Azure Load Balancers and SQL Server

Load balancing in Azure has more importance for the DBA, because it is essential for Windows Server Failover Clustering in Azure, whether it is for AlwaysOn Availaiblity Groups, Failover Clustered Instances, or any other highly-available solution. Azure load balancing works out the location of the availability group, and routes traffic there. The load balancer detects a failure, and routes traffic to the new primary replica. Joshua Feierman gives an overview of what is required.… Read more

Generating HTML from SQL Server Queries

You can produce HTML from SQL because SQL Server has built-in support for outputting XML, and HTML is best understood as a slightly odd dialect of XML that imparts meaning to predefined tags. There are plenty of edge cases where an HTML structure is the most obvious way of communicating tables, lists and directories. Where data is hierarchical, it can make even more sense. William Brewer gives a simple introduction to a few HTML-output techniques.… Read more

A DLM Approach to Database Testing

Database Lifecycle Management aims to make the development and modification of databases more predictable. Bugs are the source of more unpredictability than anything else, purely because it is so difficult to guess how long it will take to fix them. Good testing at all stages may take some time and effort, but it greatly reduces likelihood of the wildcard factor of the bug that is first detected during the deployment process; or worse, that gets into the production release.… Read more

Statistics in SQL: Kendall’s Tau rank correlation

Statistical calculations in SQL are often perfectly easy to do. SQL was designed to be a natural fit for calculating correlation, regression and variance on large quantities of data. It just isn't always immediately obvious how. In the second of a series of articles, Phil factor shows how calculating a non-parametric correlation via Kendall's Tau or Spearman's Rho can be stress-free.… Read more

Questions About SQL Server Collations You Were Too Shy to Ask

Of course we all like our colleagues to think that we know everything there is to know about SQL Server Collations. However, the truth is that it is a rather complicated topic to fully understand and the cost of getting collation wrong can be great. If only one could ask certain questions on forums or at conferences without blushing. Help is at hand, because Robert Sheldon once again makes the complicated seem simple by answering those questions that you were too shy to ask… Read more

Scala and Apache Spark in Tandem as a Next-Generation ETL Framework

Scala and Apache Spark might seem an unlikely medium for implementing an ETL process, but there are reasons for considering it as an alternative. After all, many Big Data solutions are ideally suited to the preparation of data for input into a relational database, and Scala is a well thought-out and expressive language. Krzysztof Stanaszek describes some of the advantages and disadvantages of a scala-based approach to implementing and testing an ETL solution. … Read more

Comparing SSIS Catalog Contents Using DBFit Framework

When you are doing the rapid deployment of an updated SSIS project, there are a number of things you have to check to make sure that the deployment will be successful. These will include such settings as the values in environment variables, Package parameters and project parameters. The DbFit test framework turns out to be ideal for the purpose of doing final checks as part of a deployment process, as Nat Sundar demonstrates.… Read more

Building Better Entity Framework Applications

Entity Framework (EF) is Microsoft’s Object/Relational (ORM) database access library, with a new generation, EF Core, released in 2016. In this article Jon P Smith looks at six different software principles and patterns that help to keep the EF code nicely separated from the rest of the application. The six approaches make the EF database access code is easier to write, test, refactor and, most importantly, performance-tune.… Read more

Generating Plots Automatically From PowerShell and SQL Server Using Gnuplot

When you are automating a number of tasks, or performing a batch of tests, you want a way of automating the production of your plots and graphs. Nothing beats a good graphical plot for giving the indications of how the process went. If you are using PowerShell and maybe also SQL Server, it pays to use a command-line plotting tool such as Gnuplot to do all the hard work. It turns out to be handy for a range of data jobs, turning PowerShell into a handy data science tool.… Read more

Azure Networking for SQL Server DBAs

The network is important to any DBA because so much performance is dependent on I/O, because of the importance of security, and ensuring that everyone get the right access. DBAs generally need not become experts in Azure networks, but it helps to understand the concepts and language. If you are running a SQL Server Virtual Machine in Azure, then VNets, Subnets, Network Security Groups, VNet peering and VPN gateways are all worth knowing about in order to to keep SQL Servers running smoothly.… Read more

Introducing DLM Techniques for a Multi-Database Multi-Server System

Although the techniques of Database Lifecycle Management can reduce the timescales for the delivery of new functionality to business systems, what if the database 'layer' consists of several large interdependent databases and data flows with replication and audit? Does DLM scale to this level of complexity? Margaret Cruise O'Brien starts a series of articles that describes the practicalities of improving DLM within an existing framework and team supporting a multi-database multi-server system, by describing some of the database management problems and solutions in an enterprise-scale database. … Read more

Using the DbFit Framework for Data Warehouse Regression Testing

It is ironic that the users of database application need to rely on the very technologists that created the system to then devise and run their acceptance tests. Surely someone has devised a test system for databases that is simple enough for ordinary tech-savvy people to use and for them to create the tests? Yes they have. Fitnesse DbFit is a mature product that can, and does, test SQL Server databases, and Nat Sundar explains how to set it up and do it.… Read more

Encrypting SQL Server: Dynamic Data Masking

Dynamic Data Masking is a good way of rendering data unreadable for such purposes as user-acceptance testing, or demonstrating an application. It doesn't encrypt the data, and a knowledgeable SQL user can defeat it. However it provides a simple way to administer from the database what data the various users of a database application can and can not see, making it a useful tool for the developer.… Read more

Using an R Package within SQL Server with Real time analysis in Power BI

We all know how easy it is to run R, together with dependent packages, from SQL Server on order to do statistical analysis, and then turn the result into a real-time graph using Power BI; but can you actually do it? Saurabh Desai gives a step-by-step hand-holding guide to turn even the most timid into a BI guru. There is nothing difficult in using R in SQL Server 2016 once you know the steps.… Read more

Exploring Azure Storage for SQL Server DBAs – Part 2

Managed Disks have simplified way that Azure storage interacts with the users' virtual machines, thanks to the way that it eliminates the need to deal with the Storage Account. It is now easier to add new disks to a virtual machine, either in PowerShell or via the portal. The Storage Spaces feature in Windows Server can be used to aggregate disks together and obtain higher levels of performance. Joshua Feierman explains how to do it all.… Read more

Doing Fuzzy Searches in SQL Server

A series of arguments with developers who insist that fuzzy searches or spell-checking be done within the application rather then a relational database inspired Phil Factor to show how it is done. When the database must find relevant material from search terms entered by users, the database must learn to expect, and deal with, both expected and unexpected … Read more

Introducing a DevOps Workgroup to Farm Credit Services of America

If you are introducing DevOps workflows into a large organization, you’ll need to plan carefully and prioritize tasks, adapt, maintain a thick skin, communicate constantly, and ensure that all teams have a chance to contribute their solutions. Bob Walker explains how FCSA set up a DevOps Workgroup, its philosophy and its goals for improving database and application deployment processes.… Read more