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Damian Widera

  • Functions in the USQL – the hidden gem in the Summer 2017 Update

    Hi SQL Folks, I just written a blog post about the functions and hidden gems in the USQL Summer Refresh 2017

    Take a look there. and tell me what you think!!!


  • The RC2 of SQL Server 2017 has been released!

    Hello SQL Folks!

    SQL Server 2017 RC2 has been released.

    More details can be found here. There are lot of great new features apart from what we love the most – SQL Server on Linux. However in this release some bugfixes have been made along with performance improvements.

    Take your time and play with SQL Server now !!!



  • The RC1 of SQL Server 2017 has been released!

    Hello SQL Folks!

    SQL Server 2017 RC1 has been released.

    More details can be found here. There are lot of great new features apart from what we love the most – SQL Server on Linux

    Take your time and play with SQL Server now Smile 



  • SQL Saturday Katowice #664

    Hello SQL Fans!!

    It is time for you to join SQL Saturday in Katowice!!!

    More details here



  • SQL Server 2017–all sessions from Microsoft Data Amp are online! Complete list of links!!!


    I have just gathered all sessions (deep dive ones) that you might have seen live on 4/19. Look how many sessions are there!!!!

    In case you missed the event and would like to – you can find all the sessions here:




  • SQL Server 2017 Community Technology Preview 2.0 now available

    I have just written a blog post about what’s new in SSAS in SQL Server 2017 CTP 2.0

    I am very impressed about all the changes Microsoft has done in the product for the last years.

    But, I am also very impressed of what is new / enhanced in this CTP regarding to SQL Server on Windows and Linux:

    • support for storing and analyzing graph data relationships
    • resumable online index rebuild
    • Adaptative Query Processing
    • Interleaved execution
    • Batch mode adaptive joins

    In addition, some functionality that was previously available in SQL Server on Windows is now available on Linux for the first time. This includes:

    • Additional SQL Server Agent capabilities – Use SQL Server Agent to keep replicas in synch with log shipping.
    • Listener for Always On availability groups – The listener enables clients to connect to the primary replica in an availability group, monitoring availability and directing connections to the replicas.

    That is not everything! Citation from the SQL Server Blog:

    Another new, key feature enhancement in CTP 2.0 of SQL Server 2017 is the ability to run the Python language in-database to scale and accelerate machine learning, predictive analytics and data science scripts. The new capability, called Microsoft Machine Learning Services, enables Python scripts to be run directly within the database server, or to be embedded into T-SQL scripts, where they can be easily deployed to the database as stored procedures and easily called from SQL client applications by stored procedure call. SQL Server 2017 will also extend Python’s performance and scale by providing a selection of parallelized algorithms that accelerate data transforms, statistical tests and analytics algorithms. This functionality and the ability to run R in-database and at scale are only available on Windows Server operating system at this time.

    You can read the release notes here:

    The SQL Server Blog blog post can be found here:




  • What’s new in SQL Server 2017 CTP 2.0 for Analysis Services

    Today is a great day. I have been able to take part in the #MSDataAmp conference. While listening to Scott Guthrie I found that SQL Server 2017 CTP 2.0 is available for download

    I like to way Microsoft changes the Analysis Services engine over the time. I just had opportunity to take a look what the engine offered in 2012 and to see how it has been changed since then is very impressive

    Here is what is new / changed / enhanced in the SQL Server 2017 CTP 2.0 in the SSAS engine (text copied from the Analysis Services Team Blog)

    The public CTP 2.0 of SQL Server 2017 on Windows is available here! This public preview includes the following enhancements for Analysis Services tabular.

    • Object-level security to secure model metadata in addition to data.
    • Transaction-performance improvements for a more responsive developer experience.
    • Dynamic Management View improvements for 1200 and 1400 models enabling dependency analysis and reporting.
    • Improvements to the authoring experience of detail rows expressions.
    • Hierarchy and column reuse to be surfaced in more helpful locations in the Power BI field list.
    • Date relationships to easily create relationships to date dimensions based on date columns.
    • Default installation option for Analysis Services is tabular, not multidimensional.

    Other enhancements not covered by this post include the following.

    • New Power Query data sources. See this post for more info.
    • DAX Editor for SSDT. See this post for more info.
    • Existing Direct Query data sources support for M expressions. See this post for more info.
    • SSMS improvements, such as viewing, editing, and scripting support for structured data sources.

    The complete blog post is here:




  • VarsoviaNewTech–unique conference in Poland (available for all–live streaming!!!)

