Stairways

To keep up to date with all the technologies in SQL Server, the DBA or developer who wants to stay ahead is faced with the struggle of constant learning. How do you keep up while avoiding information overload, unnecessary detours and dead-ends?

The SQL Server Stairways is our solution to this problem. Designed to smooth out even the steepest learning curve, each Stairway is a SQL tutorial series focused on a single topic and is arranged into no more than a dozen easily-navigable tutorials that we call 'steps'. Each step is the length of a typical magazine tutorial, and emphasizes practical, hands-on learning, with just enough background theory to help you understand the topic at a deeper level.

Using straightforward language and avoiding jargon and marketing babble, each Stairway tutorial series is designed to take you from zero knowledge of a particular SQL Server topic to a level of practical understanding that will allow you to start using that feature in a production environment. The learning gradient is steady and manageable, but also brisk. You won't be wasting time.

Happy climbing!

Stairway to Exploring Database Metadata

Stairway to Exploring Database Metadata

In addition to the data that our clients and customers store in a database, there is a tremendous amount of meta data, 'data about data', that describes how the database is set up, configured, and what the properties are for the various objects. This stairway aims to demystify and explain how you can query and use this meta data to more effectively manage your SQL Server Databases.

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2016-07-15

4,352 reads

Technical Article

Stairway to U-SQL

As Microsoft continues to expand the Azure platform, they have enhanced its ability in ways that are quite different from what we've come to expect from SQL Server. Learn about the new language from Microsoft, U-SQL, designed to work with Data Lakes and Big Data in Azure.

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2016-06-07

6,316 reads

Stairway to SQL Server Extended Events

Stairway to SQL Server Extended Events

Erin Stellato, a Principal Consultant with SQLskills.com, explores the use of Extended Events as a diagnostic data collection tool or SQL Server. She describes how to define efficient low-overhead event sessions that exploit fully the vast number of events, as well as the powerful filtering and data collection options, offered by this new event collection infrastructure. She also demonstrates simple techniques to analyze event data and identify and troubleshoot the causes of poor SQL Server performance, such as long-running queries that consume vast amounts of CPU and I/O resources. It is time to embrace Extended Events and understand all that it has to offer, and Erin's stairway is the perfect place to start.

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2015-12-01

5,488 reads

Stairway to Columnstore Indexes

Stairway to Columnstore Indexes

SQL Server 2012 and later offer a very different type of index from the traditional b-tree, the in-memory columnstore index. These indexes use a column-based storage model, as well as a new 'batch mode' of query execution and can offer huge performance increases for certain workloads. But how are they built, how do they work, and why do they manage to have such a dramatic impact on performance? In this stairway, Hugo Kornelis explains all, with his usual mix of concise description and detailed demonstration.

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2015-01-22

11,116 reads

Stairway to Advanced T-SQL

Stairway to Advanced T-SQL

This stairway will contain a series of articles that will expand on the T-SQL foundation that you learned in the prior two T-SQL stairways, Stairway to T-SQL DML and T-SQL Beyond the Basics. This stairway should help readers prepare for passing the Microsoft Certification exam 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012.

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2014-12-11

18,092 reads

Stairway to SQL Server Security

Stairway to SQL Server Security

SQL Server has everything you need to secure your server and data against today’s sophisticated attacks. But before you can use these security features effectively, you need to understand the threats you face and a few basic security concepts. This first stairway level provides a foundation so that you can take full advantage of the security features in SQL Server without wasting time on features that do nothing to protect against specific threats to your data.

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2014-05-19

6,308 reads

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Question of the Day

Sensitivity Ranks

I want to use the ADD SENSITIVITY CLASSIFICATION DDL to mark some columns in my SQL Server 2022 database as PII. Can I use this code?

ADD SENSITIVITY CLASSIFICATION TO dbo.sales.price,
    dbo.sales.discount
WITH (
    LABEL = 'Highly Confidential',
    INFORMATION_TYPE = 'Financial',
    RANK = 'INTERNAL ONLY'
);

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