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Category: Tools

Diagnosing and Resolving CPU Issues

Jeff Iannucci has a story to tell:

Anyhow, [Erik] Darling’s tool is designed to provide five data sets showing a quick view of memory and processor usage based on several dynamic management views (DMVs). It’s gives you a quick look into what’s going on when the CPU and/or memory of your SQL Server instance are feeling discomfort.

Why do I mention this? Because little did I know the very next day I would be presented with a fine opportunity to use this tool. And by opportunity I mean a server on fire. (Well, not literally, but still…)

Click through for a description of sp_pressure_detector and a testimonial of its utility.

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Creating a UI in Powershell

Michael Berthold walks us through a useful example of using POSHGUI’s UI editor:

Some time back, a customer and I were working with the SentryOne PowerShell Module. Our PowerShell Module lets you manage the targets you are monitoring with SentryOne using a script or command line rather than the UI. This is a great time saver when you’re administering performance monitoring for hundreds or thousands of database servers.

The customer and I worked together to type up the commands they wanted for their script. They mentioned how it would be great if there were a GUI for this. This seemed odd initially, because the reason we were doing this in the first place was to automate these actions outside of a GUI. We spoke on it for a bit, and their meaning become clear. They envisioned a simple GUI used to guide in defining the commands for the PowerShell Module. I agreed that this would be helpful in getting a head start on scripting automation. I decided to find a way to fill this need.

This post explores one way to create a GUI using PowerShell. I’m using the SentryOne PowerShell Module for this example, but this method can be used for any PowerShell script.

Click through to see the example.

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Undercover Catalogue 0.4

David Fowler announces a new release of the Undercover Catalogue:

The first major change that 0.4.0 brings is centralisation. With previous versions of the Catalogue, it’s been a requirement to have the Catalogue schema and procs installed on every server that you want to monitor.

0.4 changes that, there is now no need to have anything installed on any of the target instances. Simply install the Catalogue in one place, on your central configuration server and add any instances that you require monitored to the Catalogue.ConfigInstances table.

This makes it much easier to add in instances to the Catalogue.

There are a few other updates as well, so check them out.

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Tools for Using SQL Server on Linux

Kellyn Pot’vin-Gorman has a list of tools you can use to make working with SQL Server on Linux a bit easier:

Along with the above versions of Linux distributions, SQL Server 2019 is supported in a container scenario using a Docker image.  Running a SQL Server database inside a Docker engine with Linux offers more flexibility, faster recovery, and quicker deployments, including deployments into the Azure cloud. For those becoming familiar with Linux, Docker for Windows or Mac gives you the option to run a Docker engine on your workstation with SQL Server 2019 on Linux.

Along with Docker technology, orchestration can be achieved, both managing and deploying SQL Server containers on Linux using Red Hat Open shift or Kubernetes. This includes SQL Server 2019 Big Data Clusters (BDC), fully scalable clusters with SQL Server, Spark, and Hadoop File System (HDFS). BDCs provide the ability to read, write, and analyze big data with T-SQL or Spark, and you can combine big data and relational data, too.

The set of tools just happens to be almost exactly the same set of tools as for Windows, but there are a few differences.

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An Ode to the SQLCallstackResolver

Jonathan Kehayias really likes the SQLCallstackResolver project:

Lately, I have been doing a lot of work troubleshooting certain behaviors in SQL Server for workloads that are, to put it simply, designed horribly. As a part of this, I have found it necessary to collect callstacks with Extended Events and to materialize them using the debugger symbols for SQL Server to see where exactly certain types of issues are being encountered to better understand some of the internals of newer features in SQL Server 2017 and 2019. Years ago I blogged about how to use the package0.callstack action in Extended Events for this type of thing, and Paul also has a blog post that talks about how to download the PDB symbols for SQL Server as well as a post that also demonstrates using the package0.callstack action to determine what causes a particular wait type. Using the debugging tools to get the symbols is somewhat clunky and tedious, so when I happened on this amazingly simple method of getting symbol files I had to share it.

The SQLCallstackResolver on Github has to be one of the greatest things since sliced bread if you want to materialize callstacks from SQL Server. 

Arvind Shyamsundar deserves a lot of credit for putting it together; he did a great job with the project.

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SQL Undercover Inspector v2

Adrian Buckman announces version 2.0 of Undercover Inspector:

There is a new setting in the Settings table called ‘ReportDataDetailedSummary’ this setting is on or off (0 or 1) and will control the level of detail logged in the summary column. When set to a 1 you will get granular detail of Warning/Advisory counts per server per module, setting this setting to 0 will return it back to the original way of logging which was to summarize the entire report into Warning count and advisory count.

There are a lot of changes in here.

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When mssql-cli Installation Fails on Ubuntu

Kellyn Pot’vin-Gorman shares a slew of reasons why mssql-cli might fail to install:

The easiest scenario for many to deploy SQL Server 2019 on Linux to start working with it, is most likely an Ubuntu distribution, (flavor) of Linux.  With that, you may want to play with the newest tool for command line execution of SQL, which isn’t sqlcmd, but mssql-cli.  It’s got some awesome new features, which I won’t go into here, but focus on installation failures instead, which happens not because the installation is complicated but because of the demands still for Python 2.7 when 3+ versions are required for newer software.

mssql-cli requires Python 3, so I recommend checking the version before running the mssql-cli installation command, as this may save you a lot of work with dependencies.  I’ll still go through the steps to if you want to force it to work with Python 2.7, but seriously, just using the right version of Python will make it so much easier.

Read on for just shy of a dozen different failure modes.

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Power BI Premium Capacity Testing

Matthew Roche announces an interesting tool:

This new tool was included as part of the BRK2046  session on Power BI Premium at MBAS. The whole session is valuable, but the tool itself comes in around the the 32 minute mark. There’s a demo at the 37 minute mark. The tool is available today on github.

This tool will help Power BI Premium customers better plan for how their specific workloads (reports, dashboards, datasets, dataflows, and patterns of access) will perform on a given Premium capacity.

Click through for instructions and a description of how it works.

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SQL Server Trends Worth Watching

Grant Fritchey follows up on a Kevin Hill tweet:

There are a million things to learn about in our rapidly shifting technological landscape, but I think this assessment, especially the way it was put, “no longer justify ignoring” really nails some of the fundamentals.

Let’s talk about why you can no longer ignore Docker, Git and DBATools either.

If you’re a DBA and aren’t familiar with Docker, Git, or DBATools, that’s a pretty good trio of things to spend some time learning. You can survive without them, but you’re more likely to thrive if you know them.

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The State of SQL Server Tools

Vicky Harp provides us a general update on things related to SQL Server tooling:

This week we’re announcing the general availability of SQL Server 2019, a significant milestone for Azure Data and for SQL Server customers. This presents a good moment to give an update on the state of tooling for SQL Server.

Since SQL Server 2016, the tools for SQL Server have been released independently “out of box” from the server product. This allows us to be more agile to the needs of our users, get both features and bug fixes shipped more quickly, stay aligned with the more continuous release cycle of Azure SQL, and in general allows the tools team to innovate in exciting ways. However, one side effect is that it can be difficult to understand what’s happening across the tools landscape, as things change quickly in multiple products that are releasing as frequently as every month.

Azure Data Studio has gotten a lot better. SSMS has gotten a little better. We’ve also seen work around several other tools, including command-line options. It’s a good time to be in SQL Server.

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