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A technical journal and community hub from Red Gate

Columnstore Indexes in SQL Server 2012

The columnstore index in SQL Server 2012 stores columns instead of rows, and is designed to speed up analytical processing and data-warehouse queries. Whilst columnstore indexes certainly do that effectively, they are not a universal panacea since there are a number of limitations on them. When used appropriately, they can reduce disk I/O and use memory more efficiently as Robert Sheldon explains.

Group Policy and WMI, a Wonderful Combination

If you're faced with having to deploy software to those PCs that are, say, from a particular manufacturer, are laptops with Windows 7, or almost any other criteria, you can use Group Policy if you use the option to filter via a WMI Query. Joseph Moody explains how.

Data Science Laboratory System - Key/Value Pair Systems

Though the Key/Value pair paradigm is common to almost every computer language, there is no clear agreement yet for the definition of a Key/Value Pair database. However, Key/Value pair databases are valuable for special applications where speed of writing data is more important than searching and general versatility. Buck Woody shows it is certainly worth experimenting with in a data science lab.

New! SQL Monitor 3.5

Are your servers behaving normally? SQL Monitor now calculates and displays baselines for you automatically – helping you see what’s normal. Learn more.

Simple-Talk Survey 2013

The Simple-Talk users survey is our yearly barometer to make sure we're giving our readers the content they want. For a chance at a $100 Amazon voucher take the survey.

CI for Oracle databases

Learn how to set up continuous integration for your Oracle database with the Deployment Suite for Oracle and TeamCity or Jenkins. Read the step-by-step guide.

The SQL of Gaps and Islands in Sequences

Some SQL problems are intriguing because, just when good methods emerge and are accepted, other alternative solutions are discovered. Dwain Camps demonstrates that the fun of exploring problems such as 'Gaps and Islands' is all the greater when we have a thorough test-harness to try out the alternative solutions.

Creating a Business Intelligence Dashboard with R and ASP.NET MVC: Part 2

Continuing the project to build a Business Intelligence (BI) application using R, Visual Studio 2012 and Twitter Bootstrap, Sergei Dumnov introduces drill-down via jQuery and jQuery UI, simplifies the R coding with the PLYR and GGPLOT2 libraries, and shows how to generate reports simultaneously with a batch file.

Thoughts on ASP.NET MVC Authorization and Security

It is only a matter of time in developing most websites that you'll need to implement a way of restricting access to parts of the site. In MVC, the 'Authorize' attribute handles both authentication and authorization. In general, it works well, with the help of extension to handle AJAX calls elegantly, and to distinguish between unauthorized users and those who are not logged in. Dino Esposito explains.

Learn the
secrets of ASP.NET performance

'25 Secrets for Faster ASP.NET Applications' brings together tips from the ASP.NET community for boosting performance in your web applications. Download the eBook now.

Custom Metric to Track Failed SQL Server Logins

A new custom metric has been added to our library. Be alerted to failed log in attempts on your SQL Servers with our newest custom metric. Get it free from

Red Gate's CEO Simon Galbraith speaks at
Agile 2013

Red Gate Chief Simon Galbraith will be speaking at Agile 2013 in Nashville Tennessee on August 6th about using agile methodologies at board level. Register for his talk.

Editorial: Taming the Spirit of the Machine

This week's editorial is a guest post by Phil Factor.

Often, a programmer will wrestle with a problem, stubbornly, expending herculean effort to conquer a problem of relatively minor significance. This is OK. Sometimes, developing an application is like training a wild animal, when it defies you and refuses to work, you can't turn your back on it. You have to show who is boss.

A long time ago, my mother insisted on keeping a bull terrier. Though generally amiable, it would attack anyone, when in the mood. In the spirit of self-preservation, I took lessons in animal training. Never show the slightest fear, never turn your back on an assailant, and react swiftly and decisively to any attack.

Soon after taking these lessons, the bull terrier attacked me for the last time. In a flash, I'd knocked it off its feet, rolled it over, grasped its bottom jaw firmly and opened its mouth wide. This sudden immobilization subtly altered our relationship. Whereas the rest of humanity remained fair game, young Phil was off the menu.

What I learned has proved useful throughout my career in IT, not for dealing with management, although I've always wanted to try out the above maneuver on an over-excited CIO, but for tackling awkward development tasks.

Sometimes development tasks are so complex that they become, to superstitious humanity, rather like a wild beast that needs taming. A programmer cannot allow a problem to get the upper hand. It feels like defeat to knock off work with that irritating bug still in place. You have to order up the pizza, look the problem in the eye, betray not a flicker of apprehension, and sort it out. The alternative is a distracted evening followed by a night spent dreaming of the problem, and then another day wrestling with an emboldened application, eager to return to its natural wild state.

In an information age, we can forgive programmers for anthropomorphizing inanimate programs. It's a way of buoying confidence, ensuring quality, and keeping one's skills honed. Besides, once tamed, I grow quite affectionate towards some of my applications. Bless 'em.

Reply to my blog post to be in with the chance of winning a $50 Amazon voucher. Last week's winner was Lee Dise.



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