SQL Server Coming in on Another Platform

Why release SQL Server as a Linux, as well as Windows, application? It baffled many DBAs when it was announced, though most shrugged and decided that it must be part of Microsoft’s long-term wrestling match with Oracle. When Microsoft previewed an early version of the Linux SQL Server on Ubuntu and Red-Hat, with ‘core relational … Read more

Conversations with Gran about Databases

So, what’s going on in your databases world this week, young man? I paused, as always, a little unsure of what I was getting myself into. I’d been having these little “technical chats” with Gran ever since her ‘computer incident’, when a blue screen informing her of a “Fatal error: catastrophic failure“, had thrown her … Read more

The Wrong Way to Clean Up the Internet

Having successfully fought several privacy battles, granting people the right to have themselves taken off Google search, and to have their records deleted from databases, it looks as if the European Union may soon want to regulate and license what you can watch on YouTube or other video content sites, and the audio-visual content you … Read more

IT Aphorisms for Developers

Developers enter their trade fizzing with untamed creative energy. They envision spending their days dashing out intricate algorithms that compile first time, developing creative applications that dazzle colleagues and users alike, before leaving the office each evening, with a swagger in their step, to work their new GitHub ‘side project’, which will one day soon … Read more

Who was that masked man anyway?

Whenever you require a visit to the doctor, or hospital, a lot of personal data will likely be recorded, alongside details of your condition, the treatment you required, drugs prescribed and so on. At some point, you might have signed a consent form, one of the clauses of which allowed your data to be analyzed … Read more

Python in SQL Server

Anyone using R in SQL Server employs the procedure sp_execute_external_script, the first parameter of this being the language to use. The documentation rather obliquely says that “the script must be written in a supported and registered language“. Until recently, the only language was R, but now a second supported language, Python, has appeared. Yes, at … Read more

The Oxford Comma and Me

Many people in IT, even at Redgate where I work, see the job title “Editor” and think I spend most of my time fixing spelling mistakes, adding Oxford Commas, and thwarting an author’s ambitions to end a sentence with a preposition. They are sometimes bemused, therefore, when they learn how long a proper technical edit … Read more

Avoiding the Slide From DevOps to DevOops

If you roll out DevOps across an organization before it is culturally prepared for it, you will see warning signs that the initiative is failing. These are: Team members complain of unmanageable workloads Requirements, quality management and metrics get neglected; customer complaints increase You promote and reward the ‘firefighters’ rather than the staff who prevent … Read more

Old is the New New: SQL Server 2016 Learns Ancient Auditing Tricks

The new temporal tables in SQL Server 2016 are interesting, in that they seem a much better way of storing any financial information than conventional relational tables. They have been referred to by some as “SQL Server’s time machine”. They are system-versioned tables that allow SQL Server to maintain the different versions each row, using … Read more

Tying Down the Source Code

Database source code analysis can flush out weakly-authenticated database users, over-privileged users and roles, or stored procedure code that concatenates a parameter directly into the dynamic SQL string that is to be executed, and so is vulnerable SQL injection. This is great for the development team, but it is also wonderful for the hacker. Getting … Read more

Bridging the DevOps Divide

What’s the main obstacle to implementing a DevOps approach in your organization? In a recent “State of DevOps” survey conducted by Redgate, the second most popular answer to this question, after “lack of skills”, was “lack of alignment between development and operations teams“. Hmm, so you can’t do DevOps until you have a DevOps culture. … Read more

The Dangers of TechnoMarketingBabble

Everyone’s encouraged to be a content producer these days. It’s not marketing, it’s content! Sometimes the tell-tale signs are obvious. The author feels obliged to lapse into unrestrained hyperbole in the first paragraph, proclaiming unprecedented greatness for some unproven new feature or technology that represents a “total revolution” in the way you tackle a certain … Read more

Virtue in the Virtual

Are we now seeing just a frisson of excitement amongst database professionals at the potential of virtualization, and containerization technologies? I read with interest Andrew Pruski’s recent post on SQL Server and containers. Wow, I thought: so I can now run a Docker SQL Server Express in a Hyper-V Container on Windows Server 2016! Then … Read more

When Stored Procedures Go Bad

It is far easier to work out what is wrong with a slow-running SQL query than one that shows erratic performance. DBAs will groan when a process occasionally performs terribly without apparent reason. There is always a good chance that this is a symptom of the painful problem of parameter sniffing. It can afflict database … Read more

JSON and the Arguments

Now that we’re getting better support for storing JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) in databases, what is it really giving us? Whatever else, the technique of “stuffing data into a JSON blob and adding an index” doesn’t always absolve us from the task of carefully designing and normalizing our database schema. There are many advantages, I’ll … Read more

Software Animism

The tendency to attribute malice to inanimate objects is deeply entrenched in the human psyche. In a famous account from Ancient Greek times, a bronze statue caused the death of an angry demonstrator when it toppled onto him while he was whipping it with a flail. The statue was put on trial, found guilty of … Read more