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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).

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

2 comments, 1,901 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

6 comments, 1,594 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, 261 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, 1,183 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, 176 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, 223 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, 192 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, 242 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…

Read more

5 comments, 289 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, 198 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, 366 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

6 comments, 1,658 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, 243 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, 285 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, 1,827 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, 236 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, 244 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 September 2017

Database Fundamentals #9: Schemas As Containers

Schemas are a very useful tool for managing the objects in your database. From security through process, through placement, schemas provide you with another tool to control how your database behaves.


The tables created so far in this blog series have all been attached to a schema, dbo. Depending… Read more

0 comments, 2,024 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 6 September 2017

Luck and the PASS Summit

I recently read an article asking the question whether or not we downplay the role that luck plays in our lives and I immediately thought of the PASS Summit.

Obscenely Lucky

I am, quite frankly, embarrassingly, obscenely, stupidly lucky.

I just am.

I married WAY over my head. I stumbled… Read more

9 comments, 210 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 September 2017

Ich werde Deutschland beriesen

Guten Tag!

OK, switching back to English for the rest of this.

I’m going to be spending a few weeks in Germany on a private tour, no work. That means that, no, I’m very sorry, I can’t speak at your user group, even though I’d love to. Next time.

However,… Read more

2 comments, 261 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 30 August 2017

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