Brian Lockwood

Using production data for testing in a post GDPR world

January 15, 2018 by

To SQL Server DBAs who are the shepherds of data in organizations, key GDPR questions, in general, center around whether data will need to be treated differently, safeguarded more etc. and specifically, as it relates to allowing production data to be used in testing.

That will be the focus of this article as we’ll work our way through the details of this regulation as well as various authoritative articles on the subject, to address this key question. Then we’ll look to ways and means to potentially ameliorate our findings to provide alternatives and workarounds if possible.

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Esat Erkec

How to integrate SQL Server and Azure Machine Learning

January 11, 2018 by

Good, clean and reliable data is important for every company, because well-analyzed data will open new possibilities to success. When we look at successful companies, we see that they’ve analyzed customers, sales, and finance data very well. At this point, a game changer enters: machine learning.

Machine learning

Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence which analyzes data in order to predict future and discover hidden patterns. The output helps us make decisions. Machine learning is widely used in finance, healthcare and marketing.

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Robert Seles

Ola Hallengren’s SQL Server Maintenance Solution – Database integrity check

January 10, 2018 by

This is the second article in Ola Hallengren’s SQL Server Maintenance Solution series. It will cover the jobs for database integrity, backup history cleanup and job history cleanup. The installation of Ola Hallengren’s Maintenance Solution is covered in the first article in the series: Ola Hallengren’s SQL Server Maintenance Solution – Installation and SQL Server Backup solution

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

How to plot a SQL Server 2017 graph database using PowerBI

January 9, 2018 by

In the article How to plot a SQL Server 2017 graph database using SQL Server R, I highlighted the lack of built-in graph data visualisation as one major limitation of the SQL Server 2017 graph database feature. In the same article, I went on to suggest making use of SQL Server R as one workaround that could be utilised in order to successfully plot and visualise diagrams out of SQL Server 2017 graph database objects. However, whilst 3rd party graph database vendors such as Neo4j provide an interactive and hyperlinked graph diagrams that allows you to – amongst other things – easily drilldown and identify node-relationships as indicated in Figure 1, the graph plotted using SQL Server R is not very interactive in fact it is simply a static image file as shown in Figure 2.

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Prashanth Jayaram

The importance of Python in SQL Server Administration

January 8, 2018 by

Some of my previous articles on Python provided insight of the basics and the usage of Python in SQL Server 2017.

This article is an effort to collect all the missing pieces and try to showcase the importance of using Python programming in SQL Server.

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Gerald Britton

Get more out of Python on SQL Server 2017

January 5, 2018 by

Introduction

One of the new features announced with SQL Server 2017 is support for the Python language. This is big! In SQL Server 2016, Microsoft announced support for the R language – an open source language ideally suited for statistical analysis and machine learning (ML). Recognizing that many data scientists use Python with ML libraries, the easy-to-learn-hard-to-forget language has now been added to the SQL Server ML suite.

There’s a big difference between R and Python though: R is a domain-specific language while Python is general purpose. That means that the full power of Python is available within SQL Server. This article leaves ML aside for the moment and explores a few of the other possibilities.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

How to plot a SQL Server 2017 graph database using SQL Server R

January 3, 2018 by

A few years ago, one common business case I came across in my professional career that required modelling of data into a many-to-many entity relationship type was the representation of a consultants and their projects. Such a business case became a many-to-many entity relationship type because whilst each project can be undertaken by several consultants, consultants can in turn be involved in many different projects. When it came to storing such data in a relational database engine, it meant that we had to make use of bridging tables and also make use of several self-joins to successfully query the data.

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Marko Zivkovic

SQL Server Query Store – Overview

December 29, 2017 by

The SQL Server Query Store is a relatively new feature introduced in SQL Server 2016. It is basically a SQL Server “flight recorder” or “black box”, capturing a history of executed queries, query runtime execution statistics, execution plans etc. against a specific database. This information helps in identifying performance problems caused by query plan changes and troubleshooting by quickly finding performance differences, even after SQL Server restart or upgrade. All data that SQL Server Query Store capture are stored on disk.

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Ahmad Yaseen

What’s new in SQL Server Management Studio 17.4; Always On AG dashboard enhancements and more

December 27, 2017 by

As all other database engines that require a GUI too to interact with, Microsoft built SQL Server Management Studio as a tool that provides an environment to manage, configure, monitor and administrate the SQL Server infrastructure for different kind of instances, that are installed locally at your machine, on a remote server with Windows or Linux operating systems or hosted in the cloud such as SQL Azure or Azure Data warehouse.

Recall that the SQL Server Management Studio consists of the Object Explorer, which is used to view and manage all objects within the SQL Server instance, the Template Explorer, that is used to deal with the scripting text files and the Solution Explorer, that is responsible for building the projects that contain list of T-SQL scripts in SQL Server.

