Query Store and Parameterization Problems

The query store gives us a novel way of identifying those queries that are causing performance problems when they are parameterized by SQL Server for reuse. Although it is relatively simple to ensure that certain troublesome queries avoid the problem, it is laborious to identify these queries. Additionally, Query Store gives us the means to fix the problem for groups of queries by means of plan guides without changing the DDL at all. Dennes Torres explains the details… Read more

News for Differential Backup

SQL Server 2017 brings several improvements to us. Sometimes a simple new field in a DMV can turn possible interesting new functionalities. That’s what happens with differential backup in SQL Server 2017. The DMV sys.dm_db_file_space_usage has a new field: modified_extent_page_count . This new field tell us how many pages were changed since the last full backup. … Read more

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

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

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

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

SQL Server Temporal Tables: How-To Recipes

Tables that return the value of the data in the table at a particular point of time have been with us since the first relational database, but have always required special queries and constraints, and can be tricky to get right. System-versioned Temporal Tables, new in SQL Server 2016, make such tables behave like any other. How do you create one, or modify an existing table? How can you get an In-Memory Optimized OLTP table to be Temporal? Alex Grinberg shows how. … Read more

SQL Server Encryption: Always Encrypted

Is 'Always Encrypted' SQL Server 2016's most widely important new feature? It is significant that 'Always Encrypted' in SQL Server is in all editions of SQL Server. Because of the increasing importance of encryption to data governance, it allows encryption for the sensitive application data for everywhere beyond the application's client connection, including network, server, database and storage. Robert Sheldon explains what it is, why you should try it out, and how to set about it.… Read more

Migrating a Disk-Based Table to a Memory-Optimized Table in SQL Server

The feature formerly known as Hekaton, now In-Memory OLTP can provide very useful performance gains where you carefully select the tables to become memory-optimised. How do you set about the job of converting existing tables to become memory-optimised tables? the process isn't entirely straightforward but the benefits that an In-Memory OLTP table delivers is worth your effort. Alex Grinberg takes you through the basics.… Read more

Encrypting SQL Server: Transparent Data Encryption (TDE)

Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) encrypts the data within the physical files of the database, the 'data at rest'. Without the original encryption certificate and master key, the data cannot be read when the drive is accessed or the physical media is stolen. The data in unencrypted data files can be read by restoring the files to another server. TDE requires planning but can be implemented without changing the database. Robert Sheldon explains how to implement TDE.… Read more

Exploring Azure Storage for SQL Server DBAs

If you need to run SQL Server in an Azure Virtual Machine, your choice of Azure storage will have a great effect on its performance. If performance is important, you are likely to discover complications and barriers in the storage options when you come to provision the server. If you get it wrong, you could end up with an expensive service. Joshua explains the value of using a lab environment to allow you to make well-informed VM storage decisions when the time comes to provision your production system. … 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

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

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