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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

RBAR vs Batch

Many years ago Jeff Moden (of SQL Server Central fame) came up with the concept of RBAR. Row-By-Agonizing-Row. At it’s most basic it means you are inserting one row at a time. A more broad interpretation says it’s any type of loop even the type caused by a recursive CTE. Read more

7 comments, 2,099 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 17 August 2016

Temper, Temper

Possibly the single most influential event in my career happened over 25 years ago. I lost my temper at a client.

The client had requested a meeting. They had a new, complex, system they wanted implemented in the software we managed for them. The client was very very excited. I… Read more

7 comments, 769 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 15 August 2016

Write-Only permissions

Yep, that’s right, you heard me. Write-Only not Read-Only. I was presenting SQL Server Security Basics at NTSSUG the other night and there was an interesting discussion on the idea of granting someone write permissions without corresponding read permissions.

So for example:

-- Setup code

Read more

3 comments, 326 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 11 August 2016

Azure: What’s the difference between SQL Database and SQL Server?

If you want to blog T-SQL Tuesday is a great way to get started. On the first Tuesday of each month (or possibly a bit earlier as in this case) someone presents a blogging idea. Everyone who wants to participate then comes up with something on that subject and posts… Read more

1 comments, 185 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 9 August 2016

What’s the difference between LEFT and RIGHT OUTER JOINs?

A DBA walked into a bar, saw a couple of tables, and asked “Can I JOIN you?”

There are several different kinds of JOINs. OUTER JOINs are one of the more complex options. With an INNER JOIN only those rows that have a match on both sides of the… Read more

0 comments, 921 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 3 August 2016

Using impersonation to allow a task without granting the required permission.

I use impersonation on a regular basis for a number of different tasks. This one is pretty basic but can make a big difference in how you handle security. Let’s use a very basic task as an example.

A developer wants to be able to truncate a table.

This isn’t… Read more

7 comments, 1,571 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 1 August 2016

When was this database restored?

I frequently need to know where backups went and I restore those backups for operational recovery on a regular basis. Would you believe in 20+ years as a DBA I can count the number of database restores for a disaster on my fingers? (Which is good because taking off your… Read more

3 comments, 226 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 27 July 2016

Blogger Questions: What should I blog about?

Over the last four years I’ve blogged almost 400 times. It’s become a refuge, a resource, a source of pride, and a pleasure. I started out trying to build an on-line resume (just in case) and over time it’s evolved like crazy. I’ve become a huge proponent of blogging and… Read more

2 comments, 150 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 25 July 2016

Want to be able to read your database between restores?

When restoring a database there are times when it would nice to restore a bit, check what’s been restored so far, restore a bit more etc. However, traditionally most people only know RECOVERY and NORECOVERY. This means that you restore to a point in time. Check the data and… Read more

0 comments, 463 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 20 July 2016

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, 145 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, 580 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, 369 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, 191 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, 677 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, 1,289 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, 2,141 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, 192 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, 1,186 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, 199 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

3 comments, 2,563 reads

Posted in SQLStudies on 14 June 2016

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