Database Fundamentals #25: Referential Integrity

Database Fundamentals, SQL Server
If you have been reading through all my fundamentals posts and following along, you have built a small sample database, loaded it with data, and learned how to retrieve the data from it. You’ve also learned how to relate one table to another through T-SQL JOIN statements. But that relationship is very temporary. It will last only as long as it takes for that query to run. To create a database that enforces the relationships between the tables, you need to work with declarative referential integrity (DRI), frequently shortened to referential integrity(RI). DRI is the foundation on which the relational part of the relational storage engine is built. It’s not just a nice thing to do for your database. It’s actually a fundamental piece of how SQL Server works. DRI…
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Can We Get Row Counts After Execution?

SQL Server, T-SQL
The general idea for this question came from dba.stackexchange.com: could we, and if we can, how, get row counts after execution. I was intrigued with the idea, so I ran some tests and did a little digging. I boiled it all down in the answer at the link, but I figured I could share a little here as well. Properly Retrieve Row Counts After Execution The right way to do this is obvious and simple. Before you need it, set up an Extended Events session. Done. The only question is what goes into the Session. First blush, sql_batch_completed and/or rpc_completed. Both will return a rows affected value. Although, interestingly, the row_count value is documented as rows returned. However, it's both. But, if you really want to get picky, batches and…
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Find Indexes Used In Query Store

SQL Server
One of the most frequent questions you'll hear online is how to determine if a particular index is in use. There is no perfect answer to this question. You can look at the sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats to get a pretty good picture of whether or not an index is in use. However, this DMV has a few holes through which you could be mislead. I thought of another way to get an idea of how and where an index is being used. This is also a flawed solution, but, still, an interesting one. What if we queried the information in Query Store? Indexes Used in Query Store Now Query Store itself doesn't store index usage statistics. It stores queries, wait statistics and runtime metrics on individual queries. All useful stuff. Oh, and,…
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Database Fundamentals #24: More Filtering Data

Database Fundamentals, SQL Server
In this Database Fundamentals post we continue discussing the functionality of the WHERE clause. We started with the basics of the logic using things like AND, OR and LIKE or '='. Now, we'll expand into some other areas. Functions in the WHERE clause SQL Server provides you with all sorts of functions that can be used to manipulate strings, modify dates or times or perform arcane mathematical equations. The problem with these is that if you do them on columns in tables it can lead to performance issues. The trick then, is to not perform functions on the columns in the tables. We’ll cover this in more detail when we get to indexing, variables, and parameters. Just don’t get into the habit of putting functions on the columns in your…
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How Does The CHOOSE Command Affect Performance?

SQL Server, T-SQL
Questions absolutely drive my blog content and I really liked this one: how does the T-SQL CHOOSE command affect performance. On the face of it, I honestly don't think it will affect performance at all, depending on where and how you use it. However, the answer is always best supplied by testing. T-SQL CHOOSE Command The CHOOSE command was added in SQL Server 2012. It's fairly straight forward. You supply an array and a numbered index for that array and CHOOSE will pull the matching value for that index. It works like this. We'll start with a simple proc and execute it: CREATE OR ALTER PROC dbo.CarrierAndFlag ( @SalesOrderID INT, @Flag INT ) AS BEGIN SELECT sod.CarrierTrackingNumber, CHOOSE(@Flag, 'A', 'B', 'C') AS Flag FROM Sales.SalesOrderDetail AS sod WHERE sod.SalesOrderID =…
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The Very Best of Extended Events

SQL Server
Over the next couple of months, I'll be putting on a number of different sessions teaching about the tools supplied by Microsoft, for free, that can help you when tuning your queries. One of the most important of these tools is Extended Events. A couple of my sessions in the Redgate Community Circle livestream "Built-in Tools Make Query Performance Tuning Easier" will be on Extended Events. My livestreaming starts tomorrow, April 21, at 2pm Eastern. It will be recorded and made available for free. Follow the link for all the details, or, just subscribe to Redgate's YouTube account. I'm also going to be hosting a fundamentals introduction to Extended Events, "The Easy Way to Extended Events." Heck, I'm even going to be hosting a session showing how to use Extended…
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Extended Events: Queries and Waits

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
Wouldn't it be great to be able to put together queries and waits at the same time? You all capture query metrics using some method. Most of us query sys.dm_os_wait_stats or sys.dm_db_wait_stats. Combining them is hard. You could query the wait stats. Store the results in a table variable. Run the query in question. Then query the wait stats again into a different table variable. Join the two table variables together to find the differences. Ta-da, you have query waits. Well. Probably. If you're the only one running queries on the system. Also, you're not seeing system waits or other noise caused by activity on the system. Or, we could put Extended Events to work. Queries and Waits Just like Profiler/Trace, you can capture stored procedures, batches, and individual statements…
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Extended Events: Live Data Explorer, Grouping

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
Of all the things that Extended Events does, I've found the ability to quickly and easily gather a little bit of data and then use the Data Explorer window Live Data grouping to aggregate it to be one of the greatest. Sure, if we're talking about using Extended Events on a busy production server, this method probably isn't going to work well. There, you are going to be better off querying the XML (I know, I know, but I have ways to help there too). But in development, when doing testing and query tuning, the Live Data window is a gift of the gods on par with fire or beer (it's not as good as whiskey). Live Data Grouping Let's imagine a scenario like this. You're working on some query…
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Extended Events: Live Data Explorer, Getting Started

Extended Events: Live Data Explorer, Getting Started

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
One reason a lot of people don't like Extended Events is because the output is in XML. Let's face it, XML is a pain in the bottom. However, there are a bunch of ways around dealing with the XML data. The first, and easiest, is to ignore it completely and use the Live Data window built into SQL Server Management Studio. I've written about the Live Data window before, and I've been using it throughout this series of posts on Extended Events. There's a lot more to this tool than is immediately apparent. Today, we're going to explore the basics around this tool Live Data There are two easy ways to get the Live Data window open. The first, for any Extended Event session that's running, you can right click…
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Extended Events: system_health and a Long Running Query

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
Wouldn't it be great to just quickly and easily take a look at your system to see if you had any queries that ran for a long time, but, without actually doing any work to capture query metrics? Oh, yeah, I can do that right now, and so can you. All we need is something that is built into every single server you currently have under management (sorry, not Azure SQL Database) that is SQL Server 2008 or better: system_health system_health Extended Event Session The system_health Extended Events session is very well documented by Microsoft here. I've talked about it before, in relation to Azure SQL Database, and, on the same topic we're going over today, long running queries and waits (cause if you have a long running query, you…
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