Columnstore Pagination

Aaron Bertrand investigates whether columnstore indexes help with pulling out specific “pages” of data:

Since then, I’ve wondered if ColumnStore indexes (both clustered and non-clustered) might help any of these scenarios. TL;DR: Based on this experiment in isolation, the answer to the title of this post is a resounding NO. If you don’t want to see the test setup, code, execution plans, or graphs, feel free to skip to my summary, keeping in mind that my analysis is based on a very specific use case.

I actually would have been surprised to find the answer here to be “yes.”  Columnstore is designed with aggregation in mind, rather than pulling out a fairly small subset of the data.

Finding A Page

Kenneth Fisher is looking for the database page tied to a particular row:

It’s not one of those things you have to do frequently but every now and again you need to know what page a particular row is on. It’s not terribly difficult. There is a virtual column called %%physloc%%, but unfortunately it’s not terribly useful on it’s own.

Finding a record’s page probably isn’t something you want to do every day; this is more one of those “once in a great while” activities which can help with troubleshooting.

Naming Standards

Kevin Feasel

2016-01-20

T-SQL

Aaron Bertrand talks about naming standards:

I’ve long been a proponent of not caring about which naming standards you use, but I do find it very important that your standards follow these three basic rules:

  1. The conventions make sense. You should be able to argue why the chosen convention is better than an alternative, and it can’t just be because you like it better. This doesn’t mean you have to win that argument, just that you should be arguing for something tangible.

  2. The entire team is on board. You should all agree on a standard before implementation, and any changes you make over time should be by committee.

  3. You don’t make exceptions. Even if you’re a one-person team, if you’re going to bother having a standard, it needs to be used consistently. It’s amazing how quickly exceptions can become the new rules.

If you want to talk subjectivity, I disagree with the idea that tables should be plural, as I tend to think terms of an entity (e.g., Person) which contains attributes, rather than the collection of entities which contain a specific combination of attributes.  Regardless, “set a standard and stick to it” is important advice.

OPENROWSET And BULK Rowsets

Kevin Feasel

2016-01-20

Syntax

Dave Mason looks at the OPENROWSET function:

The built-in SQL Server function OPENROWSET() provides a way to access remote data from an OLE DB data source. It can be used with the BULK rowset provider to read data from a file without loading the data into a target table. This post will show the basics to get started with OPENROWSET(), the BULK rowset provider, and text files of fixed-width data fields.

For permanent connections, look into linked servers.  But for one-off things, OPENROWSET works fine.

What’s New In Power BI 2.0?

Meagan Longoria tells us what’s in Power BI version 2.0:

The Microsoft Power BI team was fast and furious in 2015, and there are no indications they are slowing down in 2016. If you haven’t checked out Power BI V2 since it was first released last summer, you might want to take another look. Many features have been added and updated since then. Based upon the release schedules since July, it seems there are 3 separate release cycles for Power BI:

  • The Power BI Service (PowerBI.com) gets weekly updates.

  • The Power BI Desktop tool gets monthly updates.

  • The Power BI mobile apps get monthly updates.

I expect no fewer than 6 updates per week from the Power BI team.

Multiple Instances On A VM

David Klee answers the question, when should you have multiple named instances on a single VM?

I am personally partial to having just one instance per VM, as long as the situation allows for it. The resource management area between SQL Server and Windows allows me to manage the overall resource consumption at the VM level, and en mass, managing at this layer rather than multiple layers is usually preferable. I claim that the extra overhead of managing more VMs is worth the resource management flexibility.

I agree with this.  The biggest advantage I see is in licensing, but if your environment is of a non-trivial size, you’re probably going to license the host instead of individual VMs.  Nevertheless, check out David’s pro-and-con list and see where your situation lies.

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