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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

SQL Server 2014: SELECT INTO is parallel March 7th, 2014

Vinod Kumar

Recently I was performance tuning and optimization for a customer and working on SELECT INTO statements code blocks. I saw a weird behavior and a self learning hit when I saw something interesting. In SQL Server 2014, this command seems to be running in parallel. Cool and a must from performance point of view. To reproduce this simple learning, I executed the below query on my SQL 2014 CTP2 box:

Looking at the execution plan revealed the following. Look at the Parallelism and Gather Stream to confirm the same.

Sometimes, there are these nifty tiny features that get added to the product that we stumble upon by accident. Since my TempDB is in compatibility of 120 (SQL 2014), I thought of making an interesting test. I changed my compatibility level to 100 for AdventureWorks and did the test again. To my surprise I saw the Parallelism is gone !!! Woot, that was quite a learning.

Do let me know if you get the same behavior on a pre-SQL 2014 box.

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Lync: Join Online meetings quickly March 4th, 2014

Vinod Kumar

Joining a corporate culture has its own challenges and learnings. As we join a team which is geo-dispersed we are often faced with the challenge of collaborating with various at odd hours and getting into an online meeting setup via Lync can be frustrating and time consuming for many.

I have seen a lot of times folks join a Lync call using the button we have on Outlook reminder. No doubt it is the simplest and the easiest step to join a meeting. But for some strange reason we get dropped off that Lync call or close our window we are scouting to Open Outlook –> Click Calendar Tab –> Click the Meeting Invite –> Click on the Lync Call details. Though this works 100% of the time, it is far too many clicks before we landed into our meeting.

With Lync 2013, I found an interesting behavior. As shown below there is a Calendar tab that you can take a quick look at. This lists all the meetings scheduled for today in a snapshot. Cool ain’t it?

If that was not enough, the even cooler part comes next. All meetings which are normal time blocked for various activities will be marked in black. Interestingly, Lync call embedded meetings will be shown in Blue color. Cool right? Now just double click on the blue meeting invite and it will join you to Lync call immediately. No more scrambling around for invite inside Outlook etc.

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PowerPoint Tip: Crop by shapes March 3rd, 2014

Vinod Kumar

I have been actually doing a lot of sessions around tips and tricks and some of them get shared here over blog like Excel – Tips and Tricks, SQL Server Management Studio Tips and tricks etc. I actually a big fan of using a number of office tools to bring the best of what we have from a personal productivity. Recently in one of the demo’s one of the user asked me an interesting question and it was interesting how we miss some of the simple arrows :) – you will understand once you read the article.

Question: I want to crop an image but I want to crop it in circle shape rather than rectangle.

This was an interesting question and most importantly a solution exist for ages. Even though I am showing you the solution using PowerPoint, it is quite possible to do the same in Word, Excel and all other office tools.

So let us start with the simple image inside a PPT as shown below.

The common click we do is with the FORMAT Tab –> Crop button. That has always been the easiest click and we hardly look beyond what is shown. If you watch carefully, there is an interesting dropdown under Crop button – have you ever tried it?

Expanding we will be presented with the number of shapes to choose from. Keep playing around and see the different effects you could do. This is a designers paradise – understand these are ways you can make your presentation interesting.

I have used the cloud bubble effect and now the same mundane rectangular image turns into an interesting image as below.

Tip of the day: Even though this blog was inspired by a simple question, let me tell you – if you see any dropdown inside *any* office product – just click and explore the options. You will be impressed with the options.

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SSMS Tips–Object Explorer Details February 5th, 2014

Vinod Kumar

Today’s blog is inspired from the use of common tools that we use day-in-day-out. For me when playing with SQL Server, it will be SQL Server Management Tool (SSMS.exe). This blog has a number of posts around SSMS Tips like – SSMS: T-SQL Debugger Shortcuts, SQL Server: SSMS Tips II, SQL Server 2012 : SSMS Tips, SQL Server 2012: Snippets and IntelliSense and few more. So do look at them too.

In this blog let me just talk about a simple addendum screen that we hardly use but has tons of valuable information hidden inside SSMS – it is Object Explorer Details. For easier understanding I am just going to use a number of pictures to illustrate what I have actually done :).

Once you are in SSMS, click on F7 shortcut or use the View –> Object Explorer Details keyboard navigation as shown in picture below.

This bring the Object Explorer Details in the usual location where we normally have the Query Window. You can navigate to any node like the Object Explorer or click on a node on Object Explorer and it will populate the related details in the Details pane as shown in the next image. Below we are at the AdventureWorksDW database and have selected the Tables node. This enumerates and lists all the tables in the given database with few interesting properties.

Some additional capability in the Details pane is the ability to search for an object using the Search box on the top and once we are at the object, we can go ahead and click the double arrow (as in figure) to synchronize the Object Explorer View. It is quite an handy feature to use.

The Columns in the Object Explorer Details are customizable and quite interesting. From the header if you right click we will be presented with a list of additional columns that we can include in our view. The list changes based on the node that you are currently on. So “right-click” every header and play to your hearts desire.

In the above options, I selected Data Space Used (KB) and Row Count for my example. We can also remove any unnecessary columns which we don’t want to see too. Now with this data it becomes interesting. In the below figure I have done two things, a) sorted the “Row Count” Column and then b) selected about 10 rows from the OED pane. Now just CTRL+C and take these values to Excel :).

I have pasted the same inside Excel and it looks like below.

Inside Excel we have the freedom to do a number of things. One of the features that I have loved using the suggested charts, formatting of Excel 2013. When the table is selected, a small icon appears on the bottom right side – click on it and I have selected the Formatting –> Data Labels.

Other shortcut to play around is ALT+F1 to get a chart quickly populated. Below is a sample output that I have shown.

I am sure you have played around with Object Explorer Details before. If you haven’t played around till date then I am sure you will do now. Do let me know if you find this interesting and we will followup with many of these tips in the future.

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SQL Server AlwaysOn-Readable Secondary Setting January 3rd, 2014

Vinod Kumar

Recently I was questioned by two different customers on the very topic and I thought it was worth writing a mini-post to start the year :). The question was simple, what is the fundamental difference of values of “Yes” and “Read-Intent only” values when we are configuring our AlwaysOn Availability Groups? Aren’t they the same?

If you check the configuration of AlwaysOn we will be presented with these three options and these can be changed even later. This blog is to simply explain what these three mean.

No: This is the easiest of the lot. It just means we will not allow any connections to this server.

Yes: This is used for legacy purposes where *any TDS client* who wants to connect to a secondary replica explicitly for reporting workload can connect.

Updated as per Robert Comments: You can still connect to a instance marked as Yes via the routing list as it is an readable copy.

Read-intent-only: In this option we explicitly need to give the connection string property of “ApplicationIntent=ReadOnly”. Read more about connection strings in my previous blog – SQL Server AlwaysOn–Connection Strings. The only difference here is that you have explicitly shown the intent that the connection is going to be read only and it removes the caveat of previous point because now the routing-list / listener takes care of routing your request to the first available readable secondary as per the configuration. Hence for all practical purposes, for new applications please use this option.

Irrespective to the option selected, if your application fires a write operation to a ReadOnly server, the application will fail on the first DML or DDL operation performed in that connection.

This post is inspired from Book content: SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Joes 2 Pros®: A Tutorial for Implementing High Availability and Disaster Recovery using AlwaysOn Availability Groups” (Paperback, Kindle).

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