iPhone. But the apps there are and the OS itself… wow! And the hardware is always charging forward. And evidently, this new acquisition from Microsoft suggests that it might charge forward in… Read more

10 comments, 537 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 3 September 2013