Excel Licensing Changes

Ginger Grant points out that Business Analytics Features are no longer in all versions of Excel:

Looking at this graphic, this is no way lists all of the versions of Excel which Microsoft sells. What about Office 365 Enterprise E1? Surely you would get Power Pivot functionality with that right? No. How much more money is Power Pivot going to cost you? Well, if you have Office 365, you are paying $8 a month for the Office software, including Excel. There is no guarantee that spending more money will provide Power Pivot though. Office 365 ProPlus, which has Power Pivot, will run you $12 a month. If you have Office Small Business Premium, which runs $12.50 a month you won’t get Power Pivot. Check the version of Excel 2016 by going to File->Account then look at what is listed. If the version isn’t Office 365 Pro Plus or one of the other versions listed in the graphic, there will be no way to make Power Pivot appear.

Based on Ginger’s explanation this seems like something that will be very confusing for some Excel users.

Limited Permissions For Third-Party Applications

Steve Jones wants to find minimum required permissions for Red Gate’s DLM Dashboard:

The principle of least privilege should apply everywhere, certainly in production, but also in development. If you limit permissions in development, you might cause a few headaches, but you’ll understand the issues and solve them early on. More importantly, if you have security flaws, they aren’t in production systems where data is exposed.

SQL Server security isn’t that hard, but it can be cumbersome. Set it up properly in development, keep your scripts (even from the GUI), and then use those scripts for your production systems.

Red Gate’s usually pretty good about publishing minimum permission requirements; some vendors will simply say “you need sysadmin or db_owner.”  I’m not enthralled with vendors which take the lazy way out.

SSMS Keyboard Shortcuts

Slava Murygin shows us some keyboard shortcuts in SQL Server Management Studio:

If you work with SQL Server for a long time you’ve probably learn some Keyboard combinations to speed up your administration or development process.
The full list of SSMS Shortcut keys you can find in MSDN

I will try to re-categorize the most interesting ones

If you spend a lot of time in Management Studio, learning keyboard shortcuts will make your life easier.

Online Database Modelling Services

Robert Sheldon has a look at some web-based database modelling services:

Here I look at five tools that provide online modeling services, ranging from commercial products to free, open-source solutions. They include Vertabelo, GenMyModel, dbDiffo, WWW SQL Designer, and DbDesigner.net. Each one takes a different approach to delivering its services and completing basic tasks, such as adding tables, columns, or relationships. You’ll find that some tools are more feature-rich and user-friendly than others, but each one has its own advantages and charms.

That said, none of the tools provide the level of functionality you get with an advanced on-premises solution such as PowerDesigner or ER/Studio, but not everyone needs such an extensive set of features—or the price tag that goes with them. In fact, all five online tools come either completely free or have a free version available, making it possible to try all of them without having to commit one way or the other. Not surprisingly, the free versions associated with the commercial products have limitations on their use.

The hat I’d throw into the ring is draw.io.  It’s a Visio look-alike, so it’s more useful for high-level strategic diagrams than a true model.

SSIS Performance Testing

Koen Verbeeck shows a framework he uses for performance testing in Integration Services:

The proc passes the @RunID parameter to the package, as well as other usual suspects, such as the package name, folder name and project name. You can also choose if a package is run synchronously or asynchronously. When run synchronously, the stored procedure doesn’t finish until the package is finished as well.

Using this stored procedure, it is easy to run a package multiple times in a row using a WHILE loop.

Also of interest is Andy Leonard’s SSIS Performance site, whose goal is to set up some performance benchmarks for Integration Services.

Availability Groups And Failover Cluster Instances

Derik Hammer digs into a more complex architecture for HA+DR:

The Availability Group will handle the data synchronization between the data centers. Asynchronous mode is recommend due to potential network latency hindering primary site performance. With the combination of these two features, you meet HA with the FCI’s automatic failover locally and DR with manual failover of the Availability Group between sites.

Derik’s conclusion is important:  this isn’t the type of thing a brand new accidental DBA should try to build; there are a lot of moving parts here.  But if you want a robust solution and have the support people available to handle the relative complexity, this is a good option.

SQL Server Express Images In Azure

Kevin Feasel

2016-02-12

Cloud

Microsoft now offers an Azure image for SQL Server Express:

We just announced that we added images for SQL Server Express with Tools 2014, 2012, and 2008R2 in the Azure Gallery. SQL Server Express is a free version of SQL Server that you can use for dev/test and for web and mobile apps with lightweight relational database needs.

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Express edition, but if you’re cost-conscious enough, this might be a nice move for you.

Read-Only AG Routing

John Handra shows how to configure read-only routing on an Availability Group:

NOTE: SQL Server 2016 introduces load-balancing across the secondary replicas in your AlwaysOn Availability Group. To utilize this feature, the above routing list will need to be modified so that SQL Server directs incoming read-only connections across the servers you choose to be load-balanced. You will have to use nested parentheses around the server instances you want to be part of the load-balanced group.

Read-only routing requires some additional setup and possibly load changes, but it can give you a nice performance gain by off-loading some of your read requests.

Widening Indexed Identity Columns

Aaron Bertrand shows what happens when you try to widen an identity integer column associated with an index or computed column:

Summary: We will need to drop and re-create any indexes, clustered or not, that reference the IDENTITY column – in the key or the INCLUDE. If the IDENTITY column is part of the clustered index, this means all indexes, since they will all reference the clustering key by definition. And disabling them isn’t enough.

Getting column sizes right at the beginning is your best bet.  Stay tuned for other alternatives.

Shot Charts

Jason Thomas shows us how to create an NBA-style shot chart using Power BI:

My entry is an analysis of the first 35 games played by Stephen Curry from the Golden State Warriors in NBA. The main feature of the entry is a Shot chart which shows the position from which he attempted his shots and the color denotes whether he made or missed it.

Jason also asks you to vote on his contest entry if you think it’s good.

Categories

August 2017
MTWTFSS
« Jul  
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031