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Samir Behara

What’s new in SQL Server Management Studio 17.4; SQL Vulnerability assessment and more

December 26, 2017 by

Microsoft released the latest version of the SQL Server Management Studio 17.4 a few weeks back. This release brings in exciting new features and bug fixes to the SSMS IDE for SQL Developers and DBAs. In this article, we will look at a new inbuilt tool for identifying security vulnerabilities in your database. We will also understand the improvements made to the XEvent Profiler and ShowPlan features.

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Prashanth Jayaram

6 methods to write PowerShell output to a SQL Server table

December 25, 2017 by

PowerShell has become the ultimate choice for many database administrators because of its efficient way of handling and managing automation in a simple, quick way. It’s built on .NET Framework and uses Object Models such as COM, ADSI, ADO, and WMI. PowerShell has replaced the traditional way of scripting that used many legacy scripting practices to monitor SQL instances.

I’ve been asked on several occasions about how to store the output of PowerShell WMI data into the SQL table. The question comes up so frequently that I decided to write this article.

When sending data within a system (such as a PowerShell object to a cmdlet), the process is straightforward. However, with non-native data interchange (for instance, WMI to SQL), the process can potentially get complicated. Due to this, many purists suggest sticking to simple interchange formats, such as CSV, JSON or in some cases, XML.

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Esat Erkec

How to use sargable expressions in T-SQL queries; performance advantages and examples

December 22, 2017 by

The challenge

One of the main tasks of a SQL Server database administrator is performance tuning. Sometimes, though, coders or developers don’t always prioritize database performance or query optimization. Here is a typical scenario

  • Imagine that developers create a new table and then insert some records in a test environment and test their queries to retrieve data from it
  • The query executed successfully and does not exhibit any symptoms of performance problems
  • The developer team release this table and query into production
  • One day you take a telephone from your colleague and he says my report is very slow
  • Bingo! In production, this table contains a lot of records and this is resulting in performance bottlenecks when querying it
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Ahmad Yaseen

SQL Server read-ahead mechanism; concept and performance gains

December 21, 2017 by

The user’s read requests in SQL Server are managed and controlled by the SQL Server Relational Engine, that is responsible for determining the most optimized access method, such as index scan or table scan, to retrieve the requested data. These read requests are also optimized internally by the SQL Server Storage Engine, the buffer manager components specifically, that is responsible for determining the general read pattern to be performed.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

How to enable and disable the Identity Cache in SQL Server 2017

December 20, 2017 by

Every data warehouse developer is likely to appreciate the significance of having surrogate keys as part of derived fields in your facts and dimension tables. Surrogate keys make it easy to define constraints, create and maintain indexes, as well as define relationships between tables. This is where the Identity property in SQL Server becomes very useful because it allows us to automatically generate and increment our surrogate key values in data warehouse tables. Unfortunately, the generating and incrementing of surrogate keys in versions of SQL Server prior to SQL Server 2017 was at times challenging and inconsistent by causing huge gaps between identity values. In this article, we take a look at one improvement made in SQL Server 2017 to reduce the creation of gaps between identity values.

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Esat Erkec

How to implement a graph database in SQL Server 2017

December 19, 2017 by

Introduction

Graph database

A graph database is a type of database whose concept is based on nodes and edges.

Graph databases are based on graph theory (a graph is a diagram of points and lines connected to the points). Nodes represent data or entity and edges represent connections between nodes. Edges own properties that can be related to nodes. This capability allows us to show more complex and deep interactions between our data. Now, to explain this interaction we will show it in a simple diagram

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Daniel Calbimonte

How to create Excel reports based on SSAS information

December 18, 2017 by

Introduction

In SSAS, when I offer Power BI, Reporting Services, PowerPivot or SharePoint to connect to SSAS, the business analysts look scared. On the other hand, if I talk about MS Excel, everybody seems so happy and comfortable with it.

Excel is still the most popular spreadsheet in the world even when there are a lot of free spreadsheets like OpenOffice and LibreOffice to download, in the BI world, Excel is still the most popular.

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Prashanth Jayaram

How to configure SQL Server 2017 on Linux with mssql-conf and other available tools

December 13, 2017 by

Configuration of any system plays a vital role in its working efficiently. However, configuring a system needs not necessarily be a daunting task. There are several tools that help with the process.

SQL Server on Linux provides a wide range of options for configuration, management and administration.

  1. mssql-conf
  2. Transact-SQL
  3. SQL Server Management Studio
  4. PowerShell
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Daniel Calbimonte

How to build a cube from scratch using SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS)

December 11, 2017 by

Introduction

I am a DBA consultant and several times, in the past, I have been asked for a good tool to generate fast reports to get information about the company like total sales, sales per year, month, week etc

SSAS is a Business Intelligence (BI) technology that Microsoft bought from Panorama Software in 1996. After the acquisition, the technology was upgraded and evolved and now it is part of the tools that come with SQL Server. This tool is an extremely powerful tool to create analytical reports fast. It works with cubes that are designed to generate reports with optimal performance using aggregated information stored in the cube.

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