Pick of the Shelf - SQL Server 2012
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
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Pick of the Shelf - SQL Server 2012
T-SQL
Ask the Experts

Experts and Enthusiasts

Pro SQL Server 2012 Practices is, says Ian Stirk, just what you’d expect to get if you ask a group of SQL Server experts to write on topics that interest them - a book full of enthusiasm and detail. He says that the book consists of around 60% new material and 40% rehash of material available elsewhere, with chapters falling into three categories: innovative, overviews of a given area, and very detailed investigations of a small topic.

 

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Much of the book is not specifically about 2012 features, but practices that can be applied to many versions of SQL Server. Overall, Ian concludes:

If you were to follow even a subset of the advice, your database server would be in better shape, and you’d have a deeper understanding of what’s going on.  One caveat is much of the material is aimed at database administrators rather than developers, though there are many interesting scripts to solve the various problems addressed.

A book all about indexing might sound as though it would be dry, as Ian Stirk admits in his review of Expert Performance Indexing for SQL Server 2012. However, as Ian points out, indexes are fundamental to both understanding the structure of data and helping improve query performance, and the examples in the book make the subject interesting and accessible.

 

 

Ian says the book probably covers everything you would want to know about indexes, has great depth and range, full of relevant examples, and has a methodological approach to performance tuning using indexes, concluding that the book is an excellent resource and will be useful to anyone looking to improve the performance of their SQL Server databases.

 

SQL Server DMVs in Action is a well written book, packed with useful code samples, that Kay Ewbank awarded a five star rating to. One reason for the top rating is the fact that the author Ian Stirk, who is himself now a member of the I Programmer team, is a true enthusiast for a subject, and this book is (unlikely though it might sound from the title) a fun read. If you write applications that make use of SQL Server, you ought to know about DMVs. Dynamic Management Views are one of those useful little hidden features of SQL Server that can make a real difference because they tell you what’s going on behind the scenes in your queries. Get to grips with them and you can take a query that’s crawling and turn it into one that flies, and that’s what this book teaches you.

 

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The book is packed full of over 100 really useful code samples, covering areas such as finding your slowest queries, missing indexes, which SQL statements are running now, and quickly finding a cached plan. As Kay Ewbank says:

if just one of the code samples in this book helps you crack a query performance problem, the book will have earned its keep. It’s well written, short on waffle and long on useful info. What more could you ask?

 

SQL Server 2012 Query Performance Tuning  has the subtitle "Troubleshoot and optimize query performance in SQL Server 2012".The author looks at all the things you can do to collect performance figures so you can analyze how your queries are running and what you can do to put things right when you discover problems.

 

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There are chapters on SQL tools including Performance Monitor, SQL Management Studio Extended Events, and the Database Engine Tuning Advisor.  Topics such as index fragmentation, blocking analysis and deadlock and cursor cost analysis are all well covered, and the book is well written and the information is reliable. Noting problems with typographic errors, Kay Ewbank gave it a rating of 4.5 rather than the 5 it would otherwise deserve.

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