The SSAS Flight Recorder

Bill Anton digs into the SSAS Flight Recorder:

During a recent engagement involving an Analysis Services health assessment, one of the things I noted was that the Flight Recorder was enabled. During the post-assessment review with the client, where we walked through the report and recommendations, I quickly explained what the Flight Recorder was, why it should be disabled (answer: never used, wasted resources, etc), and that disabling it would not produce a noticeable performance gain – the recommendation was mostly out of habit.

Bill’s answer is to build custom performance monitoring.

SQL Agent Schedules

Kenneth Fisher talks SQL Server Agent schedules:

Because you can re-use the schedules you want to be careful naming them. I’ve seen far to many schedules named Schedule 1 or Job Name Schedule. The first is non-descriptive and the second too specific (it would look silly as the schedule for another job with a different name). Give your schedules names like Every Weekday at 4AM or The third of the month at 6AM. This way when you go to pick the right schedule you know which one is which.

Word of warning (which Kenneth also notes):  be careful about modifying those schedules; if you think you’re editing the schedule for just one job, you might actually be modifying schedules for a bunch of jobs.

Database Snapshots

Steve Jones explains database snapshots:

I’ve rarely dealt with database snapshots, outside of lab experimentation. They didn’t exist when I did most of my DBA work, and since then we haven’t seen the need for them at SQLServerCentral, though, I may suggest we add them to our deployment process since we can quickly roll back if something breaks.

However, I created one recently for a test and realized that I’d forgotten the syntax. Unlike the quick “create database xx” syntax I often use, with a snapshot I need to be more specific.

Word of warning:  don’t have more than one active snapshot of a single database.  If you do, you’ll likely have major performance problems.  My favorite use case for snapshots was building some semi-automated integration tests a few years back.  I created a tool for devs to create snapshots, and then they could run all the tests they wanted and revert the snapshot afterward.  There are some good uses in production environments as well.

Reusable Powershell Scripts

Laerte Junior has an article on writing re-usable Powershell scripts:

There are the rules that I use in my day-to-day work in PowerShell. They’ve worked well for me over the years, but I’m not saying that they are carved in stone.

  • Learn the languageYou need to treat PowerShell as a serious .NET language. Like C#, F# or VB, it is impossible to know what the language can do, such as its features or commands without understanding the language and its paradigms? You can cut and splice other people’s scripts but you must have a good feel for the way that the language works before you can proceed any further

  • Use The HelpFor PowerShell, the help system is the first thing you must reach for: it must be your best friend. The designers of the language intended it to be well-used.

  • Use the  PowerShell CommunityThe PowerShell community is unique, because it has people who have come from a wide range of IT backgrounds. They bring their experience and wisdom with them. They will know more than you.  The combination of skills multiplies the speed at which the language develops. Read their posts, download their script and learn from them.

  •  Keep It Simple

  • Do not use Aliases, except for deliberate obfuscation.

  •  Write with considerationDo not try to cram all your scripted process into one line.  In the Shared and Corporate environment other people will maintain your code and will not necessarily have the same PowerShell knowledge as you. Be kind in your code.

After reading his article, check out Carlos Perez, et al’s Powershell Best Practices and Style Guide.

Monitoring Deadlocks

Michael J. Swart has an Extended Event and a query to help monitor deadlocks:

Guess what? Apparently I “reinvented the wheel”. The extended events session I created is equivalent to one that Jeremiah Peschka wrote two years ago in Finding Blocked Processes and Deadlocks using SQL Server Extended Events. The embarrassing thing is that in Jeremiah’s article, he references a tool I wrote. And the first comment was written by yours truly.

There are a bunch of ways to capture deadlock information.  This is a good one.

Named Constraints

Louis Davidson on naming constraints:

It has long been a habit that I name my constraints, and even if it wasn’t useful for database comparisons, it just helps me to see the database structure all that much eaiser. The fact that I as I get more experience writing SQL and about SQL, I have grown to habitually format my code a certain way makes it all the more interesting to me that I had never come across this scenario to not name constraints.

Temp tables are special.  There’s another reason to have non-named constraints on temp tables inside stored procedures:  it allows for temp table reuse, as shown on slide 21 in this Eddie Wuerch slide deck from SQL Saturday 75 (incidentally, the first SQL Saturday I ever attended).

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