SQL execution plan analysis tool must have’s

SQL execution plans AKA SQL explain plans are one of the greatest assets when it comes to tuning, optimizing, and troubleshooting our queries. Transact-SQL is a declarative language that can be used to query data without requiring a human interaction to specify an exact SQL execution plan to be followed. This simply means that we are not telling SQL Server how to go and fetch the data, we’re just telling it what data we want it to get. So, think of an execution plan in SQL Server as a map. It is a map that the query optimizer is drawing that represents an efficient SQL execution plan to retrieve the data.

July 13, 2018

How to troubleshoot SQL Server performance problems using the SSMS Performance Dashboard

When it comes to SQL Server performance, you might not think of it as a big deal because of today’s modern hardware but every once in a while, your office phone will start ringing off the hook, your email inbox will start blowing up… SQL Server has been brought to its knees. What happened?

That’s what we are going to look at in this article. The main goal is to identify what some of the common problems are and take a close look at the SSMS Performance Dashboard tool. This tool is available out of the box for DBAs allowing to diagnose and resolve their SQL Server performance issues quickly and easily for all supported versions of SQL Server from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2017.

May 17, 2018

How to master SQL Server performance baselining to avoid false positives and/or missing alerts

Baselining SQL Server metrics have significant advantages over traditional predefined alert thresholds when monitoring SQL Server performance. What’s more, when tracking some wait types statistics, it is a must-have as there is no other way to interpret collected performance data correctly otherwise. However, to be able to learn how to use performance baselining and to understand its full potential some advanced knowledge will be presented first

May 11, 2018

How to implement compliance with GDPR for SQL Server

Starting May 25, 2018 all worldwide organizations and companies that process, store or in any other way handle personal information of EU citizens have to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or face heavy annual fines and penalties. In order to comply with GDPR standard, organizations will have to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and reshape their approach to ensure that the security of the personal information is met as per the requirements and have full transparency on any data access, processing or more.

April 20, 2018

How to create and optimize SQL Server indexes for better performance

Indexes are paramount to achieving good database and application performance. Poorly designed indexes and a lack of the same are primary sources of poor SQL Server performance. This article describes an approach for SQL server index optimization to increase query performance.

March 19, 2018

How to optimize SQL Server query performance – Statistics, Joins and Index Tuning

Have you ever gotten a new computer, hooked it up and said: “this computer is blazing fast, I love it”? I have. A year from then, I was like “this computer is so slow, I need a new one”.

Performance is a big deal and this was the opening line in an article that was written on How to optimize SQL Server query performance. The initial article shows not only how to design queries with the performance in mind, but also shows how to find slow performance queries and how to fix the bottlenecks of those queries. I’d highly recommend reading the above article first because this one would give a lot more meaning but also because it’s an appendix to this topic.

February 28, 2018

How to optimize SQL Server query performance

Performance is a big deal. No matter if we’re talking about applications in which users click buttons to display data or if we’re writing a query directly into let’s say SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Nobody likes to click a button, go get a coffee and hope the results are ready. As computers get faster and technology moves forward users get more impatient and want things right now; without having to wait.

January 23, 2018

Documenting individual build changes (vs an entire database) in a SQL Server continuous integration pipeline

Continuous integration is great, and the more iterations, the greater it is. But with all of those changes being integrated it can be easy to lose track of what has actually changed, and when, not if, something fails reconstructing a documentation trail can be a challenge.

If a label is being created with each build, then the label “image” can be restored, depending on the source control system, or even better, you can use ApexSQL Diff to compare the latest label with the previous and see in detail exactly what changed.

But with more frequent iterations (and CI processes are considered optimal when they are triggered as frequently as possible, even on each commit), creating a label for each individual commit, or even a small group of changes, isn’t practical. As changes pile up, it can be even more difficult sorting through the change logs for auditing or diagnostics purposes.

January 18, 2018

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 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