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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).

Query Monitoring and the GDPR

I’ve been reading the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and discussing the ramifications of the beginning of enforcement with lots of people. The implications of it all are fascinating. The real serious issues remain primarily a business problem, with business defined solutions. However, there are technology issues that we need… Read more

0 comments, 77 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 March 2018

Execution Plans and the GDPR

What? Execution plans and the GDPR? Is this it? Have I completely lost it? Well, no, not on this topic, keep reading so I can defend myself.

GDPR and Protected Data

The core of the GDPR is to ensure the privacy and protection of a “natural person’s” information. As such,… Read more

5 comments, 529 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 March 2018

Every Single Execution Plan is an Estimated Plan

All the execution plans are estimated plans. All of them. There fundamentally isn’t any such thing as an “Actual” plan.

Where Do You Get Execution Plans?

There are a lot of sources for execution plans. You can capture them using extended events (or, if you must, trace). You can capture… Read more

6 comments, 1,539 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 March 2018

YouTube Channel Update

Hey! Here’s the latest on my YouTube Channel. Click on through and subscribe. I’ll be doing lots of stuff on the Microsoft Data Platform, GDPR, DevOps, Redgate, and all sorts of IT related information.

Here are the last couple of weeks worth of videos:

Very popular was my discussion… Read more

0 comments, 147 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 2 March 2018

Precons in Richmond, Philadelphia and New York

I love when I get the opportunity to present at SQLSaturday events. Even more than that, I love when I get the opportunity to do a precon at a SQLSaturday event. Well, I’ve got three coming up.

All three are an all day session entitled “SQL Server Tools for Query… Read more

4 comments, 1,246 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 28 February 2018

Adaptive Joins

I was surprised to find out that a lot people hadn’t heard about the new join type, Adaptive join. So, I figured I could do a quick overview.

Adaptive Join Behavior

Currently the adaptive join only works with columnstore indexes, but according to Microsoft, at some point, they will also… Read more

3 comments, 737 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 27 February 2018

GDPR: Your Hair Is Not On Fire

Along with a lot of other people, I’ve been attempting to call people’s attentions to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was created two years ago and becomes effective in May of this year. The regulation defines processes and practices around the privacy and protection of personal data… Read more

5 comments, 282 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 26 February 2018

Wait Statistics on a Query

Wait statistics are a vital part of understanding what is causing your system to run slowly. Capturing them can be done through a variety of mechanisms from sys.dm_os_wait_stats (use this query for that) to sys.dm_db_wait_stats in Azure SQL Database. Those cover the system and the database, however, what about capturing… Read more

2 comments, 2,308 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 February 2018

Youtube Channel Update


I just wanted to take a moment to promote the work I’ve been doing with the YouTube Channel.

I’ve published four videos in the last week. The most popular was an introduction to the GDPR:

I’ll be talking about that quite a bit more in the coming weeks. Read more

1 comments, 153 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 29 January 2018

You Need a New Hobby

Not sure who this is that is attempting to hack into my blog so desperately, but seriously, time for a new hobby:

administrador 20 mins ago
administrador 1 hour 41 mins ago
administrador 3 hours 2 mins ago
administrador 4 hours 20 mins ago

Read more

10 comments, 163 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 23 January 2018

Database Fundamentals #16: Removing Data With T-SQL

Deleting data from a table using T-SQL works quite a lot like the UPDATE statement.

How it Works

In the same way you supply the statement, DELETE, and then the table name. You’re not going to specify columns in any way because deleting data is all about removing a… Read more

4 comments, 1,947 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 22 January 2018

Updated YouTube Channel

Hello all,

I’ve recently updated my YouTube channel. I’m going to be posting a lot more videos up there. If you would like to take advantage of it, please go here and click on the subscribe button. I’ll be covering pretty much the same type of thing there that I… Read more

4 comments, 155 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 16 January 2018

Getting Started in a SQL Server 2017 VM in Azure

You say you’re ready to dip your toes in the Azure ocean? Come on in, the water’s fine!

Oh, you want to really dip your toes. You’re starting with Virtual Machines? OK. I guess. It’s not where the real excitement is. You should be checking out Azure SQL Database and… Read more

2 comments, 869 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 January 2018

Statistics Use, Extended Events and Execution Plans

Query tuning ain’t easy.

Figuring out which index is getting used is one step, and generally simple, look at the execution plan to see which index is in use and whether it’s being used in a SEEK or a SCAN. Done. However, when your index isn’t being used, how do… Read more

2 comments, 1,403 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 8 January 2018

Snow, Heathrow Airport, Disaster Recovery

I recently flew from Boston to the UK through the Heathrow airport. It just happened to be on the day that the UK got about 1.5 inches of snow (sorry, 3.8 centimetres, according to Weather Underground though, just 15mm, not sure about that). I spent a little more than… Read more

0 comments, 490 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 2 January 2018

SQL Server Automatic Tuning and sys.dm_db_tuning_recommendations

In Azure SQL Database for quite some time and now available in SQL Server 2017, Microsoft has put a lot of the knowledge they’ve gleaned from running more databases that any of the rest of us ever will to work with Automatic Tuning.

Automatic Tuning

The core of automatic… Read more

3 comments, 430 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 26 December 2017

Query Store Wait Statistics with sys.query_store_wait_stats

The second best thing to questions that people ask is when I sit down to write a book. It’s so easy to miss things in the day-to-day grind of doing work. Then, late at night, you’re working on a chapter, so you read up on the documentation to ensure that… Read more

8 comments, 193 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 18 December 2017

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

2 comments, 1,144 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, 191 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

9 comments, 206 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 4 December 2017

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