    Hello folks,

    Maybe you have some time today? You can join a pretty cool conference – VarsoviaNewTech.

    var Sovia = new Tech(); is a Microsoft developer conference that showcases newest dev technologies and solutions. The event puts spotlight on Mixed Reality with HoloLens, Azure, Biological Computing, .NET Core, Bots and Conversation as a Platform, Cognitive Services, Xamarin cross-platform development, Mobile DevOps, Node.js and Serverless Computing.

    Attend var Sovia = new Tech(); on 29th of March, 2017 to hear from speakers representing Microsoft, Microsoft Research, Microsoft's ISV Partners and MVP Community. The event keynote will be delivered by Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft.

    During the event you will also have an unique opportunity to dive into the holographic world in the HoloLens Experience Zone, where you would be able to hands-on demo the Mixed Reality solutions developed by Microsoft's ISV partners.

    var Sovia = new Tech(); will be filled with strong technical sessions and will offer you great opportunities to meet, network and learn from others in the industry.

    There will be one more thing there.

    I will be showing together with Marek Byszewski and Piotr Czarnas something very very unique – a database virtualization engine that is called Querona. I have had the opportunity to play with it and it is just shocking (positively)! Wanna see / know more?


    We will show how to use Microsoft Cognitive Services Face API + Recommendation API and HDI Insight data combined with relational data warehouse dat in order to produce reports in PowerBI. Cool!

    Simple as that – join the live stream!



  • SQL Server on Linux: Running jobs with SQL Server Agent


    SQL Server Team has announced that in CTP 1.4 you can schedule tasks using SQL Server Agent! That was one of the pain things at least for me – I usually have lot of tasks in the SQL Server Agent in my environments. Seems to me that as of now I will be able to test also on Linux.

    I have copied the code from the blog just to show how simple it is to use SQL Server Agent Smile Good thing is that the stored procedures used to configure, manage and run the jobs have the same names in Linux like they have in SQL Server running on Windows

    Here is a simple example:

    • Create a job


    USE msdb ;


    EXEC dbo.sp_add_job

    @job_name = N’Daily SampleDB Backup’ ;


    • Add one or more job steps

    EXEC sp_add_jobstep

    @job_name = N’Daily SampleDB Backup’,

    @step_name = N’Backup database’,

    @subsystem = N’TSQL’,

    @command = N’BACKUP DATABASE SampleDB TO DISK = \

    N”/var/opt/mssql/data/SampleDB.bak” WITH NOFORMAT, NOINIT, \

    NAME = ”SampleDB-full”, SKIP, NOREWIND, NOUNLOAD, STATS = 10′,

    @retry_attempts = 5,

    @retry_interval = 5 ;


    • Create a job schedule

    EXEC dbo.sp_add_schedule

    @schedule_name = N’Daily SampleDB’,

    @freq_type = 4,

    @freq_interval = 1,

    @active_start_time = 233000 ;

    USE msdb ;


    • Attach the schedule and add the job server

    EXEC sp_attach_schedule

    @job_name = N’Daily SampleDB Backup’,

    @schedule_name = N’Daily SampleDB’;


    EXEC dbo.sp_add_jobserver

    @job_name = N’Daily SampleDB Backup’,

    @server_name = N'(LOCAL)’;


    • Start job

    EXEC dbo.sp_start_job N’ Daily SampleDB Backup’ ;



    You can read the SQL Server blog post here:


  • SQL Server next version CTP 1.4 now available


    Great news again from SQL Server Team – CTP 1.4!!! is available now

    This is what I have read on their blog (copied)


    Key CTP 1.4 enhancements

    The primary enhancement to SQL Server v.Next on Linux in this release is the ability to schedule jobs using SQL Server Agent. This functionality helps administrators automate maintenance jobs and other tasks, or run them in response to an event. Some SQL Server Agent functionality is not yet enabled for SQL Server on Linux. To learn more and see sample SQL Server Agent jobs, you can read our detailed blog titled “SQL Server on Linux: Running scheduled jobs with SQL Server Agent” or attend an Engineering Town Hall about “SQL Server Agent and Full Text Search in SQL Server on Linux.”

    The mssql-server-linux container image on Docker Hub now includes the sqlcmd and bcp command line utilities to make it easier to create and attach databases and automate other actions when working with containers. For additional detail on CTP 1.4, please visit What’s New in SQL Server v.Next, Release Notes and Linux documentation.

    In addition, SQL Server Analysis Services and SQL Server Reporting Services developer tools now support Visual Studio 2017. They are available for installation from the Visual Studio Marketplace providing the option for automatic updates going forward.

    Get SQL Server v.Next CTP 1.4 today!

