Monday, December 10, 2018

TSQL Tuesdays # 42

It is time for TSQL Tuesday - Wendy Pastrick (blog | twitter) is hosting this month and the topic is "The Long and Winding Road". Wow, this is a great topic - I cant wait to read many of the other posts over the course of this week! :) This is my first time writing for TSQL Tuesdays, and I cant think of a better way to start.

To start off with, computers have been a part of my life since I was "knee high to a grasshopper". I remember playing on the ATARI and the Commodore. That was back in the days when you put the cartridge for Frogger in, went to have dinner, and then by the time you finished, it was loaded and you could play. I also remember when the game BOMB SQUAD came out and it TALKED!! Holy smokes it was totally AWESOME at the time! :) (I don’t do a good impression of those words, although I try, but they are definitely etched into my brain for all time.) I remember thinking, at that young of an age, how smart and creative you would have to be to come up with stuff like this. I dabbled in basic for a bit, and I am proud to say I wrote my first code at a tender young age - I could print on the screen "Hello Dad, this is cool!" and make it repeat X number of times.

Skip ahead a few years (ok many… but who is counting?) - I was an administrative assistant at an HMO in Florida. I always had a knack for picking up on how software worked by playing around, and as an Admin Asst, it came in handy to be able to help others. I got in good with the IT guys, I mean after all, you should always make friends with IT. That is the first time I was introduced to databases. I worked in the Pharmacy department and we had a vendor that tracked the utilization of medications for our members that we needed to better analyze. So, I used the tools I knew, Microsoft Office and came up with a fabulous solution. I imported the csv file they sent monthly into an Access database (please don’t cringe, the story gets better - I promise :)). Then, scrubbed and manipulated the data, and finally spit it out to Excel. Excel took over and I ran a few macros, and voila - the end result was a formatted report that was used as is. Everything was automated and I LOVED it!

I should have taken the hint even back then, but it took several years and a few jobs in between for me to figure out my passion - data and database management. Right now, I work with SQL 2008 R2, but I have worked with a number of database platforms (MS Access, FoxPro, Visual FoxPro, mySQL, SQL Server 2000/2005/2008/2008 R2 and now delving into 2012). I have loved the intricacies of each, but like working with SQL Server most. I am in a 2.85 person BI team, and while I think what they do on the analysis side is cool, nothing compares to digging my hands into the database directly. I like giving accurate data into the hands of my colleagues and letting them do whatever they wish with it. I also love SSIS! I don’t know what I would do without it at the moment.

While SQL Server is what is taking me to new places right now, I have to be honest. I cherish the memory of when I made my first integrated BI app using an Access database and Excel macros. I don’t know where I would be without that experience. I truly hope to have that kind of moment in SQL Server. I am studying to get my certifications in SQL Server 2012. Hopefully along the way I will have a chance - with such interesting characters in this industry, it is probably almost guaranteed! :)

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Add Location to Open File dialog window in SSMS

Recently I realized I kept going to the same folder over and over...  I have my "play" files on my C:\ drive, but I have a network share that I keep scripts and project related stuff that I really dont want to lose.  Most of my stuff is database development related, so the stuff on my C:\ drive is also in the DEV database (and I am lucky enough to be the main one who works in DEV - only 2 others really do and that is minimally).

I put a shortcut in the My Documents folder, but realized that it didnt help as much as I wanted.  Therefore, I found a way of putting a shortcut in the left hand pane of the Open dialog box. Look at the "home" option in the image below - that is custom :)

Read more: Add Location to Open File dialog window in SSMS

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Oracle datetimestamp to SQL Server datetime

Why doesnt this work Arggg... I am a SQL Server worker... why do I need to know Oracle too??? That is what I thought when I came across a situtation where dates were throwing a fit. I was pulling data from Oracle into a SQL database.

I started using the LINKED SERVER, but switched to use OPENQUERY because they work differently. At first I didnt care why they did, but I am now coming back to learn much more about it and explain it. Honestly, I am hoping I will remember I am typing this so that when it comes up again, I will have a place to check! :)

This article is all about the dates, not about other data types (hence the name). I learned an interesting fact: SQL Server allows dates to go back to January 1, 1753, but Oracle allows dates earlier than that.

The problem was the date I was trying to bring into SQL was before that date and therefore threw an error:

Msg 8114, Level 16, State 8, Line 4 
Error converting data type DBTYPE_DBTIMESTAMP to datetime.

