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A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.

A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.
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A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data professional's viewpoint. Written and recorded by Steve Jones, editor of SQLServerCentral and The Voice of the DBA.




Automation at Work

I do worry about the future of work for large sections of people. When I read pieces like this one in the Atlantic on automation, there are two things that come to mind. First, we are mindlessly sticking with 19th century models of work in many cases. Second, there are opportunities that could dramatically utilize the leverage of computing power to reduce our need for humans in many cases. Far too often I've seen processes and procedures in place that exist strictly because of historical...



Google is doing more SQL, or at least shifting towards relational SQL databases as a way of storing data. At least, some of their engineers see this as a better way to store data for many problems. Since I'm a relational database advocate, I found this to be interesting. When Google first started to publish information on BigTable and other new ways of dealing with large amounts of data, I felt that these weren't solutions I'd use or problems that many people had. The idea of Map Reduce is...


Lax Security is Harmful for Employment

Manure rolls downhill Since I live on a horse ranch with some slight hills, I can attest this to be true. At least, it's true for horses and it's true for short distances. Manure isn't very friction free and often ceases movement quickly. The same isn't likely true for bull droppings, but I haven't done much testing in that area. Most of us would agree that those that are negligent in their jobs, especially with regard to security, ought to be punished. In some cases, this should lead to...


Revving the Error

I was pleased to see the fix for the string or binary data truncated error saw some development work in SQL Server 2019. If you haven't read about this, the changes are described on MSDN and I thanked the development team. What's even better news is that the fix has been ported to SQL Server 2017 in CU12 is is also slated to appear in an upcoming SQL Server 2016 CU. In working on this error, Microsoft provided some guidance about where the first occurrence of the truncation would occur, in...


Github Downtime

I didn't notice any issues with GitHub, but others did. The majority of my interaction is just through the git protocol, so things tend to work fast, and I don't have any database access. I rarely use the Issues, and other parts of GitHub, which were affected when GitHub had a MySQL cluster fail over. There's a good write up of the post incident analysis that's worth reading, from a database perspective. I'm not a big MySQL guy, only running an instance to power T-SQL Tuesday. The structure...


Understanding a Database

I ran across a post that asked a good question, one which I want to ask you today: how do you learn about a database? I've run into quite a few databases in my career. Some were third party systems, like Dynamics and JD Edwards World. Some were databases that custom designed and built by developers and database modelers of widely varying skills. Some were well built in order to normalize data and define referential integrity, and other databases were put together in a piecemeal fashion over...


Tougher Privacy Laws

I am all for tougher privacy laws, especially for companies that have not followed basic security practices for securing data. There is a proposal from US Senator Ron Wyden that would increase penalties and give more rights to consumers. Consumers could opt out of data sharing and executives could be fined or jailed. The penalties are stiff, and I think it's not likely to pass, and more practically, many of the penalties might not actually get enforced. In the US we don't have much in the...


Mitigate Issues Early

This is a great postmortem from Basecamp with a detailed explanation of a problem and how they are hoping to avoid issues with their service. Basecamp is a Software as a Service tool from 37 Signals that had an outage recently. Actually, the service was up and could be read, but new items couldn't be added and existing items couldn't be changed. That somewhat defeats the purpose of the tool. 37 Signals recognizes this and notes that they're calling this downtime and not trying to get...


Building Better Training Opportunities

Recently I wrote a piece about some advice on quitting over training budgets, or the lack thereof. It had some interesting comments, but one stood out to me because it's something I've heard and seen before. One of the readers noted that their company had bought a subscription for employees to learn new skills, but few of them had taken advantage of the courses. I'm not surprised. Many people are tired at the end of the day. Many people are fairly satisfied with their jobs. They're not...


Moving to Query Store

In SQL Server 2016, Microsoft introduced the Query Data Store (QDS) as a tool that would capture data about the execution of queries inside of your database. This was a project that had been in the works for a number of years, and one that many of us that were bound by NDA agreements had been following. We were excited by the chance to actually gather some information on the. Are you using Query Store? You should be, as this tool will become more valuable over time. I know that there are...


