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Category: Documentation

Pay Attention To Benefits

Andy Mallon discusses the importance of benefits:

I honestly believe that company benefits tell you more about a company than any formal interview will. The benefits that a company offers to an employee are a sign of how you’ll be treated if you work there. There is definitely a correlation between great benefits and happy employees.

Companies who respect their employees will express that respect through their benefits. (The inverse is also true–companies often have poor benefits because they do not respect their employees.)

Employment is a package deal, so if you’re not paying attention to benefits, you’re missing part of your bottom line.

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Share Your Knowledge

Ginger Grant wants you to share what you know:

Recently I have been working with some new features of SQL Server 2016 and have had questions which blogs, TechNet and Stack Overflowprovided no answers on the internet. Fortunately, I have found people to help me resolve the answers. If you go searching for the same errors I had, you will find answers now, as I have posted them. If you have had a problem unique to the latest release of SQL Server, I hope you will take the time to post the question and the answer if you have it. I’m going to try to be better at answering forum questions, especially now I have learned a few interesting factoids. I am looking forward to the fact that next time when I go looking for an answer, thanks to all of us who have done the same, we can all help each other out. The next person who finds themselves in the same jam will thank you for talking them out of the tree.

And if you don’t already do so, blog.  And if I don’t know about your blog, tell me about it.

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New Diagnostic Queries

Glenn Berry has a new update of his diagnostic queries, focused around SQL Server 2014 and 2016:

This month, I have several improvements in the SQL Server 2014 and 2016 sets, along with additional comments and documentation in the SQL Server 2012, 2014 and 2016 sets. One new feature is a series of six dashes after each query to make them easier to parse by people who use PowerShell to run the queries and collect the results. I have gotten quite a bit of interest about making a special version of these queries for SQL Database in Microsoft Azure. So, I will be doing that pretty soon.

If you don’t already use Glenn’s queries, I highly recommend them as a starting point in tracking down issues.

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Full-Text PDF Search

Jon Morisi shows how to use Full-Text Search to read PDF files:

Faced with this very issue, I decided to setup a local SQL Server Full-Text Search.
Some of the cool things Full-Text Search will give you, over and above, a standard search include the following:

  • One or more specific words or phrases (simple term)
  • A word or a phrase where the words begin with specified text (prefix term)
  • Inflectional forms of a specific word (generation term)
  • A word or phrase close to another word or phrase (proximity term)
  • Synonymous forms of a specific word (thesaurus)
  • Words or phrases using weighted values (weighted term)
In order to get stared with the setup, it’s important to know that the Full-Text Search architecture relies on filters for searching various file types.  This is important for this example because the PDF filter is not installed by default.  So, for starters, we need to go download and install the PDF ifilter(PDFFilter64Setup.msi).

Up until I read this blog post, I had no idea that full-text search could index PDFs, so that’s very interesting.

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Screenshot Interview Questions

Brent Ozar has the latest in his interview series:

They didn’t give you parameter 26837 – I’m just giving you that so you can see an execution plan.

You don’t have to talk me through the query itself, or what you’d want to do to fix it. In fact, I want you to avoid that altogether.

Instead, tell me what things you need to know before you start tuning, and explain how you’re going to get them.

I think, based on the noise in the comments section, that this is a good question.  Good interview questions are separating in equilibrium (as opposed to pooling).  The question itself is straightforward, but people have such a tendency to jump the gun that they try to answer a question which isn’t being asked.  Then, when reading the question, the set of steps and processes people have is interesting because of how much they differ.

Bonus question:  take your interview answer (“I would do X and Y and Z and then A and B and C and maybe D.”) and apply it to the last time you had this scenario come up.  How many of [A-DX-Z] did you actually do?

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Waits And Latches

Paul Randal has come out with his comprehensive wait and latch type library:

I present to the community a comprehensive library of all wait types and latch classes that have existed since SQL Server 2005 (yes, it includes 2016 waits and latches).

The idea is that over time, this website will have the following information about all wait types and latch classes:

  • What they mean

  • When they were added

  • How they map into Extended Events (complete for all entries already)

  • Troubleshooting information

  • Example call stacks of where they occur inside SQL Server

  • Email link for feedback and questions

It’s not complete yet, but entries are thorough.

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Documentation Survey

The SQL Server team is asking for your help:

The SQL Server documentation team is working to improve the SQL Server documentation in an effort to enable you be more successful with and gain more value from SQL Server. Please let us know your thoughts on how we can improve the documentation by taking this brief survey by March 18.

We appreciate and are listening to your feedback! Thank you.

The questions aren’t very onerous, so help out the documentation folks and fill it out.

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Keep Scripts Up To Date

Andy Galbraith points out that scripts need maintained just like everything else:

The broader lesson here is to make sure you update your script libraries regularly – even if a script still runs and provides output (that is, you think it “works”) it doesn’t mean you are receiving valid data.

Although this example is about wait stats and wait types, it is applicable to a wide array of configurations and settings.  Changes like this are often version-related, but even within a version it can be decided that a particular wait type/trace flag/sp_configure setting/etc. is no longer important and can be ignored – or even worse, that some item is now important but wasn’t included in your original scripts!

This is an important note.  Things change over time, so our administrative scripts need to change with them.

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SSMS Shortcuts

Andy Mallon has a cheat sheet PDF from his great presentation on SSMS and Windows shortcuts:

On my flight home, I spent some time putting some of the things from my presentation into a one-page cheat sheet. I’ll have these printed up and have them on-hand for next time…but if you want it now, you candownload the PDF and print one for yourself.

My recommendation is to attend Andy’s talk when Mike Hillwig and Brent Ozar are trolling him from the back.

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Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Preview

Denny Cherry alerts us to a free preview of a new Microsoft Press book:

The best thing about this book, is that it is free, there isn’t even a soul sucking registration to go through.  Just click and download.  It’s available is a standard 8.5×11″ PDF (standard US Pages) as well as a smaller PDF for mobile.  If you are looking for EPUB and MOBI files you’ll need to wait a few more weeks as they are supposed to be available starting in January (don’t hold me to that, I’m just going off the MSDN post.

Denny has a chapter on SQL Server security improvements that looks particularly interesting to me.

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