Lists With, or Without, Ranges in both T-SQL and PowerShell

Whether you are working in a procedural language like PowerShell or in T-SQL, there is something slightly bothersome about having to deal with parameters that are lists, or worse with ranges amongst the values. In fact, once you have a way of dealing with them, they can be convenient, especially when bridging the gulf between application and the database. Phil Factor shows how to deal with them.… Read more

How to Build Your First SQL Server Virtual Lab in Windows Azure

If you are a DBA who hasn't so far dived in head-first into using Azure, it is worth setting up an Azure 'Virtual Lab' environment the easy way, using a template. This will then allow you to experiment, try things out with SQL Azure, and get familiar with Resource Groups. Joshua shows how to build a virtual lab, from the ground up in the first of a series that aims to give you a grounding in Azure.… Read more

Reconciling Data Across Systems Using a Reconciliation Hub

In many enterprises, where there are a number of separate systems engaged in processing data, there arises the daunting task of checking and reconciling data as it flows between systems. Discrepancies in data must be detected, tracked and corrected as quickly as possible: there is no room for error in doing this. A Reconciliation Hub can provide the answer, as Rahul Gupta explains.… Read more

Planning for Successful Data Management

It is the data, in particular, that sets Database Lifecycle Management apart from the mainstream of application delivery. Data entities, and the way that organisations understand and deal with them, have their own lifespan. If we neglect the management of data, we risk disaster for the organisations that use it. If we take data management seriously, databases become a lot easier. … Read more

DevOps and Database Lifecycle Management

Database Lifecycle Management (DLM) aims to provide a roadmap of what is required, and when, to deliver and maintain effective databases that can respond quickly to business change. How does the DevOps movement, as it applies to databases, fit into this? William Brewer explains how DevOps provides the organisational change between delivery and operations to make important parts of the process easier to introduce.… Read more

Using Power BI Desktop to Visualize SQL Server Metadata

You can easily use PowerBI Desktop to show graphically how your database is growing, which tables are taking the most space, how various parts of SQL Server is consuming memory, its use of indexes and so on. Sure, you can create graphs in SSMS, but with PowerBI, you can create reports that you can then publish to others, and which allow drill-down. It is a great way to get familiar with PowerBI Desktop as well. Rob Sheldon shows how simple it is to do.… Read more

SQL Server Database Provisioning

Database provisioning for development work isn't always easy. The better that development teams meet business demands for rapid delivery and high quality, the more complex become the requirements for the work of development and testing. More databases are required for testing and development, and they need to be more rapidly kept current. Data and loading needs to match more closely what is in production. Grant Fritchey explains.… Read more

Questions About SQL Server Security and Access Control You Were Too Shy to Ask

For many developers, database security and Access control is just something that gets in the way of development work. However, several recent security breaches have had devastating consequences and have caused a change in attitude about the value to any organisation of having database applications that meet industry standards for access control and security. The problem, however is in admitting that you have a problem and finding answers to those problems you are just too shy to ask in public. … Read more

Triggers: Threat or Menace?

Triggers are generally over-used in SQL Server. They are only rarely necessary, can cause performance issues, and are tricky to maintain If you use them, it is best to keep them simple, and have only one operation per trigger. Joe Celko describes a feature of SQL that 'gets complicated fast'.… Read more

Importing Excel Data into Power BI Desktop

In any commercial setting, Excel Spreadsheets remain the preferred way of collecting and analysing data, and it makes sense that it should be easy to get the data into PowerBI so it can be made more generally available for sharing and further analysis. As well as the data, we'd probably need the other analysis components such as the Power Pivot tables, Power View visualizations, Power Query queries. It is all possible, and Robert Sheldon demonstrates how.… Read more

How to Fix Ten SSDT Deployment Snags, With or Without ReadyRoll

Even a database development framework like Sql Server Data Tools (SSDT) doesn't get it right all the time, and there are ten deployment 'gotchas' in particular that can cause some head-scratching amongst developers to get right. From his unique perspective of creating a tool to make such deployments in SSDT less stressful, Dan Nolan discusses each pitfall and how to avoid it, whether you have ReadyRoll or not. … Read more

Retrieving SQL Server Query Execution Plans

Execution plans explain all you need to know about query performance, and how to fine-tune. Sure, you can see them in SSMS, but what if you need to drill into to the important details? What about using DMVs, Extended Events or SET statements to get at the execution plans? To get the best use of execution plans you need to be able to get right information from the right plan at the right time. Robert Sheldon explains how.… Read more

Representing Hierarchical Data for Mere Mortals

Why is it that we use XML, but with so little enthusiasm when it does so much, and is so feature-rich? Phil Factor argues that there are better ways of doing it, more complete than JSON, but easier to read than XML. To try to convince you, he gives a set of flying demos, using PowerShell and his PSYaml module, to illustrate how YAML can let you work faster, and more accurately.… Read more

Who the Devil Wrote This SQL Code?

The way that you format T-SQL code can affect the productivity of the people who have to subsequently maintain your work. It is never a good experience to see SQL Code, cry out “Who the devil wrote this code?”, and then realise that it was you. Grant gives some examples of bad formatting and explains why you should never check-in badly-formatted SQL code.… Read more

Which Edition of SQL Server is Best for Development Work?

You might think, as a developer, that nothing but the best is good enough as a development database. You might be mistaken. There is a lot to be said for LocalDB, but Ed Elliott argues that every edition has its pros and cons, and you need to consider Cloud-based resources, VMs and Containerised databases too. There is a whole range of alternatives and how you choose depends on the type of database you are developing, but for Ed, LocalDB gets the five-star accolad… Read more

More Power BI to your Elbow

Power BI Desktop continues to evolve. There have been many improvements to the reporting side that together make it easier to get from the data to the visualisation as quickly as possible. You can now create line charts that let users drill down into hierarchical data. There are now ways of adding dynamic reference lines to a visualization that provide users with relevant reference points. Robert Sheldon demonstrates how to combine these features to great effect.… Read more

Power BI for Data Modelling

Power BI has a lot of uses, but one of the most interesting of them is to model and shape data to make it easier for self-service BI. Power BI is a full-stack solution that includes data loading, data modelling, metrics, reporting and distribution. It can take the source data, and perform in-process data modelling relatively easily as well a providing an easy to use and powerful user interface for analytics and reporting.… Read more

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