Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

2011 Well it’s Friday again and another big day.

Hopefully you all had a great Christmas and as we move to a New Year, the end of 2010 and start 2011 I’d like to wish everyone Happy and prosperous New Year.


Thursday, 30 December 2010


I published a post yesterday where I listed my top 5 bloggers from the worldwide SQL community for 2010. The long and short of it, these were the people whose blog’s I had read the most throughout the year. There are many other great blogs and bloggers out there that I read regularly. When that post published and fed out to twitter it prompted a few people, whose blogs I do follow and value, to give me a bit of stick . Pretending to be  all hurt and upset. I won’t name any names (John Sansom Blog|@johnsansom) but it did get me thinking.

There are many great bloggers based here in the UK several of which were recently nominated in the annual blog awards for 2010 (a couple of us won in our categories too).  I realised that although I read many of these UK based blogs and several were considered for the top 5 bloggers 2010 post, none of them made my list! So having thought about it I decided to make my own UK specific list. I was going to go for the top 5 approach, but after a little more thought I decided to compose a list of all the UK based SQL blogs that I follow. This is my list to date (no particular order):

Updated 2 Jan 2011

Undoubtedly I will have missed someone off that I should have included, and for that I am truly sorry. That little oversight on my part is easily rectified. Simply leave a comment on this post with the bloggers name, blog URL and twitter account (if one exists). I will then update this list and add you to my feed reader.

Go on then, who have I missed?

Wednesday, 29 December 2010


Hopefully my title gives away what this post is about. This my list of the top five people or more precisely their blogs that have made most use out in the year gone, I am not going to put them in any specific order they all add to my knowledge in different ways:

Also it is worth noting that besides these guys there are many other great blogs and bloggers out there that I read and fully appreciate, I needed a cut-off that wasn’t that deep but if you do blog and write keep going, keep writing and keep blogging.

Who would be in your top five, would it differ from mine? let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Test Post

I have been tinkering with the settings for my blog today, please ignore this post. If I remember I will delete when I’m done.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

This is just a short post for a Friday and not just any old Friday either, Santa is on his way :-)

Santa is on his way 


I would just like to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

SQL Bits 8

It seems the dates for the next SQLBITS have been released will take between April the 7th and April 9th 2011.


Location: The Grand Hotel, Brighton

Monday, 20 December 2010

Turn Off AutoShrink!

This is kind of a follow up to a post I published last week regarding autogrowth. A forum poster said they had turned on AutoGrow and they were using autogrow as way of managing the growth of their databases – No! This post titled “Should I have AutoGrowth enabled on my SQL Server Database?” addresses why you should have autogrow enabled and why you should only use it as a fail back. Instead monitor and grow your databases manually.

The same forum poster also said “that just in case the database grew too much and needed space released back to Operating System, he had enabled AutoShrink.” No!


This is the short answer: Shrinking databases is generally a bad thing to do it can will cause fragmentation in your indexes, which in turn can be bad for performance. Even though you may *occasionally* need to shrink your database, Shrinking a database should not be  part of your  regular  database maintenance routines. If shrink is used at all it should be used very very infrequently. Letting SQL Server shrink your database for you automatically, when *it* thinks it needs to done and with no regard for the time of day is much much worse for you as a DBA. You may find that this process kicks in the middle of day when your system is at its busiest taking up valuable resources as well as completely fragmenting your indexes.

Addition Reading

Paul Randal (@PaulRandal) has a blog post discussing the very same topic!.aspx he has a great example that demonstrates how shrink can affect index fragmentation levels, so if you are looking for proof head over to Paul’s post above

Saturday, 18 December 2010

SQL Server 2005 SP4 Released

Steve Jones mentioned recently that SP4 for SQL Server 2005 is on its way because Microsoft closed his connect item.

Well looks like it was released yesterday, you can download it here:

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

I don’t usually post on my blog on the weekend, but this weekend, the weekend before a Christmas is a little different. Where I live in South Wales in the UK we don’t usually get a lot of snow, but since Thursday this week we have had the best part of a foot of snow fall and where my parents live, which is only about fifteen miles away, they have had more like a foot and a half of the white stuff. That is a lot of snow for us. Yesterday, Friday, ground pretty much to a halt. I heard off several friends who had to cancel their office Christmas parties as a result of the weather.But it  does make you feel like it’s Christmas and I like Christmas.

