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Database Weekly
The Complete Weekly Roundup of SQL Server News
Hand-picked content to sharpen your professional edge

The Evolving Skillset for Database Professionals

I was recently thinking about how SQL Server has changed over the past 20 years, and how the hot, in-demand skills have evolved as well. I started working with SQL Server 6.5 in 1998. I don’t remember much about working with that version, but it must have been a painful experience. Databases were quite small, and DBAs were concerned about security and backups.

When SQL Server 7.0 was released, Microsoft promoted it by saying that you no longer needed DBAs to run SQL Server. This was far from the truth, however, but this release did introduce tools we rely on today like color-coded syntax and graphical execution plans. This was the first “modern” version of SQL Server supporting up to 8 processors and 64-bit operating systems. DTS, the precursor to SSIS, and OLAP Services, the precursor to SSAS, were both new in 7.0. This was also the beginning of 8K pages, parallelism, and cost-based locking.

Many shops skipped over 7.0 and upgraded to SQL Server 2000 when it was available. My favorite new feature was multi-instance support, but there were many improvements in features and performance. Failover Clustering was the hot skill of the day.

SQL Server 2005 was a game changer, and the first “enterprise-ready” version of SQL Server, in my opinion. There were lots of changes to T-SQL which, unfortunately, delayed many upgrades from 2000 for years. There was more focus on business intelligence with the SSIS, SSAS, and SSRS components. DBAs could now understand more about what was going on “under the hood” with the new system views and DMVs (dynamic management views), and understanding internals was an important skill. Many shops also took advantage of the new Database Mirroring feature for high availability and disaster recovery.

Encryption, compression, and Extended Events were the exciting features of 2008. It was around that time that some shops started thinking about virtualizing SQL Server. There was resistance at first, but now it’s unusual to see SQL Server running on dedicated hardware. Releases of on-premises SQL Server have appeared at least every two years after 2008. There have been a dizzying number of features added or improved since then. The 2008 R2 version, released in 2010, is still used in many shops, but the most compelling feature was probably PowerPivot.

New T-SQL features, Column Store indexes, and Always On Availability Groups were exciting features of SQL Server 2012, while In-Memory OLTP was the hottest feature of 2014. SQL Server 2016 supported the R language giving the ability to run advanced analytics applications without importing data to the client. Many database professionals were starting learning R and data science. DBAs also started thinking about data in the cloud as this version supported a feature called Stretch Databases that allows storing a portion of a table’s rows in Azure SQL Database. Query Store, JSON support, PolyBase, Mobile Reports and more proved that 2016 had a lot to offer, and database professionals had a lot to learn.

SQL Server 2017 is the latest and greatest version available with 2019 on the horizon. Query tuning is evolving as the first adaptive query processing features were released in 2017 with even more coming in 2019. Today’s DBA needs to learn about containers and (gasp!) SQL Server on Linux. Understanding cloud computing is even more critical for DBAs as many companies take advantage of Azure and AWS.

SQL Server has changed quite a bit over the years, and database professionals have changed as well.

Kathi Kellenberger

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Redgate SQL Provision
The Weekly News
All the headlines and interesting SQL Server information that we've collected over the past week, and sometimes even a few repeats if we think they fit.
Artificial Intelligence

Is AI human-ready?

Aleksander Madry discusses roadblocks preventing AI from having a broad impact and approaches for addressing these issues. Continue reading Is AI human-ready?.

8 ways for banks to use AI

If a bank gets in touch with a software company and wants to know how it could use artificial intelligence (AI), that means two things. First, the bank is...

Here and now: Boosting anti-money laundering efforts with Artificial Intelligence

Anti-money laundering has been an issue for banks and financial institutions for some time. Transaction monitoring systems have been around for many years. Meeting and complying with regulations at...

Azure DevOps

10 Things You Should Know about Microsoft Azure DevOps Server

Azure DevOps Server helps facilitate cross-functional software development and deployment.

Azure SQL Managed Instance

Azure SQL Managed Instance Public Endpoints

Danimir Ljepava announces public endpoints for Azure SQL Managed Instances: Public endpoint, ability to connect to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance from Internet, without VPN has reached global availability...

Azure SQL database

Building Azure SQL Db with Terraform with Visual Studio Code

I have been using Terraform for the last week or so to create some infrastructure and decided to bring that knowledge back to a problem that I and others...


The BI Journey: The Expert’s Advice – Part 2

A BI project should return value to the company quickly, not only after months or even years of work. In this articke by Gogula Aryalingam , Ruthie, the intern,...

BI Survey 19

The BI Survey is the largest annual survey of BI users in the world, and every year I get a free copy of the results (which are always very...

Big Data

Reduce costs by adding a data lake to your cloud data warehouse

When it comes to data warehouse modernization, we’re big fans of moving to the cloud. ...

Top big data analytics trends hold true well into 2019

The overall importance of data and information within organizations has continued to grow. We’ve also seen the continued rise of megatrends like IoT, big data – even too much...

