Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SSDT 2012 Database Project Limitation with Change Tracking - using CHANGETABLE in inline table valued function

I recently worked on a SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) 2012 database project that had Change Tracking enabled. There were a lot of stored procedures and functions written using the CHANGETABLE() function to retrieve changes. Also, there were a few inline table valued functions written to select records from CHANGETABLE(), that would look like something below,

CREATE FUNCTION [dbo].[fn_MsBuildTest]
select ID
from CHANGETABLE(changes dbo.TBL1_DTL , 1) as CT

It basically selects IDs of dbo.TBL1_DTL table from the CHANGETABLE() function.

When I built the project within visual studio, it built without any errors or warnings. However the issue came up with the project was built using TFS build. The build failed with the following error,

"F:\Documents\Personal\Projs\DB\RecoverTest\RecoverTest\RecoverTest.sqlproj" (r
ebuild target) (1) ->
(SqlBuild target) ->
ldTest.sql(5,9,5,9): Build error SQL71501: Computed Column: [dbo].[fn_MsBuildTe
st].[ID] has an unresolved reference to object [ID]. [F:\Documents\Personal\Pro

It cannot identify the column ID and throws a unresolved reference error.

After digging we found out that the issue is with MSBuild. When the project was built locally, on the same computer where I successfully built the project using visual studio 2012, using MSBuild utility, the same error was thrown. So it turns out that MSBuild has a limitations building inline functions with CHANGETABLE() function used in the select statement.

To verify that, I changed the function to a multi-lined table valued functions, and here it goes. MSBuild successfully built it. Below is how it was after it has been changed to multi-lined table valued function.

CREATE FUNCTION [dbo].[fn_MsBuildTest]
RETURNS @changes TABLE(ID bigint)

insert @changes
select ID
from CHANGETABLE(changes dbo.TBL1_DTL , 1) as CT


According to this experience, it turns out that if CHANGETABLE can be used in a multi-lined table valued function, but not inside a inline table valued function.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Resolving SSRS windows authentication issue, continuous pop up of user authentication dialog and the user never gets authenticated.

Recently there has been a issue where in a test environment, one of my colleagues was having a scaled out setup of SSRS. He had dedicated virtual servers for Database, SSRS and SharePoint (SSRS was installed in SharePoint Integrated mode). After the installation he could connect to the Report Server using the default url within the same server where SSRS was installed. However, from any of the other servers, Database and SharePoint, this was not possible, as when accesses the url, the user authentication dialog continuously pops up and it never gets authenticated even though the user name and the password was confirmed to be correct.

After hours of struggling, it turned out that the issue was with the authentication settings of SSRS in the Reporting Services Config file. The below link can be used as a guide to do this.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

SQL Server Data Tools - Resolving self-refereces (referencing local database objects with three part name) issue

I have been allocated to stream line the database solution management of one of the projects we had that consisted of several databases. The primary database was a Navision CRM database, and there was a Data Warehouse project consisted of several staging databases.
In some of the databases, there were database objects created such as views, that references tables from the same database using three part name,

[Current Database Name].[schema].[Local Table Name]

As the first step of the solution management, I had to create SSDT database projects by importing the schema of these databases. However I came across this issue, where you should resolve all the references to objects of different databases. Since three part names were used for local tables, SSDT treats them as external objects, and requires these references to be resolved. After reading a few articles, that explained the only work around was to remove Database Name from the table names used, which is the preferred option, I came across this workaround to resolve these self-references.

In general, to resolve external database references in SSDT database projects, we should add database reference to the project, and change the code to add SQLCMD variable in place of the database name of the three part name. SSDT provides a set of pre-defined SQLCMD variables, such as $(DatabaseName) that gives option to provide current database name.

My workaround was to replace database names of the self-references to $(DatabaseName), so that it would look like below,

[$(DatabaseName)].[schema].[Table Name]

This resolved the self-referencing issue. However, it is always a best practice to avoid three part names for local objects!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Appending to Existing Backup Set in SQL Server

When you are taking a backup of SQL Server database, you can append the backup to an existing backup set, which is the default option selected. This can be done by selecting an existing backup file (if you are using a disk backup) as the destination. Appending to an existing backup set is also possible with tape backups. Once you select the same backup file, and choose to append to an existing backup set, the new backup will be appended to the end of the previous backup.

When it comes to restoring, if you select a backup file, it will select, by default, the last backup set in the backup media. But how can we select a different backup set to be restored? Once you select the backup media for restoring, the last backup set will be selected. You can see that in the "Backup sets to restore" list, the name of the last taken backup set is shown. However, you can select a previous backup set by clicking  "Timeline" button in the "Destination" section, right above the backup set list. There you get a timeline of backup sets available in the selected media, and provides the option to select which backup set should be restored. You can simply click on the backup set, or select the date/time of the backup set based on which the correct backup set will be selected from the timeline. Once the backup set is selected, SQL Server will restore it instead of the latest.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Hekaton from Microsoft

The project, code named "Hekaton", brings the latest in memory technology that integrates with Microsft SQL Server, and is  planned to be released with the next version of SQL Server. This promises upto 50 times performance improvement on industry level hardware. Below are some links for more information,

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

PowerView Add In for Excel not Detecting Silverlight, Trouble installing silverlight for Powerview Excel Add in

I came across this situation where I have enabled PowerView on excel and still it kept on saying that SilverLight is installed, even when Silverlight is installed on my computer. The reason for this is, the version of silverlight installed was the one downloaded through chrome ( or any other browser, not Internet Explorer). For powerview to work,  you need to download Silverlight through Internet Explorer and install. This would solve the problem.

Choosing between Tabular Model and Multidimensional Model

A document with detailed information on choosing the right model for the BI project. Can be download from the below link,

Click here to go to download page

Monday, January 07, 2013

SQL Server Reporting Services - Multiple Personality Syndrome with Dynamic Borders

Recently I was working with a SSRS 2012 report on a BI project and it required to have dynamic border styles for some of the tables in the the reports. SSRS gives you option to write "Expressions" for the border style property, for each side (Top, Bottom, Left and Right). So I simply wrote my expressions for each to dynamically change the border style to either "Solid" or "None" based on a condition. I ran the report in the debug mode, within Data Tool, and it was all fine. The border styles changed as expected.

However, The reports were supposed to be uploaded to a Report Server and executed through the web interface When I tested the same report via the web interface, non of my dynamic styles were present. It always had "Solid" style, in all the scenarios. I rechecked the source files, re-tested it within data tools and the report was running fine. But again, when I uploaded it to the report server and ran it through the web interface, the borders were always solid.

After hours of struggling with this tiny issue, I have found that border styles work in two different ways in data tools and web interface. The border style property has one extra property called "Default". The value that is specified here for default (None, Solid ...etc), will override all the expressions specified for each side (left, right ..etc) only when the report is run via the web interface.