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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).

A Moment For Reflection…

While this is a personal blog, I try to keep it focused on either technical topics or personal development and leadership related to technical topics. This post is a complete deviation from all of the above. Please, read it anyway.

I went to Auschwitz and Birkenau.

Words are failing me… Read more

4 comments, 95 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 25 May 2016

On the Buckeye Blitz!

In just a few weeks I’ll be doing the Buckeye Blitz. That is, a tour of user groups in Ohio (aka, the Buckeye state, after a tree, not a sports team), one per day across a week. Here’s how it breaks down:

Cleveland: 6/13
Toledo: 6/14
Columbus: 6/15
Cincinnati:… Read more

2 comments, 98 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 24 May 2016

PASS Board 2016: Update #3

I didn’t post an update last month, but I did do something more important: I elicited your feedback on a question the Board needs to act on.

Here’s what I’ve been up to.

First, based on your feedback (thanks) and conversations that I’ve had with members of the Board, I’m… Read more

0 comments, 106 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 23 May 2016

Query Store, Forced Plans, and New Plans

I love questions. I recently received one about new plans in the Query Store (available in Azure SQL Database now and in SQL Server 2016 after June 1).

Let’s say you have selected a plan that you want to force. You set it up. Now, let’s say the plan ages… Read more

3 comments, 787 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 16 May 2016

Use The Correct Data Type

Blog post #5 in support of Tim Ford’s (b|t) #iwanttohelp, #entrylevel. Read about it here.

Saying that you should use the correct data type seems like something that should be very straight forward. Unfortunately it’s very easy for things to get confusing. Let’s take a simple… Read more

8 comments, 1,485 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 May 2016

Implicit Conversion and Performance

Letting SQL Server change data types automatically can seriously impact performance in a negative way. Because a calculation has to be run on each column, you can’t get an index seek. Instead, you’re forced to use a scan. I can demonstrate this pretty simply. Here’s a script that sets up… Read more

1 comments, 140 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 3 May 2016

How to Convince the Boss to Send You to PASS Summit

August two years ago I originally posted, Make the PASS Summit Work for Your Employer. After conversations at several SQL Saturdays over the last couple of months, I decided to refresh and update that original content and post it again.

I keep hearing how the job market has changed. That… Read more

0 comments, 633 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 2 May 2016

Customizing Your Azure Portal

Not all of us are going to use Azure in the same way. That’s just common sense. Therefore, not all of us are going to want it to look the same. Here’s a default view of the portal for a login I created within my own domain:

You can contrast… Read more

0 comments, 1,025 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 27 April 2016

Microsoft’s Commitment to Azure

For several years, many of us who were involved with working in Azure from the early days, were concerned that Microsoft had bet the farm and could possibly lose it all. They may well have bet the farm, but more and more it’s extremely clear that there is zero likelihood… Read more

1 comments, 175 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 21 April 2016

Payment and the Board

If you read the March PASS Board meeting minutes, you saw that there was a discussion around board members and payments related to SQLSaturday precons. The question is simple, for a PASS branded event, should a member of the PASS board receive payment?

There are a couple of relevant… Read more

22 comments, 129 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 20 April 2016

A View Is Not A Table

Blog post #4 in support of Tim Ford’s (b|t) #iwanttohelp, #entrylevel

In SQL Server, in the T-SQL you use to query it, a view looks just like a table (I’m using the AdventureWorks2014 database for all these examples):

SELECT  *
FROM    Production.vProductAndDescription AS vpad;

 

SELECT…

Read more

8 comments, 2,342 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 April 2016

Views and Simplification

I’ve been getting lots of questions on views lately. Must be something in the water.

Because SQL Server allows you to treat a view as if it was a table, lots of people pretty much assume that it is a table since they get to treat it that way. The… Read more

1 comments, 150 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 April 2016

Speaker of the Month: April 2016

THIS IS NOT AN APRIL FOOL POST!

Seriously.

My Speaker of the Month for April 2016 is Keith Tate (b|t) and his session at SQL Saturday Chicago called Profiler is Dead, Long Live Extended Events.

I actually suspected very strongly from the start of the… Read more

0 comments, 157 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 1 April 2016

Do You Teach Azure Data Platform?

I offer instruction on the Azure Data Platform, and have for about six years, since shortly after it came out. I started using Azure SQL Database (although it had a different name then) Day 1.

I know a few other people who don’t work for Microsoft, but have been actively… Read more

1 comments, 156 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 29 March 2016

Query Store and Optimize For Ad Hoc

I love presenting sessions because you get so many interesting questions. For example, what happens with Optimize for Ad Hoc when Query Store is enabled? Great question. I didn’t have the answer, so, on to testing.

For those who don’t know, Optimize for Ad Hoc is a mechanism for dealing… Read more

5 comments, 1,192 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 28 March 2016

Happy Dance!

I’m all like:

Because I saw this on an eval:

I’ve been trying to ramp up to take advantage of my MSDN subscription and haven’t known where to start. I don’t have that excuse now.

And then I was all like:

Because:

We are moving a lot of stuff to…

Read more

4 comments, 167 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 25 March 2016

PASS Board 2016: Update #2

Time flies. I didn’t notice that I hadn’t posted an update in February.

There’s been a lot going on since I last posted! I’ve attended the executive committee meetings. I’ve also hosted my first board meetings and I took part in my first Town Hall. I’ve been working with PASS… Read more

0 comments, 135 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 24 March 2016

Cross Database Query in Azure SQL Database

You can’t query across databases in Azure SQL Database… or can you?

Let’s check. I’ve created two new databases on an existing server:

I’ve created two tables on each respective database:

CREATE TABLE dbo.DB1Table (
     ID INT IDENTITY(1, 1)
            NOT NULL
            PRIMARY KEY,
     Val VARCHAR(50)
    );


CREATE TABLE dbo.DB2Table (…

Read more

10 comments, 925 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 21 March 2016

Opportunities To Talk

It’s weird being an introvert who likes to talk to people, but what can I do. I like talking to people. I have a number of upcoming trips, quite literally all over the world, that provide us with the opportunities to get together and have a chat.

First, I’ll be… Read more

2 comments, 180 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 17 March 2016

Leadership Lessons

Not for you, for me.

I’m sure you’ve heard the statement: Praise in public. Criticize in private.

I agree with this approach. However, I find it extremely difficult to do. It’s one of the fundamental proofs that all leadership, all life for that matter, is about constant practice and discipline.… Read more

1 comments, 1,424 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 14 March 2016

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