Sunday, August 27, 2017

Why would anyone use a global temporary table?

SQL Azure has added something called database scoped global temporary tables.

Azure SQL Database supports global temporary tables that are also stored in tempdb and scoped to the database level. This means that global temporary tables are shared for all users’ sessions within the same Azure SQL database. User sessions from other Azure SQL databases cannot access global temporary tables.

They way you add these is by using a double pound sign

They way you create a database scoped global temporary table is like this

CREATE TABLE ##test ( a int, b int);

You are probably thinking...wait a minute, how is this different from a global temporary table? It is pretty much the same but on SQL Azure, it is scoped to the database level, while on prem it is scoped to the instance level

I was listening to the latest SQL Server Radio podcast and the hosts were talking about why anyone would ever need a global temporary table. Why not use a real table instead

I can come up with one answer....

Let's take a look

First create a database and then add a user who has read and write permissions



USE Test

CREATE USER DenisTest FOR LOGIN DenisTest;  

ALTER ROLE [db_datareader] ADD MEMBER DenisTest
ALTER ROLE [db_datawriter] ADD MEMBER DenisTest

Now, let say we want to run a query several times and store the results

USE Test

SELECT name,type_desc,state_desc,size
FROM sys.database_files
WHERE name ='Test'

So I need a table to store the results right?
Let's try creating one......

CREATE TABLE SomeTable (name sysname,
type_desc nvarchar(120),
state_desc nvarchar(120),
size int)

Msg 262, Level 14, State 1, Line 8
CREATE TABLE permission denied in database 'Test'.

That is right, we don't have permissions

Now let's add a double pound sign in front of that table

CREATE TABLE ##SomeTable (name sysname,
type_desc nvarchar(120),
state_desc nvarchar(120),
size int)

And this works

Now we can insert into the table we just created

INSERT ##SomeTable
SELECT name,type_desc,state_desc,size
FROM sys.database_files
WHERE name ='Test'

Also, we can insert and select from other sessions.query windows as well

Of course if the server restarts, this table will be gone. However if you want to capture some query output and look at it, you don't have to wait for someone to give you ddl_admin permission, create the table for you or make you db_owner.

Now why everyone would need a temporary stored procedure...that is another story and I can't really think of a reason

Thursday, August 24, 2017

PASS tv has added a boatload of videos

While I was away on vacation in San Francisco,  I noticed that PASS tv has added dozens of videos to their YouTube channel. These videos were added 2 days ago. There should be something there for everyone interested in working with SQL Server as well as interested in presenting

There are videos by Kalen Delaney, Bob Ward, Buck Woody, Kendra Little and many more

You can find all the videos here:

Sunday, August 06, 2017

I don't always use a RIGHT JOIN, but when I do, it's because I am lazy

Do you use RIGHT JOINs? I myself rarely use a RIGHT JOIN, I think in the last 17 years or so I have only used a RIGHT JOIN once or twice. I think that RIGHT JOINs confuse people who are new to databases, everything that you can do with a RIGHT JOIN, you can also do with a LEFT JOIN, you just have to flip the query around

So why did I use a RIGHT JOIN then?

Well the answer is in the image below

That is was pure laziness, if you ever met a programmer, you will find out pretty quickly that programmers are pretty lazy. I guess lazy is not the right word to use here, it is better to call programmers efficient or people who don't want to reinvent the wheel.

So what actually happened? I was checking some data in a table, I already had written the following query

SELECT number 
FROM SomeTableWithIDs c

Now I just needed to see how many numbers were not used

So what did I do, I just continued below the query I already had, I ended up with this

SELECT number 
FROM SomeTableWithIDs c
FROM master..spt_values 
WHERE type = 'p' 
AND number BETWEEN 0 and 255) x on c.SomeID = x.number
WHERE c.SomeID is null

Let's take a look at this again with some DDL and DML you can run

First create the following table, it has only one column, this column has a tinyint data type (don't ask why it is tinyint, this is the reason I had to take a look at how many unused IDs we had to begin with)

CREATE TABLE SomeTableWithIDs (SomeID tinyint not null )


Now that we have the table created, let's populate it with 250 rows

INSERT SomeTableWithIDs
FROM sys.sysobjects s
CROSS JOIN sys.sysobjects s2

Let's delete a couple of rows

DELETE SomeTableWithIDs WHERE SomeID IN (2,4,6,11)

