T-SQL Tuesday #039 – Can You Shell What the PoSH is Cooking?

Invitation and recap from Wayne Sheffield.

This month, for the first time, I’m hosting the T-SQL Tuesday Party, and you are all invited. I struggled to come up with a suitable topic (for all of 2 seconds), and decided to tie it in with the blog series on PowerShell that I’m currently blogging on. So I’m asking you to blog about using PowerShell for doing, well, anything as long as it is related to SQL Server or the computer that SQL Server runs on. Scripts are encouraged, but not required. I’ll follow up with a recap of the posts about a week later.

T-SQL Tuesday #037 – Joins

Invitation and roundup from Sebastian Meine.

The Invite

As many of you know already, I decided to declare December 2012 as the month of the JOIN by writing the A Join A Day blog series. So, it should be quite obvious what this month T-SQL Tuesday is about. You guessed correctly — I would like you to join me in talking about joins. Now you might think “If Sebastian is writing 31 posts about JOINs already there is nothing left to write about.” But I can assure you that there is still plenty out there. In my series I am going to cover just the basics. For example, what is a cross join or an anti-semi-join? What is the difference between a hash and a merge join? There are many things I won’t be able to cover, for example how to write efficient join queries.

Your mission – should you accept – is to write about topics like the good and the bad patterns of joining you have seen out there or really anything else that comes to your mind when thinking about joins:

  • Have you had to deal with a slow monster join that you were able to conquer? Let us know how you did it.
  • Have you noticed a join pattern in use that is really not good for readability but you come across it time and time again? Tell us how to do it better.
  • Have you discovered a really cool way of using the APPLY command instead of a JOIN to force the execution engine to utilize the existing CPU resources more effectively? We would like to hear about it.

And if you have a topic that you always wanted to write about but that is only remotely related to joins, feel free to use it anyway and make sure to tell us why you think it is related to joins.

Hope to see you (or at least your post) next week at the party.

T-SQL Tuesday #036 – What Does Community Mean to You?

Invitation and roundup from Chris Yates

The Invitation

Merriam-Webster defines Community as “a unified body of individuals”. For me the SQL Community is something that has helped me in my career; whether it is questions that I’ve had along the way where I was stuck, helping other DBA’s with issues they were having, networking with other DBA’s or making contacts for the future. The SQL Community is just that; we are a team. All on the same team; if one falls we pick each other up. I’ve never been part of a group of people who want to help each other more so than the SQL Community.

One of the best conferences I’ve been to is the PASS Summit. I was fortunate enough to attend last year and this years will provide new attendees the same fortune and opportunities that I have had. Sitting and seeing some of the top DBA’s in the industry learning in sessions along with me…..yeah I was floored.

So my question today is a simple one; I had several topics to choose from technically but I’m curious as to what others think about our SQL Community. Not just some off the cuff answer but really what do you think about it and how has it helped you?

Below are some thoughts I had in creating this topic:

  • How has the community helped me in my career
  • How can I better the community
  • How can I preserve what we already have
  • How can I help other people in the community

T-SQL Tuesday #34 – Help! I Need Somebody

Invitation from Rob Volk.

n the beginning…


SQL Server has changed a lot since I started with it.  <Cranky Old Guy>Back in my day, Books Online was neither.  There were no blogsGoogle was the third-place search site. There were perhaps two or three communityforums where you could ask questions.  (Besides the Microsoft newsgroups…which you had to access with Usenet.  And endure the wrath of…Celko.)  Your “training” was reading a book, made from real dead trees, that you bought from your choice of brick-and-mortar bookstore. And except for your local user groups, there were no conferencesseminarsSQL Saturdays, or any online video hookups where you could interact with a person. You’d have to call Microsoft Support…on the phone…a LANDLINE phone.  And none of this “SQL Family” business!</Cranky Old Guy>

Even now, with all these excellent resources available, it’s still daunting for a beginner to seek help for SQL Server.  The product is roughly 1247.4523 times larger than it was 15 years ago, and it’s simply impossible to know everything about it.*  So whether you are a beginner, or a seasoned pro of over a decade’s experience, what do you do when you need help on SQL Server?

