SQL Server can’t do that, we have to buy Oracle.

 So we all like to think, OK maybe it’s just me. I hope it’s not just me, but I can tell you this topic comes up a lot. Maybe I should back up and start again…

 Over the last year or so, I have been on a number of contracts, these often start with a list of tasks such as our performance is not what we expected, or we need to add this new feature. But often many people come back to a question that I am not sure why but it really surprised me. The question was can SQL Server handle all my data? The funny thing is that these are not clients that are on huge systems, they may have a few hundred gigs, but because of poor design, lack of indexes or ignoring maintenance on indexes all together. A month or two ago I was in a session that Kevin Cox did where he was talking about some of the 50+ TB systems that he has worked on. So I revert back to the question that I have been asked…

Can SQL Server handle all this data?

Well it is my opinion that it can without a doubt. There is a number of ways that this can be done, but a popular way today that is built into SQL Server is Table Partitions. I know that if you are not familiar with the term or if you have never done this before that it can appear to be a bit scary. Not like bad slasher flick scary, the kind of scary that would keep you up all night fighting for your job because something did not work like you had planned it to. So how do we take the scare out of table partitions? Another easy question…

Chapter 31 of the SQL Server MVP Deep Dives book. The chapter by Ron Talmage is going to point you in the right direction. The chapter in my opinion is clear and concise. Ron takes you from the basics of learning the terms that you need to know all the way up to loading your table and then some. Ron does admit that there just was not enough space to cover the whole topic. But he does give you a list of topics to research and I bet many of them appear in the next chapter. I do question if we have this in the right section, I would think we would want to talk about partitions in the database design section, but hey all that matters is it is in the book.

The point of this post is that when you are asked the question “Can SQL Server do this?” We really need to take a lot of time and figure out exactly what they want done. If someone has a bad design in SQL Server, and they take that bad design over to Oracle it is still a bad design. Learning the tools that you have at your finger tips and making sure that you use all the tools you have is the key to being able to say…

“Heck ya it can, watch this”

If you have not learned yet one of my fellow bloggers is a huge fan of partitioning and spends a number of hours working on and helping companies implement it. A while back he put in a feature add with Microsoft and well, I think it would be a good add to the feature. If you have time, you could make Jeremy happy by voting on this so I don’t have to hear about it any longer. Ron, I thank you for another great chapter in the book that I think has become the best SQL Server book out in years.



2 Responses to “SQL Server can’t do that, we have to buy Oracle.”

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