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Dear SQL DBA

Kendra Little of SQLWorkbooks.com answers burning questions from SQL Server Database Administrators and talks about her experiences as a DBA, consultant, and trainer.
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Dear SQL DBA
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Jun 13, 2018

New to learning SQL Server? Get the scoop on free online resources to look up information, ask questions of community members, and learn SQL Server from the ground up.

Links from the episode are at: https://sqlworkbooks.com/dear-sql-dba/training-resources-for-sql-noobs/

May 18, 2018

This week I discuss a question that I've gotten in many forms over the years - a lot of the scenarios are so specific that it's hard to keep them anonymous, but they can be generalized as a bigger problem: how do I deal with being responsible for things that I can't fully control?

DBAs have huge responsibilities, so this is a common, frustrating scenario. In this episode, I talk about a few times that I've experienced this in my own life, what techniques didn't work, and what strategies were more effective.

May 3, 2018

Our question this week comes from someone who's excited to be on a healthy career path, building their work experience as a DBA. They're worried: will lacking a college degree block their career growth down the line? I talk about my experience and also check out current job listings to answer the question.

Apr 23, 2018

In this episode, I talk about how to strategize for and prepare for Microsoft Certification exams, using the Database Fundamentals exam as an example.

Apr 5, 2018

Our question this week comes from an IT pro who would like to be self-employed. In this episode, I talk about three big things you need to think about to start working for yourself, and two possible paths to get there.

Dec 1, 2017

A few folks have asked: will auto-tuning and adaptive query plans mean the end of performance tuning jobs in SQL Server? In this week's episode, I talk about why I'm excited about those features rather than afraid of them. Digging into this problem, I share the #1 mindset problem I had as a DBA, why this mindset is so common among database professionals, and a daily habit that can change your approach to new technology.

Nov 17, 2017

Are you worried that you talk too fast when you give a speech, talk, or presentation? Is fear being a fast-talker one of the concerns that keeps you from getting started with public speaking? In this episode, I give you simple, practical tips that I've used to successfully improve the way I give presentations. Four years ago, I got frustrated feedback from listeners who had a hard time keeping up with my mouth; now I get congratulations that the pace was great.

Nov 8, 2017

In this week's episode, I'm not answering a reader's question. Instead, I'm talking about my personal experience with anxiety.

This episode touches on on healthcare, religion, and squishy emotions -- and there's at least one curse word. I don't talk tech in this episode. (Don't worry, there's more of that coming in future weeks.)

Oct 5, 2017

SQL Server Service Packs are going away, starting with SQL Server 2017. I talk about why I think this is a good thing, and discuss Cumulative Updates, Service Packs, and the process of updating SQL Server.

Sep 28, 2017

People have strong feelings about SQL Server Management Studio: they love it AND they hate it. In this week's episode, I talk about why people have such conflicting feelings about SSMS, and how to work it all out.

Sep 22, 2017

A query is slow, and you figure out how to collect the query execution plan. Now what? In this episode I talk "big picture" about what execution plans are, what "cost" is, why to collect "compiled for" values, and the steps I take to analyze execution plans while performance tuning queries.

Sep 12, 2017

As a SQL Server DBA, do you need to be a killer with scripts? In this episode I talk about how much you need to know about PowerShell, and examples of ways I personally use (and struggle with) PowerShell.

Sep 7, 2017

I'll be attending and presenting at the SQL PASS Summit in Seattle Washington this year from Oct 31-Nov 3. In this week's episode, I share why I'm excited about going, and why I've purchased a seat for a pre-conference session. (Spoiler: pre-cons are awesome!) I also give my tips on how to get the MOST value out of a big conference like the PASS Summit.

Aug 31, 2017

Over the years, readers have asked me: "How do you stay motivated?" Sticking with a learning plan, blogging, or becoming a public speaker isn't easy. In this episode I share how I think about motivation and what keeps me going.

Aug 24, 2017

This week's question from a reader: how do I deal with interview questions asking about real-world scenarios when I've faked three years of experience on my resume?

Aug 17, 2017

In this episode, I talk about three articles written by members of the SQL Server community on interviewing that I can't stop thinking about:

"Playing the Third Party Recruiter Game", by Adam Machanic - http://sqlblog.com/blogs/adam_machanic/archive/2017/08/08/playing-the-third-party-recruiter-game-t-sql-tuesday-093.aspx

"I Hate Interviews", by Rob Sewell - https://sqldbawithabeard.com/2017/08/08/i-hate-interviews-tsql2sday/

"Learning to say 'No'" by Mark Broadbent - https://tenbulls.co.uk/2017/08/08/learning-to-say-no/

Aug 8, 2017

Hear the story of an interview where my dreams were crushed - and what I learned about interviewing from the experience.

May 25, 2017

You've got some troubling wait stats in SQL Server. How can you tell which queries are causing those waits? Kendra discusses the pros and cons of different techniques to track down the cause of both common and tricky waits in SQL Server, including CXPACKET, PAGEIOLATCH, LCK, RESOURCE_SEMAPHORE, and THREADPOOL waits.

May 18, 2017

If you need to add, remove, or replace hints from ad-hoc queries and you can't change the code, plan guides can help. See a demo of removing hints from parameterized TSQL run from an application, and get tips on how to make your plan guides work in SQL Server.

Get code samples from this episode here: https://sqlworkbooks.com/2017/05/removing-query-hints-with-plan-guides-dear-sql-dba-episode-43/

May 11, 2017

Learn what batch mode is in SQL Server, and how you can trick SQL Server into using it (even without a "real" columnstore index).

For clickable links and demo code, head to https://sqlworkbooks.com/2017/05/batch-mode-hacks-for-rowstore-queries-in-sql-server/

May 4, 2017

Find out if getting certified will help you land an entry level DBA job, and if you do want to get certified, get Kendra's tips on preparing for the exam.

Apr 27, 2017

Ever had a database change go horribly wrong? It can feel awful in the moment, then eat away at your confidence for days afterward. In this 20 minute episode Kendra gives you practical steps that help you cope with change over the course of your DBA career.

Apr 20, 2017

An important query is suddenly slow. Is it because statistics are out of date? This is tricky to figure out, and updating statistics right away can make troubleshooting even harder. Learn how to use query execution plans to get to the heart of the question and find out if stats are really your problem, or if it's something else. In this 35 minute episode:

00:39 SQL Server 2017 Announced
01:10 New video from Microsoft's Joe Sack demonstrating Adaptive Query Processing
03:05 This week's question: Are bad stats making my query slow?
05:26 Demo of finding plan in cache and analyzing stats begins
28:17 What to do when stats ARE the problem

Code samples: https://gist.github.com/LitKnd/f07848d59cedc61fd057d12ab966f703

Links from the episode:

SQL Server 2017 Adaptive Query Processing video by Joe Sack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szTmo6rTUjM&feature=youtu.be

Michael J Swart on finding Dark Matter Queries: http://michaeljswart.com/2017/04/finding-your-dark-queries/

Got a question for Dear SQL DBA? https://SQLWorkbooks.com/ask

Apr 13, 2017

They made their index maintenance job smarter, and their queries got slower in production afterward. Could the index maintenance have harmed performance? In this episode...
00:50 Thinking about plan freezing in Query Store and multi-team process
03:15 This week's question about index maintenance and query performance

Apr 6, 2017

The dev server got bogged down during a deployment and lock timeouts were everywhere. Was the perfmon counter way off about how much memory was being used just for locks? In this episode...

00:33 What's new @ SQL Workbooks: Down the Rabbit Hole
03:00 This week's question about lock timeouts & memory in SQL Server

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