Converting Binary To Hex With T-SQL

Dave Mason uses STRING_SPLIT to convert binary values to their hex equivalents:

I started pondering it for a bit and began to wonder if I could use the new for SQL Server 2016 STRING_SPLIT function to convert a binary string to decimal. The thought process was to split the string into rows of CHAR(1) values, along with an in-string character position. Then I could take the “1” values, calculate the 2ᵡ value, and sum them up for a decimal value.

I quickly realized I’d need to reverse the binary string. I also discovered the STRING_SPLIT function eliminated 0’s adjacent to 1’s. I don’t have much use for this code at the moment, but maybe there’s something here that you can take away.

Given some of the issues Dave ran into, it seems that a tally table-based solution might be a better choice.

Faster Scalar Functions In SQL Server 2019

Brent Ozar looks at improvements the SQL Server team has made to scalar functions in 2019:

My database has to be in 2019 compat mode to enable Froid, the function-inlining magic. Run the same query again, and the metrics are wildly different:

  • Runtime: 4 seconds

  • CPU time: 4 seconds

  • Logical reads: 3,247,991 (which still sounds bad, but bear with me)

My bias tells me that I still want to avoid scalar functions, but it’s no longer the automatic deal-killer it once was.

Uncovering Complexity In SQL Objects

Michael J. Swart helps us uncover hidden complexity in database objects:

The other day, Erin Stellato asked a question on twitter about the value of nested SPs. Here’s how I weighed in:

Hidden complexity has given me many problems in the past. SQL Server really really likes things simple and so it’s nice to be able to uncover that complexity. Andy Yun has tackled this problem for nested views with his sp_helpexpandview.

Click through for a script which helps.

Using Table-Valued Parameters In SQL Server

Ben Richardson has a post showing how to create user-defined table types and pass them into stored procedures:

Table-valued parameters were introduced in SQL Server 2008. Before that, there were limited options to pass tabular data to stored procedures. Most developers used one of the following methods:

  1. Data in multiple columns and rows was represented in the form of a series of parameters. However, the maximum number of parameters that can be passed to a SQL Server stored procedure is 2,100. Therefore, in the case of a large table, this method could not be used. Furthermore preprocessing is required on the server side in order to format the individual parameters into a tabular form.

  2. Create multiple SQL statements that can affect multiple rows, such as UPDATE. The statements can be sent to the server individually or in the batched form. Even if they are sent in the batched form, the statements are executed individually on the server.

  3. Another way is to use delimited strings or XML documents to bundle data from multiple rows and columns and then pass these text values to parameterized SQL statements or stored procedures. The drawback of this approach was that you needed to validate the data structure in order to unbundle the values.

The .NET framework then makes it easy to pass in an IEnumerable as a table-valued parameter.

Understanding ANY And ALL In SQL

Doug Kline explains the ANY and ALL operators in SQL:

-- note that this creates a single column of values
-- which could be used in something like IN
-- for example
SELECT 1
WHERE 12 IN ( SELECT tempField FROM (VALUES(11),(12),(7)) tempTable(tempField))
-- I could rephrase this as:
SELECT 1
WHERE 12 = ANY ( SELECT tempField FROM (VALUES(11),(12),(7)) tempTable(tempField))

I rarely see these operators in the wild and might have used them in production code a couple of times if that.

Validating SSIS Packages Using T-SQL

Annie Xu shows us how to validate SSIS packages in the SSISDB catalog using T-SQL:

Recently, I need to do a data warehouse migration for a client. Since there might be some difference between the Dev environment source databases and Prod environment source databases. The migrated SSIS packages for building data warehouse might have some failures because of the changes. So the challenge is how can I validate all my DW packages (100 +) all at once.

Click through for the script.

APPROX_COUNT_DISTINCT

Kevin Feasel

2018-10-15

T-SQL

Niko Neugebauer is happy with a new function in SQL Server 2019:

A rather interesting result takes place if we scale our database to 100GB TPCH and run the very same queries – the total elapsed time jumps to 50% difference (from 30%), the CPU execution time difference is kept at 50%, but the memory grant gives the biggest difference ever – those 24.476 MB are still intact for the APPROX_DISTINCT_COUNT, while the COUNT(DISTINCT) asks for just a bit over 11GB ! Besides going through a completely different gateway on the bigger machines, running COUNT(DISTINCT) will bring your system to a full stop way before the same will take place with the APPROX_DISTINCT_COUNT.
Regarding the precision – in my tests I did not see the difference going over 1%.

