Sifiso W. Ndlovu

Top 5 Deprecated Features in Reporting Services 2016

February 17, 2017 by

It’s not often that I write negative articles surrounding SQL Server’s latest release but ever since we upgraded one of our BI boxes to run SQL Server Reporting Services 2016 (SSRS 2016), I have picked up on some frustrations from my team when using the upgraded Report Manager portal due to the unavailability of features that used to exist in versions prior to SSRS 2016. I have since realized that in spite of the many exciting features and improvements introduced in SSRS 2016, there is a downside to this latest version of reporting services that is likely to leave many administrators frustrated.

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Prashanth Jayaram

SQL Server Database Recovery Process Internals – database STARTUP Command

February 14, 2017 by

A database recovery process is an essential requirement for database systems, It can be a tedious job and the process of recovery varies on lot of scenarios. The desire to improve recovery results has resulted in various procedures, but understood by few and prone to errors. In this article, I’ll illustrate the impact of stopping the database instance in the middle of a large transaction that was running and discuss several techniques and tools that are available for faster and successful recovery.

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Craig Porteous

SSRS Failed Subscription Alerting

February 10, 2017 by

Even now, with SQL Server 2016 SP1 released only a few months ago, it baffles me that there is still no built-in functionality to alert admins or users of failed subscriptions in Reporting Services. We still rely on scripts like the one I’m about to describe or report recipients contacting administrators/helpdesks when their report emails don’t arrive or fail to appear in file shares. This is something that people have had to work around for years. There is some documentation that Microsoft provides to help you get started with monitoring subscriptions from the log files with direction on using PowerShell but it is not by any means a complete solution. (Monitor Reporting Services Subscriptions)

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Nemanja Popovic

SQL Server database continuous integration (CI) Best practices and how to implement them – Testing, processing and automation

January 31, 2017 by

Testing

Test databases should be processed with unit tests

In many shops code is unit tested at the point of commit. For databases, I prefer running all unit tests at once and in sequence against a QA database, vs development, as part of a Test step, in my continuous integration workflow pipeline. Yes, issues would be caught later than at check-in, but continuous integration largely solves this with frequent iterations, including at a commit itself. So the difference between on-check in, unit testing and unit testing a build created on-commit, is simply that the unit tests will be run against a fully re-constituted QA database, vs Development. The previous article in this series is SQL Server database continuous integration (CI) Best practices and how to implement them – Source control. Read more »
Nemanja Popovic

SQL Server database continuous integration (CI) Best practices and how to implement them – Source control

January 31, 2017 by

This article provides for a roadmap to continuous integration and delivery best practices, and along the way demonstrates how to apply these with ApexSQL tools and technologies. In some sections this article is aspirational, as no solution yet exists, but demonstrates our plan, direction and roadmap. As the tools that apply these best practices are released this article will be updated accordingly.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

How to resolve Excel Timeline Filter Errors caused by SQL Server OLAP Data Sources

January 31, 2017 by

Over the course of my career, I have developed and deployed to production several business intelligence solutions. These solutions have been consumed using numerous data visualisation tools. One of those data visualisation tools, is Microsoft Excel – which remains a popular data visualisations tool for many of my end users. Like many software products, newer version releases of Excel usually introduce new features. One such feature is the Timeline filter control which was first introduced in Microsoft Office 2013. The Timeline filter control enables end users to visually filter Excel PivotTables using fields defined as dates. The Timeline filter has several benefits compared to the traditional Excel dropdown filter. Figure 1 illustrates one of those benefits whereby the Timeline filter allows end-users to easily apply a filter (i.e. using a scroll bar) again a PivotTable. It also has useful annotations that describes what you have filtered on – in this case, we have chosen sales period between February and March 2011.

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Ahmad Yaseen

Indexing SQL Server Temporary Tables

January 31, 2017 by

SQL Server Temporary tables are a special type of tables that are written to the TempDB database and act like regular tables, providing a suitable workplace for intermediate data processing before saving the result to a regular table, as it can live only for the age of the database connection.

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Gerald Britton

Options for Partitioned Tables and Indexes in SQL Server

January 31, 2017 by

Introduction

I work for a large, multinational financial institution. Like most companies in this field, ours is conservative and subject to much regulatory oversight. The first has meant that we’re slow to adopt new technologies. We need to be really, really, really sure things won’t break, customer accounts won’t vanish or lose their balances and that the regulators will not raise any red flags. Everything we do is subject to the scrutiny of our internal auditors, even something that seems simple, like rerunning a production job that failed because the host compute was down. I really mean everything!

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Koen Verbeeck

Integration Services Performance Best Practices – Writing to the Destination

January 26, 2017 by

With this article, we continue part 1 of common best practices to optimize the performance of Integration Services packages. As mentioned in the previous article “Integration Services (SSIS) Performance Best Practices – Data Flow Optimization“, it’s not an exhaustive list of all possible performance improvements for SSIS packages. It merely represents a set of best practices that will guide you through the most common development patterns.

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Daniel Calbimonte

How to generate random SQL Server test data using T-SQL

January 26, 2017 by

Introduction

In this article, we will talk about generating random values for testing purposes.

I once had a customer with software that worked fine in the demo with 30 rows, but after some months, the software had more than a million rows and it became very slow. The problem was not SQL Server, the problem was the application, which was not designed for tables with millions of rows. The customer sued to the software provider and lawyers were needed to create a resolution. If the provider had tested the software with millions of rows, this problem would have never happened.

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Koen Verbeeck

Integration Services Performance Best Practices – Data Flow Optimization

January 26, 2017 by

In this article, we’ll present a couple of common best practices regarding the performance of Integration Services (SSIS) packages. These are general guidelines for package design and development which guarantee a good performance in most use cases. However, there are always exceptional cases and outliers. The mantra of “measure twice, cut once” also applies here. Thoroughly test any changes to your packages to conclude that a change made a positive effect. This means not only running the in the designer, but also on the server. Also, this article is not an exhaustive list of all possible performance improvements for SSIS packages. It merely represents a set of best practices that will guide you through the most common development patterns.

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