Articles tagged

14 September 2015
14 September 2015

Build Your Own Resource Monitor in a Jiffy

It's great to be able to monitor a counter or any other changing metric while engaged in development work. You'd think that the two alternatives would be using a third-party tool or hacking a PowerShell script. Well no, because there could be an existing open-source PowerShell module that would do it for you, and with a little customization could give you precisely what you need.… Read more
09 September 2015
09 September 2015

How to Confuse the SQL Server Query Optimizer

Gail Shaw examines three common forms of generic SQL that can and will confuse the SQL Server Optimizer to the point that it generates and reuses very inefficient execution plans. Want to 'trick' SQL Server into performing millions of logical reads to return the data, when only are few thousand were really required? Try writing catch-all queries, or using control flow statements to create general-purpose procedures, or switching parameter values within a procedure. Just don't expect the resulting queries and procedures to perform well, or consistently. The ideal solution to the problem of generic T-SQL is not to write it, but failing that Gail demonstrates techniques such as recompiling the query on each execution, using hints, dynamic SQL, or splitting generic procedures into sub-procedures.… Read more
03 September 2015
03 September 2015

OpenStack: The Good and Not-So-Good Bits

OpenStack holds a great deal of promise as a cloud platform built on open standards, and has support from the major players in cloud services. It has the potential for allowing organisations to set up their own private cloud services that are designed to inter-operate. Is it ready yet for companies that want the convenience of cloud solutions, but with more control, and without the large subscription fees? Robert Sheldon finds out.… Read more
24 July 2015
24 July 2015

Microsoft and Database Lifecycle Management (DLM): The DacPac

The Data-Tier Application Package (DacPac), together with the Data-Tier Application Framework (DacFx), provides an alternative way to automate the process of scripting out, or deploying a SQL Server database, reporting on changes, or checking version-drift. As such, it seems to provide an obvious cost-free start for tackling automated Database Delivery as part of Database Life-cycle Management (DLM). We asked Phil Factor if it is ready for Prime-time.… Read more
22 May 2015
22 May 2015

Building a Customised ALM Platform with TFS and VSO

The latest versions of Team Foundation Server are not only sophisticated, but extensible. Continue their course of openness, Microsoft have opened up TFS, and are making it possible to build custom systems on top of it. Karsten Kempe points out three new features that make it possible to build an ALM system to exactly suit you needs, using TFS as the underlying platform, and demonstrates what's possible with an open source dashboard and work-tracking system.… Read more
08 May 2015
08 May 2015

Optimizing Batch Process in SQL Server

SQL Server batch processes are usually run from SQL Agent in background. They can take significant time and resources, especially if they are ETL tasks. Quite often, the responsibility for creating these tasks belongs entirely to the developer. Dennes demonstrates that DBAs can advise and assist with this type of batch job by bringing their expertise to bear on the problem of reducing their impact on the working system to a minimum.… Read more
06 May 2015
06 May 2015

Documenting your SQL Server Database

One of the shocks that a developer can get when starting to program in T-SQL is that there is no simple way of generating documentation for routines, structures and interfaces, in the way that Javadocs or Doxygen provides. To embed the documentation in the source is so obvious and easy that it is a wrench to be without this facility. Phil Factor suggests a solution. … Read more
09 April 2015
09 April 2015

Schema-Based Access Control for SQL Server Databases

Access-control within the database is important for the security of data, but it should be simple to implement. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the jargon of principals, securables, owners, schemas, roles, users and permissions, but beneath the apparent complexity, there is a schema-based system that, in combination with database roles and ownership-chaining, provides a relatively simple working solution.… Read more
09 March 2015
09 March 2015

Integrating Database Lifecycle Management into Microsoft’s Application Delivery Process

In order to automate the delivery of an application together with its database, you probably just need the extra database tools that allow you to continue with your current source control system and release management system by integrating the database into it. If you're using the Microsoft stack, then Redgate's tools can help with some of the difficult database parts of the process, as Jason demonstrates.… Read more
04 March 2015
04 March 2015

R Basics

For exploring data and doing open-ended statistical analysis on it, nothing beats the R language. Over the years, this open-source tool has come to dominate the way we do analysis and visualization; It has attracted a rich and varied collection of third-party libraries that has given it remarkable versatility: But how do you get started? Casimir explains how to get started, and get familiar with the way it works. … Read more
11 February 2015
11 February 2015

Checking the Plan Cache Warnings for a SQL Server Database

How often do you check your query plans during development to see if they contain any warnings? If you're missing them, it means that you're not getting all those hints about missing indexes, join predicates or statistics. Is the query optimiser trying to tell you about implicit conversions? Dennes shows how to view the warnings in plan cache for a particular database using SQL… Read more
11 February 2015
11 February 2015

Application Containers For Cloud Computing

Containers promise to make applications more portable and efficient. The technology, originally based on Linux's cgroups, provides a way of running several applications as modular, platform-agnostic packages in isolation on the same server. Docker's open-source approach to containers has dominated the market, and Microsoft is producing its own equivalent Windows system. What next? Will Containers replace VMS? Robert Sheldon investigates.… Read more
26 January 2015
26 January 2015

Questions About T-SQL Control-of-Flow Language You Were Too Shy to Ask

Surely, we all know how T-SQL Control-of-flow language works? In fact it is surprisingly easy to get caught out. What, for example, do the BREAK, RETURN and CONTINUE keywords do, precisely, in their various contexts? the answers to this and other questions aren't all entirely obvious, but we're too shy to ask them in public, and risk displaying our ignorance.… Read more
16 January 2015
16 January 2015

A Start with Automating Database Configuration Management

For a number of reasons, it pays to have the up-to-date source of all the databases and servers that you're responsible for in a central archive, in version control, and this is a job that is best automated. If you enlist the help of SQL Compare Pro, you can create a Powershell-based system that can be extended to warn you of changes, roughly when they happened, with a report of exactly what changed and how.… Read more
03 December 2014
03 December 2014

SQL Server Reporting Services Basics: The Visual Controls

The challenge of report development is to present complex data in a simple, visually compelling way. The goal is to make it as quick and easy as possible for others in the organization to use that data to make decisions, to see progress towards a business target, or spot and act on worrying trends sooner rather than later. Kathi Kellenberger demonstrates how to start adding visual flair to your SSRS reports, using its impressive set of visual controls, ranging from basic charts to gauges, indicators, sparklines, and maps.… Read more