Getting Started on AWS RDS

AWS, RDS
I'm expanding my skill set into AWS in a big way. So, one of the things I do when I'm learning a technology is to write blog posts about that tech. So, prepare yourself for a bunch of info on AWS. I'll be working with RDS, which will include SQL Server & PostgreSQL for certain. I'll also be posting quite a bit on AWS DevOps as I get into it. The usual stuff, including SQL Server, query tuning, Extended Events, Azure, Azure DevOps, and all the rest is not going away. I'm just adding another topic. Today, we're getting started on AWS RDS. Creating an RDS Instance The thing is, there's a lot of documentation available on getting started on AWS RDS, directly from Amazon. It's embedded neatly into the…
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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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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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Query Store, Plan Forcing, and DROP/CREATE

SQL Server, T-SQL
I absolutely love Query Store and the ability it provides to force a plan is amazing. However, there are a lot of little gotchas in this functionality. I just recently found one that has quite a far reaching effect. Let's talk about what happens when you DROP and then CREATE a stored procedure. Query Store and Plan Forcing Let's quickly recap how Query Store works and how Plan Forcing works. First, Query Store is driven by query, not by procedure, not by batch, but by query. Second, plan forcing is also by query. However, there are queries and there are queries. Let's take this as an example: CREATE PROC dbo.AddressByCity @City NVARCHAR(30) AS BEGIN SELECT a.AddressID, a.AddressLine1, a.AddressLine2, a.City, sp.Name AS StateProvinceName, a.PostalCode FROM Person.Address AS a JOIN Person.StateProvince AS…
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Extended Events: Histogram Output

SQL Server, You Can't Do That In Profiler
The single most important thing to remember about Extended Events is that this functionality is not simply a replacement for Profiler/Trace, but a whole new tool with new functionality. My first example for functionality that you simply cannot get in Profiler/Trace is the ability to output to a Histogram. Profiler/Trace can output to a table or to a file. Extended Events can have a target that is a file, same as Profiler. However, you can also have a target: etw_classic_sync_targetevent_counterhistogrampair_matchingring_buffer Read about each of the types in the Microsoft documentation here. I'm going to focus for the moment on the histogram target because it lets you do some fun stuff and easily collect data that you simply can't collect using Profiler/Trace without hopping through a bunch of flaming hoops. Setting…
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Extended Events Misperceptions: Profiler is Easier, Part 2

SQL Server, Tools
I wrote a short blog post about the misperception that Profiler was easier than Extended Events when it came to the core concept of "click, connect, BOOM, too much data". Go read it if you like, but I don't think it's actually an effective argument for how much easier Extended Events is than Profiler. Here, we're going to drill down on that concept in a real way. Let's start with a little clarification. I'm going to be a little lazy with my language. Trace is a scripted capture of events on a server. Profiler is a GUI for consuming a Trace, either live or from a file, and for creating Trace events. However, almost everyone refers to 'Profiler' when they mean either Trace or Profiler. I may do the same…
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Extended Events Misperceptions: Profiler is Easier

SQL Server
I know, I know, I'm on #teamexevents so I think that Extended Events can do no wrong, but let's address this thought that Profiler is easier. Now, if we're strictly talking knowledge, sure, if you've got a lot of experience with Profiler/Trace and very little with Extended Events, of course Profiler is easer. However, what I'm told is that Profiler doesn't require very much set up, while Extended Events does. That's just wrong, but let's put it to the test. The Test For the comparison, we're not going to do anything special with either tool. I'm just going to start collecting query data with the fewest possible clicks and/or key strokes. I'm going to use both tools short cuts to make this as fast as possible. The goal is, click,…
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Execution Plans: First Operator

SQL Server, T-SQL
The first time you see a new execution plan that you're examining to fix a performance problem, something broken, whatever, you should always start by looking at the first operator. First Operator The first operator is easily discerned (with an exception). It's the very first thing you see in a graphical execution plan, at the top, on the left. It says SELECT in this case: This is regardless of how you capture the execution plan (with an exception). Whether you're looking at an execution plan from the plan cache, Query Store, or through SSMS, the execution plan, regardless of complexity, has this first operator. In this case, it says UPDATE: If you get an execution plan plus runtime metrics (previously referred to as an "actual" execution plan), you'll still see…
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Distributing Jupyter Notebooks

Professional Development, SQL Server
If you're working with the Microsoft Data Platform, you should be, at the least, exploring Azure Data Studio as a new tool in your toolbox. One of the big reasons for this is the inclusion of Jupyter Notebooks. For those who don't know, Jupyter Notebooks are an open source documentation tool that lets you combine text and pictures with live code. From this we can talk about runbooks that you can share with people, lessons in combination with videos, presentations, interactive software documentation and lots more. I'm myopically focused at the moment on Azure Data Studio, but there are a lot of other places and ways to create or consume notebooks. However, I'm going to keep my focus. The issue I'm running into, is distributing the notebooks. Where to go…
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