Widening Identity Columns

Aaron Bertrand looks at converting an identity integer into an identity bigint:

This is a very disruptive change to the structure of the table, obviously. (And an interesting side observation: the physical order of the columns, RowID and filler, have been flipped on the page.) Reserved space jumps from 136 KB to 264 KB, and average fragmentation bumps up modestly from 33.3% to 40%. This space does not get recovered by a rebuild, online or not, or a reorg, and – as we’ll see shortly – this is not because the table is too small to benefit.

Note: this is true even in the most recent builds of SQL Server 2016 – while more and more operations like this have been improved to become metadata-only operations in modern versions, this one hasn’t been fixed yet, though clearly it could be – again, especially in the case where the column is an IDENTITY column, which can’t be updated by definition.

Read the whole thing.  The clustered key scenario (which will be later in the series) is a bit more interesting to me, as that would be a more common use case for identity values.

System Views

Robert Sheldon has an introductory-level article on the various system views available within SQL Server:

System views are divided into categories that each serve a specific purpose. The most extensive category is the one that contains catalog views. Catalog views let you retrieve information about a wide range of system and database components—from table columns and data types to server-wide configurations.

Information schema views are similar to some of the catalog views in that they provide access to metadata that describes database objects such as tables, columns, domains, and check constraints. However, information schema views conform to the ANSI standard, whereas catalog views are specific to SQL Server.

In contrast to either of these types of views, dynamic management views return server state data that can be used to monitor and fine-tune a SQL Server instance and its databases. Like catalog views, dynamic management views are specific to SQL Server.

One of the best things the authors of SQL did was require that metadata management be in the same language:  you write SQL code to query metadata the same as if it were normal data.

Analysis Services Permissions

Jens Vestergaard walks through permission scope in SQL Server Analysis Services:

What this post will not be about: The how to setup basic dimension security in SSAS nor How do you manage Security.

In this post, I will highlight the difference between standard NTFS permission scope and the way SSAS handles Allowed and Denied sets when dealing with multiple roles. So if you define multiple roles on your solution, you should be on the lookout, because SSAS has some surprises.

It’s interesting that allowed permissions take precedent over denied permissions, as that’s not the norm for either NTFS or the SQL Server database engine.

Rebuilding Indexes By Partition

Andrea Allred shows how to rebuild indexes one partition at a time:

We have had an index job that has been failing for a while.  This is one of those things you really don’t want to clean up because no one is complaining, but you know you should.  I had heard that I could rebuild one partition at a time, but where to start?  Today, I worked my way through it, so here it is so that you can do it too.

First you need to find the biggest indexes, there is a good chance those are the ones that live on partitions. I am removing Primary Keys.

This can be a real time-saver if a majority of your partitions either are read-only or at least rarely update.

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