Tony Davis

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.

31 July 2015
31 July 2015

Getting the Measure of Your Application

The idea of ‘instrumenting’ an application often seems to puzzle application developers. Modern IDEs are so full of code-tracers, debuggers and profilers that developers seem to resent the idea that applications should be designed and developed so as to be measurable. The application’s methods need to be instrumented so that, on demand, the application can … Read more
03 July 2015
03 July 2015

The Railmap Towards Easier Query Tuning?

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
04 June 2015
04 June 2015

Test Driving Your Database

In any engineering project, you can’t avoid testing your product against reality. A friend who once worked at a car design center told me that throughout each development cycle, in adding to a component-testing program with test-rigs and simulations, they would drive each newly-designed automobile down “Dunmore Lane”. This local road was infamous for its … Read more
07 May 2015
07 May 2015

The Art of the Author

When tidying out an old cupboard a few weeks ago, one after another I casually tossed outdated, dusty technical books into a recycling box. I paused however, when I reached one particular book, on “ASP for Databases” with which I’d had some editorial involvement. At the time, it had seemed just another book, albeit a … Read more
26 March 2015
26 March 2015

PsGet I love you

Much of the versatility of PowerShell comes from its impressive array of modules, mostly contributed by the community. With a simple command, one can install a module to perform a Find-String, similar to grep, or one to integrate PowerShell with a version control system (PoshGit), or to install a build automation system (Psake). With another … Read more
11 February 2015
11 February 2015

Questions About SQL Server Transaction Log You Were Too Shy To Ask

You can give a deep-dive presentation about SQL Server's transaction log, and round it off by inviting questions. Your audience will stare awkwardly at their boots. Afterwards, to your surprise there will be a queue of questioners, and the questions are the ones they were too shy to ask out loud. Tony Davis answers these apparently simple, yet tricky questions.… Read more
30 January 2015
30 January 2015

Ooh R

Why has Microsoft acquired Revolution Analytics, the company who provide open source distributions of R, alongside commercial “Enterprise” extensions for big data infrastructures? R is a programming language and platform for data manipulation, time series analysis, statistical modelling and graphics. It provides powerful statistical methods that can, for example, explore the relationships between the many … Read more
15 January 2015
15 January 2015

Prettier, But Less Usable

When the original window-based user-interface was first being developed by Palo Alto, the team was driven by the idea that applications must be easy to use, consistent and accessible to all of humanity. This is why every window that opened in all subsequent windowing operating systems, had a rather standard design, with a set of … Read more
02 January 2015
02 January 2015

Inside the Box

Over recent months, it’s been hard to avoid the growing noise and enthusiasm surrounding the push towards distributed, microservice-based software architectures. In this world, every application is a set of independent services, typically cloud-based, each with its own ‘persistence solution’, and each service communicating and sending data back and forth across the network. Many of … Read more
05 November 2014
05 November 2014

PASS Summit 14 Dispatches: Azure Machine Learning

PASS Summit 14 Day 1 keynote and Joseph Sirosh and Sanjay Somi demo’d Azure Machine Learning (ML) and the drive to ‘democratize’ predictive analytics. The basic idea behind ML is computers learning through “training” how to look for patterns and relationships in complex data, without being explicitly programmed to find a particular “answer”. Through iteration, … Read more
05 November 2014
05 November 2014

PASS Summit 14 Dispatches: DocumentDB

During the PASS Summit 14 keynote, TK “Ranga” Rengarajan mentioned briefly Microsoft’s DocumentDB, a new NoSQL database. I was hoping to hear more. It’s an Azure-hosted JSON document data store and seems to be an attempt to marry the schema ‘flexibility’ and easy scalability that developers crave from their databases with the transactional capabilities of … Read more
23 October 2014
23 October 2014

To PASS Summit and Beyond

In his recent, successful bid to win election to the PASS board, Grant Fritchey (@GFritchey) opened his campaign statement as follows: The PASS organization changed my life for the better. He goes on to explain how, as a result, he’d now like to help extend the benefits he’s experienced to as many other people as … Read more
10 October 2014
10 October 2014

Source Code isn't sacred

A recent, short article on O’Reilly.com, Before You Refactor suggests that if you think you need to rewrite code, you must proceed with caution, do cost-benefit analysis and so on. If you’re still convinced then, at the very least, make the changes in small increments, reusing as much of the existing code, and tests, as … Read more