T-SQL Tuesday #101: My Essential SQL Server Tools

T-SQL Tuesday #101: My Essential SQL Server Tools

April 2018 is the 101st episode of T-SQL Tuesday – and it’s my second contribution in the series (damn it, I’m still working on my constant frequency of writing)

This month’s topic comes from Jens Vestergaard (B|T). He is asking us about our essential SQL Server Tools and please be aware that SSMS and SSDT do not count.

Some time ago I collected most important tools I use in my daily routine at work. You can find the list here (it’s time to re-verify it, I guess).
Today, I’m going to pick up only few of them and spread good words.

SSMS

Ah… yes, I know – I’ve just mentioned that SSMS doesn’t count, right? Even thought new version is on the market for some time – I still see people who aren’t aware about it. So, please stop using SSMS 2014/2016 – simply go on website and download latest version of SSMS.

SOS

No, I’m not calling for help…
No further than 6 months ago, Microsoft announced new tool: SQL Operations Studio.
It’s a child, in preview version and still developing. Perhaps it hasn’t so many features as SSMS, but what is really cool (for Mac users the most) that the tool is multi-platform, which means working on Windows, MacOS and Linux. Who would have thought…
Another extraordinary thing is a capability to create your own insight widget writing queries and build visualizations.
Last but not least – the entire code is open source and you can contribute to development!

SQL Sentry Plan Explorer

This tool is just AWESOME! Especially if you want to find out where a culprit of bad-performance is hiding behind your stored procedures and you aim to tweak a bad query.
The stored procedure you’re suspect gonna be splitted out onto queries in order to focus on a specific query which causes a trouble.
The execution plan brings more information and it’s more readable than that in SSMS. Further more, Index Analysis tab provides you with a full picture of a selected operation: columns covered by indexes, statistic histogram and much more. Everything in one place. Perfectly, isn’t it?
Adding opportunity of keeping all history of executed queries to this – you will be loving troubleshooting with it.
And all that jazz is completely FREE from a certain date.

Redgate SQL Search

Those guys have got absolutely fantastic tools (and they are fantastic itself as well).
SQL Search is totally free tool which helps you to bridle your databases.
And if you are tied with DevOps thingy – you’re probably familiar with ReadyRoll, DLM Automation, DLM Dashboard. Working as a DBA (or accidental DBA like me previously) you should know (or at least heard about) SQL Monitor. Perfect tool to keep your eye on SQL Server environments.

 

Data Script Writer

My own simple tool written in C# with DevExpress components to help scripting the data from static or dictionary tables. That kind of script you can easily put into your SSDT project, add post-deployment script and in that way run it many times to deploy data into a database during a deployment. Very handy and useful (I didn’t find anything better). There will be separate post about such approach.

The BROWSER

True. Working with the cloud or web application we use our browser. Microsoft Azure Portal offers dozens of features/systems were among of them are Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure SQL DB, Cosmos DB, Data Lake which are in an area of my interest. Obviously, you can (and you should) automate some work with PowerShell, but still, the browser will remain as a “first-aid tool”, not only for monitoring.

KeePass 2

Do you still struggle how to keep the passwords safety?
So many times I saw that people were keeping these sensitive information in… plain text using notepad. Are you kidding me? These days? Wake up, GDPR is coming and the chain is as weak as its weakest link. Fix it.

Total Commander

Do you remember the times with MS DOS? I remember! (yes, I’m so old even if I don’t look like)
I used Norton Commander those days. When Windows 95 has come the application changed out into Windows Commander and once it becomes more popular, they had to change the name to Total Commander due to Microsoft’s request.
It’s a fantastic tool to manage the files. You can work with keyboard only, find wanted files pretty quick, zip/unzip, connect to FTP, filter object list, synchronize two locations, compare files by content and much, much more.
One of my English friends is laughing that only Polish and Russian guys use this application. Hard to say… so, if you native English and use the app – let me know.

Hey man, the topic was about SQL SERVER Tools only!

Right. My fault. Forgive me. That’s the result of sitting and writing a post after the midnight. Not always good idea. Anyway, it’s good opportunity to mention about other tools either.

Thanks for reading!

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About author

Kamil Nowinski
Kamil Nowinski 47 posts

Data Architect, MCSE Data Platform, MS BI Developer, Member of PLSSUG, co-organizer of SQLDay, speaker. Happy husband & father. #SQLFamily member.

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  1. Peter Tilsted
    April 10, 15:05 Reply

    Danish guy here, also old enough to have worked with Norton Commander, now Total Commander, using the same license file as when i bought the first version in 1995

    So tell your english friends that also Danes are using it 🙂

    • Kamil Nowinski
      April 10, 15:32 Reply

      Hi Peter, that’s great news, thanks! Indeed, once you buy a license, you can keep it forever – that’s another thing I did not mention. Good to know that TC is being used in other countries as well by our community.

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