Thursday, 14 April 2016

Sad face, Podcast, Sad face Azure

The site running on Azure has stopped working.

So I'm sad, the network forwarding is broken, it's just a sad mess.  It went wrong earlier in the week, but now I'm just shaking my head and looking sad.

There does appear to be some issue with Azure VM and the disks...

But I think its going to take a little bit to get it up and running again.
I am toying with starting again from scratch and using a dedicated podcast service like

I'm going to some investigation, until then, is down... but not out.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Install SQL Server 2016 RC2

I installed SQL 2016 tonight, I thought it would be interesting to record the setup then comment on it...

The video of the server install is here;

I really like the new tempdb section and the instant file initialization tick box.

I've taken this bit from the Microsoft website.

In SQL Server 2016 RC 2, enhancements include:
  • R Services setup – the setup process for R Services is much more integrated into SQL Server setup. There is no longer a need to manually download and install Microsoft R open and R Server if the SQL Server is connected to the Internet; it becomes part of the SQL Server install sequence.
  • SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) – This release of SSMS features an update to the Visual Studio 2015 shell bringing enhancements such as the quick launch toolbar and improved theming support.
  • Mobile reports – Brand Packages will now be downloaded to the mobile report publisher from a server running RC2 and available for use in report creation.  Basic mobile report content migration between servers is now supported.

Monday, 11 April 2016

One blog a day... Not very LinkedIn - Misidentifying people

I've heard about strange people who blog every day, yes, every EVERY DAY.  This includes people like Richard Herring - I'm not sure if he blogs as me1 or me2, but since he has an alter ego - he only has to work half as hard....

So I'm going to blog every day this week, I could cheat an include the blog post I put up yesterday, but I'm a much better person than that.... Hold on a sec. No I am not.

This is my second post, and I think I've run out of interesting things to say.... Or have I....

This morning I saw an email from LinkedIn. This is a screen grab from my phone.
I was very impressed, I don't know Nick that well. I thought he was a Data Professional who worked in Southampton and not a Fleet Street  Journalist!!

Well he's not. Nick is a Data Architect and it appears that the LinkedIn AI / Bot that has been collecting articles has been misidentifying people.

Now, this is a trivial case.  But what if this system was being used to identify people for other purposes?  "Have you been miss sold PPI?"

So that's blog post two done, now 5 more to go.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Guerrilla Talks - A new lightning talk format...

Its all Richard Munn's fault idea - "Lets create a forum to encourage new speakers..."

Guerrilla Talks is Richard Munn's fault brain child. A way of encouraging new speakers.

He pitched it as a crazy idea, but in fact its quite sensible.

A way of;
*Allowing people to dip their toes into speaking without having to do a 50/60 minute session.
* Letting people try new ideas.
* Doing it all from the comfort of your desk (or high-backed armchair) at lunch time.

So as Pop Will Eat Itself would say, 'Let's get down to it, Boppers'.

Guerrilla Talks is a new lightning talk format session to help and encourage new, up and coming speakers to dip their toes in speaking without leaving the comfort of the desk.  It also gives old hands a chance to trying something new and different.

Its all remote  (via GotoWebinar) and the rules are quite simple.
* The session can be either 5 or 10 minutes
* Its run at lunch time (BST) 12:30pm-1pm
* Once a month, the last Wednesday in each month.
* It’s open to any and everyone
* Any topic

The first one is on the 27th April at 12:30; And here is the first line up.

Richard Munn @splappy - Once, Twice, Three Times A DBA (5 mins)
Alex Whittles @PurpleFrogSys - “Windowing functions – the Chuck Norris of T-SQL” (10 mins)
Rob Sewell @sqldbawithbeard - Four things you need to know to effectively use PowerShell (5 mins)

Be there or be square (yes, I am that old).  Register here. 

The next one is on the.. 25th of May

See you there,


Monday, 2 November 2015

SQL Relay YouTube Channel

Over the last week months we have launched the SQL Relay YouTube channel.

We currently have 9 videos ranging from R, Powershell and Extended Events - but there are many more on the way.. 

New videos should be going up every few weeks for the next couple of months, so you need to subscribe to the YouTube channel to get notifications.

Remember to leave rate and leave feedback about the sessions ( Your call is important to us)

If you want to record a session or do a webinar for us, then please get in contact!!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

New Podcast on Technology and SQL Server - Sounds of SQL

I've been planning on doing a technology / SQL Server podcast for a while.

There are some really goods ones on tech I listen to like;  .NET Rocks , RunAs Radio , SQL DownUnder
and of course Scott Hanselman's podcasts HanselMinutes , This Developers Life , Azure Friday and of course the 'fancy' Ratchet and the Geek (which is my favourite right now )

These are great and I love then, but I’ve not found anything from a British point of view… 

I asked a friend to put one together with me and I went up to SQLRelay in London and did a series of 5 minute interviews with a number of speakers..