Cloud Computing

Reaping the benefits of cloud without moving your data

More and more organizations are moving to the cloud, but for some moving data isn’t an option. With a remote managed software and services (RMSS) solution deployment, however, it’s...

Clustered columnstore index

Clustered Columnstore Index Memory Timeouts

Joe Obbish takes a deep look at a clustered columnstore index insertion scenario: Why should we care about memory grant timeouts for CCI insert queries? Simply put, lots of...

ColumnStore Index

Update Statistics on a Columnstore index failed

SQL Server relies upon good, up-to-date statistics when creating query execution plans. Out-of-date statistics can cause queries to run slowly, or suddenly start consuming far more resources than is...

Conferences and Events

Data Privacy Week: Navigating the New World

Monday May 20 to Friday May 24 - Join Redgate and PASS for a week of events designed to help SQL Server teams navigate the new world of global data privacy.

SQL in the City Summits – UK, US & Down Under

Redgate are inviting senior data professionals to attend one of the upcoming SQL in the City Summit events taking place in April, May and June. If you’re interested in learning how your business can benefit from implementing Compliant Database DevOps this event is for you. Find out who’s presenting and register for a Summit near you today.


Creating a custom kubectl plugin to connect to SQL Server in Kubernetes

One of the really cool things about kubectl (pronounced cube control) is the ability to extend it’s functionality with custom plugins. These plugins are simply files named kubectl-xxx dropped...

Getting Started with Docker

Achilleus has a brief primer on Docker: Now that we know, some basic definitions. It’s time we ask the main question! Why do I care? There are many reasons...


DAX Calculations with Invalid Boolean Predicates

Eugene Meidinger takes us through a DAX error: Whenever you start trying to use more complicated filters in the CALCULATE or CALCULATETABLE functions in DAX, you may start to get the following error:...

DBA Tools

Trying Out the Data Migration Assistant

Dave Mason shares some thoughts on the Data Migration Assistant: I recently took advantage of an opportunity to try Mirosoft’s Data Migration Assistant. It was a good experience and...

SQL SERVER – Difference Between Azure Data Studio and SQL Server Management Studio

Earlier I blogged about SQL SERVER – Getting Started with Azure Data Studio. After reading the blog post, I receive an email from a reader asking about the primary...

Redgate SQL Change Automation
Data Privacy and Protection

New Federal Data Breach Bill Debuts in Senate

The new bill is getting early support from prominent Democrats and could require enterprises meet tighter security measures and new notification rules.

Another Laptop Theft Exposes 21K Patients’ Data

Philadelphia's Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is in the process of notifying more than 21,000 patients that a stolen laptop has exposed some of their most sensitive personal information.

Database Administration

Setup SQL Server Alert to get automatically notified of database blockings

Suppose you want to or need to know anytime your SQL Server is experiencing blocking where queries are being blocked and it may or may not escalate to a... The...

Database Offline – Redux

A database can be offline at the time that you take over responsibility of the database. You will be asked when it was taken offline. This script will help... The...

What the heck is downtime, anyway?

There’s a lot of discussion about preventing downtime. As a DBA and IT professional, it’s my sworn duty to prevent downtime. I usually describe my job as DBA something...

How do I let someone execute a SQL Agent job they don’t own?

In my last post I discussed the fact that SQL Ids can, in fact, be useful on an instance that ... Continue reading The post How do I let someone...

Database Performance

Which Database is Causing the Problem?

You’ve got one SQL Server hosting a bunch of databases, and performance is bad. Which database should you focus on first? Here are a few ways you can pick...

Index scans aren’t always bad, and index seeks aren’t always great.

Somewhere along the way in your career, you were told that: Index seeks are quick, lightweight operations Table scans are ugly, slow operations And ever since, you’ve kept an...

Have Your Batch Updates Become Unmanageable?

Look, I’m telling you this as a friend. Seriously, it’s time to let go of your batch updates. It’s not a...

When Inline UDFs are Slower

Brent Ozar has been digging deep into new functionality in SQL Server 2019: In the Froid white paper, Microsoft talked about how they were working on fixing the function...

Intelligent Query Processing FAQ

Joe Sack answers a number of questions about intelligent query processing in SQL Server: You have batch mode adaptive joins, but no row mode adaptive joins. Why?Adaptive joins are...


Fixing a connection issue with Azure Databricks in Power BI

Getting "Failed to load data model" for an Azure Databricks DirectQuery connection in Power BI? Adam hit it too and walks through how to fix it in Power BI...

Extended Events (XE)

Safely Dropping Extended Event Sessions

Denis Gobo shows how you can drop an extended event session without risk of a “does not exist” error: The other day someone checked in some code and every...


Reverting a Git Push

Stuart Moore takes us through backing out a commit in Git when you pushed to the wrong branch: We’ve all done it. Working for ages tracking down that elusive...

Integration Services (SSIS)

How to Restore SSISDB to another Server and Migrate the SSIS Catalog

It is easy to get this one wrong. SSISDB is just a database, after all, and I’ve seen a number of instances where it was restored to another server...

