Introducing the SQL Server Database Experimentation Assistant

INTRODUCING THE SQL SERVER DATABASE EXPERIMENTATION ASSISTANT There's a very handy new tool from Microsoft called the Database Experimentation Assistant (DEA). The DEA makes it very easy to conduct A/B testing for SQL Server upgrades, providing quantitative insight into the performance differences across two versions of a database workload on SQL Server. Learn more! READ MORE... Posted February 08, 2017 … [Read more...]

Stronger Security Via Always Encrypted in SQL Server 2016

STRONGER SECURITY VIA ALWAYS ENCRYPTED IN SQL SERVER 2016 Prior to SQL Server 2016, currently in CTP, your main method for encrypting a SQL Server application was to use a feature called Transparent Data Encryption. TDE provides strong encryption, but with some shortcomings. First, you have to encrypt an entire database. No granularity is offered at a lower level, such as encrypting specific tables or certain data within a table. Second, TDE encrypts only data at rest, in files. Data in memory or in-flight between the application and server are unencrypted. Enter Always Encrypted. READ … [Read more...]

How Can the SQL Server Resource Governor Help You?

MANAGING ‘NOISY NEIGHBORS’ IN SQL SERVER If you've been managing databases for any length of time, you've probably had to contend with the "noisy neighbors" scenario. In this scenario, you have several applications, each with their own database residing on a single instance of SQL Server, which don't share the resources of the server nicely. To deal with this issue, you might want to investigate Resource Governor as an alternative. READ MORE... Originally Posted in DBTA Magazine in June 09, 2015 … [Read more...]

Learn More About the SQL Server Cardinality Estimator

COOL FEATURES OF SQL SERVER 2014: IMPROVED CARDINALITY ESTIMATES With all the cheerleading and the steady drumbeat of new features being released to Azure, it's easy to lose track of the many cool and valuable new features released in the on-premises version of SQL Server. One of the crown jewels of SQL Server, the cardinality estimator (CE), underwent a large redesign for SQL Server 2014 to improve performance. Cardinality estimates are an extremely important part of query processing. In a nutshell, cardinality estimates are what the relational engine predicts for the number of rows affected … [Read more...]

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...]

The SQL Sentry forum for SQL Statement Tuning

The SQL Sentry forum for SQL Statement Tuning Have you ever looked at our community site specifically dedicated to helping users tune their SQL queries, http://answers.SQLPerformance.com? You can easily upload an execution plan directly from our free Plan Explorer tool or from good ol' SQL Server Management Studio to the discussion forum.  Once uploaded, our internal team and forum members will provide plenty of tips and input on how to improve the plan and/or explain what the plan is actually doing.  The renown SQL execution plan expert, Paul White (b|t), is the moderator of the site. But … [Read more...]

Wait Statistics in SQL Server

When it comes to troubleshooting in relational databases, there's no better place to start than wait statistics.  In a nutshell, a wait statistic is an internal counter that tells you how long the database spent waiting for a particular resource, activity, or process.  Since wait statistics are categorized by type, one look will quickly tell the variety of problem that needs your attention, assuming you know meaning for Microsoft's lingo for each wait type. (As an aside, wait stats were implemented in the earliest days of relational database computing because the early RDBMSes ran on … [Read more...]

New on DBTA.com: Database Benchmarking Tools, the final article in the database benchmarking series

In the last several articles on Database Trends & Applications, I've been describing the benefits of reading and analyzing the benchmarking case studies released by the Transaction Processing Council. I've given you from a broad overview of the TPC benchmarks and shown ways that the vendor-published TPC benchmarks can help you save money and how the vendor-published TPC benchmarks must explain in disclaimers how they tweak their workloads. I have described how to run your own benchmarks and explained how to properly prepare your environment for a benchmark test. Pictured (L-R): Scott … [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 (www.tpc.org) 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...]