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Author Profile

Brad McGehee

Brad M. McGehee is a MCITP, MCSE+I, MCSD, and MCT (former), and, until recently, the Director of DBA Education for Red Gate Software. He is now the editor of the SQL Server Central Stairway series. Brad is also an accomplished Microsoft SQL Server MVP, with over 16 years SQL Server experience and over 7 years training experience. Brad is a frequent speaker at User Groups and industry events (including SQL PASS, SQL Server Connections, devLINK, SQLBits, SQL Saturdays, TechFests and Code Camps), where he shares his 16 years of cumulative knowledge and experience. A well-respected name in SQL Server literature, Brad is the author or co-author of more than 15 technical books (freely available on SQLServerCentral) and over 275 published articles.

Book Review: Troubleshooting SQL Server: A Guide for the Accidental DBA by Jonathan Kehayias and Ted Kreuger

Experienced DBAs have a wealth of experience to rely on when it's time to troubleshoot a problem, but it can be harder if you're just starting out. Brad McGehee reviews a book designed to get new and accidental DBAs up to speed on their troubleshooting skills. Read more...

Book Review: SQL Server Hardware by Glenn Berry

Brad finds Glenn Berry's 'SQL Server Hardware' book to be a valuable reference, not so much for the actual hardware recommendations which will always go out of date, but more for the methodology for selecting hardware, and the wisdom that comes from long experience in doing so. Read more...

Proactive Data Growth Management: Reducing your Storage Footprint

There are plenty of detailed step-wise ways in which you, as DBA, can reduce the escalating cost of data storage for your organisation, but to get a radical effect, you'll need to apply some powerful compression techniques. Brad explains more... Read more...

Checking Out SQL Backup Pro 7’s New Automatic Backup Verification

Wouldn't it be great to offload the daily chore of checking the integrity of your production databases, and checking that your backups can successfully be restored. It can be done, and managed automatically too, in one process; as Brad explains. Read more...

How to Document and Configure SQL Server Instance Settings

Occasionally, when you install identical databases on two different SQL Server instances, they will behave in surprisingly different ways. Why? Most likely, it is down to different configuration settings. There are around seventy of these settings and the DBA needs to be aware of the effect that many of them have. Brad McGehee explains them all in enough detail to help with most common configuration problems, and suggests some best practices. Read more...

Database Properties Health Check

Within an instance of SQL Server, the database settings can have a direct effect on the database’s behavior, performance and availability. Sometimes, it is difficult to tie a symptom to a cause, so it is wise to routinely check and record these settings. Before you change the current setting, it pays to understand exactly what it means and the implications of any change. Read more...

Brad's Sure Guide to SQL Monitor 3.0

This is an updated article by Brad M McGehee on how DBAs can use SQL Monitor to help monitor their SQL Server instances. It focuses on the latest edition, SQL Monitor 3.0, which includes several key new features, including custom metrics, user roles, and SQL Server 2012 support. Read more...

Correlating SQL Server Profiler with Performance Monitor

Both Performance Monitor and SQL Server Profiler provide valuable information about your server. However, if you combine the data from the two sources, then this correlated information can help find some of the subtler bugs. Brad explains how. Read more...

Brad's Sure Guide to SQL Storage Compress

SQL Storage Compress does just that, and encrypts as well, allowing the files associated with a live database to take much less file-space, and securing them from unauthorised access. Why would this be useful, and is it really a free lunch? Brad puts it to the test to find out. Read more...

Brad's Sure Guide to SQL HyperBac 5.0

In the second of a series of in-depth software reviews, Brad investigates SQL Hyperbac 5.0. This has always been thechoice of the gurus for backup software, but Brad now blows away the mystery and explains how it works; for it uses a simple but very clever idea to give all the benefits without forcing you to scrap your existing scripts. Read more...

Rebuilding Indexes using the SSMS Database Maintenance Wizard

Index fragmentation can cause problems with query performance. Indexes therefore need to be occasionally rebuilt. the Rebuild Index task of the SSMS Database Maintenance Wizard drops and rebuilds every index in a database. It is effective but an off-line activity that is resource-intensive, so it not always the best way of avoiding index fragmentation in a production database. Brad explains... Read more...

Brad's Sure Guide to SQL Virtual Restore

In the first of a series of in-depth software reviews, Brad investigates a newcomer, SQL Virtual Restore. What does it aim to do? How does it achieve it? Why is it safe to use? What are the benefits? Brad aims to answer a range of questions fairly and squarely. Read more...

Automate and Improve Your Database Maintenance Using Ola Hallengren's Free Script

If you ever feel uneasy when you set about handcrafting database maintenance jobs for SQL Server, it may be the voice of your conscience saying 'Ola, Ola!'. Follow your conscience. Ola Hallengren has already crafted a superb set of routines to do this for you. Why reinvent something that does it all, safely and well. Brad McGehee explains.... Read more...

Brad's Sure DBA Checklist

Sometimes, all a DBA needs, to help with day-to-day work, is a checklist of best-practices and dos and don’ts. It provides a handy reminder. Brad has come up with a new update to his famous checklist Read more...

