Searching In Execution Plans

Pedro Lopes gives a reason to upgrade to SSMS 17.2:

But what if I could search for node id 30 while looking at the graphical showplan?

Starting with SSMS 17.2, just use CTRL+F to start a search in graphical showplan (or right-click on a blank area of the plan, and in the context menu click on Find Node option), and you can quickly see exactly where node id 30 is:

I will have to see whether that also lets you quickly find the origin of Expr#### columns.

SSMS Performance Dashboard

Pedro Lopes announces that the SQL Server Performance Dashboard is now built into SQL Server Management Studio:

Back in 2007, we released the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Performance Dashboard Reports, which were designed to provide fast insight into performance issues from some newly created system views – DMFs (Dynamic Management Views). These were updated for SQL Server 2008 and later to SQL Server 2012, and while being very helpful they had a significant drawback – required separate download and install. This meant that when needed, most probably they were not installed in a specific SQL Server, and therefore were unusable when they were needed the most.

With the new SSMS 17.2, we are releasing the Performance Dashboard embedded as a built-in Standard Report. This means that it is available for any SQL Server instance starting with SQL Server 2008, without any extra downloads or running any extra scripts. Just connect to your server in SSMS and open the Performance Dashboard.

Aside from making it built into Management Studio, they’ve also added a few helpful things to the product, so it is worth checking out.

Cycling The SSMS Clipboard Ring

Bert Wagner shows how you can use the clipboard ring in SQL Server Management Studio:

Copying and pasting is a feature that’s available in nearly every text editor (“nearly” — anyone remember the days before iOS had a clipboard?).

However, SQL Server Management Studio goes above and beyond the regular copy and paste feature set — it has a clipboard ring.

What’s a clipboard ring you ask?

The clipboard ring let’s you cycle through the last 20 things you copied onto your clipboard when you go to paste in SSMS.

Read on to learn how to use the clipboard ring.  When I remember that it exists, it’s quite useful.

Top Jobs Report

Kenneth Fisher only looks at the best SQL Agent jobs:

But sometimes what you want is an overall history. Maybe you want to see your longest running jobs? Or the most frequent jobs? Or jobs that are failing? There is a great pre-built report just for that.

Now, be warned. The report and the history view both pull from the system views and they only hold so much history. You need to make s

With that warning stated, this is a good report if you just want to get some idea of what’s happening on your server.

Disk Usage By Table Report

Kenneth Fisher shows off my favorite built-in SSMS report:

Every now and again you need to know how big a table is. Or several tables. Or all of the tables. Number of rows is frequently handy when you’re going to create a new index or otherwise modify the table. The amount of space used by the indexes can be helpful in deciding how much space you need to do a re-index. The tables with the most unused space is nice to know if you have a problem with ever growing heaps.

In the past my go to solution here was sp_spaceused. It’s a really handy procedure.

USE AdventureWorks2014;
GO
EXEC sp_spaceused 'Person.Person';
GO

Great information but it has a few problems. You can only run it for one table at a time (sp_msforeachtable is a workaround, if undocumented), the file sizes aren’t consistent (sometimes KB, sometimes MB or even GB), and it only returns the name of the object but not the schema. So if there is the same table name under multiple schemas it can get tricky.

Read on for how to access and use this report.

SSMS Default Reports

Kenneth Fisher talks about the default reports built into Management Studio:

As DBAs our stock in trade is information and there is certainly an impressive amount available. The diagnostic views are the most common place to get the information we need but every now and again it’s nice to get an organized/pretty view. To that end, you can write your own reports or you can use the default reports that Microsoft makes available through SSMS. There are reports at the Server, Database and Agent level.

The Disk Usage by Table report is on my go-to list.

SSMS Keyboard Tricks

Andrew Kelly has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to Management Studio shortcuts:

I was giving an internal talk on SSMS productivity trips and there were a few that I believe are seldom used but can be a real time or keystroke saver that I would like to mention. To the best of my knowledge these will work in any version of SSMS from at least 14.0 onward and likely earlier but I can’t verify older versions at this time. Since these are basically Visual Studio shortcuts they also work in Visual Studio and SSDT to the best of my knowledge. The first is the ability to select text in a vertical fashion as shown in the examples below. Before we get to how to do that I know your first question is why would you want to do that. Well I will leave all the possibilities up to you since everyone has slightly different techniques and circumstances. However I am confident that after seeing a few examples it will spark interest in many of you and you will immediately think of times when this will help you code more efficiently.

Read on for five tips.

Grid Features In SQL Prompt

Derik Hammer shows off some of the grid functionality in Red Gate’s SQL Prompt:

Even more common than scripting out INSERT statements, I may need to copy a set of values and format them for an IN clause. Normally I would use a text editor such as Notepad++ to reformat the multiple lines of values. SSMS can also be used but I find Notepad++’s find/replace features better.

Now I do not have to worry about copying/pasting the values and making changes. SQL Prompt delivers a direct conversion from values to IN clause.

Click through for some animated GIFs showing how to use this functionality.

Regions In Management Studio

Andy Leonard has a short SSMS tips post about how you can take advantage of regions in your code:

There are a few tools and add-ins that support the creation of “regions” in T-SQL code. SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) supports one way to separate sections of long-ish T-SQL scripts natively, by using begin/end:

It’s an interesting SSMS trick.

Connection Retry Intervals

Arvind Shyamsundar explains a recent Management Studio change:

One such change SSMS got for free is the connection resiliency logic within the SqlConnection.Open() method. To improve the default experience for clients which connect to Azure SQL Database, the above method will (in the case of initial connection errors / timeouts) now retry 1 time after sleeping for 10 seconds. These numbers are configurable by properties called ConnectRetryCount (default value 1) and ConnectRetryInterval (default value 10 seconds.) The previous versions of the SqlConnection class would not automatically retry in cases of connection failure.

In general, because of these changes, transient errors (across slow networks or when working with Azure SQL Database) are less frequent. However, when you consider that a lot of SSMS users still use it with ‘regular’ SQL Server – either in a VM in the cloud or on-premises, there is a subtle but distinct impact of these changes which may affect administrators of ‘regular’ SQL Server databases.

Read on for details on why Management Studio hangs for 10-second periods, and see how to disable connection retry yourself.

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