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The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at

A New Use Case for SQL Prompt – Shrinking Code

I thought this would work, but I wasn’t sure. I saw some code the other day like this:

DECLARE @char AS CHAR(1); SET @char = NULL; SELECT ISNULL(@char, 0); SELECT COALESCE(@char, 0); SET @char = 'E'

Read more

0 comments, 228 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 7 April 2015

New Blogger Challenge 1 – Adding a Primary Key

The April Blogger Challenge is from Ed Leighton-Dick and aimed at new bloggers, but anyone is welcome. I’m trying to motivate and cheer people on.

Primary Keys

I firmly believe that every table should have a primary key. At least until you have a reason not to have one. If… Read more

4 comments, 217 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 2 April 2015

Microservices and Databases

I ran across a post on microservices recently and was intrigued. I always like the idea of loosely coupled, independent items in software. However the idea of microservices causes issues with databases. Here’s the section in the piece by Netflix: Create a separate data store for each microservice.

I… Read more

3 comments, 157 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 31 March 2015

Toshiba Portege Z30 Review

I saw recently that Grant Fritchey wrote a review of his laptop, the Portege Z30. I had noted Grant’s issues with laptops and waited to see what he got last year before I replaced mine. I actually had the chance to compare his Z30 with my old Lenovo T430… Read more

0 comments, 120 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 30 March 2015

The April Blogger Challenge

I’d encourage you to take Ed Leighton-Dick’s challenge to blog in April. Read his post, start writing, and put your post out there. Tweet about it, and be proud.

However, if you’ve never blogged, I have a modification for you. Publish privately. The important thing is to just… Read more

3 comments, 55 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 27 March 2015


Someone asked me the question recently about how tSQLt works with TRY..CATCH blocks and the exceptions that we might test for. It works fine, just as it would with other code, but you need to understand that a CATCH still needs to re-throw an exception.

Here’s a short example. I’ve… Read more

0 comments, 7,136 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 25 March 2015

The Basic TRY..CATCH

Have you written a TRY..CATCH statement in T-SQL? I hadn’t done it for most of my career, since the construct hadn’t existed. As a result, my code over the years is littered with catching @@error in a variable and then acting on that result. 

However I’m trying to do better,… Read more

2 comments, 335 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 24 March 2015

Speaking at SQL Saturday #389 – Huntington Beach

I’ll be traveling to CA next month for SQL Saturday #389 – Huntington Beach as well as a Red Gate DLM training session run by Ike Ellis. I’m assisting Ike in running a Database Continuous Integration class. It’s a paid for event, but you’ll learn how to set up and… Read more

1 comments, 208 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 23 March 2015

Career Ratings

I wrote the other day about measuring your career, and I gave some general advice, but I wanted to give you some thoughts to take away about how you might rate your career.

These are some suggested areas, with a note or two in there. I’m not saying any of… Read more

0 comments, 343 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 20 March 2015

Measuring My Career

I’m going to do a shorter editorial on this, but really I think this deserves more treatment here.

I saw Brent Ozar write a post on measuring your career. In it, he talks about the fact that many people measure their career as a function of their salary. He… Read more

5 comments, 6,123 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 19 March 2015


I’m sure some of you have wanted to do this:


You realize this doesn’t work, and you can’t grant the user Steve, rights to his schema after it’s created. You can do this:

CREATE SCHEMA Steve Authorization Steve

UPDATE: Someone pointed out this works after… Read more

0 comments, 227 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 18 March 2015

The Demo Setup–Attaching Databases with Powershell

I found another use for Powershell, one actually suggested by someone else: attaching specific SQL Server databases.

TL;DR I have a script that detaches all user databases from a SQL Server instance and then reattches certain ones. Full script at the end.

The Issue

We have a lot of demo… Read more

1 comments, 521 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 16 March 2015

Allowing a User to Create Objects in a Schema

I was testing something the other day and realized this was a security area I didn’t completely understand. I decided to write a few posts to help me understand the issues.

I want to give a developer rights to create objects in a schema. In this case, I’ll stick with… Read more

1 comments, 261 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 12 March 2015

Altering a Column with NOT NULL

A short piece, as I ran into the need recently to alter a column to NOT NULL status. I’ve rarely done this in the past, usually specifying NOT NULL when I create the table. Often in future changes, I’ve been wary of not allowing NULLs since I’ll always find an… Read more

0 comments, 265 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 12 March 2015

Parsing SQL Saturday Data – Getting Titles from the XML document

I’m continuing on with my project to grab SQL Saturday data and automatically insert it into a SQL Server database. In this piece, I’m picking up from the last one where I had a loop to load all XML documents in a folder based on a pattern.

This time I… Read more

0 comments, 221 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 25 February 2015

Missing Full Text Extensions in Express

I was tasked recently with removing the full text indexes in Adventureworks for a demo. The full text indexes were causing a few extra items to appear in a SQL Compare demo and weren’t needed. The individual that had set up the VM I was using wasn’t sure what to… Read more

0 comments, 183 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 23 February 2015

Powershell Quick Parameters for Scripts

I was working on a script recently to manage a particular process and wanted to make it generic by allowing the user to pass in a parameter. I have seen lots of examples, especially those that work with SQL Servers, using text files and other items as parameters, but in… Read more

0 comments, 310 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 19 February 2015

Parsing SQL Saturday Data – Looping Through And Loading All XML Files

After my last post on parsing the XML, I decided to continue forward and get ready to put the data in a database. For that, I’m really looking for this data:

  • event ID
  • session title

With this, I can easily insert data into a table. I’ll have separate tables for… Read more

0 comments, 226 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 18 February 2015

The Vacation Conundrum

Would I want unlimited time off? It’s an interesting question. I think I might like something more like a minimum time off, or perhaps an allowance, with the tracking and offer to work with employees that need more. There are problems with unlimited vacation, and it’s often because… Read more

0 comments, 212 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 17 February 2015

tSQLt – SQLCop – Checking Naming Conventions

I’ve been using tSQLt a bit to do some testing and one of the things I’ve tested is standards for code. I’ve been using a framework on top of tSQLt called SQLCop. These are a series of tests written to look for specific things. One of the items I… Read more

0 comments, 6,425 reads

Posted in The Voice of the DBA on 12 February 2015

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