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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).

Execution Plan Metrics and Units of Measure

Have you ever looked at the properties inside an execution plan and wondered what the units of measure were? I know I have. I also get the question pretty frequently about all sorts of properties. What does EstimatedAvailableMemoryGrant display it’s units in anyway? For that matter, what the heck is… Read more

1 comments, 157 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 11 December 2017

SQL in the City 2017

Redgate is once again hosting a live, virtual event for SQL in the City. We’re going to give you a lot of educational content on DevOps, SQL Server, Monitoring, GDPR and compliance. We’ll also be doing all this with Redgate tools. Here’s my promotional video for the event:

I… Read more

1 comments, 127 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 8 December 2017

Why I Use AdventureWorks for Demos

I know that when some people see AdventureWorks, their vision turns all red around the edges, their blood pressure spikes and they begin to foam at the mouth. I do understand. AdventureWorks, Microsoft’s very old, near ubiquitous, sample database suffers from a lot off issues.

What’s The Matter With AdventureWorks?

Read more

7 comments, 141 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 4 December 2017

Automating T-SQL Code Analysis

With all the options available within T-SQL these days, it’s more and more imperative that our code be clear and consistent. For example, there are clustered indexes and nonclustered indexes. Oh, but those are rowstore indexes. You also have clustered columnstore and nonclustered columnstore indexes. When you write T-SQL that… Read more

1 comments, 1,623 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 28 November 2017

Database Fundamentals #15: Modifying Data With T-SQL

The preferred method for modifying your data within a database is T-SQL. While the last Fundamentals post showed how to use the GUI to get that done, it’s not a very efficient mechanism. T-SQL is efficient.


The command for updating information in your tables is UPDATE. This command doesn’t… Read more

2 comments, 1,359 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 27 November 2017

I May Never Be a Data Scientist

Chances are extremely high that I’ll never put down Data Scientist as my job. Considering what you do and what you know, I’ll bet a healthy percentage of you are in a similar situation. That’s OK. You know why? You know a lot about data, data movement and data processing… Read more

3 comments, 192 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 22 November 2017

Get That Profiler Feel in Extended Events

I know. You love Profiler. I hear you. You’re wrong, but that’s OK. Kidding… mostly.

Unfortunately though, I think a lot of what passes for issues and problems with Extended Events is actually a lack of knowledge about how they work. Let’s take an example and run with it.


Read more

3 comments, 1,070 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 20 November 2017

Presenting Azure Vs. Working With Azure

I have a real infatuation with Azure. I’m especially interested in the Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings in and around the Data Platform. I truly believe that these are the subversive elements that are going to change how a lot of us get our jobs done with data. I’ve… Read more

2 comments, 133 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 November 2017

All Day Query Tuning Class at SQLSaturday Virginia

March 23rd, 2018, I’ll be teaching an all day class on Query Tuning Tools in Richmond Virginia. I hope to see you there. However, I have to warn you, there is very limited seating. If you want to take this class, I suggest you register for it as soon as… Read more

2 comments, 177 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 14 November 2017

The GDPR and You

Ever heard of the General Data Protection Regulation? If not, go and read the Wiki. I’ll wait.

I can already hear what you’re thinking. “Grant, this doesn’t apply to me because my company is in the <insert non-EU country here>.” How do I know you’re thinking that? Because every… Read more

6 comments, 138 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 13 November 2017

Extended Events and Profiler: XE Profiler

There’s a war on in the SQL Server world. On the one side is Profiler (although, really, everyone uses Trace Events). On the other, the “new” (they came out in 2008 with a full GUI in 2012, so…) Extended Events. Lots of people have picked sides on this, including Microsoft. Read more

10 comments, 181 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 7 November 2017

Inside My PASS Summit

As you read this, I’m in Seattle for the PASS Summit 2017. I have four roles that I satisfy at Summit; Vendor through my glorious employer Redgate Software, Board Member of the PASS organization, Speaker, and Attendee. Let me tell you about my Summit that’s coming up.

What is…

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5 comments, 224 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 30 October 2017

PASS Summit and Redgate Software

Next week is the PASS Summit. I’m so excited about it I could pop. Part of why I’m excited is because Redgate always does so much fun stuff at Summit. I’m presenting sessions, Steve Jones and our latest (and probably greatest) new team member, Kathi Kellenberger are also presenting sessions.… Read more

2 comments, 169 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 25 October 2017

Database Fundamentals #14: Modifying Data Through SSMS

I’ve said it before, but I feel I should repeat myself. Using the SSMS GUI for data entry and data manipulation is not the preferred mechanism. T-SQL is the right way to manipulate the data in your database. For purposes of completion though, I will show the GUI methods in… Read more

1 comments, 319 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 16 October 2017

Database Fundamentals #13: Data Entry Through T-SQL

T-SQL provides lots of functions that help to make data entry through T-SQL much more powerful. Over time you won’t be typing everything into T-SQL directly as we’ll do here. You’ll be able to use stored procedures and parameters to automate the use of scripts. These will also be generated… Read more

5 comments, 1,567 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 11 October 2017

Database Fundamentals #12: Adding Data with SSMS GUI

In the previous Database Fundamentals, I argued that you should be learning T-SQL, yet the very next post I’m showing you how to use the GUI. What’s up?

Why the GUI?

It’s a very simple reason. I want to show you what it is so that I’m not hiding things.… Read more

1 comments, 206 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 25 September 2017

Azure, PowerShell, Databases and the PASS Summit

I am quite honored to say that I am speaking at the single largest and most important Microsoft Data Platform conference in the world, PASS Summit 2017.

Now, I’m excited to say that I get to speak on three topics that are near and dear to my heart, Azure, PowerShell… Read more

3 comments, 218 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 September 2017

Database Fundamentals #11: Why Learn T-SQL

If you’ve been following along with the previous 10 Database Fundamentals blog posts, you have a SQL Server installed and a database with a table in it. You may have more if you’ve been practicing. Now would be the time to start adding data to the database, but first, I… Read more

4 comments, 1,730 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 18 September 2017

Speaking at IT/DevConnections 2017

If you’re going to be in the San Francisco area in October, let’s get together and talk. I’ll be at IT/DevConnections 2017 doing several talks.

First, I have an all day pre-con on the tools needed for query tuning. Then I have two regular sessions, DevOps for the DBA Read more

1 comments, 203 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 13 September 2017

Database Fundamentals #10: Modifying Tables

Invariably, either while building a new database, or while maintaining old ones, you will find that the business needs change or that you’ve made a mistake. Either way, you will need to modify the tables that you’ve created. Change is inevitable and luckily SQL Server takes that into account, providing… Read more

1 comments, 202 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 September 2017

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