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My name is Kenneth Fisher and I am Senior DBA for a large (multi-national) insurance company. I have been working with databases for over 20 years starting with Clarion and Foxpro. I’ve been working with SQL Server for 12 years but have only really started “studying” the subject for the last 3. I don’t have any real "specialities" but I enjoy trouble shooting and teaching. Thus far I’ve earned by MCITP Database Administrator 2008, MCTS Database Administrator 2005, and MCTS Database Developer 2008. I’m currently studying for my MCITP Database Developer 2008 and should start in on the 2012 exams next year. My blog is at

Minimizing Cloud cost

The cloud can be expensive. I had this hammered home the other day by a simple mistake. I’m currently working with Microsoft’s Azure platform and using one of the free credit options. I get a free $25 a month for a year and fortunately for me this put a… Read more

9 comments, 1,142 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 20 June 2016

Help! My backup file has doubled in size.

Help! I backed up my database yesterday and the backup file was about 200MB but today it’s closer to 400! What happened?

Did you know a single backup file can contain multiple database backups? When you backup a database to a file, if that file already exists, then by default… Read more

2 comments, 166 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 16 June 2016

Comparing two query plans

This month my friend Michael J Swart(b/t) would like us to talk about the new 2016 version of SQL Server. The feature I want to talk about has been around for a bit. Not because it’s not part of SQL 2016 but because it’s part of… Read more

2 comments, 2,429 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 14 June 2016

Comparing the contents of two tables Redux

I did a post the other day on comparing two tables. It was meant as a general overview but I got a fair number of comments and requests for more specifics. So here we go.


    I had one comment that TABLEDIFF uses REBAR functionality. So let’s try an…

Read more

0 comments, 183 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 8 June 2016

I need help with DBCC

Many years ago during an interview I was asked to “Name the top 7 DBCC commands that you use.” I think I was able to name 3. Ever since then I’ve paid particular attention to DBCC commands in preparation of the day when I hear that question again. Well not… Read more

0 comments, 1,056 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 6 June 2016

Using LEN wrong.

I was reading someone’s question the other day on StackExchange and while the existing comments/questions solved the OP’s (original poster) problem they didn’t really answer the question. I was pretty sure I understood what was going on so I decided to throw my own answer into the ring. In the… Read more

4 comments, 3,255 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 2 June 2016

I hate saying no

I really do. There is a joke that DBAs say no to everything and there is some truth to that. But if I say No it’s for a reason. A good one. Because I hate disappointing people, and I hate making their work harder. But I promise I have a… Read more

2 comments, 187 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 31 May 2016

Connecting to Azure SQL Database

Recently I created my first Azure SQL Database. But now I need to connect to it.

You can connect using any number of tools. We can actually see several options by going back to our Azure Portal. Select the SQL Databases list, a specific SQL Database, and then… Read more

2 comments, 192 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 25 May 2016

Master_Views: master_objects, master_tables, etc

There is a highly useful system view called sys.master_files. If you’ve never encountered it before it returns a list of all files from all databases. It’s been somewhat frustrating to me that there is no similar master_objects, master_tables, master_indexes etc. So what does a dev/dba do? Create them! So… Read more

0 comments, 1,209 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 23 May 2016

Re-Evaluating Best Practices

I was reading a blog post from my friend Randolph West (b/t) on Best Practices and a thought struck me.

Starting with Randolph’s definition of a best practice (he got it from Wikipedia and it’s more than good enough)

A best practice is a method or…

Read more

6 comments, 202 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 18 May 2016

RAID your backups

Let’s start with a very brief definition of some RAID levels.

  • RAID 0 : Stripe your data across multiple disks. Writing a portion of the data to each disk. This improves performance but increases the risk of corruption.
  • RAID 1 : Mirror your data across multiple disks. This duplicates…

Read more

6 comments, 1,081 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 16 May 2016

Comparing the contents of two tables

I’ve been working on tuning a query for the last week and I’ve had to make several changes to the query’s logic. I’m always a little nervous when making those types of changes so I try to do some careful testing before I even suggest the changes to the developers.… Read more

10 comments, 2,960 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 12 May 2016

Getting your Cloud on

One of the things I like best about joining in on Adam Machanic’s (b/t) TSQL Tuesday blog party is that it can force you to explore things you haven’t tried before. Well that’s exactly what Wendy Pastrick (b/t) wanted us to do.… Read more

2 comments, 202 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 10 May 2016

Grant Deny Revoke

It always amazes me how often these three commands get confused. Heck it amazes me how long I confused them.

TL;DR; GRANT and DENY are opposites. GRANT applies a positive permission, DENY a negative permission. DENY will always override GRANT. REVOKE is the opposite of GRANT and DENY. It removes… Read more

2 comments, 219 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 4 May 2016

Remove files from a filegroup

You have a database with one or more filegroups, and one or more of those filegroups has multiple files. You’ve decided that you don’t actually need some of those additional files and want to get rid of them. Here are some steps you can follow.

Assume there are 5 files… Read more

0 comments, 877 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 2 May 2016

Certificates, Proxies and Jobs! Oh My!

Oh Noes! I have a job that requires me to run an SSIS package, cmdshell script, etc. And I need them to have specific file level permissions! What do I do! I know I need to run my job/job step as a specific AD/Windows user but I don’t see how… Read more

2 comments, 1,701 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 27 April 2016

Get your SQL Server MCSA without taking the BI exam.

I’m a big fan of certifications as a training exercise. However not everyone has the same interests. With the new MCSA (well new 6-8 years ago) we were required to take the data exam (70-461), the admin exam (70-462) AND the BI exam (70-463). I know a number… Read more

2 comments, 1,435 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 25 April 2016

Why my primary test environment is case sensitive.

Me: I think I’m going create a new playground instance.
Myself: Make sure you use a case sensitive (CS) collation when you install it!
I: You mean a collation that forces us to pay attention to the case of the variable names (for example)? So that something like this returns… Read more

0 comments, 189 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 20 April 2016

How do I rename a column?

Everyone makes mistakes right? And sometimes you create an object and decide later that you messed up and need to rename it.

EXEC sp_rename 'OldName','NewName'

This works for tables, stored procedures, views etc, but there are a few things to be careful about. It doesn’t change the code behind code… Read more

2 comments, 195 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 18 April 2016


I love this somewhat obscure mathematical operator. All it does is return the remainder of a division statement but even though it’s pretty basic most people I talk to have never heard of it. The format is

dividend % divisor = remainder

DECLARE @remainder INT
DECLARE @dividend INT = 10…

Read more

5 comments, 186 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 14 April 2016

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