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Kevin Kline

  • My Best Blog Posts from 2015

    ALWAYS LEARNING

    About mid-way into August of 2015, I learned some important new factors in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that caused me to make some big changes to the way in which I blogged. Namely - simply reposting a slight variant of a given blog post could hurt your overall SEO rankings for any or all of the given posts. Now you might be saying to me "Kevin, those aren't new factors. They've been around for a long time, you imbecile". And I would say in response "Ok then. But I had other things on my mind". (Of course, if you have other recommendations for improving one's blog performance, please drop me a comment).

    Up until that time, I would typically write a blog post for my work blog and then reposted with some variations at my personal blog and then at SQLblog.com. As it turns out, that's not the ideal way to do things. Consequently, I continued to blog heavily throughout 2015 on my work blog, but I not on my personal blog or SQLBlog.com. Shame on me!

    So I thought get a catch-up post in place before the end of January (Looks like I just barely made that goal), pointing out some of the better blog posts that didn't make it here after my change in blogging strategy. 


    SOME FAVORITE BLOG POSTS YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE SEEN

    The Troubleshooting Series: Starting in September, I wrote a multi-part series on performance troubleshooting Microsoft SQL Server, culminating in a find blog entry with all of the links, plus a place for you to watch the video and download the slides and scripts. The multi-part blog series can be found under the troubleshooting tag HERE, while the slides, scripts and video link are HERE.

    The Four Challenges of a Well-managed Plan Cache: The SQL Server plan cache is one of the most important architectural elements for DBAs to understand. However, Developers usually write the code. That means, in many IT shops, no one really pays attention to what happens in the SQL Server plan cache. This session helps both DBAs and Devs overcome the knowledge gap so that they can write optimized code and manage the plan cache effectively. Get the slide deck and sample scripts HERE

    How to Reduce Latency and Boost SQL Server Performance: This very popular webinar, sponsored by Tegile, we cover many of the basic principles of high-performance SQL Server I/O subsystems, as well as why and how we often prevent our own applications for achieving peak performance. The slides, scripts, and video are available HERE, while the very informative Q&A session is HERE

    Protecting Each Other: One of the most important aspects of our #SQLFamily is that we look out for each other. I talk about some of this in light of some very bad behavior at afterhours events during the week of the PASS Summit 2015. Read the blog post HERE.  

    Going forward, I'll continue to put in blog stubs here to give you all of the latest details. In the meanwhile, be sure to connect with me on social media where I post all of my latest blog posts, articles, presentations, and other good stuff.

    Cheers!

    -Kev

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | SlideShare Google Author

  • SQL Sentry Grows in the UK and Beyond

    Originally appearing at Blogs.SQLSentry.comRead the full post HERE.
    - - -

    I am pleased to announce we are hiring TWO new sales engineers residing in Great Britain to start on Monday, August 10th: John Martin (@sqlservermonkey) and Richard Douglas (@sqlrich). (See Richard's post HERE).

    John Martin
    Richard Douglas

    John and Richard come to us with impeccable credentials, outstanding technology skills, a long history of community activism and unimpeachable ethics. These gentlemen are among the best of the best.

    Their list of achievements and accolades are long (click on their pictures to see their LinkedIn profiles). But here are a handful that come immediately to mind:

    - They are literally masters of SQL Server, with long careers as database administrators.
    - They actively support, from their own time, local user groups in the UK, SQL Saturday events, and large UK-wide events like SQLRelay and SQLBits.
    - They are internationally recognition as speakers at events like SQLBitsSQLCruiseSQLRelay, SQL Rally, and SQL Saturday.
    - They have sterling reputations as talented customer-facing staff at Microsoft and Dell Software, respectively.
    - Wicked senses of humor.

    John and Richard are the foundation for the dynamic growth we’re experiencing in the UK, Europe and beyond. While our past growth has been explosive, our future global growth is entirely dependent on the quality of our team on the ground. We are incredibly excited to have such talent joining SQL Sentry.

    Their skills and enthusiasm will make a measurable difference for our customers, our community, and our company every day. And, as we continue to grow around the world, John and Richard will act as our vanguard and flag-bearers, sharing their knowledge at more community events than ever before, connecting more often with our global community than ever before, and driving more value back into our products than ever before.

    Please join me in welcoming them to the SQL Sentry family! Thanks,

    -Kevin

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | YouTube | Google Author

  • Professional Development - A Recipe for Success

    Originally appearing at ForITPros.com. 

    My friend Joe Webb's father-in-law spent most of his adult life as a cardiologist. That's a highly specialized and highly technical area in the field of medicine that deals with the heart. Not every physician can claim to be a cardiologist. It requires rigorous training under the close supervision of an existing cardiologist. That period of training and supervision is called a fellowship.

