Stories by Sean McCown

  • 10 more do's and don'ts for faster SQL queries

    Everyone wants faster database queries, and both SQL developers and DBAs can turn to many time-tested methods to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, no single method is foolproof or ironclad. But even if there is no right answer to tuning every query, there are plenty of proven do's and don'ts to help light the way. While some are RDBMS-specific, most of these tips apply to any relational database.

  • SQL Server 2014 pushes the pedal to the metal

    SQL Server 2014 is a significant release with two overarching themes: cloud and speed -- or, to be specific, Azure integrations and in-memory OLTP (online transaction processing). Truth be told, I'm more excited about the speed features than the cloud stuff, but I also understand there is a growing portion of the customer base that is heading to cloud-based operations, and these shops will find the cloud features useful.

  • Review: SQL Server 2012 stands tall

    As we've come to expect from new SQL Server releases, SQL Server 2012 has so many new features that it's impossible even to mention them all. Nearly everyone is well served, from the BI-hungry users of Reporting Services to the IT folks who oversee query performance and uptime. SQL Server 2012 brings improvements across the board, with only a few disappointing exceptions.

  • Seven reasons to care about SQL Server 2008 R2

    With Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft begins to fully realize its vision of SQL Server as an information platform and not "just" a database. Hence the main theme for this release - at least according to Microsoft - is self-service BI. The PowerPivot plug-ins for Excel 2010 and SharePoint 2010 are easily going to make the biggest splash of all the new features, not least because they're the most complete. But then, SQL Server 2008 R2 isn't strictly necessary for PowerPivot for Excel, which works with plenty of other data sources.

  • Deep dive into SQL Server 2008

    SQL Server 2008, aka "Katmai," gives SQL Server shops plenty of reasons to get excited. The best SQL Server release to date, it sports more nice new features than you can count, and the improvements extend to both performance and manageability. In a few cases, such as the Resource Governor, you'll wish Microsoft had taken the functionality a little further. But whether you manage an OLTP environment, or an OLAP environment, or both, you will most likely find Katmai compelling. It easily passes my own five-point test for upgrades.

  • Preview: Microsoft's "Katmai" filled to the brim

    Katmai, the code name for Microsoft's imminent SQL Server 2008 release, comes from an Alaskan territory know for volcanoes, which may not be the best symbol for a database. So far, however, Katmai hasn't blown up on me. And the lower-profile Katmai seems like a good follow-on to Yukon, the code name for the gigantic SQL Server 2005 release.

  • Lab test: Oracle Database 11g shoots the moon

    I like to define a five-point touch system for my database upgrades. If the new version doesn't change my life in five ways, then it's not a significant upgrade. I'll typically quantify my need by approximating how many hours I spend each week performing certain tasks, and then estimate how much time the upgrade will save me. If I spend five hours every week dealing with resource usage and the new release will do it automatically, then I figure the upgrade will save me five hours a week. Now all I have to do is quantify four other features the same way, and I can sell it to management.

  • Secrets of Windows Server 2008

    Windows Server 2008, popularly known by its code name Longhorn, is a significant release for Microsoft and represents the result of a very long development cycle.

  • Database management by automation

    If you're one of those database managers who thinks Oracle must pride itself on making its database overly complicated and difficult to manage, Oracle Database 10g will be a refreshing change. Simplifying everything from installation to tuning and troubleshooting to backup and recovery, the new release is packed with features designed to make the DBA's job easier, either by completely automating tasks or by transferring control of important functions to the server. Gone are the days when you need a rocket scientist to run your database.