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Category: T-SQL Tuesday

5 Useful Tools for DBAs

David Fowler recommends five helpful tools and products:

Backups are easily the most critical part of any DBA’s job so having a reliable way of managing them is essential. There are various tools and scripts out there but easily top of the tree for me is Minion Backup from Minionware.

Controlled by a number of configuration tables, it makes sceduling backups and configuring them down to a really granular level dead easy. If you’re like me and you’ve got a large number of databases on a server that each need to run on different days, go to different locations and need to run with different settings, Minion is about the only tool that I’ve found that lets me control things how I want without needing 101 different agent jobs. All your backups are controlled from a single agent job and that’s what I really love about it.

I’ve always liked Sean & Jen’s products, and would also recommend their indexing and CHECKDB solutions. David’s other suggestions are great as well.

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Powershell Tools and Excel Tips

Jess Pomfret shares a few useful Powershell modules and follows up with tips for maximizing your Excel game:

Since I’ve written a lot about PowerShell previously, I wanted to highlight some other tools that I depend on. I’ve always been a fan of Excel, my personal life is full of spreadsheets – most decisions end with a spreadsheet (lucky for me, my wife is also a big fan of Excel!).  I often find myself copying data into Excel to keep track of work, or to quickly analyse data.  It’s also a great way of sharing data with a clear structure.  I’m also a big fan of shortcuts – so here’s a few I use often.

Jess also reminds me that it’s about time to tune up the bicycle…

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Tooling Outside of SQL Server

Dave Mason shares a few useful tools::

I’m a proponent of “Show me, don’t tell me”. Screen captures go a long way toward that. Sure, Windows has Paint, but Paint.NET is a bit more advanced. I almost always have an instance of it open in the background. Hit the Print Screen keyboard button and paste (CTRL + V) it into Paint.NET (you can also use the ALT + Print Screen key combination to screen capture just the active window). From there you can do anything: trim down to just a specific part of the image, add some red arrows or circles for emphasis, blur/obscur any sensitive data that’s in the image, etc. I take tweaked screen shots and paste them into just about anything…Word documents, email, even Twitter.

As far as it goes, I think I use different tools than Dave across the board, save for 7Zip. I like Notepad++, SnagIt, WinDirStat, LastPass, 7-Zip (yay for agreement), and mRemoteNG, and despites headphones respectively. But that goes to show that there are plenty of good alternatives for products and it’s worth trying a few out.

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Comparing SSMS and Azure Data Studio

Deborah Melkin contrasts SQL Server Management Studio with Azure Data Studio:

Honestly, the vast majority of my time is split between Management Studio (SSMS) or Azure Data Studio. I’m pretty simple\straightforward this way. I started playing a lot more with Azure Data Studio over the past year, but I find I’m not able to make the switch to using it full time. It really depends on the task that I need to do.

So what tasks do I do often and which tool do I use?

The plus side for Azure Data Studio is that it’s far enough along that some of these choices are difficult to make. The minus side is that it’s still often on the losing end. I’d expect that shift to continue over the next couple of years as the product matures and becomes a good product for database developers.

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More Tools of the Trade

Deepthi Goguri shares a list of useful tools for SQL Server work, presentations, and recordings:

1. OBS Studio: This is a free and open source software for video recording and live streaming. I mostly prerecord my sessions using OBS. I personally love this tool as we have pretty much good content on YouTube that teach us how to use this tool.

2. SentryOne Plan Explorer: Plan explorer is an amazing tool to analyze your execution plan and tune your queries very quickly. Its completely free.

Click through for the full list of 10.

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Power BI Tools

Benni De Jagere shares a list of useful tools around Power BI:

The External Tools (and the Enhanced Metadata format enabling it) allow end users of Power BI Desktop to call on custom built applications, scripts, .. to augment their developer/designer experience. These days, there’s over 40 (I stopped counting) external tools available, each with their own use case and focal area. When showing off some of the capabilities to my clients, it amazes me to see how quickly they pick up these things, and start building out their own ways of working.

Depending on the client, their IT Compliancy rules, the business and technical requirements, my actual tool belt tends to vary. Not every IT organisation allows user to freely install an application, digitally signed or not, so this is definitely an important one to take into your conversations early on.

Read on for Benni’s choices.

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Tools of the Trade

Mikey Bronowski shares some tool recommendations:

The main tool that I use every day is one I couldn’t live without: Todoist. For work related tasks, personal tasks, and just organizing life in general, Todoist is a to do list app that I’ve relied on to keep my sanity. If I think of something I need to do it immediately goes in the Misc category and I schedule it later. If I think of a blog post idea, it goes in the Ideas column of the Blog Topics category (and if it’s deemed a good idea will eventually go onto To Do, In Progress, and Complete). The free version has more than enough for my needs but if you want additional features or are trying to use it with a team there is a paid version available.

I’m a big fan of Todoist for reminding me what to do, as well as calendar entries for structure and making sure I limit my todo list size.

Mikey also provides great advice: create your own tools. They don’t have to be fancy, so long as they solve relevant problems.

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Technical and Productivity Tools

Steve Jones shares some tooling recommendations:

It’s blog party week for T-SQL Tuesday, and I think this is a good choice for a topic. The host this month is Mikey Bronowski, and his invitation is on tools. I work for a tools vendor, and I’ve used a lot of them in my life, so I want to share what I think in 2021. I’ll also say that Mikey has a good list in his invitation of what he uses. I especially like his use of PoSh things and Greenshot.

I’ve going to tackle this in a couple ways as I really have two parts of my job here, so I’ll look at tech tools and then productivity tools.

Read on for Steve’s list.

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