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Simple SQL Server

I started out working with Microsoft Access and SQL Server back in 2000 as the only employee doing IT full-time, and worked most of my career where “big fish in a little pond” was an overstatement. Learning is scarce when you do everything and don’t work with anyone who knows more than you. In 2010 I was plunged into the Ocean and grabbed onto anything I could find to stay afloat. I wasn’t going to simply run scripts I didn’t understand, so I learned the DMVs and system tables in the scripts I found and rewrote them all. Now, I know enough where I can start giving back to a community that saved me from drowning.

Use Compression to Combine Data Quality and Performance

We’ve been using the wrong data types for all the wrong reasons.  DBAs, developers, data architects, etc. have all been told to keep data as narrow as possible, using the smallest data type to get the job done.  We sacrificed the integrity of our data for the performance of our… Read more

7 comments, 700 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 21 December 2015

Indexing Strategy

What do I care about when I’m playing with indexes? That’s easy. I want as few indexes as possible efficiently referenced by as many pertinent, well-tuned, consistently written queries as is reasonable. It’s explaining that last sentence that’s the hard part.

The thing that will jump out to most people… Read more

10 comments, 2,845 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 16 December 2015

Picking a Clustered Index

A Clustered Index is not another term for Primary Key, and more thought should be put into the key columns of the index than always allowing them to default to the PK.

First of all, the primary key is the main way you uniquely identify a row in a table… Read more

3 comments, 2,152 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 14 December 2015

Data Compression

Data compression is often misunderstood to cost CPU in exchange for smaller size on disk.  Somewhat true, but that simple explanation ignores other savings that often result in net drop in CPU utilization.

Full disclosure: This is an Enterprise-ONLY feature introduced in SQL 2008.  It is engrained in the structure… Read more

7 comments, 744 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 8 December 2015

Querying the Plan Cache

I love working with indexes, and I need to know what’s using them to work on them intelligently. Most of that information is already there waiting for you to query it. Luckily, Jonathan Kehayias (b|t) did the hard work for us in his post Finding what… Read more

13 comments, 1,622 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 1 December 2015

SQL Server Error Log Reader

Reading the SQL Server Error Log is miserable.  It contains very useful information you should address as soon as possible, or at least know that it’s happening.  However, it’s hidden between so many informational messages that it’s hard to find, then it’s spread out between multiple files for every server… Read more

0 comments, 310 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 16 November 2015

Give More Feedback

I write on my blog and get a couple comments at best. I talk at conferences and a large part of the audience fills out evals at the time.  Then I often wonder if I’m making a difference while rarely, if ever, knowing if anyone actually used what they learned… Read more

1 comments, 480 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 2 November 2015

Extended Events Intro

Extended Events is supposed to be taking over for most of Profiler and server-side tracing functionality, but there were people like me out there that took their time making the switch. For me the excuse was SQL Batch Completed isn’t in 2008 / 2008 R2, most databases are slow to… Read more

2 comments, 470 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 26 October 2015

Technical Interviews – How to Thrive

There’s a trick to technical interviews. Every question is looking for integrity first, and intelligence and energy second. This is paraphrasing Warren Buffet, who became the most successful investor out there by becoming the best at interviewing the management of the companies he was investing in.

“In evaluating people you…

Read more

7 comments, 2,331 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 13 May 2014

Optional Parameters Causing Index Scans

Optional parameters in a stored procedure often lead to scans in the execution plan, reading through the entire table, even if it’s obvious that the right index is in place. This is extremely common in procs that are used behind search screens where, for example, you could search for a… Read more

0 comments, 435 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 15 April 2014

Why worry about CXPACKET

Many people see CXPACKET at the top of their waits and start trying to fix it. I know this topic’s been done before, but people ask me about it enough that it should be done again, and again. In fact, Brent Ozar wrote an excellent article about it, and Jonathan… Read more

5 comments, 1,164 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 11 March 2014

Free SQL Server Training (not a sales pitch)

My company cut the training budget this year, and it’s not that uncommon for that to happen anymore. However, I’m still getting my week of training in, and more, without paying much.

Blogs of people who talk too much – FREE

There’s so much for free online, but you’re reading… Read more

3 comments, 748 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 4 March 2014

The Approachable DBA

DBAs are the gatekeepers, but if we make it an unpleasant process then people will find a way around the gate. It’s common to think of DBAs and developers being polar opposites that don’t speak to each other. This is wrong! It’s not one of the database-themed answers of “it… Read more

1 comments, 284 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 13 February 2014

Cleaning up the Buffer Pool to Increase PLE

Chances are you have extra information in the buffer pool for a bad query and it’s dragging down your PLE, causing SQL Server to run slower because it’s reading more from disk. Although this approach is taking a 180 from my post Fixing Page Life Expectancy it has the same… Read more

7 comments, 1,260 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 8 January 2014

Indexing Fundamentals

First, lets understand what the types of indexes are. If you take a reference book, you have the two types of indexes. The book itself is a clustered index, it contains all the data and has the key field of page number. The index in the back is your nonclustered… Read more

8 comments, 1,334 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 20 November 2013

New Job Checklist

I started a new job a month ago, but didn’t want to just figure things out as they came to the surface. Instead, I walked in with a list of questions I wanted to know about their environment. For both my side and theirs, this went over very well.

For… Read more

0 comments, 590 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 8 October 2013

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Fires, SAN failures, tornados, and car accidents all came up today, yet it was a very good day at work.  I just started my job two weeks ago and made a list of questions to go through with them. After asking the one about when they last pulled an offsite… Read more

4 comments, 1,501 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 30 September 2013

Monitoring and Baselines Presentation

Here’s my full presentation for SQL Saturday #250 in Pittsburgh this past Saturday along with some notes on what I got out of it.

My Lessons

I learned a lot doing this, and I hope people learned a lot from it. For the people on the other side of the… Read more

3 comments, 634 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 20 September 2013

Monitoring Database and Table Sizes

Trending database and table sizes helps give you an idea of what to expect, and, sometimes, points out problems and their root causes. I even go so far as to monitor the disk space, file growth rates, and have a report going out telling me that “according to your current… Read more

4 comments, 3,658 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 10 September 2013

Why Blog?

The main reason I started blogging was a community thing. I leeched from the community to get me to where I am in my career, and it was to the point that the community was owed something in return. Everyone can give back in their own way, some answer forum… Read more

2 comments, 599 reads

Posted in Simple SQL Server on 4 September 2013

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