Running the RIGHT JOIN query will give us the missing rows

SELECT number 
FROM SomeTableWithIDs c
FROM master..spt_values 
WHERE type = 'p' 
AND number BETWEEN 0 and 255) x on c.SomeID = x.number
WHERE c.SomeID is null

Here is the output


Now you have to realize that this was just an ad-hoc query, if I were to put this in a proc or script, I would have done it like this

SELECT number 
FROM master..spt_values s
WHERE type = 'p' 
AND number BETWEEN 0 and 255
   FROM SomeTableWithIDs c 
   WHERE c.SomeID = s.number)

That query is less confusing for beginners than a RIGHT JOIN

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Why I am learning Python and why you might need to learn it as well

If you follow my non SQL Server blog, you might have noticed that I have been posting about Python lately. There are a couple of reasons for this

  • Python will be included alongside R in SQL Server 2017, I might need to support this in the future
  • Python is used more and more by the data science community
  • My youngest son is learning Python, in order to help him, I need to know it too

I already posted  several blog posts, here are some of these posts

Summer of code 2017: Python

I am not going to list all the posts here, you can find them by clicking on the Python label,  or by going to this link

I must admit that after messing around with Python for a month or so that I actually like the language. I don't know why but it reminds me of classic VB in the same sense that ColdFusion reminded me of classic VB back in 2000/2001.  Maybe it is the luck of curly braces {}  :-)

Visual Studio is now also a top notch Python development tool, so if you are familiar with Visual Studio you can keep using the same tools.

Here is also a presentation about Python in SQL Server if you want to know a little more about the way it is integrated.

Are you going to learn Python or are you going to stay away as far as possible from it?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

SSMS: When did the query finish, when did the query start?

This is a quick post but it might be an item you can add to your Today I Learned list  :-)

Let's say you get to a SSMS query window and you see the following

You can tell it ran really fast and you can tell that 26080 rows were affected.  Can you tell when it started and when it finished?

Yes, you can!!!

Hit the F4 button or select View-->Properties Window from the menu bar

Here is what I see

As you can see there are a bunch of properties about the query

For example

Start time: 7/13/2017 9:58:01 AM
Finish time: 7/13/2017 9:58:02 AM
Elapsed time: 00:00:00.766

There you have it, a quick and easy way to tell when something ran in your query windows

Monday, July 10, 2017

T-SQL Tuesday #92, Lessons learned the hard way

This month's T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Raul Gonzalez, he proposed the following:  For this month, I want you peers to write about those important lessons that you learned the hard way, for instance something you did and put your systems down or maybe something you didn’t do and took your systems down. It can be also a bad decision you or someone else took back in the day and you’re still paying for it…

There are so many things to share here so everybody can learn from each others mistakes, because all of us were once a beginner and no one is born with any knowledge about SQL Server.

Please do not be ashamed of sharing your experiences, you can anonymize the whole story if you want but remember all people make mistakes, the important is to learn from them and try not to repeat them in the future.

Before we start, do you ever wonder why in job postings they ask for a minimum of n years of experience? Well what is experience but the accumulation of mistakes you have made over time. Once you drop a table, I guarantee you, you won't do it again  :-)  So when they ask for n years of experience what they are saying is.... hey I know you messed up, and I know you did it somewhere else and not here, we are glad you did it somewhere else,  but I think you won't make those mistakes again, so we are willing to hire you now.....

So here are my stories

Script out proc with drop dependent object

I still remember this one,  even though it has been over 15 years ago. In Enterprise Manager/ Query Analyzer on SQL Server 7, when scripting out a proc there was an option you could check, this was the drop dependent objects option. Somehow that was checked and the table used in the proc was also dropped
I don't have Query Analyzer installed anywhere but even in SSMS there is an option to script the dependent objects...luckily the default is false..

So I got a nice call from one of the New York City agencies that data wasn't there. I was just about to start my lunch. I lost my appetite real quick. SO what I did was take a full backup and then did a restore with stop at to 2 minutes before I dropped the table. This worked and all the data was there. I however lost my appetite and did not eat my lunch that day. But I can tell you that I have never dropped a table again.

Script out table to make history table

This is one of my favorite lessons, lucky for me a co-worker managed to do this
We needed a history table, this table would be populated each month with the current data, the main table then would be cleaned and repopulated via a DTS package. So what do you do? You script out the current table, change the table name and run the script right? Seems easy enough.....

