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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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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Daniel Calbimonte

Are SQL Server database triggers evil?

January 25, 2017 by

Introduction

There is a lot of talk about how bad triggers are, how you should never use them, etc. I wanted to spend some time reviewing fact vs fiction and do an objective analysis of SQL Server database triggers (both DDL and DML), warts and all. We will review alternatives and compare them with triggers to determine advantages vs disadvantages of each approach.

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Ahmad Yaseen

Using Memory-Optimized Tables to Replace SQL Server Temp Tables and Table Variables

January 24, 2017 by

TempDB usage can be considered as a performance bottleneck for workloads that use temp tables and table variables intensively resulted in heavy IO usage. A valuable alternatives for the temp table and table variable are SCHEMA_ONLY Memory-Optimized tables and the Memory-optimized Table Variable, where the data will be completely stored in the memory without the need to touch the TempDB database, providing the best data access performance. SCHEMA_ONLY Memory-Optimized table and the Memory-optimized Table Variable are stored only in the memory with no related component in the disk. It involves no IO activity or TempDB utilization. It can also participate in the transactions without the need to log the transactions.

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Shawn Melton

Connecting PowerShell to SQL Server – Using a Different Account

January 24, 2017 by

Introduction

In a previous article on Connecting PowerShell to SQL Server I went over how you use various methods in PowerShell to connect to SQL Server. In those examples though I only touched on using the current user that is running “PowerShell.exe”. In this article I want to pick up and go over how you would use the same methods, but as a different account. I will cover using both Windows Authentication (where supported) and SQL Login authentication.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

How to administer SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) subscriptions using PowerShell

January 23, 2017 by

In the article Report Subscription Changes in SQL Server Reporting Services 2016, I covered several changes to standard and data-driven subscriptions that were introduced in the release of SQL Server 2016. However all of those changes related to administering report subscriptions using a GUI (i.e. Report Manager Portal, SSRS Configuration Manager). The release of SQL Server Core, SQL Server on Linux and enhancements on Windows PowerShell, reinforces the growing shift by Microsoft to have SQL Server professionals adopt scripting as one of the ways to carry out their daily tasks. In this article we continue to explore SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) subscription feature by discussing some of the Windows PowerShell commands that can be utilised to administer report subscriptions.

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Best Practices for Configuring Newly Installed SQL Server Instances

January 20, 2017 by

Often we install SQL Server on clients or we get to clients where they have pre-installed SQL Server Instances. As a DBA we have the Primary responsibility of keeping the Database Up and Running. This responsibility leads to optimizing, performance tuning and many other stuff related to database’s internal objects. While keeping the other aspects in mind many of us have to go through the configuration of the newly installed or pre-installed but un-configured instances. Configuring SQL Server newly instances are not an easy task and a DBA might want to configure an Instance in many ways.

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Ed Pollack

SQL Server Job Performance – Reporting

January 19, 2017 by

Description

Once collected, job performance metrics can be used for a variety of reporting needs, from locating jobs that are not performing well to finding optimal release windows, scheduling maintenance, or trending over time. These techniques allow us to maintain insight into parts of SQL Server that are often not monitored enough and prevent job-related emergencies before they become emergencies.

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