Test before using this function, but if you don’t the correct number and can make do with “close enough,” this can save a boatload of memory on larger tables.

Simulating LAG And LEAD Prior To SQL Server 2012

Kevin Feasel

2018-10-12

T-SQL

Izik Ben-Gan highlights a reader submission from his last post:

Last month I covered a Special Islands challenge. The task was to identify periods of activity for each service ID, tolerating a gap of up to an input number of seconds (@allowedgap). The caveat was that the solution had to be pre-2012 compatible, so you couldn’t use functions like LAG and LEAD, or aggregate window functions with a frame. I got a number of very interesting solutions posted in the comments by Toby Ovod-Everett, Peter Larsson, and Kamil Kosno. Make sure to go over their solutions since they’re all quite creative.

Curiously, a number of the solutions ran slower with the recommended index than without it. In this article I propose an explanation for this.

Even though all solutions were interesting, here I wanted to focus on the solution by Kamil Kosno, who’s an ETL developer with Zopa. In his solution, Kamil used a very creative technique to emulate LAG and LEAD without LAG and LEAD. You will probably find the technique handy if you need to perform LAG/LEAD-like calculations using code that is pre-2012 compatible.

Kamil’s solution was quite clever.

New Use Hint In SQL Server 2017 CU10

Kevin Feasel

2018-09-25

T-SQL

Pedro Lopes shows us a new use hint introduced in SQL Server 2017 CU10:

In this scenario, you only have this one query that apparently does better in SQL Server 2014 than 2017. That’s all “New CE” – there’s no CE70 vs CE 120+ at issue here. Using any known trace flag, the FORCE_LEGACY_CARDINALITY_ESTIMATION hint or the FORCE_DEFAULT_CARDINALITY_ESTIMATION hint doesn’t help. Rewriting the query is an option, but in the interim, I need a quick fix. How?

In SQL Server 2017 CU10, we have introduced a few new USE HINTs: the QUERY_OPTIMIZER_COMPATIBILITY_LEVEL_n, where n is a supported database compatibility level. This forces the query optimizer behavior at a query level, as if the query was compiled with database compatibility level. You can refer to sys.dm_exec_valid_use_hints for a list of currently supported values for n.

So to be clear, the new hint is not forcing only a specific CE model, it’s forcing the equivalent of the specific database compatibility level’s query optimizer behavior, including any query optimizer fixes that are enabled by default in that database compatibility level.

Something to keep in mind, though ideally not something you’d want to use regularly.

What’s In SQL Server 2019 CTP 2.0?

Aaron Bertrand gives us the highlights:

  • Certificate Management in Config Manager View and validate all of your certificates from a single interface, and manage and deploy certificate changes across all of the replicas in an Availability Group or all of the nodes in a Failover Cluster Instance.

  • Built-in data classification A new ADD SENSITIVITY CLASSIFICATION statement helps you identify and automatically audit sensitive data, a huge step up from the previous SSMS wizard (which just used extended properties).

Aaron also digs into the engine a bit:

APPROX_COUNT_DISTINCT

This new aggregate function is designed for data warehouse scenarios, and is an equivalent for COUNT(DISTINCT()). Instead of performing expensive distinct sort operations to determine actual counts, it relies instead on statistics to get something relatively accurate. You should find that the margin of error is within 2% of the precise count, 97% of the time, which is usually fine for high-level analytics, values that populate a dashboard, or quick estimates.

On my system I created a table with integer columns ranging from 100 to 1,000,000 unique values, and string columns ranging from 100 to 100,000 unique values. There were no indexes other than a clustered primary key on the leading integer column. Here are the results of COUNT(DISTINCT()) vs. APPROX_COUNT_DISTINCT() against those columns, so you can see where it is off by a bit (but always well within 2%):

By the way, APPROX_COUNT_DISTINCT() is a really good idea, and I’m glad it’s here.

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