Use Your Tools

I used this tool for the first time and found it very handy.

Someone asked me recently if I’ve ever exported a table using SQL Packager, a tool from my employer, Red Gate Software. I hadn’t, and in fact, hadn’t ever even opened the tool. So I started it up and exported a table. I was surprised how easy it was, and I wrote up a short blog on it.

That reminded me of a common issue that many of us have: we get into a rut. It’s easy to stick to doing things the “old way” we’ve learned, and not updating our skills to take advantage of newer features.  It’s also easy to get used to going through a process one way and never trying, or experimenting with different techniques or applications of the tools.

I have been guilty of this, and am trying to rectify it, working with new features, and trying out new SQL Server 2008 R2 or SQL Server 2012 T-SQL changes where I can. I noticed Grant Fritchey recently talking about Extended Events and the advantages of using them with deadlocks, and also using them for performance tuning. Learning Extended Events is an area I need to spend some time with in the future, and I’d recommend most other SQL Server professionals do the same.

However it’s not just the changes in SQL Server. There are changes in tools from vendors that can help us do our jobs better, or even tools we don’t know we have. I have spoken with lots of Red Gate customers that weren’t even aware of the capabilities of the tools on their machines. In some cases they weren’t even aware they had the tools because they were purchased in a bundle. Not every tool is useful, and not always appropriate, but it’s worth a little time investment to learn how to use the tools and gain some awareness of their capabilities.

We publish some information on the Red Gate tools at SQLServerCentral, and I constantly find great blogs written by people that actually use the tools in their daily work. I suspect that’s the case for other tools as well. Take some time and read about the tools you own, and even the ones you don’t. You might find one that will actually save you time, make your job easier, and provide a nice ROI for your company.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcasts

We publish three versions of the podcast each day for you to enjoy.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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