    Try the preview of the next release of SQL Server today! Get started with the preview of SQL Server with our developer tutorials that show you how to install and use SQL Server v.Next on macOS, Docker, Windows, and Linux and quickly build an app in a programming language of your choice.


    You can reach the SQL Server blog entry here:



  • Public Preview for SQL Server vNext Management Pack (CTP2)


    According to the SQL Server Release Services Team we have a new Management Pack (CTP2) for SQL Server vNext

    The new CTP bits for SQL Server vNext Management Pack can be used to monitor SQL Servers both on Windows and Linux

    Here is the list of new features and fixes in the CTP2:

    • Implemented “Discovery Data Mapper”; improved queries and datasources
    • Implemented support for full cookdown for all discoveries on Linux and Windows
    • Implemented Log Shipping monitoring
    • Implemented new monitors and rules:
      • “Service Pack Compliance” monitor
      • “SQL Server Windows Service” monitor
      • “CPU Utilization (%)” monitor
      • “SQL Server Service (database)” monitor
      • “Database Health Policy (Critical)” monitor
      • “Database Health Policy (Warning)” monitor
      • “WMI Health” monitor
      • “Memory Used By Tables (MB) rule
      • “Memory Used By Indexes (MB)” rule
      • “MSSQL vNext on Windows: DB Engine CPU Utilization (%)” rule
      • “SQL Server vNext DB Engine is restarted” rule
    • Implemented new DB Space performance rules:
      • MSSQL vNext: DB Allocated Space Unused (MB)
      • MSSQL vNext: DB Free Space Total (%)
      • MSSQL vNext: DB Free Outer Space (MB)
      • MSSQL vNext: DB Transaction Log
      • Free Space Total (%)
      • MSSQL vNext: DB Free Space Total (MB)
      • MSSQL vNext: DB Allocated Space Used (MB)
      • MSSQL vNext: DB Allocated Space (MB)
    • Implemented new classes:
      • SQL Server vNext DB FILESTREAM Filegroup on <Platform>
      • SQL Server vNext DB Memory-Optimized Data Container on <Platform>
      • Generic SQL Server vNext Custom User Policy
      • SQL Server vNext Custom User Policy on <Platform>
      • SQL Server vNext Database Critical Policy on <Platform>
      • SQL Server vNext Database Warning Policy on <Platform>
      • SQL Server vNext Resource Pool Group on <Platform>
      • Generic SQL Server vNext Resource Pool
      • SQL Server vNext Resource Pool on <Platform>
      • SQL Server vNext Internal Resource Pool on <Platform>
      • SQL Server vNext User Resource Pool on <Platform>
      • SQL Server vNext User-Defined Resource Pool on <Platform>
    • Implemented new monitor and rule for FILESTREAM objects:
      • MSSQL vNext on <Platform>: DB FILESTREAM Filegroup Free Space Total (MB)
      • MSSQL vNext on <Platform>: DB FILESTREAM Filegroup Free Space Total (%)
    • Implemented new performance rules for Memory-Optimized Data filegroups:
      • MSSQL vNext on Windows: DB Memory-Optimized Data Filegroup Free Space Total (MB)
      • MSSQL vNext on Windows: DB Memory-Optimized Data Filegroup Free Space Total (%)
    • Implemented “MSSQL LogReader” module
    • Implemented Event Collection monitoring for Linux and Windows (more than 400 workflows)
    • Implemented discoveries, rollups and icons for the new classes; updated Filegroup and child classes’ icons
    • Implemented all XTP counters (more than 200 workflows)
    • Implemented “Empty Bucket percent” in the hash index monitor
    • Implemented “Average length of the row chains” in the hash buckets monitor
    • Implemented “SQL Full-text Filter Daemon Launcher Service”; added “NetworkName” property to local dbengine; refactored Windows monitoring folder structure
    • Added “Local Database” class on Windows
    • Improved the architecture: split “Windows.DBEngine” and “Windows.LocalDBEngine” classes
    • Improved error logging
    • Improved the error-handling (connectivity issues)
    • Remounted “LocalDiscoverySeed” discovery to support long names and not support wow64
    • Updated Add Monitoring Wizard: fixed layouts issues, improved multithreading and performance, implemented background loading progress
    • Updated and fixed the Knowledge Base articles and display strings; unified the workflows naming template
    • Fixed alerts for classes managed by local agent
    • Fixed Smart Connect issues connected with cached data (WMI connection)
    • Fixed Linux modules to skip smart connect
    • Fixed issue: “Total Transactions Per Second” rule runs twice in one interval
    • Fixed issue: SQL Server vNext on Windows database objects may get rediscovered
    • Fixed issue: filegroups get undiscovered in SQL Express instance
    • Fixed issue: in some situations, Add Monitoring Wizard cannot detect that test connection task is completed
    • Fixed issue: the already discovered database objects are undiscovered if database state is changed to “Offline”

    All the details regarding the new functionality can be found in the Operations Guide that can be downloaded along with the Management Pack. Full functionality will be available with SQL Server vNext GA. This CTP release only covers a subset of monitors and rules. We will work towards full functionality as we release new CTPs.