OPENQUERY sends the query to the remove server to be executed there, rather than being executed on the server calling the query, which is what a LINKED SERVER does. To make myself remember it better, using the LINKED SERVER gets back all raw data from Oracle, then processes the query more, which means the dates we want are included and therefore throws an error. On the other hand, using OPENQUERY makes the Oracle database process the query, which means the dates are not included in the returned recordset. It also means that with OPENQUERY we can use the Oracle functions, which is very handy at times.

Read more: Oracle datetimestamp to SQL Server datetime

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Word Wrap in Annotations

Well - one would think that word wrap would be something that isnt too difficult, but when I started typing in an annotation today (look at me - commenting!!), it didnt wrap my text.  I tried enter, to no avail.  If you are stuck - hit Ctrl-Enter and that will wrap your text for you.  Simple enough, but it took me a little bit to find it.  Hope it helps someone! :)

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Backup Tune-up

SQL Saturday - Aug 4, 2012 - Baton Rouge

Instructor: Sean McCown (Midnight DBAs)

Backup Tune-Up

Contact Info:
DBAs@midnight - webshow

This post is going to be a copy of my notes which arent going to make a lot of sense, but when I review them at different times, I am hoping to pick up on maybe what he was saying when it is applicable. There is a lot of information on their website, including the demo that he performed

Restore >> Execution Plans >> log zeroing
- fill a full file with zeros
- then fills it in with SQL data

IFI - data files only

  • instant file initialization
  • turn on - local security policy >> user rights assignments >> 1) perform volume maintenance task and 2) restart SQL service

Trace Flags - change the normal behavoiur of SQL

  • 3014 - never gonna use - troubleshooting HEX info
  • 1806 - turns off IFI - current session
  • 3605 - send to SQL log
  • 3004 - zeroing data came from here
  • 3604 - send to client (not log)
  • 3213 - tells how many buffers using by default
  • 3212 - close to 3213 (sister to it)
  • There is a SQL Server Central post that displays a lot the known ones

Increase the speed of backups - best ways

  • compression - only works 2008 and above - enterprise and above
  • buffer count (# of files) - striping to separate drives (or same drive)

More things discussed/shown

  • buffers - memory to use
  • striping - threads to use
  • max transfer size - amount of data to write at a time - chunks of 64bytes (2MB is a bit excessive)
  • cant stop zeroing log files - growing log files (1 GB is ok)


  • read and write
  • NUL - goal - cant do any better - goal is to get as close to these numbers as possible
  • Find out how fast you can do it with all the resources available
  • Good to know you can do it BUT - if you do it you will hurt production resoruces
  • But - if things are stopped due to issues, its nice to know the smallest amount of time it will take if all resources are available
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SSIS: ProTips - Performance Tuning

SQL Saturday - Aug 4, 2012 - Baton Rouge

Instructor: Tim Costello (Interwork - Dallas)

SSIS: ProTips - Performance Tuning

  1. Benchmark before you begin
    • Performance WireTap script task component written by Todd McDermid
    • output window show start and end row - to show the execution time
    • lightweight (even if left in when running in production, it is lightweight enough not to hurt overall performance)
  2. Its All About the Buffers
    • properties
    • recommend keep defaults (start with low hanging fruit first)
    • dont mess with buffers first - check other stuff for possibilities
    • better to have small # of large buffers, than large # of small buffers
    • Synchronous tranformations - VERY fast (same buffer from beginning to the end)
    • Asynchronous transformations (creates new buffer)
  3. Optimize your souces
    • remove unneeded columns
    • if pulling from a database, use the SQL command (your own query) rather than the table name in the drop down - there is a BIG benefit to this
  4. Better tool for the job?
    • is SSIS the right tool for what you need?
    • if going from a database to a database - do it in the database, not SSIS

Other things discussed: 3 types of data flow components:

  • Full-blocking transformations
  • Semi-blocking transformations
  • Non-blocking transformations
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Oh where, Oh where ... has my column gone?

Phew - I ran into something I knew would be soooo simple, but couldnt figure it out!  Don't you hate that?  Luckily a co-worker helped plug away at it and wham-o we found it!

I had a derived column with a little bit of logic, but not much, then added a data viewer after it to see the results.  Then, added another column within the derived column step.  When I went to look at the results in the data viewer - my column was no where to be found!  Ohh my!!

Turns out, when you create a data viewer it takes the columns it gets, and if you add another upstream, it wont reflect that change.  To change this, you go to the Data Flow Path Editor and click on the "Configure..." button in the bottom right corner (SSIS 2008 R2).  When you bring up the configuration dialog window, you will see a list of columns.  More than likely your new column is in the left hand box - move it to the right and presto! - you can now view that data to your heart's content!  What my co-worker pointed out was that you can also remove the extraneous columns you dont care to look at when you are using the data viewer.

Hope this helps someone find that missing column! :)

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