    Likewise, many building trades such as electricians, plumbers, and machinists undergo a period of training from someone with more experience. The Apprentice becomes a Journeyman, the Journeyman becomes a Master.

    The world of IT leadership is not nearly as structured. Any individual contributor can be promoted into a leadership position. The company hopes that the new manager will share his technical expertise and acumen with his team.

    Read the rest of this article at HERE.

     -Kevin

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | YouTube Google Author

  • DBTA - StretchDB, a Cool New Feature in vNext SQL Server

    Originally appearing in my monthly column at Database Trends & Applications magazine. 

    When it comes to cloud-based database management, there are really only two players: Amazon, the value leader, and Microsoft, the innovation leader. Amazon has carved out a niche as the value leader in cloud-based database management, supporting not only its own implementations of various database platforms such as MySQL and Hadoop, but also supporting premier commercial DBMSs such as Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle. Meanwhile, Microsoft has, in my mind, carved out a very strong niche as the innovation leader by offering powerful technologies to integrate on-premises databases with various Azure services.

    DATA MANAGEMENT USING HYBRID CLOUD- AND EARTH-BASED SQL SERVER DATABASES

    I described some of the innovations Microsoft is making in the cloud in previous articles, such as one last January in which I described a raft of new cloud offerings in SQL Server 2014 and one last April in which I wrote about the Hadoop-powered offerings of SQL Server HDinsight. Microsoft continues to do cool things in this space, including a feature announced last November at the PASS Summit 2014 conference called StretchDB.

    Want to know more? Read the rest of this article at HERE.

    Tell me what you think!

    -Kevin

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | YouTube Google Author

  • ICYMI - Predicate Logic, Four Things I Wish I'd Known Sooner, Transact-SQL Bad Habits, Rewriting Queries to Improve Performance

     Some of my favorite articles originally appearing at SQLPerformance.com.


    Why Not Seek Predicate
    Paul White ( b | t ) proves, once again, why he is the best in the business when it comes to debugging a SQL Server query. In this post, Paul gives you a step-by-step breakdown of a query that goes astray due to implied predicate logic. Got a tough query of your own? Post it atanswers.sqlperformance.com!

    Four Things I Wish I Knew Sooner as a SQL Server DBA
    Lori Edwards ( b | t ) tells four things she wished she knew before she started her many year career as a SQL Server database administrator. Hint – the best DBAs don’t excel based solely on technical prowess.

    Transact-SQL Bad Habits Revival
    Our own Aaron Bertrand ( b | t ) has been blogging and speaking about T-SQL Bad Habits for years. This outstanding blog post recaps his many entries and examples on the topic and points out all of the places where you can read more.

    Rewriting Queries to Improve Performance
    Another article from Paul White, looking at several situations where alternative T-SQL examples should produce comparable execution plans, but do not. In fact, these queries actually benefit most from a full rewrite.

    Read more SQL Sentry happenings in our monthly eNews.

    -Kevin

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | Google Author

  • Professional Development - What a Difference 60 Years Makes

    Originally appearing at ForITPros.com. 

    In 1957, the Soviet-made Sputnik streaked across the sky in low earth orbit. It was clearly visible to millions of concerned Americans. The Soviet government had leapfrogged America technologically. The dot that traversed the nighttime sky marked a change in international politics and fueled the engine that became America's space program.

    Another far more subtle shift was happening in America's businesses as well. In the 1950's and 1960's, American employees gave their loyalty to their employer in exchange for a commitment for a career-long job within the organization.

    Over the past 60 years, those commitments from employers have eroded. No longer are employees guaranteed a job for life. Likewise employees no longer extend boundless loyalty to their companies, readily changing jobs every few years for better opportunities, pay, and working conditions.

    Read the rest of this article at HERE

    -Kevin

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | YouTube Google Author

  • DBTA - IT Employers Must Adapt to the Looming DBA Shortage

    Originally appearing in my monthly column at Database Trends & Applications magazine. 

    In the first of this three-part series, I described some of the findings contained in an intriguing new survey published by Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, Inc. In that article, I covered the macroeconomic and general trends that pointed to a looming shortage of DBA talent. In part 2 of the series, I described some of the issues and opportunities these trends offer to current and up-and-coming DBAs. Today, let’s talk about what this trend means from perspective of IT employers.

    IT ORGANIZATIONS UNDER PRESSURE

    If you lead a team of DBAs or run an IT organization, you’ve probably already felt the pinch of finding talented DBAs. In macroeconomic terms, demand is rising sharply while supply is tight and shrinking. DBAs are among the most sought-after of IT professionals and, despite the fact that US News & World Report ranks the DBA profession as the #5 best IT job and the #12 overall best professional job, are among the hardest to find. This shortage is continuing to drive the phenomena of "accidental DBAs," people who are forced to do the work of a DBA without the training.

