Jefferson Elias

How to take advantage of the SQL Server’s transaction log?

April 11, 2016 by

Introduction

SQL Server keeps track of all database modifications and every database transaction. This is done in a file called the transaction log or TLOG. This transaction log is particular to a SQL Server database and there is, at least, one transaction log per SQL Server database.

As explained on MSDN, the transaction log is a critical component of the database and, if there is a system failure, the transaction log might be required to bring your database back to a consistent state. The transaction log should never be deleted or moved unless you fully understand the ramifications of doing this.

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Shawn Melton

Perform volume maintenance tasks security policy

April 4, 2016 by

Introduction

You may see it more commonly referenced as Database Instance File Initialization (DIFI). If you are not familiar with the file initialization, this is the process SQL Server has to go through when it is creating the data files for a given database, and also during an expansion event (either manually or from auto growth) for a database. It only pertains to the data file(s) of the database, as log files are not affected by this security policy. SQL Server will “zero out” the file, basically fill it up with a bunch of zeros to allocate the amount of space requested. If you are a new DBA, this configuration actually goes all the way back to SQL Server 2005.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

TFS tools for managing SQL Server development

March 29, 2016 by

In today’s world of DevOps and ALM practices, there is often a strong emphasis on the visibility and traceability of the work we perform towards software development. This means that as developers, we often have to account (to clients, business owners, project teams etc.) for a list of development tasks that will be undertaken to deliver a given project requirement or user story. Amidst several tools that can be used to facilitate such a practice, Team Foundation Server (TFS) is one such tool that can be used by developers to keep track of their work items.

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Ahmad Yaseen

SQL Server indexed views

March 17, 2016 by

SQL Server Views are virtual tables that are used to retrieve a set of data from one or more tables. The view’s data is not stored in the database, but the real retrieval of data is from the source tables. When you call the view, the source table’s definition is substituted in the main query and the execution will be like reading from these tables directly.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

Working with ragged right formatted files in SSIS

March 16, 2016 by

In the world of SSIS development architecture, preference should be given to extracting data from flat files instead of non-Microsoft relational databases. This is because you often don’t have to worry about driver support and compatibility issues in your SSIS development/server machine that is often attributed to non-Microsoft database vendors. In fact, I’ve been in several situations whereby we cannot upgrade to another version of SSIS (i.e. BIDS to SSDT) due to the lack of external vendor driver compatibility issues in the newer versions of SSIS.

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Shawn Melton

Analyzing SQL Server backups

March 8, 2016 by

Introduction

Database backups are important and always something you should have in any environment. Outside of needing them to restore a given database they have some information that can be useful in certain situations. One situation I found them convenient is with consolidation projects. If the databases are online you can obviously go to the source SQL Server instance to gather that information, but as a consultant I don’t necessarily have access to every environment. You may have the same issue if you are being brought into a project and your customer or department manager just wants you to advise on how you would setup the server. One easy request is to have them point you where the backups are stored and ensure you have access to the files.

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Minette Steynberg

Using and troubleshooting SQL Server IntelliSense – For SQL Server 2012 or higher

February 29, 2016 by

When I first heard that Microsoft was going to introduce IntelliSense for SQL Server I could hardly contain my excitement. Much to my disappointment the initial version of IntelliSense left a lot to be desired. From issues like just not popping up at all, to not working on remote servers and sometimes picking incorrect entries could make it a bit tedious to use and for those of us who started out on SQL Server before the advent of IntelliSense it was easier just to revert back to good old fashioned typing from memory. I am happy to report however, that there has been great strides in IntelliSense to such an extent that if I suddenly had to live without it, I would be really really sad and my productivity would probably be affected somewhat as well.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

SQL Server pivoting on non-numeric data types

February 19, 2016 by

Introduction

In the article, Multiple Options to Transposing Rows into Columns, I covered various options available in SQL Server to rotating a given row into columns. One of the options included the use of a PIVOT relational operator. The mandatory requirement of the operator is that you must supply the aggregate function with only a numeric data type. Such a mandatory requirement is usually not an issue as most aggregations and subsequent pivoting is performed against fields of numeric data type. However, sometimes the nature of business reporting requests may be such that you are required to cater for pivoting against non-numeric data types. In this article we take a look at how you can deal with such requirements by introducing a workaround to pivoting on non-numeric fields.

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Ahmad Yaseen

How to configure SQL Server mirroring on a TDE encrypted database

February 19, 2016 by

Securing and encrypting sensitive data stored in your production databases is a big concern, especially the databases storing the organization’s financial data and customers’ confidential information.

SQL Server offers multiple encryption methods in the cell, table and database levels. And in this article, we are interested in a SQL Server database encryption method, introduced in SQL Server 2008, called Transparent Data Encryption (TDE). SQL Server TDE provides encryption on the database file level; it encrypts the database (.MDF), (.LDF), (.NDF), (.BAK), (.DIF), (.TRN) and snapshot files.

The main purpose of this article is showing how we could setup a mirroring site for a database encrypted using SQL Server Transparent Data Encryption. But before starting the demonstration, it is better to introduce TDE first.

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