My two golden retrievers, are particularly fond of the snow, I guess their double fur coats come in pretty useful this time of year. Anyway I just thought I’d post a couple of pictures:

Jake Bounding  DogsAndSnow2 DogsAndSnow1

Friday, 17 December 2010


Last Friday I posted a short note on what books I have read this year past, so this Friday keeping up with the same theme and the fact we are quickly approaching the end of the year I thought I would write a post  on what books I want to read next year:

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Should I have AutoGrowth enabled on my SQL Server Database

I was reading a few forum posts yesterday where a few people were complaining that the transaction log had grown during index maintenance and they were asking:
  1. If they should have autogrowth enabled?
  2. If they should restrict the size of the file?
I think autogrowth should be enabled on all databases but it should only be used as a fall back, or fail safe. The DBA should be sizing the database appropriately right up front and then monitoring the database size and space used to decide if and when to grow it again manually, and always increase size for reasonable medium term use.  I think autogrowth is fine as a fail safe in case you miss something but if you rely on it to size your database you will find it kicks in at the most inappropriate times, which you have no control over, which can affect performance. When setting up autogrowth I like to set the files to grow by fixed amounts in megabytes, and not let the files grow by a percentage of their current size. This is especially important for the log because  as the size of the log increases the more megabytes it will grow by increases. 10 percent of 100 is not the same as 10 percent of 200 etc and the size of the growth of the log can effect the size and number of Virtual Log Files (VLFs) inside the transaction log. The link takes you to the blog of SQL Server MVP Kimberly Tripp (Blog). So to summarise, I like to enable autogrowth as a fail safe, set the growth to be fixed amounts of megabytes and monitor database file sizes and set the file size to appropriate values  and grow manually when needed.

Regarding the ‘restrict the size’ of a database file option. I generally leave that set to unrestricted because I monitor and have alerts setup on free disk space so I’m able to work on storage before it becomes an issue and I don’t want my database falling over because I set a limit on the size of the file. I’m sure other people have different views on this and I would be more than interested to know if people do things differently and why, in the comments below.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

T-SQL Tuesday #13 - What the Business Says Is Not What the Business Wants

So this month’s blog party is being held by non-other than Steve Jones (blog|@Way0utwest) of SQL Server Central fame. This month’s topic is all about the business,TSQL2sDay your customers, clients etc asking for something but not really knowing what they are asking for. Or  in my interpretation the business, client, customer, telling you the technology or methodology or tool to use instead of what really they should be telling  you…what the business wants. Steve’s example of in his post sums in it up perfectly.

I have many examples to draw on here, I guess the one that springs to mind the most was a client that told me they wanted to ‘Shrink the Database’ as part of their maintenance routines. When I asked why? that’s self defeating. I was told that the databases were growing uncontrollably and this needed to be included in order to keep the systems up and running and to avoid eating up all available disk space. Smelling a rat I decided to do a little investigation of my own and I found that they had several databases that were in full recovery mode BUT they were not taking regular transaction log backups. When I mentioned this to my clients and explained the difference between simple and full recovery mode and what it meant in terms of point in time recovery we decided that maybe some regular transaction log backup were in fact needed. we then re-sized the log and freed up a lot of space and my client was very happy.

Anyway that’s my post for the last TSQL Tuesday of 2010, It is a very interesting, if not possibly controversial topic for someand I’m sure that many of the community will have examples of their own and I look forward to reading them and how others have overcome these issues.  

Friday, 10 December 2010


This is just a short post for a Friday. This is my list of the Top 3 SQL Server books from the year[ish]:

Granted some of these book were published earlier than 2010 but not by much and these have been what I have been reading this year.

If you have a list of good books let us all know about them in the comments

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

British Heart Foundation – Christmas Event


Originally posted on Senghenydd Cricket Club website.

