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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Esat Erkec

How to use parallel insert in SQL Server 2016 to improve query performance

December 8, 2017 by

Introduction

In the first part of this article, we will discuss about parallelism in the SQL Server Engine. Parallel processing is, simply put, dividing a big task into multiple processors. This model is meant to reduce processing time.

  • SQL Server can execute queries in parallel
  • SQL Server creates a path for every query. This path is execution plan
  • The SQL Server query optimizer creates execution plans
  • SQL Server query optimizer decides the most efficient way for create execution plan

Execution plans are the equivalent to highways and traffic signs of T-SQL queries. They tell us how a query is executed.

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Marko Zivkovic

How to export data from SQL Server to a Flat file

December 7, 2017 by

In this article, we will illustrate how to export SQL Server data into a Flat file, by using the SQL Server Import and Export Wizard. We will also explain some of the problems that may appear during the process of exporting SQL Server data into a Flat file.

To start the SQL Server Import and Export Wizard, use one of the following ways form the How to import/export data to SQL Server using the SQL Server Import and Export Wizard page.

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Timothy Smith

How to return data use, index compression, and row information with PowerShell

December 6, 2017 by

Background

We recently inherited a database environment where we’re facing significant data growth with limits on the sizes we can allow our databases to grow. Since we maintain multiple development, QA and production environments and these environments must be sized appropriately. We set a few standards about tables that exceed certain sizes – rows, data or both, or have certain growth patterns and our standards force compression at thresholds we set for our different environments (including using page, row, or clustered columnstore index compression) We’re looking for how we can get information about data and compression in tables and options we have so that we can quickly determine candidates that don’t currently match our best practices design we’ve set for our environments.

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Robert Seles

Ola Hallengren’s SQL Server Maintenance Solution – Installation and SQL Server Backup solution

December 5, 2017 by

Database administrators tend to use various scripts or applications, to make the daily SQL Server database maintenance task easier.

Some more experienced administrators prefer to design and use their own scripts for these tasks. The scripts are usually designed to fit the requirements imposed by the specific environment. After the scripts are thoroughly tested, they often get included in a maintenance plan, or SQL Server agent job to automate their execution. Such solution is usually optimal for some demanding environments like high traffic servers or databases that are still in development. Designing these solutions usually take time, and require an experienced DBA skilled in T-SQL or PowerShell scripting.

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Prashanth Jayaram

An introduction to a SQL Server 2017 graph database

December 4, 2017 by

As a database technologist always keen to know and understand the latest innovations happening around the cutting edge or next-generation technologies, and after working with traditional relational database systems and NoSQL databases, I feel that the graph database has a significant role to play in the growth of an organization. Not only are traditional database systems generally inefficient in displaying complex hierarchical data, but even NoSQL lags a little. We usually see a degradation in performance with the number of levels of relationship and database size. Also, depending on the relationship, the number of joins may increase as well.

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Ayman Elnory

How to design SQL queries with better performance: SELECT * and EXISTS vs IN vs JOINs

December 1, 2017 by

Quite often developers put the responsibility of the server performance on the shoulders of DBAs. But to be honest, as a developer, it is your responsibility to write code which is efficient and optimal. However, when writing code, the developer often lacks the knowledge and/or experience about SQL Server to meet this requirement.

In this series, I will be discussing various aspects of query designing, keeping performance and scalability in mind. We will be addressing the most common concepts which we often see that negatively impact SQL code written by developers.

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Craig Porteous

How to manage Power BI dataset refresh failures

November 30, 2017 by

As I covered in a previous post How to connect to (and query) Power BI and Azure using PowerShell, Power BI can be difficult to manage and administer, unlike on-premises BI solutions. One such concern that will often require quick action is the failure of a dataset refresh.

If your reports and dashboards all rely on live connection or DirectQuery data sources like Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse or SQL Server Analysis Services (on-premises or in Azure) then you won’t have to worry about dataset refreshes and this post will just be some interesting reading.

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