Another Reason to Care About Security

This is likely a short and quiet day for many of you with Thanksgiving in the US tomorrow. Most people have tomorrow off in the US, and those that do business with the US may have a quiet couple of days with little communication from the US. A good time to catch up on things. Before you go, I want you to think a bit about security today, and perhaps across the weekend before you come back. Security is important, and many of us that work in the data world know this. We see more and more data...


The Data Scribe

There's an interesting piece in the New Yorker about technology in the medical field from Atul Gawande. It talks about the love hate relationship doctors have with medical systems, and ruminates a bit about whether these new systems are making medicine better or worse. I think Dr. Gawande is a very interesting individual, and whose Checklist Manifesto is a great look at improving processes. The article talks about the struggles of doctors with using various systems, but there is one...


More Database Options

I saw recently that Azure SQL Database is getting a few more Database Scoped Options for that platform. These are intended to give more control over the way in which the engine behaves, without requiring each database on a server to function the same way. I expect to get to the on-premises product at some point, where they'll be even more useful as we often might want different behavior for different contexts on an instance. While there are advantages to managing all databases in an...


The Linux Code of Conduct

This is a busy time of year for me, with lots of conferences and other events taking place. It's busy most years, but this past October was especially busy in my life. I've been in New York, London, and Hong Kong during the month, which is quite a spread of time zones. It's been a mix of work and pleasure, and I agreed to all these trips, so I can't complain. In any case, it's both an exciting set of trips and a daunting set, and I don't know if I'd want to do that again. In my travels, I...



Volleyball season is approaching. Practice started last week for the team that I'm coaching this year, and I'm excited. I look forward to teaching and competing with a new group of athletes each year. I'll also look forward to a more regular schedule and a bit less traveling for a few months. In preparation for this season, I've been doing some learning, some reading and watching, trying to improve my abilities, something I've done for a few years. One of the books I completed recently was...


Internal Controls

I was browsing the Internet and stumbled on a small part of a larger story that struck me. Many of you may have heard of the story of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist for the Washington Post that was killed. I hadn't spent much time reading about the story, and I don't really want to discuss that topic here. The politics of the situation are not relevent here. There's a part of the NY Times background story that caught my eye when a quote was posted on Twitter. This is part of that quote: "...


In Memorium

I'm getting older, and as I remind people when I talk about careers and balance, I likely have less life ahead of me than behind me. I think about that as I try to enjoy life and appreciate the good and bad things I experience. I've had a wonderful life, and I can't complain about anything. I wish everyone could say the same thing. My apologies in advance for the tone of this editorial. This week I added a new category to the Database Weekly newsletter: Obituaries. I had Andy Warren suggest...


The Short Summit

This week is the 2018 PASS Summit, the largest conference devoted to SQL Server and the Microsoft Data Platform. This is the 20th Summit, and I'm sure there are a few people that have been to all of them. I think I've missed 3, though I was at the first one and I'll be there later this week for a short trip. The annual Summit used to be an event that I looked forward to most of the year, a time when I'd see friends from all over the world that I only saw in person once a year. I might...


The SQL Twilight Zone

Imagine you've just returned from holiday and your data professional world is turned upside down. There's not a single SQL Server left at work, or maybe there's no job to work with SQL Server. Now, what do you do? I'm hoping that's not the case for me, as I'm actually writing this a couple weeks ahead of time. When this publishes, I'll have just returned from a holiday in Hong Kong, which I'm guessing is a completely different reality than the one I normally live and work in. I'm very...


Rolling Back Migrations

I happen to be a fan of database migrations as a way of making and deploying database changes. This is an approach that tracks each of the scripts run by developers in their working environments and the replays these scripts in production to deploy the changes. It works really well, and is the most bulletproof method I know of for ensuring the changes will work in production. That's not to say there aren't issues, but it's the approach I favor. It's a part of what SQL Change Automation from...