Tony Davis is an Editor with Red Gate Software, based in Cambridge (UK), specializing in databases, and especially SQL Server. He edits articles and writes editorials for both the Simple-talk.com and SQLServerCentral.com websites and newsletters, with a combined audience of over 1.5 million subscribers. You can sample his short-form writing at either his Simple-Talk.com blog or his SQLServerCentral.com author page.
As the editor behind most of the SQL Server books published by Red Gate, he spends much of his time helping others express what they know about SQL Server. He is also the lead author of the book, SQL Server Transaction Log Management.
In his spare time, he enjoys running, football, contemporary fiction and real ale.
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
In a recent blog post, Jonathan Kehayias demonstrates a clever way to “multi-thread” maintenance tasks, when they need to run against very large (i.e. multiple terabyte) databases. The tool he used? Good old-fashioned Service Broker. Simply create some basic Service Broker objects, an activation procedure to automate Ola Hallengren’s maintenance procedures, bind the activation procedure … Read more
For many good reasons, DBAs and database developers use SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), not SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT). It is a great relief for them, after several SQL Server releases-worth of general neglect, to see some renewed developmental vigor behind SSMS. Until the approach of SQL Server 2016, DBAs could have been forgiven … Read more
At Simple-Talk, we specialize in practical, down-to-earth technical articles, and usually choose our titles to match. There’s no mistaking what “Comparing Networking options in Azure“ might be about, for example. Nor is there much room to doubt what’s in store in “Debugging data flow in SQL Server Integration Services“. Are we wrong to be so … Read more
SQL Bits XV, the official launch event for SQL Server 2016, begins in Liverpool, UK, on May 4, 2016. Simple-Talk is a strong supporter of this event, and for good reasons; it’s a fantastic training event, and also one of those that feels “right” from the moment you enter the venue. There are so many … Read more
Conference season is upon us. Sessions, hands-on labs, round table debates, so many opportunities for learning! Of course what they don’t admit on the conference websites and brochures is that all the important business at a conference takes place not in the sessions, but at the many impromptu social events, usually at a local ale … Read more
Much of what we do in IT seems easy, from a distance; even the modification of a live functioning database while preserving production data. However, any DBA who isn’t gripped by a cold terror at the prospect has probably never been responsible for a live trading OLTP system, on which an organization depends. A lot … Read more
“Does anyone actually do this stuff?” This question came from a member of the audience at one of Brent Ozar’s training classes on SQL Server Database Continuous Integration. Mercifully, plenty of people confirmed in the comments that Database CI was alive and well, which was a relief, since I’d been toiling for several days on … Read more
I’m no database designer but I do occasionally need to build a very simple database model, no more than a small handful of tables, to test out some code for an article or presentation. The other day, I was indulging in my usual habit of slowly tapping out CREATE and ALTER TABLE statements in SQL, … Read more
One of the strange paradoxes of team development is that effort beyond the call of duty is generally discouraged. Developers who are new to team working assume that, if they work wonders to solve apparently intractable programming problems in record time, then all around them will smile in gratitude. The instinct to solve problems is … Read more
On Simple-Talk, we try to make sure that Information Technology is presented in an interesting way. We all tend to have more patience with a pedestrian article or blog that has information that solves an immediate problem, and we find the necessary energy to wade through the dull bits to get to the nectar. More … Read more
The IT workplace can often be stressful when untoward things happen. Maybe, it is business managers who demand new platforms, applications, and functionality to support bold new strategic objectives. The IT team, perhaps, begins to crack under pressure of an ever-increasing backlog of work to unrealistic deadlines while somehow holding together a creaking and patched-together … Read more
NoSQL was a bold new revolution. Many of these databases are schema-less, or rather the schema is implicitly defined by the developer, and therefore is flexible and can evolve. NoSQL databases lend themselves to very simple key-value access patterns; there is no need to design complex relations, or perform joins in ‘archaic’ languages such as … Read more
Over time, many bug and issue tracking systems decline into a graveyard for bug-reports, a place where problems are buried rather than resolved. I’m not a developer but even so, any mention of bug-tracking systems elicits unhappy memories. I was once one of the Business ‘stakeholders’ for a system. We performed user-acceptance tests to check … Read more
A build is a regular health-check for the database. If all is well, then automated builds will run regularly and smoothly. Assuming all necessary database and server-level objects have been accounted for in the build, the team will be confident that little can go awry as it is shepherded through the release process to deployment. … Read more
In software development, one man’s meat is often another man’s poison. We come across a technique and it works for us. We assume it will work in all contexts and publish it as a ‘best practice’. It fails to live up to its promise in other circumstances. As an example of this, a migrations-based approach … Read more
The speed of a slow SQL Query can almost always be improved. In SQL Server, the query optimizer determines the best way of executing the query, based on the evidence it has. The same query can be executed in many different ways as the data size increases, new indexes become available, or as the data distribution changes. If the appropriate index doesn't exist or can't be used, then SQL Server shrugs and does the best it can. Tony Davis explains how to find out what a query needs to perform w… Read more
Recently, I’ve been getting more and more engrossed in SQL Server Execution plans for various reasons, including editing the forthcoming third edition of Grant Fritchey’s book. There are certain infographics that ‘speak’ to everyone. They represent highly complex concepts clearly and unequivocally. Unfortunately, the SQL Server graphical execution plan is not one of them. I … Read more
Where do I start? It’s a question each of us asks when faced with any learning goal, whether it’s how to play ‘Stairway to Heaven’ on a guitar, or how to deploy a database. The answer, as any teacher will tell you, is to work out where you are now, in terms of skills and … Read more