So this was done....  an hour or 2 passes and we get a call that the original table doesn't exist.

What happened?  Well the script had a drop table and a create table part, the table name change was only done in the create part...ooops.... not good

Staging server, test server..what's that?

I worked in at least 2 companies that did not have any test/staging or QA environment. need a change..right click DTS package right on production, make changes and save.... how productive people were.....  I am still amazed that nobody did any real bad things... But I believe we did use source control, but it was Visual SourceSafe 6.0

Start transaction... walk away casually

One time I had a query window open in SSMS and there was an insert or update statement and nothing else.  hit F5 and casually walked away. After a couple of minutes some people told me things started to take a long time and timing out.  Alright I executed sp_who2 and saw a SID in the BlkBy column in many rows. Ready to go find the person and give this person a nice lecture, I noticed that the SPID was mine?  WTF, I looked at my query window..nothing. I then scrolled up and as you can guess by now there was a nice BEGIN TRANSACTION statement at the first line....  Argh... so I commited the thing and that was the end of that. At least I didn't go home for the day yet.

Insert SELECT after DELETE and before WHERE clause

Sometimes, you have code like this

DELETE Sometable
WHERE a= b

you want to see what that will affect, so you do this and run the bottom 2 lines

DELETE Sometable
SELECT * FROM Sometable
WHERE a= b

Of course if you leave it like that, for example in a SQL Agent job, you will learn the hard way that all your data is gone, not just the stuff that the WHERE clause applies to

Use SQL to bring down other things in the company
The request was that support wanted to know immediately when an order was placed. No problem, we can add a trigger that populates a table and then we have a job that runs once a minute to email the support group. Sounds reasonable right? Someone decided to do a little testing.... this person created 100,000 entries.... I guess you can imagine what happens next. Yep, the email server was overloaded. We had to quickly delete these rows and truncate the table that was used to send the emails.

Change the user without telling anyone
Another one brought to you by a co-worker. This person needed some stored procedures to be deployed to production. No problem, put in ticket and we will get it done. So stored procedures were deployed and the front end code was getting some errors. It turns out that this person decided to create a new user and use that instead of the user used in all the other connection strings. At least this was easy to fix

I will leave you with this horror story from the microsoft.public.sqlserver newsgroup, I tried to find this thread but I was unable to find it.

Some person tried to do a backup but this person got confused and somehow managed to do a restore from the only backup they had, this backup was 1 year old.  The advice this person got? Update resume.

Not good, not good at all

Monday, June 19, 2017

Five great SQL Server GitHub repos that every SQL Server person should check out

Did you know that there are some greats repos on github with awesome SQL scripts that you can use or even contribute to?

I decided to make you aware of some of these.


The Microsoft SQL Server Tiger team has a GitHub repository where they host a bunch of SQL Server scripts

It is called the tigertoolbox. In the image below, you can see what is in this repository

GitHub Repo is here:

Also make sure to follow the @mssqltiger twitter account to stay up to date with any news from the MS Tiger Team.

The SQL Server Maintenance Solution

This is a GitHub repo by Ola Hallengren
The SQL Server Maintenance Solution comprises scripts for running backups, integrity checks, and index and statistics maintenance on all editions of Microsoft SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014, and SQL Server 2016. The solution is based on stored procedures, the sqlcmd utility, and SQL Server Agent jobs

GitHub Repo is here:

Also make sure to visit the Ola's website for more info here:


dbatools is a free PowerShell module with over 200 SQL Server administration, best practice and migration commands included.

GitHub Repo is here:

Also make sure to visit their website:

Microsoft SQL Server Samples Repository

This GitHub repository contains code samples that demonstrate how to use Microsoft's SQL products including SQL Server, Azure SQL Database, and Azure SQL Data Warehouse. Each sample includes a README file that explains how to run and use the sample.

Repo is here:


This repo by the nice folks from Brent Ozar Unlimited®.has a collection of procs to help you with health checks, maintenance and performance checks. Procs like sp_Blitz, sp_BlitzCache, sp_BlitzFirst, sp_BlitzIndex, and other SQL Server scripts.

GitHub Repo is here:

Make sure to bookmark this page on the site to learn how to use these scripts/procs and to keep up to date on any additions/changes: