Ben Richardson

Ben Richardson

Ben Richardson

Ben Richardson runs Acuity Training a leading provider of SQL training the UK. It offers a full range of SQL training from introductory courses through to advanced administration and data warehouse training – see here for more details. Acuity has offices in London and Guildford, Surrey. He also blogs occasionally on Acuity’s blog

View all posts by Ben Richardson
Ben Richardson

Latest posts by Ben Richardson (see all)

Screenshot of Query Store fully enabled.

Performance Monitoring via SQL Server Query Store

August 19, 2019 by

SQL Server Query Store is a performance monitoring tool that helps us evaluate the performance of a SQL query in terms of several different performance metrics such as CPU and Memory Consumption, execution time and the I/O cycles consumed by the query. Query store is similar to the windows “Task Manager”. A task manager provides information about the CPU, Memory, Network and Disc consumption of a process. Similarly, the Query Store provides insight to similar information.

Read more »

Python in SQL Server: The Basics

February 13, 2019 by

With the introduction of SQL Machine Learning Services, it is now possible to run Python Scripts from any SQL Server client such as SQL Server Management Studio. In addition to directly running the Python Scripts on SQL Server Clients, you can write Python Code on native Python editors and run it remotely on SQL Server using Python clients for SQL Server.

In this article, we will see how to execute some of the basic Python functionalities within SQL Server Management Studio. The article provides an introduction to running basic Python scripts in SQL Server Management Studio.

Read more »

Importing and Working with CSV Files in SQL Server

January 28, 2019 by

Introduction

CSV (comma separated values) is one of the most popular formats for datasets used in machine learning and data science. MS Excel can be used for basic manipulation of data in CSV format. We often need to execute complex SQL queries on CSV files, which is not possible with MS Excel. See this article for what is possible with Power BI.

However, before we can execute complex SQL queries on CSV files, we need to convert CSV files to data tables.

Read more »

Machine Learning Services – Configuring R Services in SQL Server

October 25, 2018 by

The R language is one of the most popular languages for data science, machine learning services and computational statistics. There are several IDEs that allow seamless R development. Owing to the growing popularity of the R language, R services have been included by Microsoft in SQL Server 2016 onwards. In this article, we will briefly review how we can integrate R with SQL Server 2017. We will see the installation process and will also execute the basic R commands in SQL Server 2017.

Read more »

Identifying Object Dependencies in SQL Server Management Studio

July 16, 2018 by

In relational database systems, objects have different types of relationships with each other. Apart from table relationships (such as one to one, one to many and many to many), objects such as stored procedures, views, custom functions also have dependencies on other objects. It is important to understand object dependencies, particularly if you want to update an object that depends upon other objects.

Read more »

Understanding SQL Server’s TRY_PARSE and TRY_CONVERT functions

May 16, 2018 by

Data conversion is one of the most fundamental tasks of any programming language. Data received from different sources is often not in the right format. For example, if you receive an XML file where age is in the string format and you want to calculate an average age for the people in the file you will need to convert age into an integer.

To make the conversion process simple, the TRY_PARSE and TRY_CONVERT functions were introduced in SQL Server 2012. Before TRY_PARSE and TRY_CONVERT, SQL Server only had the PARSE and CONVERT functions.

Read more »

Sequence Objects in SQL Server

March 22, 2018 by

Sequence objects are used to sequentially generate numeric values. They were introduced in SQL Server 2012.

Sequence objects are similar to the IDENTITY column in any SQL table. However, unlike the IDENTITY column, they are independent and are not attached to any table. Sequence objects are used both independently and within the DML statements i.e. INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE.

This article will take a detailed look at sequence objects.

Read more »

Understanding SQL Server query plan cache

January 18, 2018 by

Whenever a query is run for the first time in SQL Server, it is compiled and a query plan is generated for the query. Every query requires a query plan before it is actually executed. This query plan is stored in SQL Server query plan cache. This way when that query is run again, SQL Server doesn’t need to create another query plan; rather it uses the cached query plan which improved database performance.

The duration that a query plan stays in the plan cache depends upon how often a query is executed. Query plans that are used more often, stay in the query plan cache for longer durations, and vice-versa.

Read more »
C:\Users\ben.ACUITYPLC\Desktop\screenshot2.png

How to use SQL Server built-in functions and create user-defined scalar functions

July 7, 2017 by

A function is a set of SQL statements that perform a specific task. Functions foster code reusability. If you have to repeatedly write large SQL scripts to perform the same task, you can create a function that performs that task. Next time instead of rewriting the SQL, you can simply call that function. A function accepts inputs in the form of parameters and returns a value. SQL Server comes with a set of built-in functions that perform a variety of tasks.

Read more »