Join The Romilly Singers as they entertain you through a selection of musicals through the ages on Sunday December 12th at St Peter's Hall, Roath, 6.30pm. Tickets are £20 and include a two course dinner plus entertainment. To purchase tickets contact St Peter's Hall on 029 20494425 or Sharon Owen 029 20382408 or by email

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Blog – Domain Changes Update

As I mentioned in an earlier post I have recently moved my blog to a new domain name. This is something I have been thinking about for while but in truth and with hindsight I did not manage the transition all that well. I let the old domain and hosting run down to expiration before getting my new one up and running which meant that I lost control of the old domain and I wasn’t able to use some of Google’s ‘Change of Address’ features to help the transition of the old domain to the new name. BUT we live and learn and not all is lost. My new domain has been picked up in the Google crawl already and although it is very likely to be six months to recover in terms of Search Engine rankings and SEO traffic I feel the benefit of the change will benefit my brand in the long run. So although is not quite like starting again I do feel like it has been a step backwards but sometimes a step backwards can help you go forwards. This is an opportunity for me to learn a few things and take my blog and my brand forward.

Over the last couple of years in particular I realised the power of blogging and how it adds to your brand. I work as a SQL Server contractor in UK and as such I run and own a company. Contracting generally consist of short term assignments and the contracts that my company secure generally involve  working with clients SQL Server infrastructure. Having a blog can definitely help you secure work and contracts. I will post more on how this has helped me later, probably next year, but my company’s business model is based on selling services or more to the point selling me. So I thought a domain name that included my product name and also allowed me some freedom of topic choices would be beneficial which is why I changed my domain to my name - I can see the benefits of my blog and the value it adds to my brand and my business because of this I follow a few ‘how to blog successfully’ blogs and including to try and keep a breast of good techniques and practices.


I’m not going to go into much detail about why you should blog or how you should go about it if you are a SQL Server professional. I will say that blogs can work effectively for permanent employees too, in effect you are improving your brand and employability with potential employers not only demonstrating and documenting your technical skills but also demonstrating and proving your  communication which are essential skills for any DBA. I may post on this myself later but for now I’m not going to re-invent the wheel,if you are interested in blogging and you are a SQL Server professional go and check out Brent Ozar’s posts on how to start blogging.

It was Brent’s post along with fact I read their blog led me to buying ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. There will be a review to follow but I picked this up over the weekend and having read the first few chapters it seems like a great book for any blogger, who is serious about blogging to read.

This post will be my 100’s for the year, which was one of my targets at the start of the year. I’d like to say that my first full year blogging has been relatively successful, hopefully I will be able to continue that success into next year with new domain.

Monday, 6 December 2010

My Weekend

We are now well into December and Christmas is fast approaching, I have most, but not all of my shopping done, so a few more things to get before the Party season starts in earnest. Which for me is this Friday :-)  It was a busy week for me last week and I only managed to publish one post. Last week and this weekend gone has been very busy for me, I was on driving duty Friday night taking Mrs Ellis to and from her Christmas Party, Saturday was the day to decorate the house ready for Christmas, this is one of Mrs Ellis’ favourite days of the year. The dogs needed lots of long W.A.L.K.I..E.S….They can tell when I type it these days, never mind say it so shhh! don’t say it again. This is Seth posing for a Picture:

Seth Posing for Picture 

Sunday was a little more restful and in between all of that I tried to take in as much of the 2nd #ashes test match as possible, as well as reading my new copy of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. I will post more on this tomorrow but for now that’s post 99 for the year done and published.

Sunday, 5 December 2010


I’m currently doing some experiments with my blog and trying out In order to do that I need to paste this key <!--261640fe8cc94a1194161809571dac4c—> into a post to verify that it is, in fact, my blog.

Friday, 3 December 2010

MCM – Useful Resources

This is just a short post for a Friday. There has been a lot written over the past few weeks since the PASS summit about changes to the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) programme. As part of that announcement several very useful resources were made available, an series of MCM readiness video list, put together by the good people over at which can be found here:

There is also a very good reading list which can be found here:

This is a post my own future reference, I would recommend that if you are seriously considering taking the re-vamped MCM, or even if you are not but want a more detailed knowledge of SQL Server, then check out these resources.

Featured post

SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 - OUT of SUPPORT July 2019

Both SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 go out of extended support with Microsoft in July 2019. That’s fast approaching and as we enter ...