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Heightened Flexibility for SQL Server Admins with SQL Operations Studio


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Late in 2017, I informed you about a public preview for a new data management tool from Microsoft called SQL Operations Studio. SQL Operations Studio is a very flexible and lightweight data management tool enabling you to work with SQL Server, Azure SQL DB (including PostgreSQL and MySQL) and Azure SQL DW from clients running Windows, macOS or Linux.

On June 20th, the Microsoft SQL Server team dropped the most recent release of SQL Operations Studio to the public. This is just one of many, many product announcements that demonstrate Microsoft’s very serious commitment to interoperability and to meeting the needs of their customers wherever they reside, even if that’s outside of the Microsoft ecosystem. One of the hallmarks of SQL Operations Studio, compared to the venerable SQL Server Management Studio, is that it is lightweight and expandable.

This release focuses on several new features and capabilities:

  • Integration of SQL Server Profiler for SQL Operations Studio Preview extension
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse extensions
  • Editing for Data Filtering and Sorting
  • Job and Job History features and enhancements added to SQL Server Agent for SQL Operations Studio Preview extension
  • Lots of goodies to help you build your own SQL Ops Studio extension
  • A refresh of Visual Studio Code
  • Fix for lots of GitHub issues

Now, let’s look at some more details on a couple of these new and expanded features, particular around expandability.

SQL Server Profiler for SQL Operations Studio Extension

One of the most necessary tools for any kind of performance troubleshooting on SQL Server is Profiler. Profiler allows you to track events, such as SQL statements, that happen in real time. This new preview release uses the newer and more lightweight XEvent-based profiler. This extension makes it simple to quickly trace server activity for troubleshooting and monitoring. In order to take advantage of this (or any) extension, you have to manually add the SQL Operations Studio extension. Be sure to read up on the process at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/sql-operations-studio/extensions?view=sql-server-2017. It’s quite simple and requires a restart only of SQL Operations Studio.

Azure SQL Data Warehouse Extension

Here’s another neat feature that is now in preview. The Azure SQL Data Warehouse engineering team blogged on about how to create customizable dashboard widgets  so that you can enhance your management and tuning experience within SQL Operations Studio. (Read more about in this blog - https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/extract-management-insights-from-sql-data-warehouse-with-sql-operations-studio/).

In the blog, you can see some interesting examples that you might want to implement right away, such as detecting data skew across your data warehouse distributions, measuring user activity, maximizing columnstore row group quality, and ensuring table statistics are up to date. Instead of asking new users to manually add JSON snippets in Settings, we reached out to the DW team to see if they would be interested in building an extension to improve acquisition for users.

After working with us on building a custom insight extension, the team is excited to announce the preview release of the Azure SQL Data Warehouse Extension! You can now seamlessly install the extension from the SQL Operations Studio Extensions Manager surfacing a pre-built dashboard for your data warehouse.

Build Your Own Extension

The Microsoft engineering teams are enthusiastically embracing wider community involvement and partners. In advance of the recent Microsoft Build conference, the SQL Operations Studio team created a set of documentation, labs, and video tutorials to enable us to create our own extensions. The lab, online at https://github.com/microsoft/sqlopsstudio/wiki/Microsoft-Build-lab, shows you how to build Insight Widgets which are data visualizations based on T-SQL queries. You can then integrate the widget into SQL Operations Studio’s browser-based UI. In addition to the Github repository mentioned previously, you may want to refer to these added resources:

Next Steps with SQL Operations Studio

Download SQL Operations Studio at https://aka.ms/sqlopsstudio. You can also visit the GitHub repository at https://github.com/microsoft/sqlopsstudio/. And report issues, suggest features, and otherwise join the conversation on the Github Issues page at https://github.com/microsoft/sqlopsstudio/issues.


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