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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).

Data About Execution Plans

If you look at the Properties for the first operator of a graphical execution plan, you get all sorts of great information. I’ve talked about the data available there and how important it is in this older post. Checking out the properties of a plan you’re working on is… Read more

3 comments, 272 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 23 January 2017

Scheduling Statistics Maintenance in Azure SQL Data Warehouse

The power and capabilities of Azure SQL Data Warehouse are pretty amazing. However, it’s still basically SQL Server under the covers. SQL Server still needs maintenance and one type of maintenance is keeping statistics up to date. Statistics maintenance is doubly important within Azure SQL Data Warehouse because statistics are… Read more

5 comments, 788 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 18 January 2017

Query Optimizer and Data Definition Language Queries

Data Definition Language queries don’t go through the optimizer, right? While normally, my short answer to this question in the past would have been, yes. However, with testing comes knowledge and I want to be sure about the statement.

I’m working with a team of people to completely rewrite the… Read more

3 comments, 242 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 10 January 2017

Database Configuration

It’s amazing just how much the landscape changed with the release of SQL Server 2016 SP1. For example, I just found out that you can disable parameter sniffing at the database level using the database configuration. Not only does this work for SQL Server 2016 SP1, but it’s enabled for… Read more

1 comments, 227 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 20 December 2016

PASS Board: Year-End Wrap-Up

This month concludes my second full year on the PASS Board of Directors and my first full year on the Executive Committee. This year has been exciting, challenging, educational, and, I truly believe, useful to the organization. We’ve accomplished a lot. We will do more.

Year In Review

I have… Read more

0 comments, 186 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 December 2016

OPTIMIZE FOR Hints When Parameter Sniffing is Turned Off

While presenting recently and talking about dealing with bad Parameter Sniffing, I got the question; what happens to OPTIMIZE FOR hints when parameter sniffing is disabled?

This is my favorite kind of question because the answer is simple: I don’t know.

Parameter Sniffing

For those who don’t know, parameter sniffing… Read more

7 comments, 219 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 December 2016

Presentations for SQL Server Beginners

Tired from all those blog posts

For my final blog post in the #gettingstarted, #iwanttohelp series, I decided to curate a set of presentations from the PASS Virtual Chapters. This content is available online. It’s free. Most importantly for the person just getting started as a SQL Server data pro,… Read more

3 comments, 2,645 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 December 2016

Database Clone

There are a bunch of ways you could create a database clone. Backup and restore is one method. Export/Import is another. There are even third party tools that will help with that. However, each of these has a problem. It’s moving all the data, not just once, but twice. You… Read more

1 comments, 1,566 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 28 November 2016

PowerShell to Test a Query

So you want to do some tuning, but you’re not sure how to test a query on it’s performance. Not a problem. Here’s a very rough script that I use to do some recent testing.

This script to test a query is post #11 of the #enterylevel #iwanttohelp effort started… Read more

4 comments, 372 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 23 November 2016

SQL Server on Linux: Boring

As a concept, SQL Server on Linux is thrilling. Due to this, the OS doesn’t stand in the way of taking advantage of everything that SQL Server offers. Because we have Linux, we have opportunity for all sorts of new fun.

I first saw SQL Server running on Linux about… Read more

10 comments, 353 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 22 November 2016

Query Data Store Data

The data in the Query Data Store is what makes all the magic happen. From collecting the aggregate performance metrics of a query to the various plans in use by that query to being able to force a plan, it’s all controlled by the data within the Query Data Store… Read more

5 comments, 976 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 21 November 2016

Book Review: Marshmallow Test

Different people approach their career in different ways. My working assumption, all the time, is that I don’t know enough and I’m not good enough. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got an ego (way too big of one really). I just know that there’s room for improvement. It’s one of… Read more

2 comments, 211 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 18 November 2016

Azure Data Platform Learning Resources

I know that more and more of you are moving more and more resources into the Azure Data Platform. In an effort to help you learn about all that Azure offers I created a GitHub repository of blogs, teachers, courses, etc. It’s open to the community to update. New material… Read more

1 comments, 387 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 November 2016

PASS Board Update: Post-Summit 2016

Monday

I got in on Sunday and chose to have a small dinner with a couple of friends, quiet, preparing.

Monday was a less hectic day than the others . The Board had the morning off, although Redgate had me go and give a session at an event. Monday afternoon… Read more

2 comments, 221 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 8 November 2016

sp_executesql Is Not Faster Than an Ad Hoc Query

This requires an immediate caveat. You should absolutely be using sp_executesql over any type of non-parameterized execution of T-SQL. You must parameterize your T-SQL because the lack of parameters in building up and executing strings is a classic SQL Injection attack vector. Using straight ad hoc T-SQL is an extremely… Read more

0 comments, 740 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 7 November 2016

Reinforcing the Importance of Statistics on Row Estimate

I recently wrote an introductory post about the importance of statistics. I just received a reinforcement on how important they are during my own work.

Bad Estimate

I hit a weird problem while I was setting up a query to illustrate a point (blog to be published next week).… Read more

1 comments, 980 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 3 November 2016

Stored Procedures Are Not Faster Than Views

A performance tuning tip I saw recently said, “Views don’t perform as well as stored procedures.”

<sigh>

Let’s break this down, just a little.

Definitions

A view is nothing but a query. The definition given by Microsoft is that it’s a virtual table that’s defined by a query. It’s a… Read more

3 comments, 3,077 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 1 November 2016

A Sub-Query Does Not Hurt Performance

The things you read on the internet, for example, “don’t use a sub-query because that hurts performance.”

Truly?

Where do people get these things?

Let’s Test It

I’ve written before about the concept of cargo cult data professionals. They see one issue, one time, and consequently extrapolate that to… Read more

8 comments, 1,070 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 24 October 2016

SQL Cruise as a Speaker and Sponsor

SQL Cruise offers a number of unique opportunities for everyone involved, including speakers and sponsors. I’ve written before, several times, about the benefits of SQL Cruise. As an attendee of the cruise, you will get to sit in classes by amazing people (and me) talking about all aspects… Read more

2 comments, 854 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 18 October 2016

SELECT * Does Not Hurt Performance

I read all the time how SELECT * hurts performance. I even see where people have said that you just have to supply a column list instead of SELECT * to get a performance improvement. Let’s test it, because I think this is bunkum.

The Test

I have here two… Read more

10 comments, 3,982 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 17 October 2016

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