My Best Blog Posts from 2015

ALWAYS LEARNING About mid-way into August of 2015, I learned some important new factors in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that caused me to make some big changes to the way in which I blogged. Namely - simply reposting a slight variant of a given blog post could hurt your overall SEO rankings for any of the given posts. Now you might be saying to me "Kevin, those aren't new factors. They've been around for a long time, you idgit". And I would say in response "Ok then. But I had other things on my mind". (Of course, if you have other recommendations for improving one's blog performance, … [Read more...]

DBTA – Tools to Evaluate Viability of Database Platforms

As the manager for enterprise architecture in a very large IT organization, the C-suite executives frequently posed the question, "What database platform is best for this application today and for the future?" Implicit in that question was the idea that some platforms, for the application and for the database, might be more than adequate today but be trending in a direction that didn't match with our executive's goals. So what's a person supposed to recommend under those dynamics? Read the rest of the article … [Read more...]

What Are the Most Common Failures in Windows, SharePoint and SQL Server Alerting Systems?

Since the introduction of IT alerting systems a couple decades ago, everyone followed a very simple template. You'd first define the metric or condition that the alerting system observes, followed by the response or action that the system should perform when the specified value of the metric is exceeded (sometimes called a threshold or trigger). When triggered, alert responses might include the execution of a program or the notification to a user via e-mail, Short Message Service (SMS), or some other method. The promise of alerting is that it makes it possible for people to keep up with the … [Read more...]

Top 10 DBA Mistakes on SQL Server

  Hear one of my most popular session via streaming media at SQLSentry.TV! Microsoft SQL Server is easier to administrate than any other relational database on the market.  But “easier than everyone else” doesn’t mean it’s easy.  And it doesn’t mean that database administration on SQL Server is problem free.  And since SQL Server is constantly growing from small, home-grown applications, many IT professionals end up encountering issues that others had tackled and solved years ago.  Why not learn from those who first blazed the trails of database administration, so that we don’t make … [Read more...]

Join Me on March 14 in Silicon Valley for a Full-Day of SQL Server Configuration Tuning Lessons

  Join me for a day of Real World Database Configuration and Tuning for Microsoft SQL Server SQL Saturday Silicon Valley 2014 Friday, March 14, 2014 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM (PDT) Mountain View, CA Click HERE to register Now! Seating is very limited!   This full-day training event combines a thorough overview of fundamental architectural concepts of the SQL Server relational engine followed by hands-on demos to reinforce each conceptual lesson. Since most technologists learn by doing, this training is designed to maximize the time attendees spend working with SQL Server. … [Read more...]

One Preparation that makes SSMS Crash Dumps Easy to Survive

  Uh oh! So you're plugging along in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) when it suddenly goes belly up. Now you're staring at various dialog boxes telling you that SSMS crashed. Usually the first dialog box you get will ask you if you'd like to close OR the program. If you choose to close the program, you'll be presented with the opportunity to recover your lost SQL scripts once you reopen SSMS, as shown above.  (Image above courtesy of Aalam Rangi). But let's say that closing the program represents a big issue for you due to lost time, productivity, etc. You want to go … [Read more...]

My Advice About Growing as an IT and Data Professional

First off, I should apologize for not blogging in quite a while. I've been traveling extensively and, because traveling can be so exhausting, I usually have to queue up blog posts to hit while I'm traveling in order to remain active while on the road.  I didn't do that for these most recent trips.  And, as you can see, there's quite a gap between this post and my last few posts. On the other hand, I've experienced an unexpected surge in requests for mentoring and advice from friends and colleagues about career growth.  I'm always happy to help out a friend and, in fact, there's little in my … [Read more...]

Cheaters Never Win, Even in TPC Benchmarks

In this column, I want to tell you about one of my favorite aspects of the TPC benchmarks – CHEATING. Keep in mind that I use the term “cheating” in a joking manner with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek.  But I’m also half-serious.  One of the of the things that is great about the TPC benchmarks is that each of the vendors are required to fully describe all of the shortcuts, tweaks, and special operating configurations they use in order to achieve their spectacular performance numbers.  In a sense, the Transaction Processing Counsel requires that all benchmarked platforms declare all of … [Read more...]

Use TPC Database Benchmarks to Save Money

Last month, I began a series of articles describing database application benchmarking. In the first article, I told you about different ways that you can construct your own database application benchmark. However, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The Transaction Processing Council ( has already created a large number of database benchmarks that are extremely useful and informative. I also described last month how the TPC provides several different types of benchmark tests. For example the TPC-C and TPC-E benchmarks are extremely useful for measuring transaction throughput. … [Read more...]

Read the New TPC Database Benchmarking Series

Introduction to TPC Database Benchmarks Let's talk about database application benchmarking. This is a skill set which, in my opinion, is one of the major differentiators between a journeyman-level DBA and a true master of the trade. In this article published in my monthly column at Database Trends & Applications magazine, I'll give you a brief introduction to TPC benchmarks and, in future articles, I'll be telling you how to extract specific pieces of valuable information from the published benchmark results. But let's get started with an overview … read … [Read more...]