T-SQL Tuesday #32 – A Day in the Life

Invitation and roundup from Erin Stellato .

When we were kids, sometime during elementary school, adults started asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  The professions initially mentioned varied, but they were often along the lines of teacher, doctor, nurse, fireman, policeman, singer, engineer, etc.  Obviously these are not the only professions in the world.  There are so many different occupations that exist, that whenever I meet someone, I usually ask what they do.  It’s not unusual for someone to list a title I’ve never heard (Improvement Coordinator is one I heard the other day).  But a title doesn’t tell me what that person does.  Even when someone’s a doctor or a teacher, there are so many variations nowadays that I always follow up with, “Well what do you do every day?”  And I ask because I really want to know.  So tell me…

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday post is about you and your job.  Specifically, on Wednesday July 11th or Thursday July 12th, track what you do for an entire day and then write about it.  Hopefully one of those days is a “typical” day and not a vacation day (if it is, then just pick another day or do your best), but ideally, everyone writes about what they did on one specific day. 

The scope of this topic is wide open, you don’t have to simply list what you did – feel free to elaborate on what tasks you love or don’t love, your favorite or least favorite part of the day.  Make the post as non-technical or technical as you want (maybe you learned something new that was really cool).  My only request is that you list your official title, as I plan to include them in some way in my summary post.

T-SQL Tuesday #31 – Logging

Invitation from Aaron Nelson.

I’m excited to be hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday.  This month we’re talking about logging.  Logging comes in many form and fashions.  If you think about it, when you go to the grocery store with at big list, Do you put the items in the cart and then check them off the list?  If so, isn’t that a kind of write-ahead log?

I point that out because I don’t want anyone to constrain themselves to talking about logging within just SQL Server.  Please bring your ideas for file transfers, report generating, performance gathering, uptime monitoring and the like.  But don’t stop there!  This is an open invite to anyone that does anything in the SQL Server community.

If Karla Landrum ( blog | twitter ) wants to explain to us how on Earth she keeps track of all these SQL Saturdays around the world, that’s logging!  If Tim Radney ( blog | twitter ) wants to tell us how he makes sure he keeps in touch with all of the chapters he’s responsible for as a PASS Regional Mentor, that’s logging!

How you keep track of blog ideas, white papers you read, or however it is you life-hack *your* SQL world: please share it with us!

T-SQL Tuesday #030 – A DBA’s Ethics

Invitation from Chris Shaw.

I was in the first few months of my second database administrator job when the CTO told me that I needed to give the CFO direct table access into the database that I had designed.  Not 3 months later we were having a company meeting so the executive staff could explain to the company that the CFO had stolen our client list and was out luring our customers away.  Sound like a security issue? Not the way that I see it.

I had an ethics issue on my hands.   From that day in 1997 I have always had my eye out for ethical issues, and more importantly looking for ways we can police ourselves.  It does not take long for a new database professional to see that when you have access to data that there is going to be sensitive data in there somewhere.  The obvious ones are the HR databases, or the financial databases that reside on our SQL Servers.  But there are so many more areas that we need to look before we can get a good handle on how to solve these ethical dilemmas. Take a look at something that I posted a while back that threatened the security of the United States.  I cannot imagine that it would take long for an ethical person to say, “Really?”

A few months ago I had to get a security clearance, and pass the Security + certification so I could do a short contract with the Air Force.  As I was going over study material in a book I was supplied, I ran across a couple of short notes about ethics.  I followed a link or two and I ended up here.  When I first started to look at the list of ethics that they had listed, I was really impressed.  As I got deeper into what they were saying I became a bit concerned, however. The company that produced this is a corporation, not an organization that has the best interests for the industry as a primary goal.  I don’t believe there is anything wrong with being a for-profit, I know I work for one, and well, as an individual I am for-profit.  My issues with the code is the code itself appears to be pointed and making the company a profit, at least it does to me.  If that is the reason they sponsored the Code of Ethics, then well they violate their own ethics when they say:

“I will not advance private interests at the expense of end users, colleagues, or my employer“.

