Posts Tagged ‘Predictability’

Modeling Dimensions with History Tracked, Generic Attributes

July 6, 2012 5 comments

Sometimes, you need to model a database in such a way that you can dynamically extend the model without altering any tables. Perhaps the attributes changes faster than you can add new columns or the data you store has a “ragged” structure that does not lend itself well to being described as a traditional table structure.

The typical approach taken in these cases is to “pivot” the required “flexible columns” of a table into rows instead and dynamically reconstruct the schema at runtime. When you model like this, adding new attributes to the model is simply a question of inserting rows into the database.

As I sure you are aware, there are issues with this approach. Tuning columns into rows  can cause interesting issues for database engines. The flexibility requirement and performance loss to be balanced carefully. In this blog, I will walk you through an example of how to handle this generic case in a star schema.

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An Interesting Blog to Follow

September 1, 2011 2 comments

I know some of you track Conor Cunningham’s blog, which I highly recommend. The information on query optimizers is rather sparse out there – and it is a real privilege when people who know what they are talking about share their information freely on a blog. There are just not that many of them.

Here is something to think about in that context: Even if you are only interested in SQL Server, there are good things to be learned from studying other database engines – they are after all very similar. One of the good blogs for that purpose is the Oracle optimizer blog: It is delightfully free from marketing, and packed with good stuff. Don’t worry about the fact that they like textual query plans over there in Oracle. You might be used to viewing plans graphically, but I am sure you agree that such minor difference in display preferences can be set aside in the name of reading good material.

The Ascending Column Problem in Fact Tables –Part two: Stat Job!

July 7, 2011 3 comments

In my last post I described a common problem with statistics in data warehouses. I also directed you to a trace flag that partially solves the problem. There is an issue with this trace flag: at the time of writing this blog, it does not work on a partitioned tables. Considering that large tables tend to be partitioned, this could be an issue.

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The Ascending Key Problem in Fact Tables– Part one: Pain!

July 1, 2011 4 comments

Time for another deep dive into SQL Server. In the last couple of days, I have been having coffee with Joe Chang in the afternoon, who some of you may know. He is visiting Sweden a lot by the way, so shoot him an email if you are interested in having him present. Joe and I ended up talking about an interesting problem in data warehousing: the ascending key problem. I think it is best illustrated by an example.

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