Regarding SSIS Frameworks, Part 1 – Execution

Why Use a Framework? The first answer is, “Maybe you don’t need or want to use a framework.” If your enterprise data integration consists of a small number of...

Machine Learning (ML)

Machine learning for personalization

Tony Jebara explains how Netflix is personalizing and optimizing the images shown to subscribers. Continue reading Machine learning for personalization.

Automated ML: A journey from CRISPR.ML to Azure ML

Danielle Dean explains how cloud, data, and AI came together to help build Automated ML. Continue reading Automated ML: A journey from CRISPR.ML to Azure ML .

Machine Learning for Small Businesses: Unearthing the Revolutionary Potential

Click to learn more about author Atman Rathod. Like any new technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) remained largely available for the top brass of every industry...

Merge Replication

Column-level and row-level tracking in merge replication

In this article, let us review row-level and column-level tracking options in merge replication and how these are used in detecting conflicts during merge replication. Merge Replication: Merge replication...

Microsoft News

Microsoft Announces Windows Virtual Desktop in Azure

Today I’m here with some exciting news out of Microsoft with the public preview of Microsoft Virtual Desktop. Virtual desktops are not a new invention and they are currently offered...

Microsoft Bug Bounty Programs Underscore Commitment to Open Source

It’s important for Microsoft to get this right, and it's on the right path with bug bounty programs like the one in place for Azure DevOps Server.

Power BI

Power BI and The Matrix: A Challenge

The Matrix is one of the many built-in visualizations found in Power BI. While the Matrix is easy to populate, filtering it is not so straightforward. In this article,...

Power Platform, Power BI Paginated, new Power BI Desktop and more… (April 15, 2019)

Thanks for watching this week's Power BI news roundup! Last weeks roundup: 2 Minute Tuesday: Patrick's tech video: Adam's tech video: Sources MICROSOFT’S POWER PLATFORM...

Aggregations in Power BI

Aggregations have been introduced in 2018 in Power BI, as an optimization technique to manage large tables. By providing pre-aggregated tables, you can highly improve the performance of a...

Power BI Helper April 2019 Edition

Reza Rad announces an update to Power BI Helper: Previously you could use Power BI Helper to connect to a model in Power BI Desktop and analyze that model,...


Automating Command Line Sessions with Powershell

James Livingston shows us how to redirect the standard in flow with .NET, using Powershell as the example language: Command Line Interface (CLI) tools can be very useful for...

SQL Server performance

What is Implicit Conversion?

Another quick post of simple changes you can make to your code to create more optimal execution plans. This one is on implicit conversions. An implicit conversion is when... The...


Microsoft’s Cloud Email Breach Is a Cause for Concern

NEWS ANALYSIS: Potentially millions of Microsoft email users on Outlook, Hotmail and MSN mail had their email information exposed after a Microsoft support person was breached, exposing a wider...

Microsoft Adds Single Sign-On to Azure

The latest update to Microsoft's Azure AppFabric cloud-computing platform includes support for a harmonized online identity with single sign-on support for multiple credential providers.

Service Broker (SSSB)

New Online Course: SQL Server Service Broker for Developers and DBAs

I'd love to be running Service Broker classes more often. Service Broker is one of the most powerful, yet least understood technologies in SQL Server. Many of our enterprise...


When Window Functions are Too Slow

Bert Wagner shows a scenario where a window function ends up performing poorly: If you’ve used FIRST_VALUE before, this query should be easy to interpret: for each badge Name, return the...

Drop Database Objects Practically Risk-Free!

FIRST OF A TWO PART SERIES Some months ago, a fellow DBA came to me and expressed her concern over the normal housecleaning process that occurred at her company. ... The...

Find Occurrences of a String Anywhere on an Instance

Have you ever had a conversation like this? Developer: “Hey, we’d like to know every place a particular column is used”.  You: “On which database?” Developer: “Ummm….all of them, please.”

The Sins of SELECT * (BP005)

If Prompt warns you of use of the asterisk, or 'star' (*), in SELECT statements, consider replacing it with an explicit column list. It will prevent unnecessary network load...

Window Functions vs GROUP BYs

There are many options available for improving the performance of a query: indexes, statistics, configuration settings, etc… However, not all environments allow you to use those features (eg. vendor... The...

Database Fundamentals #21: Using the JOIN Operator, OUTER JOIN

The OUTER JOIN returns one complete set of data and then the matching values from the other set. The syntax is basically the same as INNER JOIN but you...

Temporal Tables

Temporal tables – list of errors with reasons

Last month I was fortunate to have my first ever article published on Simple-Talk, among the best quality website for sql server articles ever. During the process of writing...


Easing the transition from shared to dedicated database development

Wednesday May 8, 4PM-5PM BST / 10AM-11AM CDT - Discover how transitioning from shared database development to individual development environments is easier than ever thanks to database virtualisation and source control technology.

Test data provisioning for compliant database development

Wednesday May 1, 4PM-5PM BST / 10AM-11AM CDT - In this webinar, you’ll learn how to implement a test data provisioning solution that accelerates your development cycles and meets the needs of data privacy regulations such as HIPAA, SOX and the GDPR.

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