Category Archives: Tech and Learning

How-to and educational articles on technology and learning.

I’m going to make you love backups

Seriously.

This event is past, but you can watch the recording here!

On April 12 (11am Central time), I’m going to show you about two dozen ways to make your backups better, easier, faster, and more complete…using Minion Backup, of course.

Go ahead and register now.

minion backupBetter

You want to order your backups? Exclude one database? Just back up your read only databases at the end of the quarter? I’ll show you how to do all that, and of course more.

Easier

Of course we made Minion Backup plug-and-play…after all, this is the tool we use, at home and at client sites.

But even better, everything, including schedules, is table based. No more sorting through 9 different backup jobs to make sure that the new DB34 database has full backups on second Saturdays!

Faster

Did you know you can tune backups? If you did, pat yourself on the back…you’re in a slowly growing minority.

If you didn’t, today’s your lucky day! You can determine how many and what resources to throw at your backups to make them faster – and I’ll give you a big spoiler right here – that also makes your restores run faster.  You can learn all about that here in Sean’s Backup Tuning class (here’s the demo code), or you can get the highlights during my MB class…

…and hear about how to make your backup tuning dynamic!

Complete

Soooo…does your backup solution do everything?

  • Does it cover certificates?
  • Does it have tons of data logged to tables? Live insight, so you can see how far along any given backup is?
  • Does your backup solution automatically move and copy backup files?
  • How about retention, can you set backup file retention easily, and per database, and per backup type?

I’m telling you…you’re going to love this. Come by the session and see.

So did you register yet? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

See you there!

Happy days,
Jen

 

Compare column names for case sensitivity

I’m reviewing the code for the upcoming Minion CheckDB, and one of the things we’re checking for is case consistency in column names. For example, if Table1 has a column named Col1, and Table2 has COL1, well that’s no good.

But, how do we easily find those mismatches on a system that’s not case sensitive? Easy: collations.

This query compares all columns with the same name (speaking case insensitively) for case equality:

SELECT OBJECT_NAME(c1.object_id) AS TableName1
, OBJECT_NAME(c.object_id) AS TableName2
, c1.name AS ColName1
, c.name AS ColName2
FROM sys.columns AS c1
INNER JOIN sys.columns AS c ON c1.object_id > c.object_id
WHERE UPPER(c1.name) = UPPER(c.name)
AND c1.name COLLATE Latin1_General_CS_AS <> c.name COLLATE Latin1_General_CS_AS
ORDER BY ColName1
, TableName1
, ColName2;

Notice that we’re joining on c1’s object_id GREATER THAN c’s object_id. If we did <> (not equals), then we’d double our results (we’d see T1 C1 | T2 c1, and another row for T2 c1 | T1 C1).

We also have, in the where clause, UPPER(c1.name) = UPPER(c.name). We want column names that match, except for case.

And the “except for case” part comes with collating that last AND with a case sensitive collation: Latin1_General_CS_AS.

Easy. Done. Off you go.

-Jen

Database snapshots for everyone!

Database snapshots have been available in SQL Server Enterprise edition in the last several versions. But if you’re lucky enough to have 2016 at work, go on and upgrade to SP1….you get extra-lucky special database snapshots in any version!

(Be sure to read the footnote for “Database snapshots” in that link.)

What are database snapshots for?

Oh what’s that? You don’t use snapshots? Well let’s see a couple of good use cases for them:

  • Take a database snapshot before an upgrade, data load, or major change. It’s WAY faster than a backup, and you can roll back the changes if you need to, almost instantly.
  • Customize integrity checks. When you run DBCC CheckDB or DBCC CheckTable, behind the scenes SQL Server creates a snapshot of the database to run the operation against. You can also choose to create a custom snapshot…among other reasons, so you can specify where the snapshot files are placed. This is especially useful for shops running tight on disk space.

Speaking of integrity checks and snapshots, Minion CheckDB is slated to come out on  this coming February 1.  Be on the lookout…it’s going to blow your mind.

Happy days,
Jen