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Month: February 2020

Should DBAs Learn Kubernetes?

Randolph West makes me violate Betteridge’s Law of Headlines:

So this question, whether a SQL Server DBA really needs to know about Kubernetes, is really a question about whether DBAs need to know about the plumbing that runs the infrastructure upon which our databases reside.

In October 2018 I asked, “What is a DBA anyway?” It was a week after another post where I declared the DBA role “history.” My answer is:

Yes! You need to know Kubernetes if you’re a SQL Server DBA.

I agree with Randolph that it’s useful for a DBA to have at least some working understanding of Kubernetes, especially around being able to troubleshoot database issues on the platform. Read on for Randolph’s take on the matter.

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RESULT_SCAN() in Snowflake

Koen Verbeeck introduces us to the RESULT_SCAN() function in Snowflake DB:

I’m doing a little series on some of the nice features/capabilities in Snowflake (the cloud data warehouse). In each part, I’ll highlight something that I think it’s interesting enough to share. It might be some SQL function that I’d really like to be in SQL Server, it might be something else.

This post builds upon part 6 of the series, which dealt with query history. There it is explained how Snowflake caches the query results. You can find a query in the history and take a look at what was returned. Using the RESULT_SCAN table function, you can do this with SQL. Let’s take a look at an example.

This is an interesting function. Click through to see it in action.

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Warning Signs with Power BI Development and Administration

Brett Powell has a great post warning you of common pitfalls with Power BI implementations:

Overly Broad User Classifications

It might be tempting to classify users in the organizations into only two segments or personas such as ‘end users’ and ‘creators’. You might logically reason that ‘creators’ will be assigned pro licenses and be trained to develop and publish content while ‘end users’ will be trained on how to consume and access content.

This simple binary distinction may be appropriate when you’re first getting started with Power BI but I’d suggest a bit more granularity reflecting the significantly different skills, features, and complexity associated with developing different kinds of Power BI content. At a minimum, I split the creators into ‘Report Authors’ and ‘Data Modelers’ with the report authors learning to build visually rich and intuitive user experiences based on the robust, secure, and performant datasets created by the data modelers.

There’s a lot of good reading in here.

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Finding SMO Objects with Specific Properties

Sander Stad wants to find a specific subset of SMO objects:

In some situations I want to search through lots of objects to look for certain properties in SMO (SQL Server Management Objects)

This is also the case in this situation. I wanted to know all the different objects that had a property called “Schema”.

But what to do with all those different properties and methods we could look up. I mean, there are hundreds of objects in there and each of them have many methods and properties.

Click through for the Powershell script.

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Troubleshooting Slow Power BI Report Server Reports

Jamie Wick helps us figure out why that Power BI Report Server report is loading so slowly:

Troubleshooting “slow” reports in PowerBI Report Server (or SQL Server Reporting Services) can be an arduous task. End users are often unable to provide detailed (or reliable) data that a report took longer to load today than it did the last time it was run. Even if a user states that the report is now taking 10 seconds longer to load, that additional time needs to be attributed to a specific step in the report generation process before it can be improved/fixed.

In the report server database (ReportServer by default) there is a view (ExecutionLog) that can provide detailed statistics about each execution of a report. Note: ExecutionLog3 view is the newest/current version and the ExecutionLog and ExecutionLog2 views are for backwards compatibility. By default the execution log entries are retained for 60 days.

The view that Jamie shows also works for SQL Server Reporting Services reports, so it can help there as well.

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Connecting to Snowflake with Power BI

Gilbert Quevauvilliers shows us how we can connect from a Snowflake DB instance to Power BI using DirectQuery:

The first thing I did was to install the ODBC Drivers.

I installed the 64bit drivers where I had my Power BI Desktop installed, and I also installed it on all the Servers where I had the On-Premise Data gateway installed.

Below is the link that I used which should always be the latest version

https://sfc-repo.snowflakecomputing.com/odbc/win64/latest/index.html

One thing to note is all that I did was I installed the ODBC driver I did not actually do any configuration of the ODBC driver, this is because it will be configured in Power BI Desktop.

Read on for the configuration instructions as well as getting past “it works in Power BI Desktop.”

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Fun with Metaphors: Data Lakehouses

Ben Lorica, et al, have a new metaphor to try out:

Over the past few years at Databricks, we’ve seen a new data management paradigm that emerged independently across many customers and use cases: the lakehouse. In this post we describe this new paradigm and its advantages over previous approaches.

The Data Lake’s Aristotelian counterpart is the Data Swamp. I’m working on a similar comp for the Data Lakehouse (Data Swampboat? Data Swamphouse is too easy), but in the meantime, that one person who goes and slaughters your application’s performance by butchering the data in your Data Lakehouse? That’s a Data Jason.

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Quick Hits on Azure Databricks Performance

Rayis Imayev has a few thoughts on optimizing delta table-based workloads in Azure Databricks:

2) Enable the Delta cache – spark.databricks.io.cache.enabledtrue
There is a very good resource available on configuring this Spark config setting: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/databricks/delta/optimizations/delta-cache

And this will be very helpful in your Databricks notebook’s queries when you try to access a similar dataset multiple times. Once you read this dataset for the first time, Spark places it into internal local storage cache and will speed up the process of further referencing it for you.

Click through for several more along these lines.

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Cleaning Up Schema Ownership

Pamela Mooney doesn’t like user-owned schemas:

My colleagues and I take schema ownership seriously.  The owner (with few exceptions) should always be “dbo”.  Certainly, it should not be a user.  Why?  Because if the user leaves and their account is disabled or deleted, we have a problem.  If you’re a DBA, you have enough problems without adding this one to your list. 

So, how do you find these offenders, much less fix them?

That’s what you’ll find out, but only if you click through.

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Showing a Calendar in your Powershell Prompt

Jeffrey Hicks has fun with calendars in Powershell:

Some of you may be aware of my PSCalendar module which you can install from the PowerShell Gallery. The module contains commands that you can use to display a console-based calendar.  The calendar commands let you specify days to highlight. These might be days with special events or appointments. I typically use the Show-Calendar command as it writes to the host and colorizes output.

This command also has a parameter that lets you specify a position in your console. In other words, you can tell PowerShell where to display the calendar. I recently fixed a bug with the command that was producing less than optimal results. Now, I can use my PowerShell prompt function to display a calendar. 

The calendar module and functions are quite helpful, and the calendar prompt merits the Wacky Ideas category.

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