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Top 10 SQL Server Tips of 2008

Here are the top 10 SQL Server tips of 2008. From stored procedures that determine table and log file size to the basics of DATETIME and SMALLDATETIME in SQL Server 2005 and date/time value data conversions, these are the most viewed SearchSQLServer.com tips of the year.

As the year comes to a close, here are the top 10 SQL Server tips for 2008. Whether defining various data types,...

recommending memory configuration settings or providing stored procedures to assist with SQL Server table and log size issues, these tips were the most viewed by SearchSQLServer.com's readers in 2008.

#10 -SQL Server clustered index design for performance
Clustered index design choices are vital for system performance and future maintenance of your SQL Server database. Find out why clustered indexes should be narrow, static, increase over time and how they use many-to-many tables.

#9 -XML data type in SQL Server 2005 vs. VARCHAR (MAX)
When choosing to use the XML data type or the VARCHAR (MAX) data type in SQL Server 2005, DBAs and developers should know the potential performance impact of each. Here's a look at two tables, one inserted and queried with XML and the other with the VARCHAR (MAX) data type, that can help you make the best data type choice for your SQL Server environment.

#8 -How to create a SQL Server linked server to DB2
Many SQL Server environments run DB2 servers, too, and often the two servers must be linked. Here's a step-by-step process that shows how to create a SQL Server linked server using Microsoft's DB2 driver, the OLE DB provider data access tools and the AS400 version of DB2.

#7 -SQL Server database design disasters: What not to do
Would you be embarrassed if an outsider took a good look at your SQL Server database design? Are you using the right data types for your columns? Are your naming conventions defined? In this tip, database architect Brian Walker shares advice for improved database design and SQL Server performance.

#6 -Find size of SQL Server tables and other objects with stored procedure
When determining SQL Server disk space used by an object, Microsoft's sp_spaceused has limits. Here's an original stored procedure, sp_SOS, that calculates specific object space in SQL Server. Use it to get an overview of user table sizes in a database, the summary of the total space owned by a group of tables and to see the top 10 biggest indexed objects.

#5 -SQL Server 2005 log shipping setup using the wizard
When you set up log shipping in SQL Server 2005, there are many options to

More expert SQL Server advice:
Q&As on all things SQL Server

Blog: SQL Server with Mr. Denny
choose from to get the optimal configuration between primary and secondary servers. Along with some best practices, SQL Server MVP Hilary Cotter shares a log shipping setup process from start to finish that includes selecting the right database recovery mode, transaction log paths and secondary database settings.

#4 -Check SQL Server database and log file size with this stored procedure
Knowing the size of a SQL Server database is one of the many DBA responsibilities that can be easily accomplished with the stored procedure sp_SDS. Not only will sp_SDS determine "SQL Database Space," but it can also be used to monitor database growth, alert a DBA on data or log file growth, execute a transaction log backup and even provide a detailed breakdown at the file level.

#3 -Basics for working with DATETIME and SMALLDATETIME in SQL Server 2005
Understanding date/time data types in SQL Server can be difficult, especially when you add TIMESTAMP into the mix. In this tip, you'll learn how data is stored within DATETIME and SMALLDATETIME and get an overview of the TIMESTAMP data type -- as it's often confused with these two primary date/time data types.

#2 -Configuring SQL Server memory settings
While SQL Server has only a few simple memory settings, those settings are crucial. In this tip, SQL Server expert Denny Cherry shares configuration recommendations for optimal RAM amounts, how to enable AWE, the best number of gigabytes for maximum server memory and the differences between 32- and 64-bit platforms.

#1 -SQL Server data conversions from date/time values to character types
T-SQL supports two built-in methods for converting date/time data to character data and vice versa. In the most viewed tip of 2008, SQL Server expert Robert Sheldon takes you through a step-by-step process for using each method -- implicit and explicit conversions. These steps include using the handy CAST and CONVERT functions for converting date/time values.

For some of SearchSQLServer.com's best work from years past, check out the Top 10 SQL Server tips of 2007.

This was last published in December 2008

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