De-bracketing SSMS Scripts

Andy Mallon hates brackets and likes regular expressions:

There are cases where you need brackets, such as having objects with “illegal” characters in them. These rules apply to database names, column names, and all object names. (I’m going to simply refer to “object names” for simplicity, though I concede that “identifier” might be a more correct term.) If you want to put a space or hyphen in an object name, then you’re going to have to use [brackets] to “quote” the name every time you reference it. Similarly, you can’t start an object name with a number, even though it’s a valid character in any other position of the object name: 8Ball is an illegal object name, but AM2 is perfectly OK. There are a bunch of other scenarios, but I won’t go into them all.

If SMO tried to only use [brackets] where necessary, that would likely be a complicated and error-prone branch of code. It’s safer to always include [brackets], and there’s no time when [brackets] will break your code.

Read on to see how Andy gets rid of those pesky things.

The Power Of Registered Servers In SSMS

Nisarg Upadhyay introduces us to Central Management Server and Registered Servers in SQL Server Management Studio:

We will:

  1. Designate a SQL Server instance as “Central Management server”.

  2. Create server groups named Production servers and Development servers under CMS server.

  3. Register “QA Testing server” and “Staging server” under the development server group, and “HR DB” and “Sales DB” under the production server group.

  4. Connect and access the CMS server from another server inside the same domain using SSMS.

Once you get past a few SQL Server instances, having a CMS in place is a fantastic idea.

When Multiple Missing Indexes Exist

Brent Ozar shows what happens when there are multiple missing indexes for a query:

SQL Server Management Studio only shows you the first missing index recommendation in a plan.

Not the best one. Not all of them. Just whichever one happens to show up first.

Using the public Stack Overflow database, I’ll run a simple query:

But that behavior isn’t the case for all tools; SQL Operations Studio is a bit different.

Running SSMS As A Different Windows Account

Jason Brimhall shows a couple ways of running SQL Server Management Studio with different Active Directory credentials:

One of the tasks I find myself doing on a fairly regular basis is running SSMS as a different Windows User. The two biggest use cases for this are: a) to test an account to prove that it is working (or not) and has the appropriate level of access, and b) to use SSMS to connect to a Domain SQL Server from a computer in a different domain (or not on the domain).

In addition to needing to do these tasks for myself, I find that I need to show somebody else how to do the same thing on a fairly consistent basis. Considering the finite keystrokes we all have (which I referenced here), it is time for me to “document” how to do this task.

The “/netonly” command line parameter is one I’ve occasionally forgotten to my inevitable chagrin.

Resetting SSMS Window Layout

Wayne Sheffield clues us in on a nice Management Studio feature:

SSMS is a wonderful tool. You can drag Windows around, grouped with others, split, docked, undocked, hidden… it seems endless what you can do with them. You can even change what columns you see. Invariably, with all of this customization, things go wonky. I’ve even seen windows opened up on invisible monitors. Sometimes you can’t find the windows that you need. Conversely, windows that you don’t need are open all over the place. Sometimes, you just need to reset everything and start over. Short of reinstalling SSMS, how do you do this? You just reset the window layout.

It’s one of those options which stares you in the face but you can easily miss.

File Growth Rate Under 1MB

John Morehouse shows that the file growth rate GUI for Management Studio doesn’t report values under 1MB correctly:

While I was recently,  doing a review of a client’s environment I discovered that the GUI can lie to you when it comes to the database file growth rates.  By default, the data file is set to a 1MB growth rate and the log file is configured for a 10% growth rate.  Both are horrible settings for most OLTP environments.  However, starting with SQL Server 2016, the default growth rates are configured for 64MB, which in my opinion is better than the previous defaults.

Using the GUI to look at a 2017 Scratch database I have, we can see that the data file is configured for 1MB and the log file is set for 64MB growth.

I don’t think there’s a good reason for a file growth rate under 1 MB at this point.  That could have made sense in the late ’90s, but the idea of growing 128KB at a time is funny.

Right-Aligning Numbers In Management Studio

Daniel Hutmacher has a trick to right-align results in SQL Server Management Studio:

Here’s something I’ve found: the space character is roughly about half the width of a typical number character. So replace every leading space with two spaces, and it will look really neat in the grid:

Click through for the script.  This one goes near the back of the toolbelt, but it can come in handy when trying to troubleshoot values by eyeball and without Excel.

SSMS Default File Encoding

Claudio Silva shows how to make UTF-8 the default file encoding for SQL Server:

The file that is used to create a new query window has ANSI encoding but when I save the file on the PowerShell script I save it as UTF-8 because the client have comments on the code with unicode characters.

On this process, the unicode characters are replaced by some symbols.

Read on for the solution.

Running SSMS As A Different User

Greg Low shows how to run SQL Server Management Studio as a different Windows user:

Now if all you want to do is to use a SQL Server login, then that’s easy. When you connect to a server in Object Explorer, or when you start a new Database Engine query, you can just choose SQL authentication instead.

But three other scenarios commonly occur.

If you need to run SSMS as an administrator on a machine with UAC, you can do this:

You right-click the link to SSMS and choose Run as administrator.

I will most commonly use option number three, when somebody gives me AD credentials for a separate server but my laptop is not a member of that domain.

SSMS 17.7 Released

Alan Yu announces SQL Server Management Studio 17.7:

In addition to enhancements and bug fixes, SSMS 17.7 comes with several exciting new features:

  • Support package scheduling in Azure-SSIS integration runtime.

  • Support for SSIS package scheduling in SQL Agent on SQL Managed instance. It is now possible to create SQL Agent jobs to execute SSIS packages on the managed instance.

  • Replication monitor now supports registering a listener for scenarios where publisher database and/or distributor database is part of Availability Group. So with this release of SSMS, you can monitor replication environments where publisher database and/or distribution database is part of Always On.

There are also several bugfixes that they call out.

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