    Read the rest of this article at HERE.

    -Kevin

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | YouTube Google Author

  • ICYMI - Recommended Intel Processors For SQL '14, Should Indexes Be In The Key Or Included, Comparing Windows Azure VM Performance

     Some of my favorite articles originally appearing at SQLPerformance.com.

     

    Grouped Concatenation in SQL Server and Grouped Concatenation: Ordering and Removing Duplicates
    In these two related blog posts, Aaron Bertrand ( b | t ) of SQL Sentry takes on the safest and most efficient ways to perform grouped concatenation in SQL Server. Then he follows up with a closer look at some additional requirements for typical grouped concatenation queries in SQL Server.

    Recommended Intel Processors for SQL Server 2014 Workloads
    Glenn Berry ( b | t ) of SQLskills continues his series on hardware selection, outlining his recommended processors from Intel for your SQL Server 2014 workloads. Especially interesting to me were the details showing which processors excelled at serial performance while showing other processors that excelled at parallel performance.

    Should new index columns be in the key, or included?
    Erin Stellato ( b | t ) of SQLskills compares the performance impact of adding additional columns to an index, either as an added column in a composite key or as an added column without statistics in an INCLUDE list – with interesting results.

    Comparing Windows Azure VM Performance, Part 1 and Part 2
    Thinking about the cloud? Glenn Berry comes back for more, this time getting into the nitty-gritty details of cost and performance on the various options in Microsoft Azure virtual machines. In part 2, Glenn shows how Azure VMs are now starting to dramatically ramp up raw performance.

     

    Read more SQL Sentry happenings in our monthly eNews.

    -Kevin

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | Google Author

  • Professional Development - Set the Bar High

    Originally appearing at ForITPros.com. 

    Henry Ford is reported to have once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t - you’re right.”

    That’s great insight. Too often people place self-imposed and artificial limitations on themselves. They tell themselves that they cannot accomplish something because they aren’t smart enough or don’t have enough creativity. They close their minds to the idea they can, in fact, succeed. Success, after all, is scary to many people.

    As a leader, one of your jobs is to inspire your team. Help them to recognize and realize their potential. Don’t let them settle for something less than what they were created to be.

    If you believe in your team and regularly communicate that belief in words and actions, you’ll be amazed at how much each person can accomplish.

    Read the rest of this article at HERE.

    -Kevin

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | Google Author 

  • DBTA - Does the Looming Shortage in DBAs Spell Opportunity?

    Originally appearing in my monthly column at Database Trends & Applications magazine. 

    In my last column, available online, I described some of the findings contained in an intriguing new survey sponsored by Ntirety, a remote database administration service provider, and published by Unisphere Research. You can read the full survey with analysis at HERE.

    One of the most startling and significant responses in the survey showed that 41% of data professionals intend to leave the field within the next 10 years. In that article, I also covered some of the broader industry growth and hiring trends along with an analysis of the survey itself. Today, I want dive into the survey findings from the viewpoint of the DBA job seeker.

    Read the rest of this article at HERE.

    -Kevin

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | YouTube Google Author

  • ICYMI - Adding Filtered Indexes, Wait Statistics, Comparing Windows Azure Performance

    Some of my favorite articles originally appearing at SQLPerformance.com. 


    Dirty Secrets of the CASE Expression
    Aaron Bertrand ( b | t ) of SQL Sentry takes a look at some unexpected behavior with the CASE expression and some of its derivatives. Did you know that Aaron is both an uber-genius and a curling fanatic? Improbable, I know.

    An Unexpected Side-Effect of Adding a Filtered Index
    Paul White’s ( b | t ) deep dive post explains some of the limitations in the special use and usefully special kind of index, the filtered index. When applied in the appropriate scenarios, filtered indexes can greatly improve query performance. But there are some dangers of performance degradation and risk of deadlocks when used improperly.

    Knee-Jerk Wait Statistics : PAGEIOLATCH_SH
    Paul Randal ( b | t ) of SQLskills adds another chapter in his continuing series on knee-jerk reactions to wait statistics, this time focusing on PAGEIOLATCH_SH. If you don’t know much about wait statistics, be sure to read Paul’s blog post series at SQLskills, starting with Wait statistics, or please tell me where it hurts.

    Comparing Windows Azure Virtual Machine Performance
    Thinking about the cloud? Glenn Berry ( b | t ) of SQLskills gets into the nitty-gritty details of cost and performance on the various options in Microsoft Azure virtual machines.

    Read more SQL Sentry happenings in our monthly eNews.

    -Kevin

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | Google Author

  • DBTA - Converging Macroeconomic Factors Mean Big Opportunities for DBAs

    Originally appearing in my monthly column at Database Trends & Applications magazine.

