Data Quality: The Discovery

I wrote a post a few months back about a healthcare data conversion project that I’ve been working on for the better part of 2 years.  My task on this project is to convert data from an old UNIX-based Universe database to a SQL Server-based application; the database we are extracting from is quite old, both in terms of technology…


Defining Value

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of value.  Recently, a colleague of mine tendered his resignation quite unexpectedly and at a very inconvenient time, just before the consummation of a 2-year software implementation and data conversion project.  Citing health and family concerns, he decided that the value he received from his work was disproportionately low compared to…


Using NOT IN with NULL Values in T-SQL

Recently I discovered a little quirk in T-SQL when using NOT IN with NULL values in the list of values to check.  I use the term “quirk” loosely here because the behavior is exactly as designed in SQL Server, though it may not be obvious. Using NOT IN with NULL Values Here’s how it works. If you use a static…


SSIS expression language conditional operator

The SSIS expression language is a powerful yet enigmatic entity.  Once you get used to its syntax – which is part C#, part T-SQL and part *WTH?!?* – it’s actually somewhat fun to use.  However, one thing it appears to be lacking is the ability to use an if/then/else statement. However, there actually is such an instrument, though it doesn’t…


On the Importance of Documentation…

It seems that I keep inheriting old systems that provide a singular, albeit mission critical, function to their owners. In the majority of these cases, I have encountered numerous small applications that were designed to run in a standalone environment to solve a very narrow problem or set of problems. The person who supports the application – which is very…


Microsoft SQL Server certification

A few weeks ago I was chatting with some colleagues about the merits of Microsoft SQL Server certification exams.  A number of people I’ve talked with about the MCDBA certification share my opinion that these tests were too easy and therefore held limited value to one’s career.  After all, what does it matter if you have a mess of alphabet…


Books for those just starting out with SSIS

Having cut my teeth on SQL Server 2000, I had some (but not a lot) of DTS experience.  Recently I found myself presented with a massive ETL project, and found a perfect opportunity to get started with SQL Server Integration Services. With the help of a couple of great books and one magazine (I’ll mention those shortly), I have spent…


SSC bought out by Red Gate… Now what?

One of the highlights of my weekday mornings is reading the editorial by Steve Jones of SQLServerCentral.com.  However, this past Tuesday’s newsletter was particularly newsworthy: Steve announced the sale of the SQLServerCentral.com site to Red Gate software, a UK-based manufacturer of SQL Server tools. Though the timing came as a surprise, I have to say that the sale did not. …


SQL Injection… is this still a problem?

For some reason, today I came across at least a half-dozen blog posts and articles about how to avoid SQL injection attacks.  It had been a while since I had read about SQL injections, and an odd thought comes to mind: Why is SQL injection still an issue? This is such an easy problem to get around.  The use of…


Be on the lookout for the mistakes of others

I’ve come to learn that there are some really flaky systems out there.  Not just a few quirks here and there, but significant problems that someone should have caught. For example, I spent some time earlier this week consolidating two SQL Server machines into one.  Through this process, I had to evaluate the vendor app that interfaced with one of…