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5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh look at a diverse range of SQL Server related topics, 14 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Tribal SQL (Paperback)
Hi,

I have written a detailed chapter-by-chapter review of this book on www DOT i-programmer DOT info, the first and last parts of this review follow:

The book’s introduction says "This is a book for [SQL Server] DBAs, for things you think they really ought to know…", so how does it fare?

This book is a diverse collection of SQL Server related articles by 15 experienced, but previously unpublished authors. It stems from a collaboration between Midnight DBA, who hatched the idea to collect the tribal knowledge of its community of DBAs and Red Gate Publishing who teamed up with them to produce it. The topics covered range from compression and page-level data content, through to Agile Development and Project Management for DBAs.

Below is a chapter-by-chapter exploration of the topics covered.

Chapter 1 SQL Server Storage Internals 101
This chapter provides an introduction to the physical storage internals within SQL Server. The premise being you should be able to take advantage of this internals knowledge to delivery more optimal solutions.

The chapter starts with a look at rows, discussing the fixedvar format - a structure that details the layout of each record. Next, page layout is examined in terms of the header, body and record offset array. The content of the physical page is described using the DBCC PAGE command.

Heaps and indexes are discussed in relation to what they are, and how they change as their data changes. The problems of fragmentation and forwarded records are described. B-trees are discussed in detail. There’s some useful SQL code for obtaining the number of forwarded rows.

The author uses the information discussed to get a storage capacity estimate. I do wonder if the calculation is a little too complex, since this is an estimate, and various factors could invalidate it (e.g. varying row size and number of rows).

The chapter contains an error using the DBCC IND command, there is no closing quote mark around Person.Person i.e. DBCC IND (AdventureWorks2008R2, ‘Person.Person, 1). Additionally, in investigating sys.database_files, rows are selected WHERE type = 0, but does not say what ‘type = 0’ means (it means files of type ‘row’).

Overall the chapter provides a useful introduction into the content of the rows and pages of a database. Additionally, the overview of heaps and indexes is useful together with the problems that changing data cause.
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Conclusion
This is certainly an interesting book, covering a wide range of topics. All the chapters are well written, most are easy to read, and fresh. Some of the topics are offbeat, which itself adds to the book’s interest. Most chapters contain links to additional and deeper information, and many chapters have practical step-by-step examples.
You can download the first chapter of the book here: http://downloads DOT red-gate DOT com/ebooks/SQL/sql-server-storage-internals-101.pdf

The book contains a few basic code and English errors, but nothing too distracting. Cross-referencing between chapters is limited - some chapters end with a conclusion, others with summary, and others with nothing; some consistency would have been helpful. The book’s font was a little large, a more typical font would have reduced the book’s size from 466 pages to around 300 pages, making it more manageable.

I love the concept behind this book, get 15 previously unpublished authors to write about topics they find interesting. They may be new authors, but they are certainly experienced in their field.

The book’s authors have donated their royalties to the charity www DOT computers4africa DOT org DOT uk/, which collects, data-wipes, and refurbishes redundant IT hardware, and sends it to African schools, colleges and selected community projects. So buying the book has the added bonus of helping less-fortunate people.

I enjoyed reading the diverse range of topics in this book, indeed I hope there is a periodic release of this book with new authors talking about subject areas they enjoy.

If you want a fresh look at a diverse range of SQL Server related topics I can certainly recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, covering lots of DBA areas, 24 Nov. 2013
By 
Mr. N. Haslam "Nick Haslam" (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tribal SQL (Paperback)
I enjoyed reading this book, and would highly recommend it for others.

Tribal SQL has 15 chapters covering various topics relevant to DBA's. Each of the chapters has been written by a previously unpublished author, and all are based on their experiences. There are chapters covering most topics from Internals Data Compression, Performance tuning, Auditing and SQL Injection, through to less technical areas such as Reporting and Database Mail. Additionally, there are sections on personal skills which include Communication Skills, Project Management and an Introduction to Agile Database Development.

While some of the sections don't go into as much detail as you'd hope, this isn't the point of this book(from my understanding). It covers each of the areas well, leaves you interested for more, and most of the chapters include links to various sources for further reading.

It's also good to see the authors of this book donated their royalties to charity (Computers for Africa). Well done!

My only criticism is that I'd like to see an eBook/Kindle version of it so I can have it in the eBook library I have on my Tablet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Handy and approachable reference for the bits of SQL Server you probably don't use every day, 18 Oct. 2013
By 
Steve Powell (Manchester, UK United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tribal SQL (Paperback)
I got this book only a couple of days ago. But I have to say its probably one of the more immediately useful books I've come across. I had to set up DBMail on a SQL Server, the chapter in the book is an excellent step by step guide. I was also have some trouble with a couple of ETL packages that seemed to be login related. Rather than firing up profiler as usual I used Extended Events to figure out that the logins were badly configured, once again the chapter was pitched just where it was needed, meaningful but not too wordy or too deep. I also found the chapter on security very concise. Helped me give a very approachable high level overview of SQL Server security to someone who asked. So 3 chapters have proved useful within a week. I'm sure the rest will be flicked through in due course.

My only criticism? It would be better if I could put an ebook version on my Kindle along with the rest of my ref library, a lot more portable than the dead tree version and this is exactly the kind of useful ref book that's useful to have on tap when you need to do something you don't do every day.
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5.0 out of 5 stars really good read for SQL users of any kind not just dba's, 7 May 2014
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This review is from: Tribal SQL (Kindle Edition)
really good read for SQL users of any kind not just dba's. I found the security review a real help with part of the SQL upgrade process we are currently going through
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