How to create and use DML triggers in SQL Server using real world examples

First thing first, a little background on triggers. Although often maligned, in certain circumstances they can be very helpful… once you get to know them. For example, sending an email from SQL Server could be done with a trigger based on some anticipated event.

In this article, we will focus on a case with T-SQL data modification when an Insert, Update or Delete statement hits the data in our table. As the name applies the trigger will fire and then we can make decisions on what next based on new data that is coming in or old data that is getting replaced. This is what triggers are most used for.

January 12, 2018

How to monitor and detect SQL Server round-trip performance issues using custom designed metrics

For every query issued by the application, time is needed to reach the SQL Server and then the time needed for results to get back to the application. As all communication between an application and SQL Server goes via some network (LAN or WAN), network performance could be a critical factor affecting overall performance. Two factors affect network performance: latency and throughput.

December 8, 2017

How to update a SQL database from source control while avoiding dependency errors

Working with a database under source control has many benefits. Beside tracking all the changes made against a database, including the information what the changes were and who made them, you can also track history of committed versions of all database objects which can be restored on a database at any point.

However, one of the benefits which will be explained in this article is comparing and syncing two copies of the same database. Using ApexSQL Source Control, all objects that are missing in one copy of a database can be created/restored in the second copy of a database, preserving the integrity of both databases.

December 7, 2017

How to add self data change auditing capabilities to commercial, shrink-wrapped software with a SQL Server backend

There are thousands of distributed. commercial software applications aka shrink-wrapped, from small shareware apps to large corporations, that use a SQL Server backend. These systems, although distributed, could often benefit from and sometimes require data change auditing at the client location.

Although ApexSQL sells a successful, enterprise auditing tool for SQL Server, ApexSQL Audit, this tool is often not appropriate for distributed, commercial software.

November 29, 2017

How to analyze query performance characteristics in SQL Server

Introduction

There is a maxim that comes from the world of Python programming: “There should be one – and preferably only one – obvious way to do it.” (See The Zen of Python) in the references. While that is a good goal for any language, it is a difficult goal to achieve. T-SQL is no exception here!

Consider a simple problem: You have a customer transaction table with dated rows. You are asked to produce a list of the top transactions per day. “Top” could be defined as the one with the most items, the highest value, the most important customer or a variety of other criteria. However, you define it, at some point, you will want the maximum (or minimum) value of one of the columns. Then you will want to output the entire row (or rows, in the case of a tie) matching that value. Sounds simple, right? Well, it actually is simple, but the number of ways to do it may surprise you!

November 22, 2017

How to execute an unattended best practices review against a database

One of the many tasks of the DBA in charge on a development project is to make sure the team stays consistent in their code. Routine checks for SQL best practices such as naming conventions, right data types usage, problematic things like cursors, potentially fatal things like Deletes without Where clauses can cause a lot of headaches.

November 10, 2017

How to Detect SQL Server Performance Issues Caused by Incorrect Clustered Indexes

Description

A clustered index is critical to performance on any table. Not only does it dictate the logical storage of data for the entire table, but it also is the index that all others will reference when additional data is required. A poorly chosen clustered index can greatly hamper performance, causing latency, contention, and excessive IO. In this article, we will explore clustered indexes, and use ApexSQL Tools to assist in identifying those that could be improved upon.

November 9, 2017

How to create Copy-Only backups in SQL Server

Creating a foolproof disaster recovery solution is imperative for every business. After the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) are defined, a database backup plan should be created to match these objectives. Most DBAs tend to automate the majority of tasks related to database backup plans. Regular database backup schedules are set in order to create continuous backup chains, that can later be used to recover a database in the case of a disastrous event. By setting the backup schedule, the continuity of the backup process is ensured, and most of the job is performed automatically on a regular basis.

November 7, 2017

How to version control SQL scripts alongside SQL database objects

This article explains how SQL database source control can help in version control SQL scripts alongside SQL database objects. Developing a software sometimes requires versioning not only database objects, but custom SQL scripts for migration, configuration, automation or other purposes

November 3, 2017

“What broke my database?” Using SQL database source control for forensic auditing and database troubleshooting

Besides the auditing trail of all the changes made against a database and having the information of who committed what and when, the main benefit of having a database under version control is the fact that the history of all the previously committed versions of any object (or a group of objects) can be used to find the exact version that broke the database at any point. Assuming that a SQL database under source control is being deployed on a daily basis or even more frequently, it is essential to ensure that only tested changes are committed so that a SQL database can be deployed in a working state, without any issues.

