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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).

It’s All Fundamentals

I’m learning how to speak German. Interestingly enough, you don’t start off reading dissertations. Instead, you begin by learning the names of things, Teller for plate, Buch for book. The fundamentals. I’m a third degree black belt in Ken Ryu Kenpo. But you don’t start that, or continue it, by… Read more

6 comments, 176 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 September 2014

Speaker of the Month: September 2014

This month I’m very grateful because I was given the opportunity to present at DevLink in Chattanooga. I got to meet a lot of new people and see presentations by people that just don’t hang around SQL Server specific events. It was great. I’m going to apply next year (depending… Read more

0 comments, 135 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 September 2014

Left or Right?

No, this is not about politics. It’s about your WHERE clause… and your JOIN criteria… and your HAVING clause. It’s about a canard that still makes the rounds occasionally. Please, help me put this statement to sleep for once and all:

A function on the left side of the equals…

Read more

10 comments, 5,966 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 3 September 2014

Silliness for an Important Cause

I don’t mind saying that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, scares me. A degenerative disease that takes away the minds ability to control the body, leaving the mind intact… words fail me. Add to that the fact that there is no known cure, and that… Read more

0 comments, 711 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 21 August 2014

The Red Gate Way…

As companies go, Red Gate is a little different. That is readily apparent in our tools and the philosophy behind them, ingeniously simple. But, we do a lot of other things too. There’s the Simple-Talk web site where we publish serious articles on all aspects of development and database administration… Read more

2 comments, 155 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 20 August 2014

Getting the Word Out

A discussion that I’ve frequently had with organizers of SQL Saturday events, our own people here at Red Gate, authors, MVPs, pretty much anyone interested enough to listen for a few minutes, is summed up by “How do we get the word out about the opportunities that the SQL Server… Read more

1 comments, 128 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 August 2014

A Full Day of Query Tuning

I’m excited to able to say that I’ve been given the opportunity to put on a full day workshop at SQL Connections on Friday, September 19th, 2014. The title is “Query Performance Tuning in SQL Server 2014″, but I assure you we’re going to cover things that are applicable… Read more

0 comments, 253 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 14 August 2014

Say Thank You

I was approached by a man at SQL Bits who only wanted to thank me for blogging. He said, “I know you probably never hear from anyone, but you should. Thanks for what you do.” I’m not mentioning his name because he promised me he’d write an editorial for publication,… Read more

10 comments, 7,270 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 6 August 2014

Speaker of the Month: August 2014

Speaker of the Month is now officially one year old.

I went back and reread my first post. The goals were for a relentlessly positive experience. Reading back through the twelve posts, I feel like I hit that mark pretty well. Yes, I’ve always pointed out places where improvements can… Read more

6 comments, 6,565 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 1 August 2014

Challenge Accepted

There seemed to be some question whether my comfort level with my own masculinity would prevent me from wearing these:

Oh please! Couldn’t we be a little more challenging? Anyway, here’s the deal, you donate to a good cause, Doctors Without Borders. We hit 10K and I’ll sport those… Read more

6 comments, 160 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 23 July 2014

Victims of Success

I took part in the PASS Summit 2014 selection committee this year because I was really curious about seeing how the sausage gets made. I’ve seen how actual sausage gets made and I still eat sausage.  Despite a few hiccups and communication issues, internal and external, I think the selection… Read more

5 comments, 129 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 21 July 2014

Execution Plan Details

I wouldn’t say it’s common knowledge that you should look at execution plans when tuning queries, but it’s not exactly uncommon knowledge either. But, people tend to get focused on just looking at the graphical part of the plan and there’s just not enough information there. Let’s take a look… Read more

1 comments, 9,256 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 July 2014

Speaker of the Month, July 2014

Another month another bunch of great presentations. I almost don’t want to do this any more. It’s hard. I sit through a presentation and I think, “Well, here’s the winner this month.” Then I go to another presentation and I think, “Well, fudge, now one of these people loses.” Then… Read more

0 comments, 167 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 11 July 2014

Worst Day of a DBAs Life

Red Gate Software is running a campaign around coping with the worst day of a DBAs life. We’ve been posting some really fun stories with, I hope, a kernel of useful information inside each. Chances are, if your DBA career has been like mine, your worst days don’t involve explosions… Read more

4 comments, 204 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 8 July 2014

Reflections on the 2014 PASS Summit Selection Process

Oh we are a bunch of high school kids at heart. Maybe high school never ends (and there’s a nightmare, god I hated high school). But, there’s been drama about the 2014 PASS Summit sessions and the Selection Committee’s work. I was on the committee. I worked as a part… Read more

9 comments, 334 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 3 July 2014

Statistics and Natively Compiled Procedures

Statistics are one of the single most important driving factors for the behavior of the query optimizer. The cardinality estimates stored within the statistics drive costing and costing drives the decision making of the optimizer. So, how does this work with the new SQL Server 2014 natively compiled procedures? Differently. Read more

2 comments, 1,540 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 2 July 2014

The Curse of Working With A DBA

I no more than finished my rant from last week than I started thinking about all the reasons why a healthy chunk of the reasons that developers want to bypass relational database is not the horror of the relational database itself, although, that’s there. No, a very large reason why… Read more

10 comments, 331 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 30 June 2014

Passion

I know I tend to be overly passionate. It’s something that has gotten me into trouble in the past. It’s also probably a huge factor in the things I’ve been able to accomplish in life. I’m bringing it up at this time because I think passion is causing some conflict… Read more

10 comments, 229 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 26 June 2014

The Utility of Execution Plans in Natively Compiled Procedures

I’m actually having problems identifying the utility of execution plans when working with natively compiled procedures. Or, put another way, why bother? I’ve posted a couple of times on natively compiled procedures and SQL Server execution plans. I’ve found the differences interesting and enlightening, but I’m seriously questioning why I… Read more

2 comments, 1,032 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 25 June 2014

The Curse of Relational Databases

Let’s face it, none of Information Technology is easy. Oh yeah, there are those few geniuses that have an absolute grasp over some small aspect of the stack, or those other geniuses that have a very shallow knowledge level, but understand the entire stack. But the stack itself, it’s vast,… Read more

10 comments, 3,960 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 18 June 2014

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