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Category: Naming

The Importance of Naming Constraints in SQL Server

Eitan Blumin gives everything a name:

This article was published by Aaron Bertrand a few years ago, talking about system-named constraints in SQL Server.

The article mostly focuses on the issue of naming conventions as the main issue with system-named constraints and provides a useful stored procedure script to generate sp_rename commands for all system-named constraints.

However, the script in the article provides the solution for only one database and doesn’t support the new “Edge Constraints” that were introduced in SQL Server 2019.

Check out Aaron’s article and Eitan’s follow-up piece.

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Unsupported Characters in Azure SQL DB Database Names

Nithya Bondalapati notes a discrepancy:

ARM (Azure Resource Manager) API does not support specific T-SQL resource naming formats and that’s why when Databases are created using T-SQL/SSMS, unsupported characters could get allowed into the names.
Azure Portal UI does not have this issue, because when you use Portal UI for creating a Database, the creation goes through ARM, and hence when unsupported characters are entered in the Name field, it immediately throws error, as shown in the below image.

None of the restrictions or onerous, but Nithya explains what actions fail or don’t quite work right if you have a database with special characters or ending in a period or space.

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The Importance of Power BI Object Names

Paul Turley sends us an e-mail:

Using common language is critical but often trivialized, when describing requirements, deliverables and project expectations. When people are working together, depending on each other to complete important tasks, they must have a clear understanding of the common language and terminology. It is usually only after a word, phrase or abbreviation has been used with an assumed meaning that we realize the error and have gotten ourselves into trouble. Often, on a daily basis, I review project proposals and requirement documents containing inaccurate language related to Power BI project work. I also getting a lot of virtual eye-rolling when correcting seemingly inconsequential language. But I can also cite many cases when subtle misinterpretations became costly mistakes.

This is at a higher level than naming measures or dimensions.

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What’s in a Name?

Benjamin Smith analyzes a name change:

Recently, RStudio announced its name change to Posit. For many this name change was accepted with open arms, but for some-not so. Being the statistician that I am I decided to post a poll on LinkedIn to see the sentiment of my network. After running the poll for a week the results were in:

Read on for the responses as well as an analysis using RSTAN.

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“Expensive” Queries

Erik Darling asks, what’s in a name?

When we talk about finding queries to tune, there’s an unfortunate term that gets thrown around: Expensive Queries.

Why is it unfortunate? Well, it reinforces the wrong mindset when it comes to query tuning, and leads people down the wrong path, looking at the wrong metrics.

I disagree on the “bad name” bit but agree on the substance. The term “expensive query” has a very useful connotation: this is a query which requires a significant amount of resources. Where I fully agree with Erik is that “query cost” from the optimizer does not do a great job of describing “significant amount of resources.” There is also a relevant point that expensive queries may not be the most important ones to look at. Reasons why can include:

  • The query runs at a time when there’s little load on the system, so it does not impact anybody else.
  • The query runs within acceptable performance boundaries for customers: it may take 10 minutes to run but it’s a batch process and the relevant business unit might only need it within an hour.
  • The amount of work that the query is doing is such that further optimizations are either not possible at all or they are only possible with a significant restructure that the business is unwilling to accept.

Even so, the term “expensive query” is still very useful. So is “expensive query relative to what it could be,” although we do tend to conflate the latter with the former. But now we’re getting deep into semantics and I forgot my waders.

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Application Names and Database Queries

Tom Zika does not like those missing application names:

Whenever I’m trying to debug a problem using sp_whoisactive or Extended Events (XE) and I see either Core Microsoft SqlClient Data Provider or .Net SqlClient Data Provider, my blood begins to boil.

It means I’ll probably spend hours asking around to try and find the owner. Sometimes knowing the host_name helps, but there can be a multi-purpose host that runs many applications – which one is having the problem?

How do you set the name? Read the post to find out.

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Against Tibbling

Hugo Kornelis hates tibbling:

Probably the one I hate most. And one that is stubbornly persistent. Object name prefixing.

Or, to be more precise, the standard that enforces that all table names need to start with a prefix that designates them as a table, and all view names with a different prefix to clearly mark them as a view. Typically tbl_ and vw_ are used, though I have also seen just the letters t and v, and I have seen them with or without underscores.

I hate this coding standard (or rather, naming standard) with a vengeance. For a few reasons. The perceived benefit is in fact not a benefit at all. It is detrimental to a quick understanding of what I see on the screen. But my biggest objection is that it negates one of the greatest benefits of views.

Read on to understand why this is a bad idea. I completely agree with Hugo on this.

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Reconciling Tag Names across Azure

Anthony Watherston has an interesting script:

During a recent cost optimization workshop with a customer, they mentioned that although they had some tagging policies in place there was no consistency of tag names across the Azure environment. This post introduces a script to remediate this and remove some confusion from your tagging strategy.

The customer was trying to ensure that all resources were being tagged with a cost centre tag. Some of this was automatic and some was done manually by people. While there was a policy in place to control this in the future, they needed a way to remediate the existing resources.

This is really useful if you have enough information to create a to-and-from mapping. It won’t automatically understand anything, so you’ll need to do the digging but it will do the renaming.

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A Data Governance by any other Name

Matthew Roche wants a re-naming:

To successfully implement managed self-service business intelligence at any non-trivial scale, you need data governance. To build and nurture a successful data culture, data governance is an essential part of the success.

Despite this fact, and despite the obvious value that data governance can provide, data governance has a bad reputation. Many people – likely including the leaders you need to be your ally if you’re working to build a data culture in your organization – have had negative experiences with data governance in the past, and now react negatively when the topic of data governance is raised.

They now treat data governance as a four-letter word.

Read the whole thing, though I do disagree with Matthew. Changing the name does not change the underlying problems; all it does is make the new name just as hated as the old one because the problems are still there. Call it Data Enablement if you’d like, but if the process is the same and the tools are the same, the outcome is the same, regardless of the name.

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