Tony Davis is an Editor with Red Gate Software, based in Cambridge (UK), specializing in databases, and especially SQL Server. He edits articles and writes editorials for both the Simple-talk.com and SQLServerCentral.com websites and newsletters, with a combined audience of over 1.5 million subscribers. You can sample his short-form writing at either his Simple-Talk.com blog or his SQLServerCentral.com author page.
As the editor behind most of the SQL Server books published by Red Gate, he spends much of his time helping others express what they know about SQL Server. He is also the lead author of the book, SQL Server Transaction Log Management.
In his spare time, he enjoys running, football, contemporary fiction and real ale.
So, the story goes that an Ops engineer walked into a data center with the necessary pass, a cheery wave and a ‘good morning’. Shortly afterwards, he made history. At around 8.30AM, British Airway’s entire communications systems went down at the height of the May holiday, forcing them to cancel flights from the UK’s two … Read more26 April 2017
Anyone using R in SQL Server employs the procedure sp_execute_external_script, the first parameter of this being the language to use. The documentation rather obliquely says that “the script must be written in a supported and registered language“. Until recently, the only language was R, but now a second supported language, Python, has appeared. Yes, at … Read more07 April 2017
Many people in IT, even at Redgate where I work, see the job title “Editor” and think I spend most of my time fixing spelling mistakes, adding Oxford Commas, and thwarting an author’s ambitions to end a sentence with a preposition. They are sometimes bemused, therefore, when they learn how long a proper technical edit … Read more27 March 2017
If you roll out DevOps across an organization before it is culturally prepared for it, you will see warning signs that the initiative is failing. These are: Team members complain of unmanageable workloads Requirements, quality management and metrics get neglected; customer complaints increase You promote and reward the ‘firefighters’ rather than the staff who prevent … Read more13 March 2017
Three of Redgate’s tools are now part of the 2017 release of Visual Studio Enterprise (as announced last week), as components of the Data Storage and Processing ‘workload’. Some might be surprised to find third-party tools being included in the Visual Studio installer, but it’s an interesting sign of the times. No longer can any … Read more06 March 2017
The new temporal tables in SQL Server 2016 are interesting, in that they seem a much better way of storing any financial information than conventional relational tables. They have been referred to by some as “SQL Server’s time machine”. They are system-versioned tables that allow SQL Server to maintain the different versions each row, using … Read more19 January 2017
Database source code analysis can flush out weakly-authenticated database users, over-privileged users and roles, or stored procedure code that concatenates a parameter directly into the dynamic SQL string that is to be executed, and so is vulnerable SQL injection. This is great for the development team, but it is also wonderful for the hacker. Getting … Read more05 January 2017
What’s the main obstacle to implementing a DevOps approach in your organization? In a recent “State of DevOps” survey conducted by Redgate, the second most popular answer to this question, after “lack of skills”, was “lack of alignment between development and operations teams“. Hmm, so you can’t do DevOps until you have a DevOps culture. … Read more01 December 2016
Everyone’s encouraged to be a content producer these days. It’s not marketing, it’s content! Sometimes the tell-tale signs are obvious. The author feels obliged to lapse into unrestrained hyperbole in the first paragraph, proclaiming unprecedented greatness for some unproven new feature or technology that represents a “total revolution” in the way you tackle a certain … Read more21 November 2016
Are we now seeing just a frisson of excitement amongst database professionals at the potential of virtualization, and containerization technologies? I read with interest Andrew Pruski’s recent post on SQL Server and containers. Wow, I thought: so I can now run a Docker SQL Server Express in a Hyper-V Container on Windows Server 2016! Then … Read more04 November 2016
It is far easier to work out what is wrong with a slow-running SQL query than one that shows erratic performance. DBAs will groan when a process occasionally performs terribly without apparent reason. There is always a good chance that this is a symptom of the painful problem of parameter sniffing. It can afflict database … Read more04 October 2016
You can quickly get an audience to see patterns and trends in data if you present that data graphically. Data visualization is often the most persuasive of mediums; and yet, it’s so easy to get it very wrong. With any of the rich variety of available data tools, it is the work of a moment … Read more08 September 2016
A developer friend of mine recently, upon the briefest mention of SQL Server, descended unexpectedly into a rant about the pain of getting rid of the blasted thing. I was somewhat taken aback. “Surely”, I protested, “the uninstall button is easy enough to find?” He shot me a pitying look; apparently it’s not as straightforward … Read more11 August 2016
The tendency to attribute malice to inanimate objects is deeply entrenched in the human psyche. In a famous account from Ancient Greek times, a bronze statue caused the death of an angry demonstrator when it toppled onto him while he was whipping it with a flail. The statue was put on trial, found guilty of … Read more03 June 2016
In a recent blog post, Jonathan Kehayias demonstrates a clever way to “multi-thread” maintenance tasks, when they need to run against very large (i.e. multiple terabyte) databases. The tool he used? Good old-fashioned Service Broker. Simply create some basic Service Broker objects, an activation procedure to automate Ola Hallengren’s maintenance procedures, bind the activation procedure … Read more20 May 2016
For many good reasons, DBAs and database developers use SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), not SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT). It is a great relief for them, after several SQL Server releases-worth of general neglect, to see some renewed developmental vigor behind SSMS. Until the approach of SQL Server 2016, DBAs could have been forgiven … Read more05 May 2016
At Simple-Talk, we specialize in practical, down-to-earth technical articles, and usually choose our titles to match. There’s no mistaking what “Comparing Networking options in Azure“ might be about, for example. Nor is there much room to doubt what’s in store in “Debugging data flow in SQL Server Integration Services“. Are we wrong to be so … Read more21 April 2016
SQL Bits XV, the official launch event for SQL Server 2016, begins in Liverpool, UK, on May 4, 2016. Simple-Talk is a strong supporter of this event, and for good reasons; it’s a fantastic training event, and also one of those that feels “right” from the moment you enter the venue. There are so many … Read more
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