21 October 2016

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
18 October 2016

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
06 October 2016

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
05 October 2016

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
04 October 2016

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
20 September 2016

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
16 September 2016

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
16 September 2016

Azure SQL Data Warehouse: Explaining the Architecture Through System Views

The architecture of Azure SQL Data Warehouse isn't easy to explain briefly, but if you have some useful queries that access the management and catalog views, and diagrams that show how they relate together, you can very quickly get a feel for what is going on under the hood. By using and extending these queries that use these views, you can check on a variety waits, blocking, status, table distribution and data movement in ASDW.… Read more
08 September 2016

SQL Database: How to Configure Active Geo-Replication

Active Geo-location is powerful magic for ensuring the high availability of a Azure SQL database, and for disaster-recovery. In choosing the best options, you need to accurately understand the value that the business places on the service you're running, long it will take for a secondary replica to be in synch with the primary replica, the importance of spreading the location of replicas widely, and the maximum tolerable unscheduled downtime. Just clicking all the options could prove to be expensive. … Read more
07 September 2016

Master Data Services – The Basics

Master Data Services (MDS) is Microsoft's platform for supporting Master Data Management (MDM). A system like MDS, if properly maintained, gives organisations a powerful alternative to increasingly having to centralize databases as a way of preventing data from getting out sync or become inconsistent, and a reliable way of managing the flow of data through corporate IT systems. It makes microservice architectures realistic. Hari Yadav shows you how to get up and running with MDS. … Read more
05 September 2016

In-Memory OLTP: Row Visibility in SQL Server’s MVCC

SQL Server's In-memory OLTP is fast, due to its multi-valued concurrency control (MVCC). MVCC avoids the need for locks by arranging for each user connected to the database to see a snapshot of the rows of the tables at a point in time, No changes made by the user will be seen by other users of the database until the changes have been completed and committed. It is conceptually simple but does the user always see the correct version of a row under all circumstances? Shel Burkow explains.… Read more
05 September 2016

DELETE Operation in SQL Server HEAPs

You should stick to using tables in SQL Server, rather than heaps that have no clustered index, unless you have well-considered reasons to choose heaps. However, there are uses for heaps in special circumstances, and it is useful to know what these uses are, and when you should avoid heaps . Uwe Ricken explains, and demonstrates why you'd be unwise to use heaps rather than tables when the data is liable to change.… Read more
31 August 2016

The SQL of Textonyms

The task of finding textonyms in SQL involves importing a list of common words and doing transformations on every word to convert it into what you'd need to type into the numeric keypad of your mobile phone to get that word. It's not that hard to do, but what is the quickest and most efficient way of doing it? Phil Factor investigates.… Read more
25 August 2016

Predicates With Subqueries

The ALL, SOME and ANY predicates aren't much used in SQL Server, but they are there. You can use the Exists() predicate instead but the logic is more contorted and difficult to read at a glance. Set-oriented predicates can greatly simplify the answering of many real-life business questions, so it is worth getting familiar with them. Joe Celko explains.… Read more
25 August 2016

SQL Server for Linux

Although SQL Server for Linux removes the concern that adopting SQL Server forces you to also adopt the Windows platform, it could also provide a useful alternative platform, and a more obvious alternative to Oracle. There are, however, several obvious concerns as to how such a product could ever achieve parity with the existing Windows-based product. Microsoft have made an interesting move with several ramifications, as Robert Sheldon explains.… Read more
10 August 2016

Direct Query with Power BI

Power BI allows you to connect directly to the data just as if it were a “standard” connection, and modify and extend the data to support analytics. By using DirectQuery, you can build reports based on extremely large datasets where re-importing data not a practical solution. It also allows you to do data aggregations on the server. There are, of course, restrictions as well but it is nevertheless a worthwhile technique to use where appropriate. Adam Aspin explains all. … Read more
10 August 2016

Formatting SQL Code – Part the Second

When you're formatting SQL Code, your objective is to make the code as easy to read with understanding as is possible, in a way that errors stand out. The extra time it takes to write code in an accessible way is far less than the time saved by the poor soul in the future, possibly yourself, when maintaining or enhancing the code. There isn't a single 'best practice, but the general principles, such as being consistent, are well-established. Joe Celko gives his take on a controversial topic.… Read more
10 August 2016

Master Data Management (MDM) Using SQL Server

So many of the problems that organisations have with their IT applications are due to the struggle with data, in the absence of overall organization-wide control and supervision of data and its progress through the various parts of the organization. Master data management (MDM) offers a solution to the many data woes by controlling data change, It does it in an analogous way to Version Control, so that changes are cleansed, checked, tracked and audited, and any named version can be published to other services . Now Microsoft has an implementation as part of the data platform.… Read more

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