Posts by
Phil Factor

Phil Factor (real name withheld to protect the guilty), aka Database Mole, has 30 years of experience with database-intensive applications.

Despite having once been shouted at by a furious Bill Gates at an exhibition in the early 1980s, he has remained resolutely anonymous throughout his career.

He is a regular contributor to Simple Talk and SQLServerCentral.

18 January 2021

18 January 2021

Is Tempdb Causing a Bottleneck?

One of your SQL Server instance shows a major dip in performance or throughput, affecting all the user databases. You notice that the slow interludes coincide, as if orchestrated. On investigation, it appears that several transactions running over that period were using a lot of space in tempdb. However, which of them, if any,... Read more

18 December 2020

18 December 2020

Finding Inactive SQL Server Databases

Phil Factor demonstrates how to use Extended Events to detect acquisition of Intent locks, and so determine which databases are active or apparently 'dormant', and then on which tables data has been modified recently, or which views and stored procedures have been run. Read more

8 December 2020

8 December 2020

Getting your SQL Server Development Data in Three Easy Steps

Phil Factor takes a staged approach to generating development data, creating one project that simply copies data from an existing database, another that copies most data but generates any personal or sensitive data, and a third that starts from 'anonymized' data and then generates other columns entirely and increase the number of rows for... Read more

27 November 2020

27 November 2020

Masking Data in Practice

Phil Factor takes a strategic look at common SQL data masking techniques, and the challenges inherent in masking certain types of sensitive and personal data, while ensuring that it still looks like the real data, and retains its referential integrity, and distribution characteristics. Read more

27 November 2020

27 November 2020

The Joy of Realistic Generated Fake Database Data

Have you ever had to demonstrate a database-driven application, and longed to have the real data to do so? To do what, precisely? Well, so you can then scroll through the customers who have used the system, demonstrate the accounting and audit, browse through the products, maybe even demo the customer tracking system with... Read more