The Dangers of TechnoMarketingBabble

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 more

Virtue in the Virtual

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 more

When Stored Procedures Go Bad

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 more

Removing the Clutter from Graphs

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 more

JSON and the Arguments

Now that we’re getting better support for storing JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) in databases, what is it really giving us? Whatever else, the technique of “stuffing data into a JSON blob and adding an index” doesn’t always absolve us from the task of carefully designing and normalizing our database schema. There are many advantages, I’ll … Read more

Why is Uninstalling SQL Server Such a Pain?

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 more

Software Animism

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 more

Over-SQL-Engineering

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 more

SSMS Renaissance

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 more

9 Clickbait Simple Talk Titles You Won’t Believe Exist!

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 more

JSON-rise

Microsoft was slow to meet the demand to be able to store and retrieve data in JSON, the native data format of ubiquitous JavaScript-driven web sites and mobile applications. Its late entry into the market, Azure DocumentDB, still has a lot of ground to make up; in the meantime, MongoDB has managed to fill the … Read more

Goodwill and hard learning at SQL Bits 15

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

A Programmer Walks Into a Bar…

Conference season is upon us. Sessions, hands-on labs, round table debates, so many opportunities for learning! Of course what they don’t admit on the conference websites and brochures is that all the important business at a conference takes place not in the sessions, but at the many impromptu social events, usually at a local ale … Read more

Push-Button Database Deployment?

Much of what we do in IT seems easy, from a distance; even the modification of a live functioning database while preserving production data. However, any DBA who isn’t gripped by a cold terror at the prospect has probably never been responsible for a live trading OLTP system, on which an organization depends. A lot … Read more

Does Anyone Do This Stuff

“Does anyone actually do this stuff?” This question came from a member of the audience at one of Brent Ozar’s training classes on SQL Server Database Continuous Integration. Mercifully, plenty of people confirmed in the comments that Database CI was alive and well, which was a relief, since I’d been toiling for several days on … Read more

A Database to Diagram for

I’m no database designer but I do occasionally need to build a very simple database model, no more than a small handful of tables, to test out some code for an article or presentation. The other day, I was indulging in my usual habit of slowly tapping out CREATE and ALTER TABLE statements in SQL, … Read more

Real Developer Heroics

One of the strange paradoxes of team development is that effort beyond the call of duty is generally discouraged. Developers who are new to team working assume that, if they work wonders to solve apparently intractable programming problems in record time, then all around them will smile in gratitude. The instinct to solve problems is … Read more

The Genuine Article

On Simple-Talk, we try to make sure that Information Technology is presented in an interesting way. We all tend to have more patience with a pedestrian article or blog that has information that solves an immediate problem, and we find the necessary energy to wade through the dull bits to get to the nectar. More … Read more

Workplace Politics

The IT workplace can often be stressful when untoward things happen. Maybe, it is business managers who demand new platforms, applications, and functionality to support bold new strategic objectives. The IT team, perhaps, begins to crack under pressure of an ever-increasing backlog of work to unrealistic deadlines while somehow holding together a creaking and patched-together … Read more

Squaring the NoSQL Circle

NoSQL was a bold new revolution. Many of these databases are schema-less, or rather the schema is implicitly defined by the developer, and therefore is flexible and can evolve. NoSQL databases lend themselves to very simple key-value access patterns; there is no need to design complex relations, or perform joins in ‘archaic’ languages such as … Read more

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