How to find the Table which has Maximum Columns in a database

If you are interested to know about the table (in a particular database) that has most number of columns and how many columns.. You can run the below script..

SELECT NAME AS Table_Name, max_column_id_used AS Total_Columns
From SYS.tables
WHERE max_column_id_used =
(SELECT MAX(max_column_id_used) FROM SYS.tables)

As shown in the below screen shot, it will list the table and the number of columns in that table..

Table_with_Max_Columns

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–Bru Medishetty

How to refresh Test, Dev Systems with Prod Data?

When I attended PASS Summit last October, there were many people whom I met during breakfast and lunch and sometimes in the lobby and we discussed a variety of topics on  SQL Server. During one of those conversation, I was asked to give my suggestion on how to refresh their Development and Test environments with the Production data. So I thought it would be nice to write the same, so that it might help some of those who are looking for the same info. 

Backup & Restore

One of the most common mechanism of refreshing environments is using database backups on the production server and restore on the DEV, QA server to refresh the existing one. The advantage of using backup / restore is it is easy to do it. You don’t have to perform any special steps in this procedure other than restoring, coz your most recent full backup of production database should be good. However, the downside of this is that your DEV / QA database would be the same size of the production and your DEV / QA machine might not be anywhere near the size of your PROD box. The disk space too might be a factor to consider when using this procedure.

SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)

If you are aware and comfortable using SSIS packages, you can utilize this platform to refresh and  make other customization after your DEV / QA database is refreshed. With SSIS, you can automate the database refresh and setup a SQL Agent job and when you have to refresh you can run the job manually (or on a pre-determined schedule).. Some of the benefits using SSIS is the manual tasks that might be needed after you refresh the data, such as scrubbing off critical data (such as SSNs or Credit Card data etc), adding additional Developer / Test users etc.. You might also not want all of the data from your production databases, only the most recent year’s worth of data is good to test, in such cases backup restore will not solve the purpose, the data that is not necessary has to be dropped after restoring the database backup…

Import Export Wizard

Import Export Wizard would be another handy tool that can be used for data refresh, using this tool does not need any other program (such BIDS or SSDT as in the case of SSIS). You can pick only those table(s) that needed in the DEV / QA environment.. The disadvantage of this tool is that you cannot customize beyond a certain level and scheduling is not an option unless you save the SSIS package at the end of this wizard.. Also, you cannot push data simultaneously to 2 different databases such as DEV and QA at the same time (where as in SSIS you can do so using Multi-Cast Data Transformation).. 

Other options

Finally there are other options such as Scripting the database objects and transferring the data using stored procedures at either the source or destination (which involves a linked server between the source and destination servers) and / or command line utility called Bcp. 

Overall, I would prefer SSIS as my choice to refresh QA / Dev databases..

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–Bru Medishetty

Error when trying to use Database Engine Tuning Advisor

Recently, I received an email from a user saying that on one of their SQL Servers, a developer was trying to use Database Engine Tuning Advisor (DTA) and the user was unable to use the tool, as there was an error message being displayed. After few emails back and forth on finding what exactly was the issue/error, I tried to simulate on my local machine and found out the remedy. 

Solution

This cannot be referred as a problem as such, but it needs to addressed before DTA is used. Database Engine Tuning Advisor should be initially connected (and/or used) by a user who is part of sysadmin server role. Once a user (who is a sysadmin) has successfully connected to the SQL instance through DTA, it gets initialized and as part of the initialization, there are a series of tables that are created in MSDB to store data related to further usage of the DTA tool. 

From  then on, users who have db_owner access to a certain database can run workloads against that database and get recommendations to tune their queries/workloads..

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– Bru Medishetty