SQL-to-Excel: A Tool For Automating Exports To Excel

Dave Mason has written a command line tool for Excel-based productivity:

In 2018, I’ve found myself frequently running a series of static SQL Server queries and copying/pasting the output of each query into a separate sheet in a Microsoft Excel Worksheet file. They say if you perform a manual task X number of times or more, you should automate it. Great advice, right? There are a number of ways to export SQL Server query results to Excel, and an internet search readily turns up many options. I didn’t find any that suited my needs, so I wrote my own utility, uncleverly named “SQL to Excel”.

SQL to Excel is a modest command line utility. It iterates though a folder of *.sql script files, executing each script, capturing the script query output, and writing the results to a Microsoft Excel Worksheet file (one worksheet per script file). And yes, it’s an actual Excel file, not a .csv file. The C# code for SQL to Excel is available as a GitHub repository.

Click through for more details.  This sounds a bit more robust than building Integration Services packages to do the same.

Reminder: Windows Server Still Exists

Kevin Feasel

2018-10-22

Tools

Allan Hirt reminds us that Windows Server is still an important product:

If you’ve been in hibernation, today you woke up to a world where Microsoft has embraced open source and Linux. What was once unthinkable is now happening. What is going on? Why am I even talking about this?

Since the introduction of SQL Server 2017 and the support for Linux-based deployments, I’ve had a steady stream of questions from C-levels on down to DBAs asking in essence this: “Do I need to abandon SQL Server on Windows Server and learn Linux?” I would use something stronger if this was a casual conversation, but the answer is an emphatic “NO!” SQL Server still runs just fine and is supported on Windows Server (including Windows Server 2019, which is just released). Support is not ending any time soon. Linux is just another option and there may be enhancements specific to each platform because of their differences. It’s not an “either/or” thing. So breathe, OK? If you have a use case for Linux, by all means deploy SQL Server on it.

I am on the SQL on Linux bandwagon and enjoy the path that Microsoft is forging, but Allan provides us a critical tonic in this regard.

In Praise Of Tabular Editor

Teo Lachev shares a positive review of Tabular Editor, a community tool for working with Tabular models:

What tool do you use for Analysis Services Tabular development? SSDT right, what else? Here is a little secret. I almost don’t use SSDT anymore, except for limited tasks, such as importing new tables and visualizing relationships. I switched to a great community tool – Tabular Editor and you should too if you’re frustrated with the SSDT Tabular Designer. Back in 2012 Microsoft ported the Power Pivot designer to SSDT to let BI practitioners implement Tabular models. This is why you still get weird errors that Excel has encountered some error. Microsoft haven’t made any “professional” optimizations despite all the attention that Tabular gets. As a result, developers face:

  • Performance issues – As your model grows in complexity, it gets progressively slower for even simple changes, such as renaming columns. The problem of course is that any change results in a commit operation to the workspace database. SSDT requires a workspace database for the Data View but it slows down all tasks even if it doesn’t have data. While the data view is useful for data analysts, I’d personally rather sacrifice it to gain development speed.

  • The horrible measure grid – Enough said. To Microsoft credit, the Tabular Explorer helps somewhat but it still doesn’t support the equivalent of the SSAS MD script editor.

  • No automation for repetitive tasks – It’s not unusual to create many measure variants, such as YTD, QTD. SSDT doesn’t help much automating them.

It does look interesting.

A Tool For Analyzing AG Replica Latency

Simon Su has an interesting tool available:

I wrote an article to discuss about data movement latency between AG groups:

Now I develop a tool to analyze AG log block movement latency between replicas and create report accordingly.

Click through for more info and check it out on Github.

New dbatools Release

Chrissy LeMaire announces new changes to dbatools:

Marching onward to dbatools 1.0, a ton of commands have been renamed to align with our now mature naming scheme. These changes were made in today’s release, version 0.9.410 aka regularlegs, now available on GitHub and the PowerShell Gallery.

Here’s the general idea:

  • DbaDatabase has mostly been renamed to DbaDb with a couple exceptions

  • DbaSql has been changed to just Dba, no exceptions. Think of Dba as “Sql”.

  • DbaConfig has been renamed to DbatoolsConfig

  • TempDbConfiguration has been renamed to TempdbConfig

  • All Configuration commands are Config except SpConfigure

  • DbaDacpac has been renamed to DbaDacPackage. Dac is the prefix for our data-tier application commands.

  • DbaDbQueryStoreOptions has been renamed to DbaDbQueryStoreOption

Some of this is in preparation for breaking changes in dbatools 1.0.  There’s a lot of stuff in this release, so check it out.

Getting Anatomical With SSIS Catalog Compare

Andy Leonard shows off parts of SSIS Catalog Compare.  First up is the catalog reference script:

As you may glean from this analysis of one script generated for SSIS Catalog References management, the Transact-SQL for scripting SSIS Catalog artifacts in SSIS Catalog Compare is rigorous and includes several existence and error-condition checks prior to performing any updates. The script is designed to be idempotent, as well, meaning the script will succeed and the results will be repeatable and predictable each time the script is executed – and that the script itself is re-executable.

