Batching data manipulation is great as long as you do it correctly

As Sinatra was fond of singing, “regrets, I’ve had a few.” And one of those came this week immediately after my presentation. This isn’t to say the presentation didn’t go well – it did. At least I think it did. I had several people come up and thank me afterwards for showing them things they didn’t know previously, so in that sense it went well.

But in hindsight, one part of it, well, it sucked. So I’m going to take a moment here and now to correct that.

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Friendly Reminder: Memory-optimized files and filegroups can never be forgotten

Although I have experience with In-Memory OLTP on SQL Server, I don’t anticipate I’ll be writing about it much. If you want to learn about that subject I highly recommend checking out Ned Otter’s blog. Much like Marcel Marceau is to miming, Ned has quietly become the master of documenting In-Memory OLTP. So much so I’ve even heard Microsoft’s Bob Ward refer to Ned’s posts.

Meanwhile, since you’ve decided to stick around this site, let me share some bad news about the files supporting your In-Memory OLTP.

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Help! My tempdb database won’t shrink!

In my previous post I discussed a particular query design that made the tempdb data files consume all available drive space. When discussing the resolution I noted one of the steps was to reduce the size of the data files. That’s means shrinking them, and I am fully aware that sometimes tempdb can stubbornly refuse to shrink. It’s kind of the reverse problem George Costanza mentioned about swimming.

So let’s talk about what you can do when tempdb requires shrinkage.

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Getting Aggregate Functions to Go Horizontal

I want to continually make the point that nearly everything I post in this corner of the interwebs can be categorized as “Things I have learned” and not “Things I have made.” Despite my years of work with SQL Server databases, I have used learned concepts from others far more than I have discovered myself. And I’m not ashamed to say this, because for any given task we can either reinvent the proverbial wheel or we can use one of the many wheels in working condition that are already in existence. I would like to think my employers don’t care who made it, so long as it’s a correct, timely, and scalable solution.

Which brings us to Sven. Well, almost.

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Don’t mess around with varchar(1)

Maybe I’m showing how old I am, but I remember as a kid hearing a song on the radio that went like this:

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with Jim

You’ve probably heard it at some point, although likely you won’t remember the whole thing. This is because it isn’t played much anymore due to the lack of demand for ’70s folk-rock stations.

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Data Purity and beating the RAP

Recently we had Microsoft Risk Assessment Program (RAP) completed on some of our SQL Server instances. This is where Microsoft deploys some software that performs a similar function to when you go to the doctor for an annual physical. There’s a lot of poking and prodding, they draw samples, and at the end they tell you everything that is wrong. Your servers have high blood sugar, your databases need to take up yoga, etc. It’s pretty much everything except having the MS technician stroke his chin, saying “Hmmm.”

You are going to a doctor for a regularly scheduled checkup, right? Ok then.

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Database snapshot: a deployment’s best friend

I have a confession to make: Historically speaking, I don’t like deployments. I dread them with an unavoidable pessimism that asks “so what is THIS going to break?”

Now, I have worked with a lot of smart people who knew how to write some fabulous code. I don’t doubt that one bit. But I’ve also worked in several places where that code wasn’t rigorously tested before it was time to be deployed in Production. Maybe the business wanted a fix deployed immediately. Maybe the deployment instructions were incomplete. Maybe velociraptors invaded your workplace.

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