Friday, 19 December 2014

Offer – Any e-book for $5

Packt Publishing are having a price drop bonanza over the Christmas period. You can get any e-book for just $5 (£3.60 in British money).

This includes my book, Getting Started with SQL Server 2012 Administration 


The offer will run from Thursday 18th Dec 2014 to Tuesday 6th Jan 2015, you can buy as many titles as you like during this time for just $5

Friday, 12 December 2014

SQL Bits – Europe’s largest SQL Conference

4th 7th March
ExCeL Centre in London, England

SQLBits have announced their dates for 2015.
I have been three times and it is an excellent opportunity to learn and meet fellow DBAs and developers.
This year it has expanded to FOUR days, two training days featuring industry experts and two technical session days. Saturday as normal is a free day.
If your company’s training budget is limited next year then SQLBits offers the best value for money. Tell your boss that you’re giving up a Saturday to go to the free day and he might be sympathetic to pay for one or more of the other days.

Lots of people have submitted talks for the technical sessions and this year I’ve put my hat in the ring as well.
I’ve submitted three sessions:
A real DBA don’t need a GUI -A Guided Tour of SSMS
Beware of the Dark Side - A Tour of Oracle for the SQL DBA
Taming the Beast - How a DBA can keep Kerberos under control

I’ve given the first two at SQL Saturday events and they were received well by the audience.
You can vote for the sessions you’d like to hear at

If you do vote, remember me !


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Win a Free Copy of my Book - Getting Started with SQL Server 2014 Administration

Readers of my blog would be pleased to know that I have teamed up with Packt Publishing and we are organizing a Giveaway for you to celebrate the release of my book and two lucky winners stand a chance to win an e-copy of Getting Started with SQL Server 2014 Administration. Keep reading to find out how you can be one of the Lucky Winners.

Overview of Getting Started with SQL Server 2014 Administration


  • Learn to design a SQL Server infrastructure combining on-premise servers and Windows Azure Storage.
  • Learn the other enhancements and new features that can help improve database performance

Read more about this book and download free Sample Chapter:


How to Enter?

All you need to do is head on over to the and look through the product description of this book and drop a line via the comments below to let us know what interests you the most about this book. It’s that simple!

Product description for Getting Started with SQL Server 2014 Administration
The contest will close on 30/06/2014. Winners will be contacted by email, so be sure to use your real email address when you comment!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

I’ve Written a Book…Getting Started with SQL Server 2014 Administration

That’s folks you heard it here first. Since the end of 2013 through to April this year I have been working a book called “Getting Started with SQL Server 2014 Administration” the book is pretty much a look at the new features that would interest the DBA working with the latest and greatest version of SQL Server 2014.It got released last week at the end of April/

Getting Started with SQL Server 2014 Administration

You can get it from the publisher and all the leading book websites. I haven’t seen it in Waterstones yet but I’m hopeful. The rumors of orderly queue forming out the Waterstone’s in Newport the night before its release had no foundation. Apparently there was just a long queue for the night-club next door.

Anyway you can pick your copy here

Thursday, 24 April 2014

SSMS Add-ons

At my presentation on SQL Server Management Studio at SQL Saturday in Exeter I promised to write some articles on Gethyn’s blog about the bits I didn’t manage to cover.

SSMS is a fantastic tool but many people and companies have found ways to enhance it to make it even more useful.
At the Exeter SQL Saturday I was chatting with David Atkinson of Red Gate software about their add-ons to SSMS.

David told me about an exciting project that Red Gate have started called the SSMS Ecosystem Project. They have created a framework to make it easier for developers and DBAs to develop, share and manage SSMS add-ons.
And the best news is that this framework is free.

Once you’ve created your add-in using the framework you can place it on their add-in directory so others can find and try it out. Red Gate are happy for you to use their API to create commercial tools as well as free ones.
Red Gate consider this to be a work in progress, they intend to enhance their API and hope to create a distribution platform similar to the Visual Studio gallery where you will be able to discover and share your add-ons.

Check it out at

We also came up with quite a list of add-ons which are available on the Internet, some free and some commercial
Red Gate’s own set of tools: SQL Search, SQL Source Control, SQL Prompt, SQL Test
SQL Code formatter
Provides fast and comprehensive static analysis for T-Sql code, shows code complexity and objects dependencies. (Now using SSMS Ecosystem Project)
A set of productivity tools to speed-up daily tasks of SQL DBA and T-SQL developers.
Adds a tab next to the SSMS Plan Explorer with its own improved version
It also has a browser-based analysis tool for SQL Server query execution plans.
by Mladen Prajdić A whole list of useful features to improve productivity
A SQL Server Query Plan Analysis tool

SQL Scripts
This brings thousands of useful community SQL scripts to SSMS.

SQL Treeo
Enables users to create custom folders for databases, stored procedures, tables, views and user defined functions
This is not an exhaustive list. I expect there are plenty of other tools available. Let us know if you have a favourite

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

SSMS Queries on Function Keys

By David Postlethwaite

At my presentation on SQL Server Management Studio at SQL Saturday in Exeter I promised to write some articles on Gethyn’s blog about the bits I didn’t manage to cover.

If you have simple queries or functions that you use regularly you can assign them to a function key for quick running in a query window

Microsoft have already added a few
If you hit  Ctrl-1 in a query window it runs sp_who
The results are displayed in the results window but the query window doesn’t display the query which can be a bit confusing.

You can set your own up at
Tools ->Options -> Environment -> keyboard -> Query Shortcuts

You’ll see there are already three already listed

Alt-F1    sp_help
Ctrl-1    sp_who
Ctrl-2    sp_lock

The function key Alt-F1 can be very useful.
In a query window type in the name of a system stored procedure such as sp_MSforeachdb
Now highlight the word and hit Alt-F1
The results window will show information on the stored procedure and also the parameters used by the procedure. Very handy.

As well as complete queries you can add partial statements to a function key.
Let me explain
Add the statement  “Select top 100 * from” to Ctrl-4

You must restart SSMS before the function key will work
Now open query Window

Type in the name of a table in the query window.
Now highlight the table name and hit Ctrl-4
The partial query will use the highlighted table name and run the full select query.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

SQL Server Training – Spring 2014

I have just returned from a trip to Washington DC where I was delivering course 2105 – SQL Server 2012 DBA skills upgrade class in an onsite class to one of Learning Tree’s clients. For those of you that don’t know, a Learning Tree onsite is event is when Learning Tree come to you and deliver a course at your site just for you  and can even be tailored or customized to your specific requirements. You can follow the link to read more information about onsite events and what they can include.

SQL Server 2012 Database Administration

This spring I will be delivering two public courses that are scheduled to run in the London Education Centre (LEC)

Both of these events are guaranteed to run, so you can enroll safe in the knowledge that the course will not cancel. Maybe I’ll see you in-class