Countdown to DEVintersection/SQLintersection in Orlando

As I have recently posted, I will be presenting three regular sessions and a full-day workshop at the DEVintersection/SQLintersection conference in Orlando, FL on April 16-22, 2016. As the conference get’s closer, I am starting to get more excited about it, reminding me of how I used to feel in my younger days as a developer and DBA. Getting away from work for a few days and being able to focus completely on something you are passionate about, surrounded by many like-minded people has always been a good way to recharge my motivation.

Richard Campbell of DotNetRocks and RunAsRadio has been recording some DEVintersection/SQLintersection “countdown” sessions on Channel 9, and the first five are available from the links below:

Watching short videos like this helps build and maintain the enthusiasm while I wait for the conference! The Doug Seven video is particularly good, prompting me to order an Adafruit Microsoft Internet of Things Pack for Raspberry Pi 2 kit just now…

SQL_Spr16_300x250_v5

You can register for the conference and additional workshops here. If you register by March 21, 2016, you will get (depending on which package you sign up for), your choice of a Microsoft Band 2, a $200.00 hotel gift card, a Microsoft Surface 3, or a Microsoft XBOX One. You can also get a $50.00 discount on your registration if you the use the discount code “BERRY” when you sign up.

 

 

SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 1 CU5 Available

Microsoft has released SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 5, which is Build 12.0.4439.1. There are 21 hotfixes in the public fix list.

In a very welcome change from the past, Microsoft has greatly streamlined the process for obtaining SQL Server Cumulative Updates. Rather than having to request the CU from a web page, and then wait for Microsoft to send you a download link by email (which, to be fair, usually only took a few minutes), you can now just download the latest Cumulative Update directly from the Microsoft Download Center.

Another, even more welcome move is how Microsoft has changed their guidance and language regarding whether you should install SQL Server Cumulative Updates. Rather than the old, somewhat alarming language, we now have this language:

Only the most recent cumulative update that was released for SQL Server 2014 SP1 is available at the Download Center.

  • Each new Cumulative Update (CU) contains all the fixes that were included with the previous CU for the installed version/Service Pack of SQL Server.
  • Microsoft recommends ongoing, proactive installation of CUs as they become available:
    • SQL Server CUs are certified to the same levels as Service Packs, and should be installed at the same level of confidence.
    • Historical data shows that a significant number of support cases involve an issue that has already been addressed in a released CU.
    • CUs may contain added value over and above hotfixes. This includes supportability, manageability, and reliability updates.
  • Just as for SQL Server service packs, we recommend that you test CUs before you deploy them to production environments.
  • We recommend that you upgrade your SQL Server installation to the latest SQL Server 2014 service pack.

This is a huge improvement, and I really hope that this new guidance will encourage more people to actually try to stay more up to date with their SQL Server CUs. Having a robust testing, deployment and rollback plan, that you actually use and improve over time as you regularly deploy SQL Server CUs has a lot of benefits for your organization.

SQL Server Diagnostic Information Queries for February 2016

Rather than having a separate blog post for each version, I have just put the links for all six major versions in this single post. There are two separate links for each version. The first one on the top left is the actual diagnostic query script, and the one below on the right is the matching blank results spreadsheet, with labeled tabs that correspond to each query in the set. 

Here are links to the latest versions of these queries for SQL Server 2016, 2014 and 2012:

SQL Server 2016 Diagnostic Information Queries (February 2016)

SQL Server 2016 Blank Results

SQL Server 2014 Diagnostic Information Queries (February 2016)

SQL Server 2014 Blank Results

SQL Server 2012 Diagnostic Information Queries (February 2016)

SQL Server 2012 Blank Results

Here are links to the most recent versions of these scripts for SQL Server 2008 R2 and older:

Since SQL Server 2008 R2 and older are out of Mainstream support from Microsoft (and because fewer of my customers are using these old versions of SQL Server), I am not going to be updating the scripts for these older versions of SQL Server every single month going forward.  I started this policy a while ago, and so far, I have not heard any complaints. I did update these queries slightly in January though.

SQL Server 2008 R2 Diagnostic Information Queries (CY 2016)

SQL Server 2008 R2 Blank Results

SQL Server 2008 Diagnostic Information Queries (CY 2016)

SQL Server 2008 Blank Results

SQL Server 2005 Diagnostic Information Queries (CY 2016)

SQL Server 2005 Blank Results

The basic instructions for using these queries is that you should run each query in the set, one at a time (after reading the directions for that query). It is not really a good idea to simply run the entire batch in one shot, especially the first time you run these queries on a particular server, since some of these queries can take some time to run, depending on your workload and hardware. I also think it is very helpful to run each query, look at the results (and my comments on how to interpret the results) and think about the emerging picture of what is happening on your server as you go through the complete set. I have some comments in the script on how to interpret the results after each query.

You need to click on the top left square of the results grid in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to select all of the results, and then right-click and select “Copy with Headers” to copy all of the results, including the column headers to the Windows clipboard. Then you paste the results into the matching tab in the blank results spreadsheet.

About half of the queries are instance specific and about half are database specific, so you will want to make sure you are connected to a database that you are concerned about instead of the master system database. Running the database-specific queries while being connected to the master database is a very common mistake that I see people making when they run these queries.

Note: These queries are stored on Dropbox. I occasionally get reports that the links to the queries and blank results spreadsheets do not work, which is most likely because Dropbox is blocked wherever people are trying to connect.

I also occasionally get reports that some of the queries simply don’t work. This usually turns out to be an issue where people have some of their user databases in 80 compatibility mode, which breaks many DMV queries, or that someone is running an incorrect version of the script for their version of SQL Server.

It is very important that you are running the correct version of the script that matches the major version of SQL Server that you are running. There is an initial query in each script that tries to confirm that you are using the correct version of the script for your version of SQL Server. If you are not using the correct version of these queries for your version of SQL Server, some of the queries are not going to work correctly.

If you want to understand how to better run and interpret these queries, you should consider listening to my three latest Pluralsight courses, which are SQL Server 2014 DMV Diagnostic Queries – Part 1SQL Server 2014 DMV Diagnostic Queries – Part 2 and SQL Server 2014 DMV Diagnostic Queries – Part 3. All three of these courses are pretty short and to the point, at 67, 77, and 68 minutes respectively. Listening to these three courses is really the best way to thank me for maintaining and improving these scripts…

You can also come listen to me discuss these queries in great detail, over the course of over three hours by coming to SQLintersection Spring 2016 – Orlando, FL – April 16-22, 2016, which will be a lot of fun!

Please let me know what you think of these queries, and whether you have any suggestions for improvements. Thanks