The Importance of a Full Backup in SQL Server

Database Lifecycle Management, DevOps, Professional Development, SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014, SQL Server 2016
This is the first of 12 posts this year in support of Tim Ford's #iwanttohelp initiative. These will be completely 100 level, introductory blog posts meant to help people that are just getting started as data professionals. I'll try to cover several different topics over the year, but felt I should start with what I think is the most important, backups. It is impossible to overstate the importance of getting a good backup of your SQL Server databases. A backup is the most fundamental of protections for the information on which your business is dependent. Since SQL Server is a service, it manages it's own files. Because of this, you can't just copy the *.mdb file where your data is stored. Instead, you must run a process, usually through the…
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Finding Your Query in Query Store

Azure, SQL Server 2016, TSQL
Query Store is pretty amazing. I'm loving working with it. I think it's likely to change how query tuning will be done in the future. Lots of people are probably going to just use the reports and tools in SQL Server Management Studio. However, a pretty healthy chunk of us will start using the system views in order to programmatically access the information stored in Query Store. One of the first things you're going to want to do is track down your query. The primary views you'll want are sys.query_store_query and sys.query_store_query_text. They join together based on the query_text_id. Let's take four scenarios and see if we can retrieve the correct query. First up, an ad hoc query: [crayon-5a6ba7d89f88f622585964/] If we wanted to retrieve this from the Query Store AdventureWorks2014, we'd run…
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Removing All SQL Server Query Store Data

Azure, SQL Server 2016
While setting up example code for my presentation at SQL Cruise (which is going to be a fantastic event), I realized I wanted to purge all the data from my Query Store, just for testing. I did a series of searches to try to track down the information and it just wasn't there. So, I did what anyone who can phrase a question in less than 140 characters should do, I posted a question to Twitter using the #sqlhelp hash tag. Jamey Johnston (t|b) came through... and it was right there in the documentation that I had been reading, over and over. In fact, it was in the documentation in two different places. Reading is clearly a problem for me today. Just so that you know, it's actually really easy:…
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“Applies To…” in the MSDN Documentation

Azure, SQL Server 2014, SQL Server 2016, TSQL
Quick little post. I just wanted to share how happy I am with the new "THIS TOPIC APPLIES TO" infographic. An example here: I think it makes things much more clear when you're attempting to figure out what's up with some T-SQL syntax. Well done Microsoft and thank you. Side note, this only exists in documentation that has been updated recently. I first saw it in some documentation that was updated January 11, 2016. It's not there in another piece of documentation I saw that was updated October 15, 2015. Here's hoping it gets put everywhere. It works.
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Learning R: Foundations

Azure, DevOps, Professional Development, SQL Server 2016
Learning a programming language is largely an act of using that language to do stuff. Done. However, the big thing about R is the mathematical and statistical analyses that can be easily run against your data sets. This means, part of learning this language is learning another, that of data science. I'll be posting about how I'm learning R, but I also should tell you how I'm picking up on Data Science. First and foremost, madman he may be, but one of the few sources of information that I simply trust is Buck Woody. He's been running a series on Data Science. Here's an excellent example on how to pick a particular algorithm. These are must reads. Next, I'm starting a book called Data Science for Business: What you need to…
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It’s Not Too Late

Azure, Professional Development, Red Gate Software, SQL Server 2016
You know you want to go on the SQL Cruise. You can. You just have to convince the boss that it's worth doing. It is. I've said it before and I'll repeat it as necessary, SQL Cruise changes peoples lives. I've watched people go on the cruise with a job and come back with a career. People don't just learn on the Cruise. They get energized. They get engaged with the data professional community. How do I profit by promoting SQL Cruise? I don't. Tim Ford is a friend and I'm supporting him. My company, Redgate Software, is a sponsor of the cruise, so I'm supporting them. I could just be doing the bare minimum in support of these parties. However, I'm not getting paid anything special by anyone for doing more.…
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Statistics for the New Data Pro

PASS, SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014, SQL Server 2016, TSQL
Next week at the PASS Summit I'll be presenting a session called Statistics for the New Data Pro. You can read the abstract at the link. I just want to emphasize that this is a beginner level session. I think way too many people who are just starting out with SQL Server don't understand the role that statistics play in determining how your queries are going to behave. What's more, too many people don't know how to get and read statistics to understand how it is that the optimizer thinks you have X number of rows in your database that match a given value. I'm going to make darned sure that the people who attend this session come out with a full understanding of how to read the statistics. This includes…
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Trace Flags in Azure SQL Database

Azure, SQL Server 2014, SQL Server 2016, TSQL
One of the ways that you take more direct control over your SQL Server instances is through the use of trace flags. There are a number that people recommend you enable by default. Prior to Extended Events for example, I'd say you should turn on trace flag 1222 in order to capture deadlock information on your server (now I just recommend you use the system_health session). I absolutely think you should turn on trace flag 2371 to get better behavior out of your automated statistics updates. There are others that I'll leave to all the systems experts to advise you on. What about Azure SQL Database? I doubt you'll be shocked, but if I try this: [crayon-5a6ba7d8a4e09676004313/] I get the following error: Msg 2571, Level 14, State 3, Line 1…
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