Database Maintenance Plans in SSMS: An Overview

Maintenance plans are essential. Microsoft provide two tools, the Maintenance Plan Wizard and the Maintenance Plan designer, to assist the busy DBA to get started with one, but they don't include all the likely tasks, so Custom-created T-SQL or PowerShell scripts are usually required sooner or later to provide a more comprehensive plan Read more...

Mastering SQL Server Profiler - eBook Download

Download Brad McGehee's "from the ground up" guide to SQL Server's most powerful performance diagnostic tool. Read more...

Brad's Sure Guide to SQL Server Maintenance Plans

Brad's Sure Guide to Maintenance Plans shows you how to use the Maintenance Plan Wizard and Designer to configure and schedule eleven core database maintenance tasks, ranging from integrity checks, to database backups, to index reorganizations and rebuilds. Read more...

A Code of Conduct for DBAs

Despite the fact DBAs are protectors of an organization’s knowledge, and privy to much confidential information, there is no clearly defined set of rules and standards to help govern and guide their ethical conduct. Brad McGehee, in an article based on a chapter from the second edition of his book 'How to Become an Exceptional DBA', discusses a Code of Conduct for DBAs. He advises on why such a code is required, the sort of topics it should contain, and how it might be enforced. Much of this article has relevance for any IT professional. Read more...

How to Become an Exceptional DBA, 2nd Edition

A 2nd edition of Brad McGehee’s popular "career guide" for DBAs, designed to help new and prospective DBAs find their feet in the profession, and to advise those more-experienced on how they can excel at their jobs, and so become Exceptional DBAs... Read more...

Do Not Forget to Maintain Your Indexes

Index Maintenance Plans are essential for the well-being of a database. However, there is more to the process than just the use of the wizard. Brad McGehee takes this one stage further in suggesting that, instead, you should create your own index maintenance tasks that you can schedule to run using the SQL Server Agent. Read more...

Brad's Sure Guide to Indexes

In order to best appreciate the reasons for, or importance of, the various administrative tasks that are needed for indexes, it is a good idea to take a look at how the various types of indexes work. Who better to help with a clear expanation for this than Brad McGehee? Read more...

How to Identify Blocking Problems with SQL Profiler

Many SQL Server developers and DBAs have, in the past, had their own favourite diagnostic Stored Procedures for investigating blocking issues, but since SQL Server 2005, it is a good idea to use the SQL Profiler for all but the most complex problems. This has a blocked process report which can tell you what the problem is, and give a good indication as to how to correct it. Read more...

How to Identify Slow Running Queries with SQL Profiler

With SQL Server Profiler, it is easy to discover all those queries that are running slowly. Once poorly performing queries are identified, there comes the harder task of speeding them up. Once again, the Profiler can provide a lot of information that can help diagnose and resolve these performance problems. Brad describes this essential part of the process of performance-tuning in an article taken from a chapter to his new book, Mastering SQL Server Profiler. Read more...

Mastering SQL Server Profiler

Brad McGehee's "from the ground up" guide to SQL Server's most powerful performance diagnostic tool... Read more...

SQL Server 2008: Performance Data Collector

With Performance Data Collector in SQL Server 2008, you can now store performance data from a number of SQL Servers in one central location. This data is collected by a collection set on each server and stored in a shareable management data warehouse (MDW). Reports can be generated from this data using the built-in reports or generating your own with reporting Services. Brad McGehee explains more. Read more...

Tech-Fest of Champions: How to run a community IT conference

Everybody who attended seems to speak well of the IndyTechFest. It is a great example of how to organise a free local conference for IT people who wish to increase their skills and knowledge. So how is it done? Brad McGehee decided to find out by talking to one of the organisers, John Magnabosco who blogs here on Simple-Talk. Read more...

SQL Server 2008: The New Data Types

Brad continues his helicopter-level view of the most interesting new features of SQL Server 2008 with a look at the new data types, their use and their significance. Read more...

Policy-Based Management

Every DBA knows the frustration of trying to manage tens of servers, each of which has a subtly different configuration. Policy-based management, now introduced in SQL Server 2008, could ease a lot of this pain. Brad McGehee explains.... Read more...

Management Studio Improvements in SQL Server 2008

Not everybody who had to use Management Studio when it first appeared in SQL Server 2005 liked it. The paint was still wet and there was still scaffolding around. To give Microsoft its' credit, it has succeeded in transforming it into a much more useful product, in its SQL Server 2008 reincarnation Read more...

How to Track Down Deadlocks Using SQL Server 2005 Profiler

It is irritating, sometimes alarming, for the user to be confronted by the 'deadlock message' when a deadlock happens. It can be a tiresome business to prevent them from occurring in applications. Fortunately, the profiler can be used to help DBAs identify how deadlocking problems happen, and indicate the best way of minimising the likelihood of their reappearance. Read more...

Professional Certification for DBAs

In this article, republished from Brad McGehee's book 'How to Become an Exceptional DBA', Brad explains why there are several advantages for DBAs in continuing to take exams throughout their careers. Read more...

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