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  • Blog Post: NUL or NULL?

    Ever since the old MS-DOS days, the Windows OS family has supported a special ‘ null device ’ – NUL. Notice the single ‘L’. This is a ‘reserved’ device identifier which you can use as a path. The special thing about this null device (NUL) is that it essentially swallows whatever is sent to it. NUL and...
  • Blog Post: SQL 2012 Setup Rules – The 'Missing Reference'

    Troubleshooting SQL Server setup can be a ‘dark science’ at times. There is overall documentation on where to look, and some interesting articles on the Support website. But other times, you might be left clueless on the root cause of failures, or why you are receiving a specific error message...
  • Blog Post: Database size limitation in SQL Express

    I would generally not blog about this kind of topic, except that my customer recently talked to me about it. According to his tests, he seemed to find that the total size limitation across all databases was 10GB. That did not sound correct to me, because it is quite clearly documented that the 10GB limit...
  • Blog Post: Managed Service Accounts (MSA) and SQL 2012: Practical Tips

    One of the most common dilemmas for SQL Server administrators is whether they should use AD based domain users as the service accounts, or can they leverage the inbuilt accounts like Network Service etc. If your SQL Server instance is never going to participate in any cross-server contexts (such as availability...
  • Blog Post: Top Support Solutions for SQL Server

    One of the teams within the Customer Support organization at Microsoft has been busy aggregating information about the most common and useful solutions for many products, including SQL Server. You can view their work at this blog post . The categories they cover in that post include: Performance Failover...
  • Blog Post: ‘Cannot resolve the collation conflict’ error message with temp tables

    Scenario Today my customer told me that he is facing an error message ‘Cannot resolve the collation conflict’ when executing an JOIN between two tables: a base table and a temporary table. They had recently created the database afresh from scripts and were facing this issue since. On the existing ‘good...
  • Blog Post: TechEd India 2013 – Bengaluru

    I just delivered a session on ‘T-SQL Horrors: how NOT to code’ at TechEd India. The response has been great, and those of you who see this after attending my session, thank you very much for your interest and participation! What I appreciate the most is that people stayed till the very end despite the...
  • Blog Post: T-SQL formatter: a PowerShell script

    This is a ‘quick-and-not-so-dirty’ version of a T-SQL formatter / ‘pretty printer’ in PowerShell. To use this, please install the SQL 2012 SP1 version of the SQLDOM from the Feature Pack page . (If you already have SQL 2012 client tools on your machine, you should be ready to go.) And you will need PowerShell...
  • Blog Post: The Top 10 Issues uncovered by the SQL Server Risk Assessment Program (SQLRAP)

    Firstly - Happy New Year, everyone! In my job as a Principal Premier Field Engineer at Microsoft Services, I am a regional lead for a proactive risk identification program called the SQLRAP. For over 7 years now we have evolved this from a manually conducted ‘Health Check’ offering to a highly automated...
  • Blog Post: How to assign a static port to a SQL Server named instance - and avoid a common pitfall

    While Books Online clearly mentions the steps to Configure a Server to Listen on a Specific TCP Port we still see people missing out on one small but important detail in these steps: they forget to delete the entry (0 or some random port) for dynamic port. This firstly results in confusion and occasionally...
  • Blog Post: "Operating system error 1398" while backing up database to network share

    I was facing this on a VM setup, where the service account of my SQL Server service is a domain account. The DC is also a VM. Here were the symptoms: While backing up the database to the UNC share, I was getting an error: "Operating system error 1398" (There is a time and/or date difference...
  • Blog Post: Replication and Linked Servers

    Problem I recently hit upon an issue with trying to setup a linked server to an instance which was already a subscriber to a publication. When replication is setup, it actually creates a remote server for the subscriber. However that ‘remote server’ is not configured for data access. So if you try to...
  • Blog Post: My Favorite SQL Server Blogs

    At our workshops and during other customer interactions, we are usually asked for links to good blogs and reading materials. Here is a list of my favorite SQL-related blogs, arranged in no specific order. http://blogs.msdn.com/craigfr : Craig Freedman on Query Processing (QP) http://blogs.msdn.com/sqlprogrammability...
  • Blog Post: Hack of the day: Shrink all log files in the instance

    Before I proceed, I will add two disclaimers: This script is provided as-is for knowledge purposes. It is not a recommendation, or in any way intended for production usage. No warranty or guarantee is made about the correctness of the script. Use it at your own risk. We do not recommend using SHRINK...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server setup log locations and more

    In order to efficiently troubleshoot problems involving failed setup, we need to use the setup logs. Once you know where the log files are located, you can start troubleshooting. What to look for in the log files is a separate topic in itself, but at least if you know where the log files are, then you...
  • Blog Post: Windows, SQL Server and Multi-Core / Hyper-Threading

    Very often we get asked a question about 'how many processors does my SQL Server 200x Edition really support'. This post hopes to summarize the considerations and actual limits. SQL Licensing is per socket First, let's take a look at the Books Online topic ' Maximum Number of Processors Supported by...
  • Blog Post: Resources from TechEd sessions

    Several attendees have asked for the resources section from our presentations at TechEd India. Enjoy! Blogs SQLCAT: http://blogs.msdn.com/sqlcat WINCAT: http://blogs.msdn.com/wincat Slava Oks’ blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/slavao Product Feedback http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/productfeedback/ ...
  • Blog Post: Database Snapshots

    DB Snapshots are a very useful new feature in SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition. They provide us the ability to preserve a consistent picture of the database as it was at a point in time. Both metadata and data are captured in the snapshot. The main uses of snapshots are for preserving views of...
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