The interviews will be going up on Sounds of SQL over the next few weeks once I get the hang of the editing process, I will be putting them up on iTunes too.  [One has already gone up]

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Windows Technical Preview...

I just can't resist a new version of windows, no matter how how early.

Firstly get with the program,

Download the ISO, create a new virtual machine and bish bash bosh  - minutes later, Windows X
(using a VMWare Fusion on my macbook pro)
When you log into windows, you go straight to the desktop and well, well, well the start menu is back - and its looking good...
It feels like Windows 7.5 (!) ;-)

Task View - or multiple desktops is cool, but I do remember a Tweak UI on Windows 95/98 , this has been a feature of XWindows for years!

File History - interesting - is this the start of TimeMachine for windows? (Perhaps not) - I will play when I attach a USB drive.

Search has been updated, but its not clear how different or new this is.

Well thats it for now, it looks good, its quick, I might just switch over as my main OS. ;-)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

SSMS Add-in feature request

We all use SSMS, we all love SSMS, it's really good. 

I know we use it everyday and it hardly ever breaks, but Microsoft don't add new features very often.
This can be somewhat frustrating, you can buy 3rd party Add-ins, to extend the functionality, but technically these are unsupported by Microsoft. 

A while ago, I wrote a couple of SSMS Add-ins for a few missing features that really bugged me, namely; code formatting, scripting data and schema (I know you can do it, but not from a right click on a table) and a versioning Add-in (this tracked each schema change and showed it in SSMS).

I stopped working on these a while ago, but after SQLBits, I've decided to dust off the code I uploaded into CodePlex and pick up where I left off.

So I put a request for new features on twitter, I got the following requests;
1) Cats (I assume the musical)
2) Calendar with community events in it
3) Porn
4) To produce server build documentation
5) A quick way of seeing all the extended properties on a table and all its columns. And editing them!
6) Some way of indicating the IDENTITY column if there is one?
7) Something that shows the partitioning wouldn't go amiss either and the age of the stats
8) Size of the table in Kb/Mb? Same with the indexes?
9) Is it possible to see number of table reads/scans for a particular table?
10) A feature that says "Please remove this software from your computer as you clearly have not idea what you are doing!"? I would prefer something that gives electric shocks as well but I think that Amnesty International and the unions may have object to that!!

Feel free to add more features requests to the blog comments.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Recharging my SQL Batteries

I went to SQLBits ( the biggest SQL Server Conference in Europe) last week and came back with two things, 1) a sore knee and 2) my SQL Batteries being recharged. (Its just under 10 weeks since I broke my leg)

Last year I chaired SQL Relay, we (the SQL Relay committee) put on 10 events up and down the country.  If you think it sounds like a lot of work, it was!! But we pulled it off together.  I am massively proud of everyone involved, I can’t remember the numbers, but we had over 1000 attendees - without the helpers, sponsors and attendees we would not have pulled it off.

But its was really draining…

So now, I'm feeling recharged, refreshed and ready to go...  I've got a number of things planned, so watch this space..  

Friday, 23 May 2014

Broken Leg...

Firstly,  let me answer a few questions..

Yes - it hurt (a lot).
Yes - it still hurts.
Yes- the pain killers do help.
3 months.
Judo - I was fighting and landed on my knee.  
Yes - I may go back to Judo.
Yes - Lots of clips/staples.
I've got a metal plate and some screws.
No - they won't come out, they stay in.
Yes - its a cool scar and yes, you can have a look.

I think that just about covers everything? :-)

Now for the pictures...

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Question: When is a columnstore index not a columnstore index?


When its a rowstore index.


When its not been rebuilt.



The answer is on MSDN – “The updateable columnstore first inserts new data into an OPEN rowgroup, which is in rowstore format” –> Yes, rowstore, not column store.

MSDN says re-organising the index will put it in columnstore format, but in CTP1 this doesn’t work. You need to rebuild the index, not a problem because we are using developer edition (or enterprise edition).

I’ve blogged here what happens when you insert into a column store index here

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Column Store Index Life Cycle

In my series on the Column Store Index, I thought I would blog on what happens when you insert/ delete into a column store index.

1) Lets insert some rows into a table with a column store index.


2) Rebuild the Index. The state of index changes to Compressed from Open and size_in_bytes is populated.


3) Insert some more rows. We now have two rows, one ‘OPEN’ and second ‘COMPRESSED’


4) Delete some rows. The deleted rows appear to have come from the ‘COMPRESSED’ row.


5) Rebuild the index again.



6) When I updated 1 row in the COMPRESSED table, the engine deleted the row and added a new row in the OPEN / delta table.



The page on MSDN about the sys.column_store_row_groups system table , explains why the 2nd table / delta table or delta row set is used , how and when data is moved from open of the threee states; ‘OPEN’,’COMPRESSED' and ‘CLOSED’ – I’ve not seen ‘CLOSED’ yet.