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


SQL Server Internals: In-Memory OLTP is a slim volume in which a notable internals expert (Karen Delaney) endeavours to explain it all. Specifically the book is “...focusing on details of memory-optimized tables and indexes, how the in-memory engine delivers transactional consistency (ACID compliance) without locking or latching, and the mechanics of its checkpointing, logging and garbage collection mechanisms.”



The author is a well-known SQL Server internals expert, widely known as the author/editor of the SQL Server Internals series of books. Awarding the book the maximum 5 stars, Ian Stirk says that although the book's introduction says you don't need to be a SQL Server expert to read it, it quickly becomes apparent you are going to go deep into the subject matter.

He concludes:

"If you want to get up to speed with the new In-Memory OLTP technology, the major reason for moving to SQL Server 2014, I cannot recommend this book highly enough – in my opinion this is how a technology book should be written, concise and with depth."

The title has now been updated and revised to cover the Hekaton engine in SQL Server 2016 under the title "SQL Server Internals: In-Memory Oltp: Inside the SQL Server 2016 Hekaton Engine", though it is currently only available in a print edition.

Another title looking at at SQL Server internals is Pro SQL Server Internals. This book provides an in-depth look at a wide range of SQL Server topics from an internals and performance related perspective.

It assumes some background knowledge of SQL Server, and given that is relatively easy to read, with excellent explanations, good use of screenshots, and detailed example code throughout to back up the assertions made. The book is wide-ranging, with coverage from User-Defined Functions to High Availability options. This is matched by its great detail, including examination of execution plans and physical database page/row content. There is no filler in this book, it is all useful detail. Awarding the book 4.9 stars, Ian Stirk says it is the best SQL Server internals/performance book he's read, and he  congratulates the author on his industry.

Another title worth reading on SQL Server OLTP is Expert SQL Server In-Memory OLTP (2nd Ed). This is a book revised to cover SQL Server 2016's OLTP options. Whilst SQL Server 2014 introduced In-Memory OLTP technology, it contained many limitations, most of these have been removed in SQL Server 2016. This book is targeted at SQL Server developers and architects wanting to know how to take advantage of the potential performance improvements. Some background knowledge of SQL Server, especially performance, will be useful.

This book has well-written discussions, helpful examples, diagrams, website links, inter-chapter links, and useful chapter summaries. It contains plenty of practical code to help you understand the subject matter.
Ian Stirk, awarding the book the maximum five stars, said
"If you want a practical discussion on In-Memory OLTP, including recommendations and best practices, I can highly recommend this erudite book."


Pro SQL Server Wait Statistics aims to troubleshoot problems and improve the performance of SQL Server queries by using Wait Statistics. When SQL code is not running on the CPU, SQL Server records the reason why it is not running (e.g. blocking or waiting for IO to complete). Analysing these Wait Statistics (Wait Stats), and making changes based on them, can improve the performance of your queries.


The book is targeted at DBAs and SQL developers who want to troubleshoot problems and improve the performance of their SQL Servers and queries.

Awarding the book 4.5 stars, Ian Stirk says that while he would have liked to have seen a more corroborative approach between various tuning techniques (e.g. Davidson links Wait Stats with Perfmon queue metrics), and felt sometimes there was too much hyperbole, he enjoyed this book immensely, it contains lots of useful detail.

Professional Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Integration Services is a revised version of an earlier title on SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), updated for SQL Server 2014. SSIS allows you to extract, transform and load (ETL) data. The book’s initial chapters are aimed at developers that are new to SSIS, while the later chapters contain patterns and practices targeted at more experienced developers.

Giving the book 4.8 stars, Ian Stirk recommends it. He says the book is an easy read, the authors have taken the time to explain things in a clear yet concise manner. He says the book is replete with step-by-step examples, with good use of screenshots to further aid understanding.  Most of the examples are based on the sample Microsoft databases, allowing you follow along, any additional files can be downloaded from the publisher..

SQL Server Concurrency: Locking, Blocking and Row Versioning gained 4.5 stars from Nikos Vaggalis, who says this slim guide aims to raise awareness of a frequently underrated subject whose incomprehension can result in massive performance complications.

Nikos says that going multi-user without putting considerable effort into understanding concurrency (and how your specific DBMS goes about it), will sooner or later lead to major problems, and this book aims to show how to build multi-user applications that perform well. 


He says:

"The ideal way to read this book is to not skip a line, never mind a page, otherwise there's the risk of overlooking the hidden gems, the little, subtle details based on the author's over two decade long professional experience, that makes it stand out from other titles."

Nikos' conclusion is that the book is recommended to all developers working on database applications as the essential guide to turn to when performance, integrity and concurrency are not negotiable; and that is, always.


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 March 2021 )