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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).

Bad Parameter Sniffing Decision Flow Chart

Lots of people are confused by how to deal with bad parameter sniffing when it occurs. In an effort to help with this, I’m going to try to make a decision flow chart to walk you through the process. This is a rough, quite rough, first draft.

I would love… Read more

2 comments, 125 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 August 2017

PASS Summit 2017

Don’t you want to go to the single largest collection of Microsoft Data Platform professionals and developers on the planet? Sure you do.

PASS Summit 2017 is coming up. Now is the time to register for this unique event.

This year I’ve been honored to be able to present a… Read more

1 comments, 175 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 14 August 2017

IT/Dev Connections 2017

I’m very honored to be able to announce that I am going to be speaking at IT/Dev Connections in San Francisco. I’m not just speaking there, I’m presenting an all day seminar on the tools needed for query tuning.

The title does say SQL Server 2016, but most of the… Read more

0 comments, 126 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 August 2017

Database Fundamentals #7: Create a Table Using T-SQL

The syntax for creating a table logically follows many of the same steps that you did when using the GUI, but it will all be done with the statements. This script will exactly replicate everything that you did with the GUI:

CREATE TABLE dbo.Person (
PersonID int IDENTITY(1,1) NOT…

Read more

1 comments, 99 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 7 August 2017

There Is a Magic Button, a Rant

OK guys. I think it’s way past time. A bunch of us have been keeping a secret from the rest of you. We know something that you don’t. I don’t think we should hide this secret from the world any more.

Illuminati? Incompetents. Free Masons? I am one, so I… Read more

16 comments, 235 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 1 August 2017

Being a Positive Influencer

I read a lot of self-help and improvement information. I’m always trying to hack my brain or my attitude to arrive at a better, more productive, more useful individual. I suck at it.


If you read a lot of these books and articles about how to go about getting… Read more

2 comments, 1,051 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 31 July 2017

Database Fundamentals #6: Create a Table with the SSMS GUI

The whole idea behind databases is to store information, data, in order to look at it later. The place where that data is going to be kept is referred to as a table. A table consists of columns and each column can be defined to store a variety of specific… Read more

1 comments, 212 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 24 July 2017

SQL Cruise: Alaska 2017

We’re weeks away from another SQL Cruise. If you’ve never heard of this before, follow the link to read more. There you’ll also find testimonials and suggestions on how to sell SQL Cruise to your boss. I’m going to leave selling it to your boss to you. I want… Read more

4 comments, 1,366 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 July 2017

Thoughts on the State of Data Management

I was given the opportunity to do a little online interview. It’s primarily about promotion, but I thought I’d share it with you. If you’re wondering what I think of the current state of the industry, go here to check it out.

The post Thoughts on the State of Data… Read more

2 comments, 147 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 18 July 2017

Database Fundamentals #5: Database Properties

Don’t let the ease of creating databases lull you into a false sense of security. They actually can be very complicated. You can modify and individualize their behavior within your server so that different databases behave in radically different ways. The best way to see all the different manipulations you… Read more

1 comments, 1,811 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 17 July 2017

The Choices We Make

If you keep your head up and look around you’ll see the choices people make all the time. I saw a recent example online in this story about two experiences, shopping at Home Depot vs. Lowes (very minor NSFW warning due to language).

I don’t want to get into a… Read more

4 comments, 1,393 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 10 July 2017


I want to take a moment to thank a few people for being amazing.

First up, Thomas LaRock is wrapping up his tenure on the PASS Board this year. He has one more in-person meeting at Summit 2017 and then he’s basically done. I followed Tom to karaoke during my… Read more

0 comments, 148 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 6 July 2017

I Love Entity Framework

I love Entity Framework. I also like (not love) nHibernate. That’s right, as a DBA and data professional, I’m telling you I love Object/Relational Mapping tools (ORM). I think this is a technology set that the DBA needs to more tightly embrace. Let me tell you why.

Most of…

Read more

10 comments, 2,165 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 July 2017

Database Fundamentals #4: Create a Database

SQL Server provides multiple ways to perform most functions. In order to maximize your understanding of how SQL Server works and have as many different mechanisms as possible for getting work done, you’ll use the GUI and TSQL to learn how to create and drop databases. You can then use… Read more

0 comments, 1,606 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 26 June 2017

Database Fundamentals #3: What’s In a Database?

It’s worth noting that a lot of people will never need to create their own database. You may never create your own tables or other data structures either. You may only ever run backups and restores and manipulate the security on the system and let application installs create databases for… Read more

2 comments, 209 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 20 June 2017

The Three T’s of Backups

I just read several more horror stories that include, among other things, failed backups. I’ve said it before (at volume, extreme volume), and evidently I have to say it again. Simply creating a backup file is not enough to ensure the protection of your information. In… Read more

7 comments, 1,561 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 June 2017

T-SQL Tuesday #091 – Round-Up

Thank you to everyone who participated in T-SQL Tuesday #091 which was on databases and DevOps. As I anticipated, this brought out quite a bit of variety on the posts. This is because DevOps is still… not quite cooked…(?) in many peoples minds. I think with the range of posts… Read more

5 comments, 1,299 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 June 2017

DevOps and Visual Studio

The hardest part about implementing DevOps is not the tools you choose, but the processes you use to make DevOps work. That said, you do need to think about the tools you’re going to use to automate those processes. Frequently the emphasis is on third party tools, but it doesn’t… Read more

3 comments, 536 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 13 June 2017

Database Fundamentals #2: SQL Server Management Studio

The best way to learn any software is to start using it. There are a bunch of software tools in the SQL Server toolbox, but the biggest and most important is SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). SSMS is where you’ll spend most of your time when you start to work… Read more

2 comments, 505 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 June 2017

T-SQL Tuesday #091 – Databases and DevOps

Implementing DevOps with databases presents a unique set of challenges. However, just because something might be hard doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done.

I had the opportunity to work with a team of developers, database developers and DBAs under a management team that all agreed on the common goal… Read more

10 comments, 234 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 6 June 2017

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