Saturday, January 14, 2017

Upcoming SQL Server Events from PASS

There are many ways to reap benefits from being a member of the PASS Global Community. Today, as I write this blog, I glance over at twitter for hash tag #SQLSatNash and see all the speakers, volunteers and attendees express their love of this free event. You really never see “bad” tweets about one of these events.

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SQLSaturday is just one of the many ways to earn about Microsoft Data Technologies. Click this link to see if an event is coming close to your town or city.

24 Hours of PASS happens a couple of times a year when there 24 hours of consecutive sessions. This is a Free event online.

Another way is to watch a virtual user group online for free. Click this link for a list of Virtual User Groups. Below is a list of upcoming events. This list can be viewed on the main page of SQLPass.org for your profile after you login.

Upcoming Events of Interest

There is a View All link to see a drill down of all the events.

Paid events include Pre-conference sessions at SQL Saturday, a week of sessions at the SQL PASS Summit and the Business Analytics area just had their first Day of Business Analytics in Chicago.

An individual can create many ways to take advantage of these resources to advance in his or her career. I have seen many people get involved with PASS and totally change the direction of there career. Some in consulting, some with a new company or some even get to work for some of the great software companies that are sponsors of PASS events. Start at SQLPass.org to find out what you can do to help in your current career or trying something new.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Query Data Store–SQL Server 2016

SQL Server’s new Query Data Store is a brilliant option for databases if you are a DBA or have to do performance tuning on T-SQL queries. This new feature of SQL Server 2016 is contained within a database with configuration options for storage of history and query plans. The option has many benefits you can take advantage of today, but also this is an option for future upgrades to new SQL Server versions because of the history contained in the database rather than the instance.

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To enable the Query Data Store, you have to be db_owner of the database or SysAdmin to the instance. Once you right-click the database in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), go to the Query Store menu choice on the left and change Operation Mode (Requested) to Read Write. There are other options to handle the time retention of data as well as how often it is collected.

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This will enable the database to start storing query execution plans as well as statistics like IO, Read/Write and execution times in the database itself. There are new Data Management Objects (DMVs/DMFs) to use to manual retrieve this data.

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There are also reports available at the database level in SSMS to view information about query statistics. If you drill into the database in SSMS, you will see an option for Query Store.

 

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Here, you will see the four default reports that come with this Option.

  1. Regressed Queries – shows query history and changes in statistics
  2. Overall Resource Consumption – history of resources used in the database
  3. Top resource Consuming Queries – Top x of queries using the most resources
  4. Tracked Queries – enables you to see multiple query plans for a T-SQL statement and compare the plans or force a plan

The above is just a summary of what you are able to do, but just start using this feature and you will be amazed at what it enables DBAs and others to drill into. This drilling is just the history of queries on one database rather than you having to sort through all plans for an instance.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

SQL Server 2016–Live Query Statistics

WOW!!! The next great update to Execution Plans is a way to watch the processing of rows through iterators while the query runs. Never saw that coming. And even a bonus, you can use SQL Server 2016 Management Studio (SSMS) to watch queries run on versions 2014, 2012 and 2008 R2.

SSMS 2016 can be installed by itself without the server installation. Go here for the installation. Once you install SSMS, you can start to view this addition in SSMS.like Figure 1.

 

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Figure 1 – Live Query Statistics

After opening a New Query, go to the Query menu choice and select “Include Live Query Statistics.” You will need a long running query in order to see the processing happening at a slow pace.

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Figure 2 – Include Live Query Statistics

Once you start a query, a new tab will show the Live Query Statistics like Figure 3. The dotted lne means the iterator has not finished or has not started.

 

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Figure 3 – New Tab

The labeling of the iterators have the usually properties as an Execution Plan plus a running time clock of seconds that this iterator is using. In addition, you can see the “Actual Number of Row” of “Esitmated number of Rows” with a calculated Percent Done (Actual/Estimated). Figure 4 shows 144% for some iterators that have not even finished yet.

 

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Figure 4 – Percent Greater Than 100

This is useful to see if estimate number of rows is the same or close to actual number of rows. The percentage will rise above 100 if there are more actual than estimated rows. The query in this case probably could use some performance tuning to get the estimate closer to the actual.

WOW!!!

Friday, October 28, 2016

PASS Summit 2016 – Announcements

There have been different announcements for new and upcoming features in the Microsoft Data Technology ecosystem. The one today I am hearing about is Data Migration Assistant (DMA) tool v2.0 GA and Tech Preview of DEA – Data Experimentation Assistant. James Serra blogged about it here - http://www.jamesserra.com/archive/2016/10/pass-summit-announcements-dmadea/. The DEA helps you with understanding the performance improvements by upgrading.

