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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).

Natively Compiled Procedures and Execution Plans

The combination of in-memory tables and natively compiled procedures in SQL Server 2014 makes for some seriously screaming fast performance. Add in all the cool functionality around optimistic locking, hash indexes and all the rest, and we’re talking about a fundamental shift in behavior. But… Ah, you knew that was… Read more

2 comments, 323 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 June 2014

Add an Instance to SQL Server Azure Virtual Machine

How do you add an instance to your local SQL Server installation? You run the executable that you probably downloaded from MSDN or maybe from a CD. Works the same on an Azure VM right? Sure… but wait. Do I have to go and download the software to my VM… Read more

8 comments, 591 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 13 May 2014

Carolina Cruise

I’m going to speak at three user groups in three days in North and South Carolina. Evidently this is known as the Carolina Cruise.  Here are all the details. And yeah, that’s me and a bunch of Scouts down in the Florida Keys at Seabase. I’m really looking forward… Read more

0 comments, 170 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 May 2014

Speaker of the Month, May 2014

Whoa! Another month gone by already? I guess I better pick a speaker of the month then. I went to several events this month, so selection was difficult, getting to see so many great speakers. But, one stood out in my mind, partly because he’s the least experienced speaker I’ve… Read more

8 comments, 573 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 2 May 2014

Azure Automation

I introduced Azure Automation in a previous post. I’ve spent some more time exploring it.

There’s a set of documentation available as I noted before. Unfortunately, reading through the full set of documentation, I have some criticisms to offer. The layout of the documentation goes through “Common runbook tasks”… Read more

2 comments, 244 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 23 April 2014

I Am Better Than You

That is a patently false statement and total BS. It sure does crawl up your spine though doesn’t it? Why then do we need to do this?

I read an article, “How DevOps is Killing the Developer,” and, frankly, was a little put off by this:

Good developers…

Read more

10 comments, 231 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 22 April 2014

Microsoft Azure Automation

Microsoft just announced a new mechanism for managing your Azure resources, Automation. You can check out the documentation on it here. It’s a mechanism to create runbooks using PowerShell that you can then combine with other runbooks inside a runbook, etc. Let’s check it out. I’m doing everything you… Read more

2 comments, 956 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 16 April 2014

SQL Server First Aid

If you take basic first aid, say a CPR course, you’ll learn a handy mnemonic for the primary assessment you have to make, A-B-C. That breaks down as Airway, Breathing, Circulation. Is there an open airway so they can breathe? Are they breathing? Do they have circulation, a pulse, are… Read more

10 comments, 220 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 15 April 2014

Sharing a Good Idea

I posted earlier about my experiments with Microsoft Curah!. (yes, technically the period should follow the exclamation since the exclamation is part of the name, not the end of the sentence) Evidently people actually read this blog because it inspired Stephen Bennet to start putting together his own curations… Read more

0 comments, 127 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 14 April 2014

I’m a Traveling Man

We are coming into quite a busy time for my speaking schedule. I’m hitting the road. It does one thing for me that I truly love, I get to talk to people. So, if you have questions, want to chat, need to call me a pompous know-it-all to my face,… Read more

0 comments, 166 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 10 April 2014

Curation and Performance

I’m trying out a new web site from Microsoft called Curah! that is all about curation. Curation is basically what blogging started out as. Blogs, short for Web Log, was really just a collection of links you’d visited recently and what you thought about them. But it’s grown into all… Read more

6 comments, 189 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 8 April 2014

Speaker of the Month, April 2014

I’m really enjoying picking a speaker of the month. It forces me to sit through a lot more sessions at the events I attend. I had been getting rather slack about attending sessions. It’s easy to get caught up in networking so much that you’re not taking advantage of the… Read more

4 comments, 581 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 4 April 2014

Thanks For Stopping By

Yesterday I passed 300,000 views on the blog. Recently I went over 1,000 comments. My little joke on Tuesday garnered over 2,000 views alone. I just wanted to say thank you for stopping by and reading about my struggles to understand SQL Server, Azure, our amazing community and whatever else… Read more

3 comments, 187 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 3 April 2014

SQL Server 2014 New Defaults

Today, April 1st, 2014, marks the release of SQL Server 2014. There are tons and tons of great new methods and functions and processes within the product. We’re all going to be learning about them for quite a while to come. One of the most exciting though is one of… Read more

10 comments, 271 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 1 April 2014

Save Money On Your Training Server

You can spend less money. Some of us are lucky. We work for very large corporations who can easily set aside a spare desktop or even space on a rack for a server on which we can train. Others of us are not as lucky. We work for smaller organizations… Read more

10 comments, 1,332 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 25 March 2014

PASS DBA Virtual Chapter Talk

I almost forgot to tell you about the Database Administration Virtual Chapter meeting next week, March 26th, 2014. I’ll be doing a talk about query tuning in Windows Azure SQL Database. It’s a talk I’ve given before (it was in the top 10 at the PASS Summit last year). Come… Read more

0 comments, 179 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 21 March 2014

Query Tuning Near You

It really is so much easier to just throw hardware at badly performing databases. Just buy a bigger, faster server with more and faster disks and you can put off doing tuning work for another 6-9 months, easily. But, for most of us, sooner or later, our performance problems get… Read more

0 comments, 267 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 March 2014

Finding Mistakes

Ever had that moment where you start getting errors from code that you’ve tested a million times? I had that one recently. I had this little bit of code for pulling information directly from query plans in cache:

WITH XMLNAMESPACES(DEFAULT N'http://schemas.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2004/07/showplan'),
QueryPlans AS
(
SELECT RelOp.pln.value(N'@PhysicalOp', N'varchar(50)') AS OperatorName,
RelOp.pln.value(N'@NodeId',N'integer')…

Read more

2 comments, 166 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 18 March 2014

SQL Saturday: You can’t have it all.

SQL Saturday’s are awesome! Let’s get that clear up front. The organizers of SQL Saturday events are glorious individuals. Let’s get that clear too.

I want to be up front about those things because, well, I’m going to be critical.

First though, I want to establish my bona fides… Read more

10 comments, 177 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 17 March 2014

sp_updatestats Is Not Smart

No, I don’t mean the use of sp_updatestats is not smart. It’s a fine, quick mechanism for getting statistics updated in your system. But the procedure itself is not smart. I keep seeing stuff like “sp_updatestats knows which statistics need to be updated” and similar statements.

Nope.

Not true.

Wanna… Read more

4 comments, 202 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 11 March 2014

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