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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).

Monitoring for Timeouts

The question came up at SQL Rally, “Can you use Extended Events to monitor for query timeouts?”

My immediate response was yes… and then I stood there trying to think of exactly how I’d do it. Nothing came quickly to mind. So, I promised to track down the answer… Read more

4 comments, 6,383 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 12 March 2015

Upcoming Events Where We Can Chat

I get around quite a bit.

Next week I’ll be visiting three cities in Germany talking to user groups in Frankfurt, Cologne and Munich on the 17th, 18th, and 19th of March, respectively. Here’s the one link I can find for information. EDIT: Here’s Cologne and here’s Munich.

Next,… Read more

0 comments, 195 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 March 2015

No Such Thing as a DevOps DBA

Sjor Takes (b|t) has just barely started blogging, but he’s got a great post about a discussion he had with a colleague. It’s worth a read. When you get done, I’ll provide my answer to the question posed at the start and conclusion of his post.

I had… Read more

7 comments, 260 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 2 March 2015

How to do DevOps as a SQL Server DBA

You recognize that you need to provide a pipeline for database deployments, that you need to automate as much support for your development teams as you possibly can, that you have to have testing in place to ensure protection of the production environment, that you need to speed your processes.… Read more

2 comments, 328 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 26 February 2015

DevOps, the DBA, and the word “No”

Check out this DevOps Reactions animated GIF and caption.

It’s funny on multiple levels, but it also makes me both mad and disappointed.

I get mad because it’s 2015. Surely by now most of us, especially those who have worked in the enterprise with development teams, know that the old… Read more

10 comments, 5,754 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 24 February 2015

Oh Look, A Horseless Carriage

Never forget, we’re making buggy whips. And everybody we know drives little buggies and they need our buggy whips. We’ve got a special talent, a unique knowledge set, and it’s fulfilling a defined need. So we’re all set, right?

Well, other than that Stanley Steamer over there. And maybe that… Read more

8 comments, 238 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 28 January 2015

My First Board Meeting

Parents, you know that feeling you get after you’ve brought home that brand new baby (or in my case, babies) where you suddenly say to yourself, “Oh damn. What have I done?” Yeah, that’s my feeling after my first board meeting. But let me give you a run-through of how… Read more

10 comments, 5,876 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 26 January 2015

Understand the True Source of Problems

There’s an old joke that goes, “Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I do this.” While the person in question swings their arm over their head. The doctor’s response is, “Don’t do that.” Problem solved, right? Well, maybe not. Let’s take a quick example from life. I do crossfit (yeah, I’m… Read more

10 comments, 237 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 January 2015

Two Weeks on the PASS Board

The one absolute promise I made about serving on the PASS Board is that I would let you know what I was doing there. Well, we’re two weeks in and I figured now was a good time for a report.

Next week is my first board meeting (and I will… Read more

10 comments, 198 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 16 January 2015

Common Table Expressions Are Not Tables

There’s power in naming things. Supposedly some types of magic are even based on knowing the correct names for things. The name for the T-SQL clause Common Table Expression (CTE) is actually pretty accurate. It’s an expression that looks like a table and can be used in common across the… Read more

10 comments, 7,538 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 14 January 2015

I Am Grateful For

A while back I wrote about saying “Thank you” to people. Last night I was listening to NPR on my ride home from a great New England SQL Server User Group meeting (yes, I listen to NPR). Two different reports came on during my ride that got me… Read more

5 comments, 204 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 9 January 2015

Execution Plans, Performance Tuning and Rum

This is me on the last cruise

In just a few more weeks I’ll be setting sail on the first of two SQL Cruise events this year. I’m honored beyond my ability to appropriately express it to be included as one of the Technical Leads for both the cruise in… Read more

5 comments, 374 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 6 January 2015

Speaker of the Month: January 2015

I love it that my first post of the new year is going to be Speaker of the Month. I’m really enjoying doing these because I’m getting to attend a lot more sessions at the events I go to in order to get choices. But, please, don’t bug me. If… Read more

5 comments, 147 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 2 January 2015

“Pretty Plans vs. Performance” or “Grant Gets Pwned”

If you get an execution plan that looks like this:

I wouldn’t blame you for immediately thinking about query tuning. Especially if the code that generated it looks like this:

SELECT  soh.OrderDate,
        sod.OrderQty,
        sod.LineTotal
FROM    Sales.SalesOrderHeader AS soh
INNER JOIN Sales.SalesOrderDetail AS sod
        ON sod.SalesOrderID = soh.SalesOrderID
WHERE   soh.SalesOrderID IN…

Read more

10 comments, 5,566 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 19 December 2014

Speaker of the Month: December 2014

For the month of November I was at the PASS Summit and Live360, so I didn’t get to find new speakers to see (heck, I didn’t get to see any sessions at Summit this year). But, that didn’t mean I didn’t get to see great speakers. I did (Rimma!… Read more

3 comments, 230 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 8 December 2014

Speaker of the Month: November 2014

I have been very remiss in my blogging of late. Apologies.

One thing I haven’t blogged about is Speaker of the Month. I’m behind. So, I’ll be posting two of them over the next few days in order to catch up.

First up, Speaker of the Month for November.

I… Read more

1 comments, 213 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 5 December 2014

PASS Summit 2014 Speaker Idol

For the first time ever at the PASS Summit, a competition was held to select a speaker for the 2015 Summit. This competition was organized and run by Denny Cherry. You can read all about what he thought of the event right here. I was asked to take part… Read more

3 comments, 248 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 13 November 2014

I’m Still Not on the Board

I’m just back from the PASS Summit 2014. What a great event. But this year, it was a little different. I did a lot of the usual things, presented a pre-conference seminar to about 130 people, helped out at the Red Gate booth, presented a session on execution plans on… Read more

1 comments, 221 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 11 November 2014

PASS Summit 2014: WIT Luncheon

Since I’m starting on the board in January, I’ve stopped taking part in the bloggers table during keynotes. First time since they had a bloggers. But, I am going to blog through the Women in Technology (WIT) Luncheon because I just love getting to take part in this amazing event. Read more

7 comments, 203 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 6 November 2014

Database Lifecycle Management

There are lots of people who talk about Application Lifecycle Management. But, the database is a major part of every application and if you do a similar search, there aren’t very many people talking about Database Lifecycle Management at all. Why not? I’m positive you’re deploying a database with… Read more

4 comments, 5,869 reads

Posted in The Scary DBA on 20 October 2014

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