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The next one the Tech Preview of building PowerBI reports in SQL Service Reporting Services. For more info go to the PowerBI Community Blog - https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/sqlrsteamblog/2016/10/28/create-power-bi-reports-in-the-sql-server-reporting-services-technical-preview/

The most exciting one for me is the Azure Analysis Services. It is only Tabular Models, right now, but OLAP is said to be in the works. This is interesting because it once was in the Cloud and then that cloud disappeared. It will be nice to see creating a DW in the Azure DWU, then connect to that data in Analysis Services and reporting in PowerBI, all in Azure. Never though I would say that Smile

 

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Go read about Azure SSAS here - http://sqlmag.com/sql-server/microsoft-announces-azure-analysis-services-preview-pass-summit-2016 and https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/introducing-azure-analysis-services-preview/

Chris Webb has already wrote his first thoughts about Azure Analysis Services - https://blog.crossjoin.co.uk/2016/10/25/first-thoughts-on-azure-analysis-services/

PASS New Logo

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Devin Knight presenting Advanced PowerBI

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Community Zone

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PASS Summit 2016-Thursday Part II

The second half of the day was spent talking with various speakers and attendees. I got into a great conversation about trying to mentor developers at work places about how to write good T-SQL. It was interesting to here how some developers (or DBAs) are not open to new ways to write T-SQL like using CTEs or proper join syntax.

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I meet Lance from the program committee and discussed the difficultly of having 800+ submissions and only about 140 slots for those submissions. To make sure you get a wide range of topics and not covering too little or too many of the same topic is not always easy. They do a great job with the volunteers to make sure Summit is a great learning opportunity for all.

I also saw a new posting on SQLServerCentral.Com about learning SQL Server 2016. Try this Link - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/SQL+Server+2016/127518/.

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The only session I attended was on learning how to price and scale an Azure SQL Server Data Warehouse. So, now I understand DWUs and pricing is 3 fold: DWUs, Storage and GEO DR. It can be expensive, but you get Massive Parallel Processing in the cloud and easier scaling up or down the usage.image

The last 2 session time slots was spent co-presenting with Bill Anton on Performance Tuning Analysis Services. It was well attended but in a large room. There was about 2/3 of the people returning after the break for the 3 hour session. Bill did a great job getting people started with Profiler, PerfMon and some free tools and scripts. Lots of questions and even a Microsoft developer helping us answer questions. Thanks Microsoft.

Last stop of the day was dinner with some great guys from Atlanta at Rock Bottom. They went to a BIML party, I went to bed. Smile

Thursday, October 27, 2016

PASS Summit 2016-Thursday Part 1

Today’s keynote was by David Dewitt. He did an excellent job explaining the architecture behind various Cloud Data Warehouse offerings. It was nice to get an explanation of the behind the scenes node and disk usage.

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One announcement that caught me off guard was next year’s Summit is Oct 31 thru Nov 3. That is Halloween and my kids come first on that day. Not sure that was a good idea. Better information shared was an increase in revenue of 10%, plus 100%+ increase in Global membership in some areas. There is a new logo and the updated website will be released early next year. Denise provided some slides on what the website will look like including mobile friendly.

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Next, I am going to meet up with Bill and attend a session on Azure DW.

PASS Summit 2016-Wednesday

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As all Summits, the first Regular Session day in Seattle started with the Keynote. Well, really it starts with a great breakfast at the Seattle Convention Center, but I digressed. Microsoft released information about new features for its Microsoft Data Platforms. The Keynote provided Customer specific examples of some of the newer features being used plus Program Managers demoing great examples of what is to come. For a summary, go to watch the PASStv Recap. A feature I am looking forward to seeing in action is Analysis Services in the cloud.

Congratulations to Malathi Mahadevan as PASS Outstanding Volunteer of the Year. She is a great representative of the PASS community and people love her service and passion.

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The Summit is an amazing trip.Wednesday, I spent time with Bill Anton rehearsing a 3 hour Analysis Service Performance Tuning session for Thursday he has put together. His knowledge of this subject is top tier so I learned a lot. I spent time in the Speaker Ready talking and practicing for a session on Excel Tips & Tricks With SSAS Cubes. This session takes all the technical work we IT people put together in a Cube and start to have some fun with it. What amazed me was half the people in the session (there was at least 100 attendees) were Cube builders. They were in the session to find out how people use cubes in Excel to develop better cubes. That is a lot of people still building cubes.

Before the Vendor Reception, I spent time after the Excel session talking to an attendee. He was very unique to me because he was not an IT person, but hired as a Financial/Accounting analyst. He was using data feeds from their hosted applications in PowerBI. It was difficult to explain to him the difference between a Cube, the Tabular Model, PowerPivot AND the modeling in PowerBI. Dimensional Modeling might be to advanced for him, he just wanted basic table design hints.

He was also concerned that there were not enough beginner T-SQL and database design sessions available for him at the Summit, so I spent time with him going through all the remaining session that were a fit for him plus vendors he should visit. He has never heard of Pluralsite or other online training like from PragmaticWorks. We exchanged business cards and wished each other a pleasant week as we walked past the Community Zone and into the Vender Reception.