So here is where that leaves us:

For this month’s t-sql Tuesday question I wanted to highlight the need for Ethics in our industry.  Don’t consumers and business owners have to trust someone at some time with their data?  This month, take time to participate by talking about DBA ethics.  I really hope to see someone address topics such as:

         Should we have an ethics statement?

         Have ethics issues impacted you? What did you do about it?

         Security Audits: how do you police what you and others are doing in the database?

         Does a Code of Ethics mean anything to anyone? How do we as a community enforce a Code of Ethics?

         Do you have an issue with this Code of Ethics?

         What do you believe our Code of Ethics should say if we the SQL Server Community have one?

Have fun, but take the time to dig deep and do some real soul searching.  I know with large number of really smart professionals that we have in our community we can think of something.  I will do up a summary once I have returned from my trip that week, but to be honest I hope this discussion goes on long after May 8th.

As with each of the T-SQL installments I ask that you follow some basic rules.

T-SQL Tuesday #029 – Let’s have a SQL Server 2012 party

Invitation from Nigel Sammy.

Yay!! It’s time for T-SQL Tuesday and this month I am hosting the party. I had another topic in mind when I asked to be a host but since the RTM occurred in March I thought it would be best to pick a topic focusing on SQL Server 2012!

I have been playing around with 2012 for some months now and I know for a fact that I don’t know all the new or improved features. As for the features that I actually do know, I cannot say that I am 100% sure that I fully understand all of the benefits that they provide. I don’t think that I am the only person who feels this way so I decided to pick a topic to help improve everyone knowledge of SQL Server 2012!

This month’s topic is: What do you think is a useful feature of SQL Server 2012? 

The feature can be a new or an improved feature. I deliberately did not use the word ‘favorite’ to reduce the chance of multiple posts focusing on the same topic. I also deliberately used the word ‘useful’ to encourage bloggers to give detailed use cases and real-world examples. Remember these posts are to share knowledge and benefit the SQL community so if you want to ‘gain access to the VIP room at the After Party‘ then be the blogger who wrote about a useful feature that no one else covered.

T-SQL Tuesday #028 – Jack of All Trades or Master of None

Invitation and summary from Argenis Fernandez.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard that phrase.

Are you specialized? On something? Or anything at all? Has that been a good or a bad thing? Why?

Are you the SQL guy at work? Or the one who does everything?

Do you code? And configure wireless routers at work also?

If you had to pick one thing to specialize on, what would it be?

Over the course of my career I’ve worn many many hats. I always felt I was doing fine, had a stable job, but wasn’t quite fond of my prospects for the future. Then a friend said that I should focus on one thing and be the best at it. And while I’m most certainly NOT the best at it, I’ve gotten progressively better on it, to the degree that I’ve been called an ‘Expert’ by some (hate that word!) – I’d rather be called ‘knowledgeable’. My career took off like a rocket after I specialized, and certainly choosing to focus on one thing (SQL Server, in my case) has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve also been careful of not forgetting my roots as a SysAdmin – and always try to keep up with changes on the Windows/SAN/Networking front, but not with the same level of intensity.

So, in this installment of T-SQL Tuesday I’d like to ask you to blog about your experience. Tell us why you specialized, or why you’d like to specialize. If you don’t think that specialization is a good thing, tell us why. Discuss. Argue your point(s).

T-SQL Tuesday #027 – Invitation to The Big Data Valentine’s Edition

Invitation and roundup from Steve Jones.

Big Data

godivaThe party falls on Valentine’s Day this month, and I thought a little notice would let you get your post done early, and then spend the day with your loved ones

Since the media has a love affair with Big Data right now, I thought this would make an interesting topic. Data is the lifeblood of our careers and of many organizations. Slowly governments, companies, and individuals are becoming aware of just how important data is to us, and as they do, they want more of it. More storage, more access, and more analysis.

That creates challenges for us as data professionals. We will have to learn to better manipulate, aggregate, summarize, and handle larger volumes of data in the future. I think this means we will have lots of employment in this area, and it means tremendous opportunity for those that learn to work with data well.

This month I want to hear what big data problems you’ve solved, or interesting ways of working with big data, challenges that you struggle with, or cool hardware tricks that mask the problems in your code.

Think big, and let us know how you work with Big Data.