    IT Managers and Executives: If you think it’s hard to hire a talented DBA, you ain’t seen nothing yet. If you think that a talented DBAs are expensive, just you wait.

    Data Management Professionals: If you thought a career in database administration might be appealing to you, it’s time to act upon that hunch.

    It’s a good time to be or become a DBA, but it’s going to be even tougher as an employer of DBAs. There are a number of factors as to why this is true. In this column, we will look first at the factors coming to bear on the wider market. In the next columns to follow, we will look at how those factors affect the DBA as an employee and, finally, we’ll examine these insights from the point of view of the employer of DBAs. Now, let’s take a deeper look at the wider context of our situation.

    Read the rest of the article HERE.

    -Kevin

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | YouTube Google Author

  • Professional Development - Interviews are a Two-way Street

    Originally appearing at ForITPros.com. 

    I was recently chatting with a friend who was seeking advice about difficulties in their job. This was a job which, a year ago, she described as her dream job. It quickly became evident to her that it was actually a nightmare job. The company, her coworkers, and her boss were all dysfunctional in one or more ways and it was making her life miserable. One of her big questions was “What sort of questions could I have asked during the interview that would’ve helped me foresee what it’d actually be like to work there?”

    It’s Not Only About Pleasing the Interviewer

    Many times, we intuitively know that you won’t get the job offer if you can’t establish a bit of rapport with the interviewer, prove your value to the organization and remove reservations about employing you. Many candidates also know that they’re basically in a competition of sorts with other candidates. So even when you demonstrate ample enthusiasm for the work and interest in the employer, you know you might get knocked out of the competition because you have a few errors on your resume or a few less qualifications than the other candidates.

    What a lot of candidates seem to forget in the face of interview jitters is that this is also your best opportunity to discover if the employer is a good fit for you. In a sense, not only are they interviewing you, you are also interviewing them.

    Read the rest of this article at HERE.

    -Kevin

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  • DBTA - Delayed Durability—The SQL Server 2014 Transaction Log Hack!

    Originally appearing in my monthly column at Database Trends & Applications magazine. 

    Delayed durability was announced late in the SQL Server 2014 development cycle, but offers something that many SQL Server professionals have wanted for years—the ability to disable transaction logging.

    Why turn off the transaction log? It is the main guarantor of transactional consistency in SQL Server and is critical for highly recoverable applications, after all. That answer, in itself, tells you about situations where you might like to turn off the transaction log. That is, you can accelerate performance in a lot of situations where you do NOT need transactional consistency.

    DEFAULT TRANSACTION LOG BEHAVIOR COMPARED TO DELAYED DURABILITY
    Here’s how SQL Server’s transaction log works by default. It uses a write-ahead log (WAL) algorithm, which basically means that transactions must be recorded in the log before they are otherwise committed. (If you’re more familiar with Oracle, note that the SQL Server transaction log combines the functionality of Oracle’s archive and redo logs.) Because all transactional work in a SQL Server database is dependent on the speed and I/O throughput of the transaction log, it’s not uncommon to find instances of SQL Server that perform poorly because of I/O bottlenecks on the file system where the transaction log is located.

    Read the rest of this article at http://www.dbta.com/Columns/SQL-Server-Drill-Down/Delayed-Durability-The-SQL-Server-2014-Transaction-Log-Hack!-100928.aspx.

    -Kevin

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | YouTube | Google Author 

  • ICYMI - Read Committed Snapshot Isolation, How Automatic Updates to Statistics Can Affect Query Performance, #temp table

    Some of my favorite articles originally appearing at SQLPerformance.com. 

    Read Committed Snapshot Isolation

    Paul White ( b | t ) has been doing a phenomenal series on SQL Server behavior under each of the major isolation levels. This particular post details the inner workings of READ COMMITTED SNAPSHOT, but there are more articles on this specific isolation level as well. I recommend Paul’s content generally, but this is an especially good series of articles, if you’re not up to speed on isolation levels and how they can alter SQL Server’s default performance.

    How Automatic Updates to Statistics Can Affect Query Performance
    Erin Stellato ( b | t ) of SQLskills hits on one of my favorite advanced topics in this detailed post about auto-updating statistics. Many DBAs, in my experience, simply ignore statistics in general and the auto-updating behaviors of SQL Server in particular. There are definitely situations where you should not leave updating statistics to a mindless automated process. (I’m a big advocate of updating statistics outside of business hours, btw). Find out more in this excellent post.

    Dude, who owns that #temp table?
    The more recent the version of SQL Server, the more situations in which it uses temp tables behind the scenes. With that in mind, have you ever wanted to know who is responsible for temp table creation (and when)? Aaron Bertrand ( b | t ) shows you how in this Extended Events walk-through.

    Read more SQL Sentry happenings in our monthly eNews.

    -Kevin

    Connect with me online! Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog | SlideShare | Google Author

     

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