Create daily database backups with unique names in SQL Server

Introduction

When working with a large number of databases on multiple SQL Servers, creating a foolproof disaster recovery plan can be challenging. Well organized backup and restore strategies will definitely help with this. In order to successfully implement these strategies in a larger environment, configuring automated backup and restore processes is a must. Some database administrators use the batch or power shell scripts for automation, while others prefer to use various 3rd party solutions. In both cases, it is necessary to format database backup names properly. Properly formatted backup names make the job of organizing and maintaining the backup sets much easier. Old backup files are usually obsolete, and they can be easily identified and deleted from the drive either manually, or by using a script.

June 30, 2016

Viewing object dependencies in SQL Server

Deleting or changing objects may affect other database objects like views or procedures that depends on them and in certain instances, can “break” the depending object. An example can be that if a View queries a table and the name of that table changes. The View will no longer function.

June 9, 2016

How to maintain SQL database changes working with Git branches

In case of database development, in the same way as for the application development, there are always tasks such as developing a new feature, fixing bugs from the current release, experimenting with code in order to improve performance, usability in any way and so on. Because of all of this, it is essential that any changes that have to be committed, but not immediately, are segregated to an isolated environment, that does not affect the rest of the team or the main code. For instance, when developing a new feature, it may require a lot of changes to be committed, before the feature, or even a functional part of the feature becomes useful, so the rest of the team can apply it on their local copies of a database. Without having the isolation while developing, the team will lack the freedom to code, without having to worry about breaking the existing code base.

May 25, 2016

SQL Server database continuous integration workflow POPULATE step – Populating the newly built SQL database with data

In the third part of the continuous integration aka “CI” workflow, the Populate step will be described.

After the Build step is successfully finished, where a new database is built directly from latest changes in source control, the Populate step is initiated. In this step, non static tables in the newly built database from the source control repository will be populated with test data.

May 20, 2016

Performance monitoring of AlwaysOn Availability Groups

The AlwaysOn Availability Group was introduced as a new feature in the SQL Server 2012 Enterprise edition and is designed to ensure a more advanced and reliable option for SQL Server high availability and disaster recovery.

May 19, 2016

SQL Server compliance requirements

To be in compliance means to be conforming to a specific set of regulations, standards, policies or laws. Many countries worldwide have specific laws or regulations which are imposed to companies and organizations which they have to follow in order to satisfy specific standards or rules – to be and remain in compliance. Organizations that use SQL Server databases to store customer data and other information abide to the compliance requirements. Additionally, even those organizations that are not subject to compliance regulations or laws need to fulfill their own organization policies, hence they tend to introduce their own compliance regulative.

May 12, 2016

Automating SSIS packages documentation

ApexSQL Doc is a tool that is used for SQL Server database documentation as well as SSIS packages, SSRS reports, SSAS cubes, Tableau sites and SharePoint farms. With ApexSQL Doc it’s possible to specify the exact server objects, attributes, database objects and specific object instances that can be generated in the documentation.

May 9, 2016

How to create SQL Server database split backup files

Introduction

One of the main tasks for every database administrator is creating a reliable disaster recovery plan. The plan always includes multiple backup and restore operations. Usually, opting for conventional, single-file backups should suffice, but in some cases, resources like disk space, backup time, or both could be the issue. This is usually the case when working with large databases.

May 6, 2016

How to create multiple SQL Server backup mirrors

One of the most important tasks for any database administrator is to create a foolproof disaster recovery plan. This plan usually includes multiple backup and restore operations. Most of the time, opting for conventional backups should suffice, but in some cases, storing all backups on a single backup device may prove to be a bad idea. As the databases grow with time, the backups become larger, and backup devices less stable due to frequent read/write operations. If the backup device fails, all of the backed up data might be lost. To avoid this scenario, some administrators take multiple copies of their backup files, and store them on different backup devices. There are a few ways to do this:

May 6, 2016

Improving productivity with SQL snippets

SQL snippets can be a big boost to productivity when writing T-SQL. First, to use a SQL snippet in a script, there is no need to know the syntax, only the purpose of that SQL snippet (e.g. delete an object, create a table, etc.). Using snippets also reduces of the lines of code that has to be typed, and thus decreases the potential for errors that could occur from typing.

May 5, 2016

How to deploy changes directly to a SQL database from a source control repository

One of the challenges these days is how to pull the latest changes (of SQL objects) from the source control repository and deploy them into a SQL database. This process is particularly helpful in the CI workflow Build step, when developers want to build a SQL database from the committed changes in the source control repository, so they can test if their changes compromised SQL objects from the source control repository or they will be built successfully.

April 27, 2016

SQL Server database continuous integration workflow BUILD step – Building a SQL database from a source control repository

In this article, the second Build step of the CI workflow will be described. The Build step is a step in which a database is built using the latest changes in the source control repository and once the build process is finished, a feedback of success/failure is provided to developers.

April 27, 2016

How to automate trigger-based SQL Server auditing

More often than not, a top level requirement for all SQL Server DBAs is to have mechanisms to capture who changed what and when and to have stored audit information available for further investigation. In order to achieve this, database auditing needs to be set up using various mechanisms. One of those mechanisms is a trigger-based auditing.

April 27, 2016

Document SQL Server data model diagrams

This article will be about how to include Data model diagrams in the documentation generated by ApexSQL Doc. With this feature, it’s possible to see graphically display database tables and their relationships.

April 26, 2016

Synchronize SQL database changes between local and remote repositories in distributed source control systems

Having a SQL database being version controlled locally, by storing all changes in a repository on a local machine can be quite handy. In the context of team based database development, it is necessary to establish the environment where changes can be tested locally, specific revisions reverted from the commit history, and doing such things before pushing changes to the remote repository where the rest of the team will be able to review them, and apply against a local database copy.

April 26, 2016

How to create and manage SQL backup policies

Performing regular database back-ups is a crucial part of any disaster recovery plan. There are many aspects that should be taken into consideration when planning long term backup strategies. It is necessary to choose the backup type and backup location and to plan how frequently to perform the backups. Additionally, the processes of verification or encryption could also be included in the plan.

April 22, 2016

SQL Server database continuous integration workflow COMMIT step – Initially committing a SQL database to a source control repository

Nowadays, it’s quite common that database changes are made several times a day and that a number of developers are making changes against the same database. Due to these often changes, a certain “process” has to be followed in order to avoid any potential problems in the later stages of development (Quality Assurance (QA), Staging, User Acceptance Test (UAT)) and at the end in production. When talking about the Continuous integration (CI) for SQL databases today, it’s often referred to a process of several steps:

April 22, 2016

Revision history of an object change in a SQL database using Git

The essence of each source control system is the ability to easily review the history of committed revisions. In addition, to comparing revisions, a user needs to get a specific revision and apply it against a database. Each revision should have a unique timestamp and should carry the information about the user who did the commit. Such system ensures that it is easy to determine who committed what and when, and in some way provide a complete auditing trail of committed revisions.

April 22, 2016

Manage and monitor SQL Server backups from a central location

Introduction

Running and maintaining multiple SQL Server instances can often be a formidable challenge, especially if these instances run on multiple servers. It is easy enough to set up a SQL Server agent job for each server to automate the backups, but what happens if there are 20, 30, or 100 servers that need maintenance? In this scenario, configuring agents on each server would take forever, and monitoring the entire setup would prove to be a nightmare for any administrator. Of course, there are several solutions for this scenario:

April 15, 2016

SQL Server database object search

Developers and DBAs often perform database searches in order to find and obtain additional information related to specific objects, sometimes without knowing the full name of the object.

April 11, 2016