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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

Is the network your last performance bottleneck?

Let’s say your company relies on the cloud for its servers (or maybe not, on premise networks have more options but they still have their limits). Performance is important so you’ve tuned every query, you’ve tested and adjusted each of the server settings. The cloud gives you limited control over… Read more

6 comments, 132 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 18 July 2016

Altering a column in a large table: A case study

Fair warning, this is a discussion piece. I had a task, I went through several possibilities and I’m going to share each of them and the results of those I tried. I will not be giving any specific examples or code. Feel free to give me your opinion in the… Read more

10 comments, 563 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 14 July 2016

Default database file sizes

It’s Chris Yates (b/t) birthday! (I think he just tured 19.) And in honor of his birthday we are writing blog posts! Well, technically it’s T-SQL Tuesday again, but we can pretend we are writing for Chris’ birthday. In fact that’s the subject he’s selected. “Give… Read more

5 comments, 349 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 12 July 2016

Zilch to Speaker: 2016 Summit Abstract Reviews

Steve Jones (b/t) has been asking people to post their Pass Summit submissions and the reviews that came back, along with maybe a few words about what they thought, so here we go.

I submitted two sessions. One I’d given before (including at Summit 2015), and… Read more

3 comments, 179 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 7 July 2016

Phantom SSIS Changes

That SSIS change just won’t stick! There is a new business requirement, so now you have to change an existing SSIS package. You opened up a new project, imported the package, and made your changes.

Adding the original package to the new project.

Changes made to the old package in…

Read more

0 comments, 657 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 5 July 2016

Finding, disabling and enabling foreign keys

Foreign keys are a classic method of enforcing RI (Referential Integrity). Unfortunately though, they can get in the way if you have to reload data in a table. Lets say developers would like you to overwrite the data from several tables in the test environment with data from the… Read more

3 comments, 1,248 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 29 June 2016

Perfectly Placed Parentheses

Like many other programming languages T-SQL uses parentheses () for a number of tasks. To help determine precedence, function calls etc. Now it’s nothing like LISP but with enough in one statement it can still get confusing at times.

The last page of any Lisp program

Here is a fairly… Read more

10 comments, 2,114 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 27 June 2016

Database snapshots

This feature is Enterprise only which can limit who it is useful to, but I find the whole concept fascinating. In particular the way it works.

First of all what is a Database Snapshot? A Database Snapshot is a read only copy of a live database. It remains fixed… Read more

4 comments, 178 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 22 June 2016

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, 1,166 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, 180 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, 2,484 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, 195 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, 1,080 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, 3,378 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, 203 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, 203 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, 1,231 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, 209 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, 1,100 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, 3,000 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 12 May 2016

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