November 1, 2017

Using SQL source control to track database changes

The goal of this article is to explain how SQL database source control can help in auditing database changes. Tracking a change by itself is not the only task required for successful implementation of SQL source control, as we also want to know who made the change, when and why. After all of these inputs are known, any problems and be diagnosed and be fixed efficiently. We’ll see how having a SQL database under version control can help in keeping the auditing trail with a possibility to revert back to any of the previous version of an object.

October 31, 2017

Fatal action guard: guarding against inadvertent execution of code that may damage or destroy data in SQL Server

There are many opportunities, before, during and even after to guard against potentially fatal actions that may damage or destroy data, like executing an Update or Delete statement without a Where clause. Such a fatal action guard can be implemented in different ways and at different times, relative to the incident, for example, before it to prevent it from happening in the first place, or after, to reverse an action that has already been executed.

October 24, 2017

How to make SQL database version control safer with branches

The goal of this article is to explain how to use branches in order to diverge from the main development line aka master branch and leave it unaffected by all the committed changesets that are not yet tested and confirmed as good ones. As long as a separate branch is used to commit changes, a master branch can be used to deploy a working copy of a database from source control for any purposes.

October 23, 2017

How to set different connection colors in SSMS

Microsoft introduced a neat feature in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) in SQL Server 2008 that helps users quickly determine which connection a tab is currently using by setting custom connection colors in SSMS for different SQL Server nodes.

For database administrators who work on a multiple SQL Servers simultaneously, this feature is a time-saver that allows users to quickly determine which SQL Server are currently used by looking at a color defined for the associated server.

October 18, 2017

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance for SQL Server

On April 27, 2016, the European Parliament and the council of the European Union adopted a new standard, the General Data Protection Regulation on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. The GDPR takes effect on May 25, 2018 and introduces numerous security and compliance regulations and obligations to all organizations worldwide, that handle, process, collect or store personal information of EU citizens. This means that organizations, both the data processors and data controllers, will have to elevate security measures and auditing mechanisms when handling personal identifiable information (PII) of EU citizens and be able to demonstrate compliance with GDPR standard at all time, not only on regular basis (monthly, yearly), but also on demand.

October 13, 2017

SQL Server performance monitoring – identifying problems using wait statistics and query wait analysis

In aggregate, SQL Server Wait statistics are complex, comprising hundreds of wait types registered with every execution of the query. So, to better understand how and why the wait statistic, in general, is the most important for detecting and troubleshooting SQL Server performance issues, it is important to understand the mechanism of how a query executes on SQL Server, since SQL Server performance problems are the ones that most often affect end users.

October 6, 2017

How to export SQL Server data to a CSV file

This article will explain different ways of exporting data from SQL Server to the CSV file. This article will cover the following methods:

  1. Export SQL Server data to CSV by using the SQL Server export wizard
  2. Export SQL Server data to CSV by using the bcp Utility
  3. Export SQL Server data to CSV by using SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) in SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) within Visual Studio
  4. Export SQL Server data to CSV by using the ApexSQL Complete Copy results as CSV option
October 4, 2017

Multi server PowerShell script to backup SQL Server databases automatically

Eighty-two percent of the enterprises expect the number of databases to increase over the next twelve months. An increase in data volumes can have negative effects on the performance of databases. Think about the storage requirement and backup strategy to meet the Recovery Time Objective and the Recovery Point Objective. RPO and RTO are two of the most important parameters of a disaster recovery or data protection plan.

September 27, 2017

How to use source control with SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)

Introduction

The growing adoption of Continuous Integration development practice implies that developers have to work in a collaborative manner by storing and sharing their source code into a central repository. For SQL Server Business Intelligence (SQL Server BI) developers, the collaboration is usually made possible by the Team Explorer plug-in for Visual Studio which provides an interface for integrating SSRS, SSIS and SSAS solutions into source control environments such as Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC) or Git. However, several aspects of SQL Server BI solutions involve T-SQL development (i.e. defining of SSRS datasets, SSAS data source views, as well as SSIS source data flow tasks).

September 25, 2017