Fun with Filegroups

Filegroups are an interesting and useful (if not actually all that fun, despite the title) concept within SQL Server. They provide not just a way to group objects like tables together, but also provide a mechanism to help us to speed up the backup, restore and recovery of the databases. And sometimes they can even give us a little help with the performance or to migrate data to disks that have more space available.

In this post, focus will be in archiving a table that we no longer need by making a read-only copy of it. In a real world scenario we’d also consider putting that to a slower disk, if it’s not frequently used, but my demo environment only has a single data disk.

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Hiding (mostly) in plain sight: Dynamic Data Masking

Masks on!

One of the more recent additions to SQL Server security features is the Dynamic Data Masking (DDM), included with the 2016 version. Like the Transparent Data Encryption I blogged about recently, DDM is a feature that is relatively easy to implement, and doesn’t require a lot of changes to the application. And just like pretty much everything is easy in a real life, it too has some limitations.

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Protecting Data at Rest: Transparent Data Encryption

I recently read an article which stating that since the GDPR came in force, there has been 59,000 data breaches reported in the EU. I must admit, that while I did anticipate that we’d see a surge in these numbers, due to reporting requirements in the legislation. I really did not expect the numbers to look that terrifying.

From the point of view of a SQL Server DBA, there is a number of different ways to protect your data. Some of them are even quite easy to setup, such as Transparent Data Encryption (TDE). So let’s have a look at how to set that up!

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Looking back to 2018

I can see all the way back to 2018 with these!

Note: This post is not a technical one, but one focusing on a professional (and maybe personal) growth. As we’re already well on our way to 2019, I figured that now is as good time as any to look back, all the way to the year 2018! As I mentioned in passing in a previous post, I did end up leaving the company I had worked for 20 years, and while being a small step to mankind it was quite a huge leap to me.

It also taught me few things, which I figured are worth sharing.

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My favorite PerfMon counters

About two months back I ended up moving to another job, which has unfortunately kept me to be bit too occupied to find the time to blog, until now. Due to this previously mentioned career change, I have been working quite a bit with monitoring, and it gave me a spark to write this post about my favorite PerfMon counters.

Monitoring!

Like most DBAs I rely quite a lot on monitoring, and like most DBAs I too have my own set of PerfMon counters that I rely on to provide me an accurate view of what’s happening in the environment I am administering. In this post, I’ll describe what are my favorite PerfMon counters.

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Treating database as a code

code
Everything as a Code

Over the last two years I have been working lot on improving the tooling and processes related to database development at where I work. One concept born out of this work is what we have started calling a “Database-as-a-Code” model. Originally the idea was to introduce some of the good practices, such as version control, build automation and unit testing to database development. Over the time it has evolved to include even more, in an effort to break down traditional silos between software developers, database developers and the operations people.

In this post I’ll describe some of the decisions we made and the steps we have taken in our Database DevOps journey.

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Connecting to SQL Server instance through Dedicated Admin Connection

Dedicated Admin Connection is one of the easy-to-forget features in SQL Server that can really save your day. DAC (no relation to Data-Tier Applications, just shares the acronym), as it’s often called, is the way you can try to access a SQL Server instance that is in such a bad shape, that no normal connection is available. This can be due to resource exhaustion or if you happened to create a slightly wonky logon trigger. In this post we’ll look at how you enable Dedicated Admin Connection (for remote users) and how you connect to SQL Server using the DAC.

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