Then an environment script:

The final portion of the script checks for the existence of the Environment Variables and responds accordingly. This is a three-step process:

  1. Drop the Environment Variable if it exists.
  2. Create the Environment Variable.
  3. Set the Environment Variable value.

If the Environment Variable exists the script drops it. Why? SSIS Catalog Compare wants to be sure the environment variable is created with the proper data type and initial values.

And connection literals:

These messages are intended to be copied and stored in the Notes field of a ticketing system in a DevOps enterprise. Note the detail contained herein:

  • Script Name – the path to the file used to perform the operation.

  • Generated From – the SQL Server instance of the SSIS Catalog host from which the script was generated.

  • Catalog Name – redundant at present because all SSIS Catalogs are named “SSISDB.”

  • Folder Name – the name of the SSIS Catalog Folder that contains the scripted artifact.

  • Project Name – the name of the SSIS Project that contains the scripted artifact.

  • Project Connection Name – the name of the SSIS Project Connection.

  • Generated By – the name of the enterprise account used to generate the artifact’s script.

    • Note: SSIS Catalog Compare respects the security model of the SSIS Catalog. Windows Authentication is required to perform many SSIS Catalog operations.
  • Generated Date – the date and time the script was generated.

  • Generated From – the version of CatalogBase used in the generation of the artifact script.

    • Executing On – the name of the machine on which CatalogBase was running.
  • Deployed to Instance – the SQL Server instance hosting the target SSIS Catalog.

  • Deploy Date – the date and time the deployment script was executed.

  • Deploy By – the enterprise account used to deploy the artifact script.

Andy has put a lot of thought into SSIS Catalog Compare, so go check it out.

The Best Of The Underground Toolbox

Adrian Buckman shares some of his favorite creations:

sp_AGreconfigure

This is a great goto proc for an alternative to the Always on availability group GUI for changing Failover mode, Synchronous mode or even Readable options.

When you manage multiple servers with multiple Availability groups this stored procedure can save you alot of time, sometimes I find the GUI can take a long time to open but equally it can take some time to execute the command.

sp_AGreconfigure can speed this process up for you, we tend to use this as our goto for switching synchronous settings when patching/rebooting replicas but also I tend to use it in @Checkonly = 1 mode for giving the Availability group settings a once over.

Click through for this and several other useful tools.

Using FlashText Instead Of RegEx

Kevin Feasel

2018-06-21

Tools

Leona Zhang compares the FlashText Python library to using regular expressions:

If you have done any text/data analysis, you might already be familiar with Regular Expressions (RegEx). RegEx evolved as a necessary tool for text editing. If you are still using RegEx to deal with text processing, then you may have some problems to deal with. Why? When it comes to large-sized texts, the low efficiency of RegEx can make data analysis unacceptably slow.

In this article, we will discuss how you can use FlashText, a Python library that is 100 times faster than RegEx to perform data analysis.

Learn more on the GitHub repo.  I haven’t used this before but I could see it being handy.

Building Observability Tools At Scale

Kevin Feasel

2018-06-05

Tools

Kevin Lew and Sangeeta Narayanan give us some lessons learned from building logging and monitoring solutions at Netflix:

We started our tooling efforts with providing visibility into device and server logs, so that our users can go to one tool instead of having to use separate data-specific tools or logging into servers. Providing visibility into logs is valuable because log messages include important contextual information, especially when errors occur.

However, at some point in our business growth, storing device and server logs didn’t scale because the increasing volume of log data caused our storage cost to balloon and query times to increase. Besides reducing our storage retention time period, we addressed scalability by implementing a real-time stream processing platform called Mantis. Instead of saving all logs to persistent storage, Mantis enables our users to stream logs into memory, and keep only those logs that match SQL-like query criteria. Users also have the choice to transform and save matching logs to persistent storage. A query that retrieves a sample of playback start events for the Apple iPad is shown in the following screenshot:

It’s an interesting post.

Using mssql-cli

Kevin Feasel

2018-05-16

Tools

Prashanth Jayaram shows how to install and use the mssql-cli client:

Switching to the editor mode is pretty simple and straight-forward. At the bottom of the screen, we can see the help bar which guides us through the switching process between the available editor modes. The options available for instant switching are the multiline mode, activated by pressing F3, and the Emacs mode, activated by pressing the F4 button.

To run the multi-line query in the multi-line mode, append the query with a semicolon and then press the enter key to execute it.

Use the same keys as mentioned above to turn on and turn off the editor modes—F3 for the multi-line query mode and F4 for the EMACS mode.

If you’re big on command-line interfaces, you’ll probably enjoy this client.

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