Pick Of The Shelf - SQL Server
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Thursday, 30 August 2018
Article Index
Pick Of The Shelf - SQL Server
SQL Server for Developers
Breadth and Depth
Internals and Externals

Specific Services

The books from here onwards cover in detail one of the services or areas of SQL Server specifics, so are the ones you need if you have to get to grips with a particular area of SQL Server rather than just the main database server. 

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Business Intelligence Development: Beginners Guide is, according to Ian Stirk, targeted at beginners but aims to explore Microsoft’s Business Intelligence (BI) tools, which sounds like a contradiction. However, it is not a book for the complete beginner, some knowledge of databases and architecture is required to get the most from the book.


Awarding it 4.6 stars, Ian describes the book as generally easy to read, with useful explanations, practical step-by-step walkthroughs, helpful screenshots, inter-chapter references, and website links.

He says there is much more to learn about Microsoft’s BI tools, many of the components discussed here have many other options that have not been discussed, but the book does provide a useful entry point to the most commonly used BI components. Overall, his conclusion is that if you have some knowledge of database systems (OLAP in particular), this book provides a great entry point to learning Microsoft’s BI tools. Recommended.


A book all about indexing might sound as though it would be dry, as Ian Stirk admits in his review of Expert Performance Indexing in SQL Server 2nd Ed. 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 Query Performance Tuning (4th Ed)  is a well-liked SQL Server book that examines performance from various angles, but concentrates on improvements related to the SQL code itself.  The book is aimed at anyone responsible for SQL Server performance, especially DBAs and developers.


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.

While the book covers the majority of code-based performance topics, there were times when reviewer Ian Stirk wanted more detail. He also noted that the book is very similar to the 2012 edition of the book; while the screenshots have been updated for 2014, the text is perhaps 80% the same or similar. In conclusion, and awarding it 4.8 stars, Ian described it as  a good, wide ranging, SQL code optimization book.

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Query Tuning & Optimization covers query tuning and optimization, aiming to give you the tools and knowledge to get peak performance from your queries and applications. The optimizer creates an execution plan, detailing how the query will be fulfilled, the quality of this plan depends on various factors (e.g. database design, indexes available etc). This book looks at the factors that affect the plan, with a view to improving query performance.

Giving it a rating of 4.7 stars, Ian Stirk said:

"I enjoyed reading this book. If you spend time troubleshooting performance problems, or you want a deeper understanding of the optimizer and the factors that influence it, I can heartily recommend this excellent book."

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.


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? 





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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 March 2021 )