SQL Server 2016 RC 3 Available

Microsoft has announced RC 3 of SQL Server 2016:

SQL Server 2016 RC 3 is the last of our publicly-available release candidates. You can try this in your development and test environments, and it is available for download today.

In SQL Server 2016 RC 3, enhancements consisted primarily of bug fixes. We continue to refine the product for general availability. For the current release notes, see SQL Server 2016 Release Notes.

That “last of our publicly-available release candidates” thing says to me that we’re going to see RTM soon.

Max Server Memory

SQL Sasquatch explains what “max server memory” does and how it relates to private bytes:

Well, there’s obviously a relationship between private bytes and “total server memory”.  The peaks and valleys occur at the same time.   But there’s a delta between them, and the delta isn’t constant.

The difference between private bytes and “total server memory” is pretty well confined, too – not varying more than 10 mb in this interval.

Read the whole thing.

Azure SQL Data Wareouse

Robert Sheldon has a getting started guide for Azure SQL Data Warehouse:

In my Simple-Talk article Azure SQL Data Warehouse, I introduced you to SQL Data Warehouse and gave you an overview of the architecture and technologies that drive the service and make it all work. In this article, I go a step further and provide details about getting started with SQL Data Warehouse, demonstrating how to add a sample database and then accessing the server and database settings.

If you want to follow along with my examples and try out SQL Data Warehouse for yourself, you must have an active Azure subscription, even if it’s just the free trial. For those who have already used up their free trial, be aware that SQL Data Warehouse is a pay-as-you-go service, even though it’s still in preview, so unless you’re on an unlimited company budget or happen to have accrued MSDN credits, you’ll want to be judicious in how you try out the service. Fortunately, as you’ll see in this article, you can pause the compute resources when not in use, helping to minimize the costs associated with learning about the service.

This article is all about initial installation and configuration.

Basic SQLCMD

Steve Jones shows  some basic SQLCMD operation:

I had the need to connect from the command line recently, and decided to make a quick post on using SQLCMD, as I had an issue.

SQLCMD is a command line utility that comes with SQL Server. I know many people don’t use command lines, but they are handy at times.

SQLCMD and OSQL aren’t things you typically need to use a lot, but sometimes you won’t have the ability to run Management Studio and it’s good to know that there are built-in alternatives.

T-SQL Tuesday Roundup

Jens Vestergaard has his round-up of favorite SQL Server features:

This week, I have been looking forward to the time where I got to read through all the contributions to my#TSQL2SDAY invitation: Favorite SQL Server Feature. Very happy to see this many. I have added a short description of each blog post, as well as my own personal key take-away(s).

So, in no particular order, I give you the round-up:

I like T-SQL Tuesday for several reasons; one of the more selfish reasons is that each month, I get to expand my blogroll a little bit further.  This was a particularly good one, so check out the entrants.

Add And Remove Identity Columns

Dan Guzman shows how to use partition switching to add or remove identity columns from existing tables:

All tables are partitioned from a database storage engine perspective since SQL Server 2005, although multiple partitions require Enterprise Edition. The implication of this storage architecture is that one can use ALTER TABLE…SWITCH regardless of SQL Server edition to move the entire contents of one table to another without physically moving rows as long as the source and target tables have an identical schema and are physically aligned (indexes and tables on same filegroup). SWITCH performs fast storage meta-data changes so the operation typically takes less than a second regardless of table size. The target table must be empty before SWITCH. After SWITCH, the target table will contain the data and the source table will be empty (similar to TRUNCATE).

Since the identical schema restriction does not include the IDENTITY column property, SWITCH is a handy technique to add or remove IDENTITY from an existing column of a non-empty table. For an empty table, a simple drop and create is easier and more efficient.

This is one of the few really good uses of the SWITCH operator in standard edition, but if ever you do need it, you’ll be glad it’s there.

Fast Queries Can Hurt Performance

Andy Mallon diagnoses a fast query which was hurting performance:

This code is coming from an ORM, which is parameterizing the filters, but not the (unnecessary & arbitrary) TOP value. The DMVs all viewed these are separate queries, so it was not aggregating the stats. It also wasn’t reusing the plan (thus chewing up even more CPU from frequent compiles). If the TOP had not been there, or it had been passed as a parameter, my initial query of sys.dm_exec_query_stats should have found it.

There are a couple of issues Andy works through, and his advice is good:  just because something runs quickly doesn’t mean it can’t (in aggregate) have a negative effect on your server.

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