Sql Server – Big Changes at Microsoft

I found this podcast very interesting and worth listening to more than once. A group of Microsoft engineers responsible for both Sql Azure and the boxed version of Sql Server discusses the new approaches they are using to provide a cloud-based database service. The changes are also having an effect on the conventional database product.

The interesting section is about six minutes in, Continue reading

Just Say No… to Day Number Functions

In a Mental Status Examination a psychiatrist will assess the patient, often to decide whether they should be admitted to hospital. Quoting the article linked above, “Orientation is assessed by asking the patient … what time it is (time, day, date)”. So the patient is asked what day of the week it is.

What if the psychiatrist were to ask instead, “What is the number of today, based upon where it falls among the days of the week”? That might indicate that the doctor himself was under too much pressure and needed to take some time off, and it would also be quite unfair to the patient. We need to know what day it is, we often need to know when the week starts or finishes, but we don’t usually ask ourselves what number the day is.

There are database functions that provide the day number: in Sql Server it’s: SELECT DATEPART(weekday, SYSDATETIME()), and in Oracle it would be TO_CHAR('d', SYSDATE), which you can cast to a number of course. Do we ever need to know it? Continue reading

Date Calculations and Daylight Saving Time

Many years ago I worked for an energy business. One nuisance we had to deal with was the “clock shift” when BST (British Summer Time) began or ended. The official prescription for the clock change in the United Kingdom is found at
“In the UK the clocks go forward 1 hour at 1am on the last Sunday in March, and back 1 hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October.” So the megawatt hours supplied in a contract starting outside BST and ending inside BST would be one hour less than expected, while a contract starting inside BST and ending outside BST would total one megawatt hour more than expected.

Since then I haven’t thought of it much but I was listening to a podcast where a DBA mentioned problems using Sql Server’s GETDATE() or SYSDATETIME() functions Continue reading