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Monica lives in Virginia and is a Microsoft MVP for Data Platform. She has over 15 years of experience working with a wide variety of database platforms with a focus on SQL Server. She is a frequent speaker at IT industry conferences on topics including performance tuning and configuration management. She is the Leader of the Hampton Roads SQL Server User Group and a Mid‐Atlantic PASS Regional Mentor. She is passionate about SQL Server and the SQL Server community, doing anything she can to give back. Monica can always be found on Twitter (@sqlespresso) handing out helpful tips.


We all have written queries that use COUNT DISTINCT to get the unique number of non-NULL values from a table. This process can generate a noticeable performance hit especially for larger tables with millions of rows. Many times, there is no way around this. To help mitigate this overhead SQL… Read more

0 comments, 2,197 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 3 January 2019

Static Data Masking (SSMS 18.0 Preview)

Ever need to have a test database on hand that you can allow others to query “real like” data without actually giving them actual production data values? In SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 18.0 preview Microsoft introduces us to Static Data Masking. Static Data Masking is a new feature… Read more

1 comments, 1,966 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 19 December 2018

SQL Server Vulnerability Assessment

SQL Server Vulnerability Assessment (VA) in SQL Server Management Studio 17.4 or later lets SQL Server scan your databases for potential security vulnerabilities and can be run against SQL Server 2012 or higher. If you are not on a newer version on SSMS, don’t worry, you can download it here Read more

0 comments, 207 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 12 December 2018

SQL Data Discovery and Classification in SSMS 17.5

Data exploration and documentation can be cumbersome, classifying data can be one of those tedious but necessary things. With the introduction of such things as GDPR there is an ever greater need to classify and label your sensitive data. Microsoft attempts to help us out with this in the new… Read more

3 comments, 823 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 5 December 2018

New Resumable Online Index Create SQL Server 2019

SQL Server 2019 brings a very exciting new feature that, is long overdue. Resumable online index create is one of my favorite new things. This paired with the Resumable Index Rebuilds introduced with SQL Server 2017 really gives database administrators much more control over index processes.

Have you ever started… Read more

4 comments, 1,999 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 28 November 2018

How Much Will Compression Really Gain Me?

Did you know compression can gain you more than just space on a disk, it can allow you to fit more data into the buffer pool? That means queries have faster and more efficient reads which can help reduce I/O. It is a performance tool I highly recommend you consider… Read more

1 comments, 2,350 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 31 October 2018

Keeping Large Table Statistics Current -TF2371

Statistics are the magic ingredient that helps the query optimizer create its best guess for generating an execution plan. Keeping statistics as accurate as possible will give the optimizer the information it uses to calculate estimated costs and cardinality, which enables it to properly allocate resources such as memory grants.… Read more

1 comments, 2,597 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 24 October 2018

How to Start Speaking

At the last few events I attended, I’ve gotten into conversations on how to begin as a speaker. So I thought I’d share some of my advice that I provided to them.

First and foremost, get your first talk scheduled. Reach out to your local user group and ask to… Read more

1 comments, 256 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 17 October 2018

SQL Server Data Collection and Management Data Warehouse

We all have the need to collect system and performance information regarding our SQL Servers. Some of us use third-party tools, SQL Trace, or a homegrown solution.  Did you know Microsoft has a built-in tool to help you accomplish this? It’s called Data Collection and the data it collects (collection… Read more

4 comments, 2,438 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 3 October 2018

Cycle SQL Server Error Logs

I saw this again recently and see it too often in environments so wanted to take a second to remind everyone to cycle their error logs on a regular basis. SQL Server keeps error logs and when you reboot or restart SQL Server services the logs are cycled and a… Read more

3 comments, 1,918 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 26 September 2018

Careful with your SQL Server Max Memory settings

Quite often I see database administrators set SQL Server max server memory thinking everything related to SQL Server uses this shared memory pool. This is a mistake. There are many things that rely on memory that are not part of SQL Server. Best practices state that you should leave memory… Read more

4 comments, 355 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 19 September 2018

Back up Encryption

Nowadays security breaches happen way to frequently. As DBA’s we should all take extra care with sensitive data and ensure we are encrypting correctly. But some of us forget to take it a step farther and don’t encrypt our backups. For those working in an ultra data sensitive environment I… Read more

1 comments, 1,979 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 5 September 2018

What is Automatic Tuning in Azure SQL Database

Microsoft has long given us DBA tools and suggestions to help tune databases, to fix queries with indexes, and many times they were of questionable merit. We have all seen the dreaded dta_index names in a database and rolled our eyes knowing that sometimes these indexes are not what is… Read more

0 comments, 374 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 28 August 2018

Save Money On Your Azure Monthly SQL Database Bill

Microsoft gives you two purchasing models for your Azure SQL Databases (SQL DB), a DTU and a vCore based model (logical CPU’s). Both options allow you to scale up or down based on your compute and storage requirements. Regardless of which model you choose performance tuning can save you money… Read more

0 comments, 2,153 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 22 August 2018

Contained Database – No more need for Server Level Logins

Starting in SQL Server 2012 and in Azure SQL Database, Microsoft introduced the concept of a contained database. A contained database is a database that is completely un-reliant on the instance of SQL Server that hosts the database including the master database–theoretically this makes a database much easier to move… Read more

0 comments, 2,782 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 5 July 2018

Congrats to DCAC Staff on MVP Renewals


July 1st is a day all Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVP) wait patiently at their computers hitting F5 over and over again waiting to find out if they have been renewed for the upcoming year. I am proud to announce that Denny Cherry and Associates once again have FOUR… Read more

0 comments, 284 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 2 July 2018

Replication Max Text Length

Ever seen the below error? Until this week I hadn’t. So, I figured I’d take a little time and introduce it to those that had not.

Error Description: Length of LOB data (65754) to be replicated exceeds configured maximum 65536. Use the stored procedure sp_configure to increase the configured maximum… Read more

2 comments, 2,081 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 20 June 2018

Respectfully Responding

I typically don’t write opinion posts, but given recent events I thought it was important to follow up on one of my tweets. Last week, I tweeted about  Stack Exchange and my thoughts on the lack of respect in the responses to those who take the time ask questions in… Read more

5 comments, 2,179 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 14 June 2018

How to get started with Always Encrypted for Beginners Part 4: Change is Coming

A few weeks ago, I wrote Part 12 and 3 of this series, which was a beginner’s guide to Always Encrypted. In part 4, I am going to talk about the changes that are coming in vNext of SQL Server.

As I discussed in part 3 there… Read more

4 comments, 2,389 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 13 June 2018

Importance of Statistics

Following up on my last post about the Cardinality Estimator let’s talk about column statistics and how they work and play a part in execution plans. The cardinality estimator relies heavily on statistics to get the answer to selectivity (the ratio of distinct values to the total number of values)… Read more

1 comments, 501 reads

Posted in SQLEspresso on 30 May 2018

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