    You can read more:

    You can download the software here:



  • SQL Server next version CTP 1.3 now available


    Great news as we can now play with the newest CTP (1.3).

    According to the official blog post ( the most important enhancements are:

    Key CTP 1.3 enhancement: Always On Availability Groups on Linux

    In SQL Server v.Next, we continue to add new enhancements for greater availability and higher uptime. A key design principle has been to provide customers with the same HA and DR solutions on all platforms supported by SQL Server. On Windows, Always On depends on Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC). On Linux, you can now create Always On Availability Groups, which integrate with Linux-based cluster resource managers to enable automatic monitoring, failure detection and automatic failover during unplanned outages. We started with the popular clustering technology, Pacemaker.

    In addition, Availability Groups can now work across Windows and Linux as part of the same Distributed Availability Group. This configuration can accomplish cross-platform migrations without downtime. To learn more, you can read our blog titled “SQL Server on Linux: Mission Critical HADR with Always On Availability Groups”.

    Other Enhancements

    SQL Server v.Next CTP 1.3 also includes these additional feature enhancements:

    • Full text search is now available for all supported Linux distributions.
    • Resumable online index rebuilds enables users to recover more easily from interruption of index builds, or split an index build across maintenance windows.
    • Temporal Tables Retention Policy support enables customers to more easily manage the amount of historical data retained by temporal tables.
    • Indirect checkpoint performance improvements. Indirect checkpoint is the recommended configuration for large databases and for SQL Server 2016, and now it will be even more performant in SQL Server v.Next.
    • Minimum Replica Commit Availability Groups setting enables users to set the minimum number of replicas that are required to commit a transaction before committing on the primary.
    • For SQL Server v.Next technical preview running on Windows Server, encoding hints in SQL Server Analysis Services is an advanced feature to help optimize refresh times with no impact on query performance.


    Further readings:



  • Cumulative Updates for SQL Server 2012 / 2016



    Things are happening!

    SQL Server 2012 SP2 has CU16 released. You can reach the KB article here and download the update

    There have been 5 issues resolved. The build number is 11.0.5678.0


    SQL Server 2012 SP3 has CU7 released. You can reach the KB article here and download the update.

    There have been 12 issues resolved. The build number is 11.0.6579.0


    SQL Server 2016 RTM has CU4 released. You can reach the KB article here and download the update.

    There have been 65 (Smile) issues resolved. The build number is 13.0.2193.0


    SQL Server 2016 SP1 has CU1 released. You can reach the KB article here and download the update.

    There have been 63 (Smile) issues resolved. The build number is 13.0.4411.0


    Other links worth to visit:

    SQL Release Services Blog

    Microsoft TechNet: SQL Server

    MSDN: SQL Server DevCenter




  • SQL Server vNext–Linux edition


    It has been an incredible day for us the SQL Server Community. First of all we have a new SQL Server 2016 SP1 (described here) which changes literally everything. 

    It is not all as we can also play with the SQL Server vNext Linux Edition.

    How can we play?

    First of all – it is a public preview (CTP1) so you can download the bits.

    In case you would like to start now that there is an option to visit TechNet Virtual Labs page.

    There are 4 labs waiting:


    Don’t forget and visit the Release Notes page  and check out what’s new.

    Cool stuff is coming!!



  • SQL Server 2016 SP1 shocks the world!!!

    The entire World has been shocked today! We have never expected to see something like this. Go, grab SQL Server 2016 SP1 and you get all those:

    (picture from SQL Server Release Services page)

    Holly Molly!!!!

    Now in SQL Server 2016 Express you have (for FREE):

    • row level security
    • dynamic data masking
    • database snapshot
    • columnstore indexes!!!!
    • partitioning!!!!!!!!
    • compression (page, row…)
    • in memory oltp
    • Always encrypted
    • polybase…..
    • auditing!!!!!
    • multiple filestream containers

    It is like roller coaster especially for companies that use Standard edition as their primary engine.

    For details – check the SQL Server Release Services page.




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